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Immunos is free and easy but not up to scratch

Skip this free Clam-based antivirus tool for one of the more polished offerings.

Immunos is a free antivirus solution designed for inexperienced users, the sort who typically need antivirus protection the most yet are intimidated by complex software, even when it's free. Immunos is based on the well-regarded Clam AntiVirus cross-platform toolkit. Since ClamAV doesn't have its own GUI, many developers have designed their own user interfaces for platforms such as Windows, including Hipgnosis Vision, Immunos' developer. Unfortunately, its interface may be the program's least appealing aspect. Its virtues (aside from ClamAV) include its focus on simplicity, with few options and enough information to get the point across.

User interfaces are a matter of preference, but its khaki-colored background, rounded edges, and cut-down title bar give us the feeling that design considerations were an afterthought when rolling out Immunos. Everything worked as advertised--though the Update log is much too confusing for its mission. It's peppered with cryptic all-cap messages like WARNING and, worse, DON'T PANIC; and yet it does little to clarify whether or not the product has been updated (or why Aunt Edna shouldn't panic).

Clicking the taskbar icon to maximize the program only produced a balloon message and tray icon that disappeared as soon as we tried to click it. The tray icon offers no menus, it just restores the interface.

With simple buttons labeled Scan, Update, Config, Log, and Help, there's no doubt that Immunos is one of the easiest tools of its type we've tried. The scan apparently found nothing to quarantine since it merely flashed "Completed" in the message window. We clicked the Log file for more data, but it's much worse than the Update log. The brief Help file did explain each function clearly.

Immunos needs some work, and not just a more attractive GUI but much more drastically in making it clear to the inexperienced users it's aiming for just what it's doing when it's doing it. What is required for a tool designed for beginners is big red flashing messages such as "YOUR PC IS FINE" (or not), not cryptic log files urging them not to panic. There are better free AV solutions, such as Avast and AVG.

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