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eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 (6.2) review: eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 (6.2)

eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 (6.2)

Jeff Bertolucci
6 min read


eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 (6.2)

The Good

Speedy scanning; creates minimal drag on system performance; scans inbound e-mail; support provides fast, free response to e-mail queries.

The Bad

Firewall and spyware detection not included; bare-bones interface; doesn't scan outbound e-mail; not much new for upgraders.

The Bottom Line

EZ Antivirus 2005 isn't the most feature-packed virus scanner on the market, but it's certainly one of the fastest. Home and small-business users looking for speed should give it a try, but current users need not upgrade.
Computer Associates eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 (6.2) isn't going to win any beauty contests. Its interface is as drab as they come, but then again, eTrust EZ Antivirus is blazingly fast--in fact, it's one of the speediest antivirus apps we've ever tested. And since it barely draws on your system's resources, it won't slow your work to a crawl during background scans. Its sub-$30 price is bound to appeal to small businesses and home users, too. To be a complete security solution, though, EZ Antivirus should include a firewall--and it doesn't. Also, its e-mail scanner checks inbound messages only, and there aren't enough additions to this version of the software to warrant an upgrade from EZ Antivirus 6.1. Despite these shortcomings, however, this speedy virus buster is a solid choice for new users who already have a software firewall installed. Computer Associates eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 is easy to install: download the diminutive 4.12MB setup file, launch it, and click Next several times to load eTrust. In our informal tests, EZ Antivirus 2005 automatically downloaded its latest viral signatures (as all good antivirus programs should) and scanned our test computer once its setup was complete. A full scan of our test system (a 600MHz Celeron CPU, with 256MB of RAM and a 14GB hard drive) took about 20 minutes. During the scan, we were able to work normally in Word and Internet Explorer with only a slight performance degradation--a strong indicator of eTrust's light impact on system performance.
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EZ Antivirus 2005's Options Wizard, which steps you through the process of configuring EZ Antivirus 2005, is the best feature of an otherwise uninspired interface.

The program's uninspired interface features an old-fashioned file tree and tiny, indecipherable icons that mimic the aesthetic splendor of Windows File Manager circa 1995; it is unchanged from version 6.1. That's bad news for novices who want to schedule unattended scans; change the default action on infected files, for example, clean or delete; and so on. Yes, there's a handy Options Wizard that steps you through these basic configuration tasks, but you'll need to comb the menu bar first to find it.

One nice addition to EZ Antivirus 2005 is a taskbar tray icon that flashes when the program notices antivirus detection problems, such as when a virus attempts to disable your antivirus protection. To access more details about a given problem, right-click the flashing icon to trigger a pop-up dialog box. In our tests, the icon flashed often, warning us of a problem with the AutoDownload feature, which retrieves updated signature and program files. The problem later resolved itself, although we never discovered what caused it.

Version 2005 of Computer Associates eTrust EZ Antivirus is only a minor upgrade from EZ Antivirus 6.1. One of the most compelling new features is the program's ability to scan incoming messages and their attachments in popular POP3 e-mail clients, including Eudora, Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, Netscape Mail, Pegasus, and others. But unlike Norton AntiVirus 2004 and other leading virus fighters, EZ Antivirus doesn't scan outbound e-mail, which is a helpful security tool for blocking worms embedded in outgoing messages.

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EZ Antivirus 2005's nondescript interface, perhaps inspired by Windows Explorer, is essentially unchanged from last year's version.

EZ Antivirus 2005's real-time scanner takes a more aggressive approach to virus protection than previous versions. In version 6.1, the scanner warned you when it detected an infected file, then it quarantined and renamed the file. EZ Antivirus now cleans the file and any Registry entries that might have been affected.

Another noteworthy upgrade concerns compressed files. EZ Antivirus now scans CAB and MIME file formats, in additional to a dozen or so other archival file formats, including the ubiquitous ZIP format. Version 2005 doesn't include a firewall, but then neither do Norton and McAfee VirusScan 8.0, both of which cost about $20 more than EZ Antivirus. And while Windows XP SP2 will enable the Microsoft Firewall, it doesn't provide both inbound and outbound protection--you'll still need a third-party firewall. To find both firewall and antivirus protection in one package, try Computer Associates EZ Armor, Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2004, or ZoneAlarm with Antivirus.

In CNET Labs tests, EZ Antivirus 2005 caused less system performance drag than McAfee VirusScan, Norton AntiVirus, or Trend Micro PC-cillin. However, PC-cillin remains the speed champ, scanning our 1.3GB hard drive faster than any antivirus software product we've tested.

To measure EZ Antivirus 2005's impact on system performance, CNET Labs used BAPCo's SysMark 2002, an industry-standard benchmark. The Internet-content-creation portion of SysMark measures a desktop's performance running off-the-shelf applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder, and Macromedia Dreamweaver. (We did not run the Office Productivity portion of the benchmark because it incorporates McAfee VirusScan 5.13.)

Our test system was a Compaq Evo W4000, running Windows XP Professional, with an Intel P4 2.4GHz processor and 512MB DDR RAM. With EZ Antivirus 2005 running, our test system scored a remarkable 100--with no reduction in overall system speed. By comparison, McAfee scored a 97, or a 3 percent decrease; Norton AntiVirus 2003 scored a 95, a 5 percent reduction. (An Internet-content-creation score of 100 represents the performance of our test system without any extraneous software running.) In a test of scanning speed, EZ Antivirus 2005 took an average of 2.6 minutes to scan a 1.3GB directory, but that couldn't match speed-demon PC-cillin, which averaged 2.4 minutes.

SysMark 2002 Internet-content-creation score Normalized score Percent degradation Average boot time (sec) Scan 1.3GB directory, average scan time (min)
Test system 233 100 n/a 38.9 n/a
Computer Associates EZ Antivirus 2005 233 100 0 47 2.56
McAfee VirusScan 8.0 234 101 n/a 48.38 4.75
F-Secure Anti-Virus 2003 for Windows 218 93 93 63 6.64
Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2004 223 96 4 52.72 3.59
Zone Labs ZoneAlarm with Antivirus 221 99 7 55.6 2.44
Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2004 227 97 6 45 2.48

To determine whether EZ Antivirus effectively blocks viruses, we gauged its performance in tests conducted by independent antivirus laboratories. In Virus Bulletin's tests with live viruses, EZ Antivirus earned the coveted VB 100 percent rating 70 percent of the time in the last 10 Windows tests--a good showing, certainly, but not on a par with Norton AntiVirus, which earned the title on 10 of its last 10 tests.

Previous versions of EZ Antivirus have also been certified by the independent antivirus testing laboratories at West Coast Checkmark, ICSA Labs, and Checkvir.com.

For more details on how we test antivirus apps, see CNET Labs site.

Like its competitors, Computer Associates provides free e-mail support for its EZ Antivirus 2005 product, but it charges for phone help. In our tests, e-mail queries were answered relatively quickly--typically within 3 hours in an industry where a 24-hour turnaround is standard. The replies were polite and helpful, too. For instance, our problem with the flashing EZ Antivirus icon (in the taskbar tray) was attributed to a temporary problem with the vendor's AutoDownload server. (The problem eventually resolved itself.) Online help is good, too. The Ask Sammy query box lets you type in natural-language questions, such as "What's the Bagle virus?," and get a quick list of knowledge-base documents on a given topic.

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EZ Antivirus 2005's Ask Sammy tool allows you to pose natural-language queries to the vendor's online knowledge base.

Phone support, however, is expensive: $49.95 for one tech issue, $99.95 for three issues, and $149.95 for five. Then again, these rates are comparable to those of Computer Associates' leading antivirus contenders, including McAfee, Symantec, and ZoneAlarm. Trend Micro, which provides a year of free phone support, is the lone exception here.


eTrust EZ Antivirus 2005 (6.2)

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 7Performance 8Support 8
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