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 . 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.
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 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.
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 Computer Associates EZ Armor, , or .In , 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 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.