Vexira Antivirus Personal 2.0 could be a standout antivirus product in a few years, but it's a diamond in the rough right now. Despite minor glitches in our tests, such as an icon that displayed twice on our desktop, Vexira offers a solid feature set and is a good virus catcher. If you don't mind its awkward interface, get Vexira, but for a more complete antivirus package, try Norton AntiVirus 2002. Vexira Antivirus Personal 2.0 could be a standout antivirus product in a few years, but it's a diamond in the rough right now. Despite minor glitches in our tests, such as an icon that displayed twice on our desktop, Vexira offers a solid feature set and is a good virus catcher. If you don't mind its awkward interface, get Vexira, but for a more complete antivirus package, try Norton AntiVirus 2002.
The software installs easily and places an icon in your system tray that lets you launch the disk-scanning software with a right-click or change the settings for real-time antivirus monitoring with a double-click.
Before we tested Vexira, its maker, Central Command, cautioned us that the software's interface was still a work in progress, and the company was right. For instance, we couldn't schedule Vexira to automatically download virus definition updates, and when we manually downloaded the updates, we had to reboot to install them. Other products do this automatically. The company promised automatic updates in the near feature. Though it didn't affect performance, we encountered a bug in which Vexira displayed two identical icons in the system tray. We also discovered a glitch in which the real-time monitoring software became inactive--and not because of anything we did.
Slays the competition
On the bright side, Vexira sports handy features that are missing from many antivirus apps. For one, it includes a scheduler to run Vexira or, in fact, any program at a specified time, though the feature annoyingly adds an unnecessary icon to the system tray when enabled. In addition, Vexira can scan within an array of compressed file types, including ZIP, TAR, GZ, and RAR--an impressive trick. You can also initiate a scan simply by right-clicking a file or a folder, which saves time, and you can delete a found virus from the hard drive.
Excellent antivirus scanning engine
Vexira performed relatively well in our Labs' tests. It did especially well in our virus simulation and I Love You tests, suggesting that it has good heuristics, meaning it employs general rules that can discover a virus even if the specific strain hasn't yet been identified. Unfortunately, Vexira doesn't scan incoming e-mail for viruses, as Norton AntiVirus does.
To test Vexira's ability to find and remove an active virus, we infected a system with the Gibe worm. Vexira's real-time monitor immediately found the virus running in system memory and deleted it. However, it didn't remove any of the virus's Registry entries. It also left a few virus-created files in the Windows directory and deleted them only after we ran a complete manual scan.
Priced at $49.95, with one year of updates and 30 days of phone tech support and unlimited e-mail support, Vexira is no bargain. The software's online help has limited guidance, but the company's Web site offers valuable information on the latest viruses.
We're not ready to recommend Vexira yet. Although its virus detection engine appears robust, the app suffers from growing pains. We look forward to future versions of this underdog software, assuming it will have a little more polish and refinement. Meanwhile, if you're looking for an antivirus underdog, check out Norman Virus Control 5.0, which sports a much more polished interface.