Our test system was a Compaq Evo W4000 running Windows XP Professional with an Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz processor and 512MB of DDR RAM. With Vexira running, our test system scored an incredible 100, which means the program didn't affect overall system performance one iota. By comparison, PC-cillin scored a 98, a 2 percent reduction; McAfee tied F-Secure and EZ Antivirus at 97, a 3 percent reduction; Norton AntiVirus 2003 scored a 95, a 5 percent reduction; and Panda scored 81, a noticeable 19 percent slowdown. (An Internet-content-creation score of 100 represents the performance of our test system without any extraneous software running.) Unfortunately, in a test of scanning speed, Vexira placed dead last, averaging 4.1 minutes to scan a 1GB directory. By comparison, EZ Antivirus, the champ in this category, performed the same task in only 1.1 minutes.
To determine whether an antivirus product effectively blocks viruses, we rely on &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Evirusbtn%2Ecom%2Fvb100%2Farchives%2Fproducts%2Exml">Virus Bulletin's tests with live viruses. However, Vexira has never been tested by Virus Bulletin, nor has it been certified by the independent antivirus testing laboratories at &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Echeck%2Dmark%2Ecom%2Fcheckmark%2Fproducts%2Ehtml">West Coast Checkmark, &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eicsalabs%2Ecom%2Fhtml%2Fcommunities%2Fantivirus%2Fcertification%2Fcertprod%2Eshtml">ICSA Labs, or &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eav%2Dtest%2Eorg%2Fdown%2Fspecial%2F2002%2D07%5Fmarket%2Den%2Exls">AV-test.org. Therefore, we are unable to report on Vexira's accuracy in finding viruses in the wild.
To Central Command's credit, however, its response to any virus outbreak has invariably been swift and accurate. We may infer from the company's responsiveness that Vexira is updated vigilantly; we just can't prove it independently.
Unlike industry leaders Symantec and McAfee, Central Command offers free phone support to its customers. According to the company, wait times range from four to six minutes, and our own tech-support calls bear that out. One caveat: the individual support call is a toll connection. Corporate customers (businesses of 25 or more users) enjoy a toll-free number.
Vexira's technical-support site provides a great deal of information about computer viruses.
E-mail support is available via the Central Command Web site, and the company promises to respond within 72 hours. In our tests, response times were less than 7 hours. Vexira's Help section is well written and provides a great deal of background on specific viruses, worms, and other digital menaces.
Despite the comprehensive support, Vexira's annual $29.95 license renewal fee is still too high. By comparison, EZ Antivirus's yearly fee is only $12.95, while McAfee and Norton each charge about $10.