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ESET NOD32 3.0 Antivirus System (Windows) review: ESET NOD32 3.0 Antivirus System (Windows)

ESET NOD32 3.0 Antivirus System (Windows)

Robert Vamosi Former Editor
As CNET's former resident security expert, Robert Vamosi has been interviewed on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets to share his knowledge about the latest online threats and to offer advice on personal and corporate security.
Robert Vamosi
3 min read

Wow. Eset NOD32 3.0 delivers a easy-to-use version of its award-winning antivirus engine. Finally, ease of use meets best-in-class protection. A second product, Eset NOD32 Smart Security, includes personal firewall, antispam, and antispyware in addition to antivirus protection. Although our performance testing was mixed, NOD32 continues to rank among the best-rated antivirus products by independent antivirus testing labs and ranks near the top of our list alongside our Editors' Choice of Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7


ESET NOD32 3.0 Antivirus System (Windows)

The Good

Eset NOD32 3.0 offers a new interface, faster scanning, and thorough technical support

The Bad

Eset NOD32 3.0 doesn't include firewall protection.

The Bottom Line

Eset NOD32 3.0 finally gets its interface right and, along with high-rated performance among independent testing labs, deserves consideration on your desktop.

Setup and interface
NOD32 is among the few antivirus products that still supports Windows 2000 and XP as well as Windows Vista.

With version 3, Eset finally gets the NOD32 interface right. After years of dealing with the cumbersome AMON (monitors the overall file system), DMON (monitors documents), and EMON (monitors e-mail transactions), we get version 3.0 with a completely intuitive and easy-to-use interface. There are two versions of the interface: standard and advanced. The left-hand column features Protection Status, Computer scan, Update, Setup, Tools (in Advanced mode only), and Help. The right window pane is reserved for the active feature in use. In Advanced mode, across the top is a toolbar to access the more advanced configuration options.

At first glance, the interface is easy for anyone new to antivirus protection. But digging deeper we were happy to find all the advance tweaks that anyone could ask for within reach. Symantec has gone in the opposite direction, making all the tools simply enable and disable, but Eset has left a number of intermediate options available to the more advanced users.

Should you need to remove NOD32 from your computer, there is an uninstall option. After a reboot we found almost no evidence of the product on our machine.

Eset continues to improve on its ThreatSense technology, allowing NOD32 to be proactive, yet use few system resources. We like the fact that during a scan you can either manually toggle the scan to the forefront or push it into the background.

The main enhancements to this version are the interface and behind-the-scenes tweaks to the speed of the scan.

Also, according to Eset, NOD32 will automatically remove threats, which could be bad if you need a component for a game (for example); however we found that, if necessary, you can restore any quarantined selection with a right click.

NOD32 did well in CNET Labs' performance tests and very well in third-party, independent antivirus testing using live viruses. On our iTunes test, NOD32 came in at 271 seconds, 2 seconds above our test system. On our Microsoft Office test, NOD32 was third fastest at 1,360 seconds. For individual file scans, NOD32 came in fourth fastest at an amazing 181 seconds. And in boot speed, NOD32 again came in slow at 35 seconds. To find out how we test, see CNET Labs' How we test: software: Antivirus page.

In terms of protecting your PC, we refer readers to two leading independent antivirus testing organizations. In the latest test results from AV-test.org, NOD32 Antivirus 3 scored 97.7 behind Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7 but ahead of Norton Antivirus 2008. At AV-Comparatives.org, in on-demand tests NOD32 found 97.7 percent of the malicious software and earned an Advanced + (highest) rating, and in Retrospective/ProActive tests found 71 percent and also earned an Advanced + (highest) rating. And NOD32 (Smart Security) was one of four products to earn CheckVir.com's Advanced rating

NOD32 provides extensive, context-sensitive help files. For example, if you are on the Actions tab and you click Help, NOD32 takes you to the Actions tab definition page within Help. It's a small touch, but other than in Kaspersky, we haven't seen it offered in other security software. Online, Eset provides a fairly thorough 32-page PDF-file manual for download, plus online FAQs for NOD32, links to an active user forum dedicated to the software, and a Web form for contacting Eset customer support. While there is live telephone support offered, the call is not toll free and is available only during business hours, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday.


ESET NOD32 3.0 Antivirus System (Windows)

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 7Performance 8Support 8