Free antivirus software but not as solid as we would like

Scanning for malware and other nasties is a part of life, but Bitdefender Virus Scanner is a mixed bag.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner is an antivirus scanner for the iMac and MacBook that employs the well-known Bitdefender engine and signature files in the Mac environment. Notably, it can also detect Windows viruses in emulation and virtual windows. With hourly virus signature upgrades, Bitdefender Virus Scanner can monitor your system in real time.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner installs easily enough. The interface looks similar to almost every other antivirus product on the market for Mac and Windows machines, with the ability to trigger an on-demand scan or set it up for continuous monitoring. A Fast Scan capability for typical attack points, as well as a thorough scan of the entire filesystem, is available, including examining archive files. The interface is easy to work with. Scans take about the same amount of time as other competing antivirus products, so there's no difference in performance measures. However, we found the initial download after installation was quite time-consuming. Even more alarming, when we added a file with a known virus to our MacBook Pro, Bitdefender Virus Scanner didn't catch it. On one run of a full systems scan the software locked up our machine and we had to reboot. A subsequent run went through without a hitch although it took two hours to complete.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner is, unfortunately, a mixed bag. It is alarming that we got crashes and even worse, that Bitdefender Virus Scanner ignored a known virus embedded in a file. It's also worth noting that Bitdefender Virus Scanner is a 32-bit application, with no 64-bit version available. Even though it is free, we have a hard time choosing Bitdefender Virus Scanner over other antivirus products considering the issues we encountered.

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