Rising Antivirus Free Edition doesn't quite make it

Avoid this awkward entry into the free antivirus arena.

Never heard of Rising Antivirus? It's China's largest antivirus software company. By some estimates, it's used by half of all Chinese home computer users, who numbered more than 100 million and growing in the last count. Rising is offering a free antivirus package to compete with established freeware options in the global market. Rising Antivirus Free Edition also offers defense against Trojans, worms, and other malware; protection for USB drives; and e-mail, browser, and system monitoring and protection. It requires a Captcha to uninstall.

Rising Antivirus can be installed and set up quickly a reboot, and its initial scan completed very quickly. With a colorful, space-themed background and large icons and controls, the program's interface is easy to use, though the English translations sometimes came up short; for instance, the program version number included "Never update," which could mean "Don't update the program" instead of "Never updated," which was the case. But updating the program to the latest definitions and versions took quite a long time and also required a reboot, so clearly more than an update gets installed in the second pass. When our system rebooted, we received a series of error messages saying that Windows couldn't find some of Rising's files. The program indicated that our system was protected, and all of its other features seemed to be working, including its system tray menu, which accesses the program's settings and functions. But when we tried to scan our system again, the scan made no progress. Windows Task Manager told us that Rising was running, but no scan seemed to be taking place. We had to close and reopen the interface to try a full scan, but that too failed to initiate. We tried updating again, but we already had the latest edition.

The program's InfoCenter feature told us that the free antivirus software had expired and that we needed to buy the full version at 25 percent off, but a visit to Rising's Web site showed it was still available and up-to-date. (We were also puzzled by the PC Doctor tool's icon, a lion in a wizard hat riding a broomstick.) We're sure Rising will find a way to capitalize on its immense user database to make a splash in the global antivirus market, but not with Rising Antivirus Free Edition.

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