Don’t update your antivirus, get a new one instead

I am a firm believer that you need the latest antivirus technology to combat the latest viruses and if you do not have the latest software then you might not be fully protected. Upgrade instead of updating the virus definitions.

Whether you are using free or paid antivirus software on your Windows PC, virus definitions regularly download. In fact, some security programs receive updates several times a day.

You might think that you are protected because you have the latest virus definition updates, but surely this cannot be true. It is hard to believe that a five year old antivirus program is just as good as this year’s, even with updated definitions.

For this reason I never recommend using antivirus software for more than a year. You should open your security software, go to the About menu or wherever it stores the version number and see which version you have. Compare this to the latest version on the company’s website. If it is not current, then it is time to upgrade. Forget the updates, what you need is a new program.

I have been using 360 Total Security for the last six months and it was version 5. Now version 6 is out and so the old software has been uninstalled, an easy task using Programs and Features in the Control Panel, and the latest version has been installed. Version 6 is now up and running.

The software has changed slightly and there are two new versions called 360 Total Security and 360 Total Security Essential. I selected the latter because it is a lightweight version with fewer extras – items rarely used like clean-up and speed-up tools. I have plenty of those.

360 Total Security and the Essential version are free and companies that test antivirus software like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, always report that it does well. In fact, it does better than average.

 360 Security Essential for Windows

There are some interesting features and unlike most other security software, this one can use multiple antivirus engines. It has its own, but it can also use Bitdefender and Avira, which are two of the best around.

It comes with just its own antivirus engine and Bitdefender and Avira are options that can be set when selecting the protection mode. There are four options and you can choose Performance, Balanced, Security or Custom. Select the Security mode and Bitdefender and Avira scan engines are used, but in Performance mode only the built in engine is used. Custom lets you choose the engine and several other security options.

360 Security Essential antivirus

360 Security Essential security modes

There are the usual quick, full and custom scans, but no scheduled scans. It scans as files are read and written to the disk, so after an initial full scan you are protected. You can always run full scans manually if you want to.

360 Security Essential

Quick, full and custom scans are available

A sandbox facility is provided and this enables you to run programs in a secure protected environment that is isolated from the rest of the system. The idea is that if you download a program from the internet and are not sure if it is safe, you run it in the sandbox where it can do no damage. If it turns out to be safe after all, you can run it in the normal way like any other program

360 Security Essential antivirus

The sandbox lets you test software safely

This is only day one of 360 Total Security Essential, but I had no problems with the previous version that was on the computer for six months and as this is the latest technology, it should be better.

I just don’t know whether to select the Performance mode with the one virus scan engine or the Security mode with added protection from Bitdefender and Avira scan engines. If I had a super-fast SSD in the computer, then the three-engine Security mode would be best, but the mechanical disk drive in my laptop is slow and it really needs the Performance mode.

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