McAfee Total Protection

McAfee Total Protection

Download Editors' Rating:
3.5
Very good
Average User Rating:
2.8
out of 50 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2012
  • Total Downloads:
    396,341
  • Date Added:
    Oct. 31, 2011
  • Price:
    Free to try (30-day trial); $44.99 to buy (Buy it now)
  • File Size:
    143.05MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    285
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Review

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The bottom line: McAfee takes aim at blocking bots in its latest version, although weak test scores mean that we don't recommend this year's McAfee suite.

Review:
McAfee released a major overhaul to its security suite back in 2010, coming up with a new vertically oriented interface that made navigating much easier. Since then, the annual updates have been incremental at best, improving the feature set yet not making substantial changes overall. McAfee Total Protection 2012 adds some new features, but these are frankly more about keeping up with the Joneses--or at least, keeping up with the Nortons and Kasperskys--than actually pushing any kind of innovation. Meanwhile, the suite's performance on tests both from CNET Labs and independent sources calls into question how effective it really is.

Installation
Installing McAfee was where our problems with the suite began. The registration process was simple enough, but it also aggressively detects competing suites to the point where the slightest bit of Registry detritus will cause the installation to freak out. If that happens to you, it will attempt to find the offending remnants. If it can't find them, you'll have to reboot and reinstall McAfee.

While there are legitimate security and performance problems that can be created by running two competing suites simultaneously, this is the kind of trouble that is not acceptable from with a expensive security suite. We also had problems when running other essential programs, such as a Web browser, while installing.

To its shame, McAfee's uninstallation process left a few Registry keys behind, too.

Interface
First introduced in 2010, the unusual vertically oriented design is surprisingly easy to use. Features have been clearly delineated, and potentially confusing names have been jettisoned. For example, firewall settings control how you access the Web, so they're listed under Web and E-mail Protection.

Also, McAfee stands out for not only color-coding what your status is, but also adding in what that means. The "Your computer is secure" message is bolstered by "No action required," a helpful tip. Click on any of the four categories just below the status bar and the pane just to the right reveals links that let you drill deeper into your security status. Mouse over the big subcategories at the bottom and a general status message appears next to the name. Click on one for more configuration settings.

This was the strongest part of the McAfee 2012 efforts, making the suite visually distinct without sacrificing usability.

Features and support
McAfee provides a solid list of standard security features, from antivirus and anti-malware protection, a two-way firewall, and antispam measures to real-time safeguards, parental controls, and search result rankings.

As befits a high-end suite, Total Protection 2012 also comes with some helpful extras, such as a secure file shredder, encrypted local storage, online backup, some basic Wi-Fi protection on home-based wireless networks, and tools for tweaking system performance.

It also introduces several new features. These include Net Guard, for blocking botnets and protecting your personal data from being sent out without your permission; a "hacked page" protection for blocking iFrames on malicious sites; "deep page" protection for preventing hacked pages within otherwise safe sites from resolving; and USB drive scanning.

The parental control package has been updated, too. Parents get protection against blacklisted Web traffic in programs other than the browser, such as instant-messaging applications; browsing logs; and the ability to monitor changes to the clock to prevent clever kids from circumventing the suite's program timer.

Two other small but important new features address the social nature of modern browsing, but are only available from McAfee's browser toolbar. One is a custom URL shortener, routed through McAfee servers, and the second is a new site-sharing service with hooks into your Twitter, Facebook, and local clipboard. However, these are limited to the browsers that support the toolbar, which are Firefox and Internet Explorer. Google Chrome and its rocketing market share remain ignored.

McAfee offers a good set of features that keep it competitive, but nothing that really looks forward or pushes the envelope.

Performance
Despite the smart interface and competent features, McAfee's performance has been abysmal when it comes to preventing threats, and middling when it comes to system benchmarks.

Since McAfee Total Protection 2012 shares an engine with McAfee Internet Security 2012 and McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2012, CNET Labs benchmarked all three. Note that while last year's benchmarks were tested on the basic installation of Windows 7 x64, CNET Labs is now using a Windows 7 x64 test bed running Service Pack 1. So while results are more comparable than they would be with, say, a Windows XP computer, there's still a notable difference between the test computers.

CNET Labs found that Total Protection's impact on boot time was smaller than average, but that its sibling suites had among the worst boot-time impact of any tested this year. And although all three were highly competitive in their shutdown times, they slipped below average again on scan times. Those three benchmarks are key, since those are the most noticeable during regular computer use, and we would've preferred to see better marks here. However, McAfee appeared to have a more mundane effect on an in-use computer, scoring slightly above or slightly below average on all counts.

McAfee did well but not great in real-world scan time tests. Its quick scan averaged 8 minutes, 8 seconds; that's much slower than many competitors. The full scan took an average of 2 hours, 5 minutes, longer than many competitors by about half an hour.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Average of all tested systems (to date) 67.4 16.2 1,058 414 125 347 17,129
McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2012 90.7 12.8 1,156 423 126 344 17,294
McAfee Internet Security 2012 96.3 15.9 1,276 411 125 344 17,164
McAfee Total Protection 2012 61.8 11.3 1,299 409 125 348 17,243

Note: All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, higher numbers are better.

How good is the protection it offers? Surveying the results from several independent testing agencies, the answer is probably going to cause much gnashing of teeth among McAfee fans. AV-Test marked consistently low scores for McAfee Total Protection 2011 during the first two quarters of 2011. On a Windows 7 computer, McAfee scored 3 out of 6 on Protection, 2 out of 6 on Repair, and 3.5 out of 6 on Usability, for an overall score of 8.5 out of 18 and failing the minimum of 11 for an AV-Test certificate.

In the second quarter, on a Windows XP computer, McAfee Total Protection 2011 and 2012 did marginally better. The suite hit 3 out of 6 on both Protection and Repair, and 3.5 out of 6 on Usability, for a total of 9.5 out of 18, still not high enough to be certified.

Note that AV-Test defines its categories as follows: "The 'Protection' covers static and dynamic malware detection, including real-world zero-day attack testing. In case of 'Repair,' we check the system disinfection and rootkit removal in detail. The 'Usability' testing includes the system slowdown caused by the tools and the number of false positives."

In short, AV-Test found McAfee Total Protection 2011 and the new 2012 to be not worth the time or effort, at least from a purely protective point of view.

The most recent AV-Comparatives.org Whole Product test, which looks at on-demand scanning, retroactive tests, and "real-world" guards including cloud-based protections, showed generally dark trends for McAfee 2011 with a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel. From January 2011 through August 2011, McAfee was the third-worst suite tested overall, ahead of only K7 and PC Tools with a 93.6 percent blocked-threat rate. The September 2011 test got a much better score, having blocked 98.7 percent of attacks and threats thrown at it. That's fourth-best for the month, an impressive turnaround that bodes well for McAfee 2012, but it's not enough to correct for prior failures.

A third testing lab, Dennis Technology Labs, had the worst news of the lot for McAfee. From its January 2011 test, in its Overall Protection test of high-end suites, Dennis Labs placed McAfee dead last out of 11, with an overall protection score of 54 percent. Dennis placed McAfee last in its Accuracy test, too.

It's fair to conclude that despite one glimmer of brightness for the future, McAfee has had a horrifically bad year when it comes to independent testing. While it is true that these tests are more of a snapshot in time than the final word on anything, they do provide us with a reasonable picture of the security field at a given moment. It's just not McAfee's moment.

Conclusion
McAfee has made good products in the past, and it may well do so again. However, the combined performance marks are a horror show, and there are too many inconsistencies throughout the rest of the suite to overlook benchmarks in favor of reputation.

Give McAfee Total Protection 2012 a miss.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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Results 1–10 of 13

5 stars

"i always use mcafee because its best software"

September 17, 2012  |  By archi1989

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

exlent protection and features, beter then other products like eset nod32 , kaspersky, symantec a

Cons

slow down you pc if you dont have 512 mb ram minimum

Summary

buy and download it its best

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1 stars

"terrible support"

May 15, 2012  |  By unimpressedwithmcafee

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

comes with computer

Cons

slowed down my computer to like molasses in January. ZERO customer support - they rip you off

Summary

Once I installed it, it took ten minutes to boot my computer. I turned it off and used other product. Now I have better performance.

They billed my card, and sent me the email from do-not-reply address that looks normal. nowhere on the email does it indicate that it's a do not reply email and that no-one monitors it. When I tried to get a refund, i got the runaround from the customer service guy. when I asked to speak to his supervisor, they just cut me off.

Lousy product. Lousy service.

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2 stars

"As bad as the scammer hackers."

November 14, 2011  |  By ObediahT

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

A year of sedrvice with no real issues.

Cons

until I needed them. They say that they protect against 99.9% of virus, but if one slips by...you are paying BIG for it.

Summary

I got hacked with a program that shuts down all of my programs including internet (Privacy Protection is the name of the evil company) then they have a program installed w/o my permission and all I need do is activate (for $59) and they will get rid of the virus (that they put on) I called McAfee to fix it. They said they would give me live one on one assistance for $89.99. Sure it was my choice, but not much other choice there. I paid, then I found out this extra one on one service was only available for 5 days!!! $89 for five days!!! Basically I paid McAfee $90 for an hours worth of phone assistance, to fix a problem they should have stopped in the first place.

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5 stars

"McAfee Is F*** Awesome"

November 10, 2011  |  By 3OregonDucks7

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

everything

Cons

there are none

Summary

It is the best program out their i have tried perty much everything there is as fare as security software goes and McAfee is the best there is and I have tested it a lot and it has kept me protectet like nothing else nothing has gotten by it in the time that i have had it like i said before i have tried other stuff but i always come back to McAfee because it is just the best there is. AND THERE IS ONLY 2 THINGS YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, NOTHING, AND LIKE IT!!!

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1 stars

"Why pay twice the retail price a month in advance?"

November 08, 2011  |  By background sleuth

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

They have none!

Cons

It has gotten stale. I used McAfee and have switched to Iolo System Mechanic Pro. It's half the price and does far more.

Summary

McAfee sells their product for $39.95 to new users, but charges $89.95 for renewals. They have the nerve to bill you at least a month in advance after sending 50-60 reminder e-mails throughout the year. McAfee is too expensive, outdated, and misses many of the advantages of competitors.

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1 stars

"Not a review as such - see below."

November 08, 2011  |  By rj_at_boronia

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

Not a review as such - see below.

Cons

Not a review as such - see below.

Summary

This is just a comment on the CNET rating "3.5 out of 5 stars" and "Very Good". How can you say this when every word of your own review says it is NOT WORTH INSTALLING etc. etc. Also if you read your other readers' reviews you will see that NO-ONE is happy with it!!!!!
A suite like this has only one purpose in life - to detect viruses/trojans etc. and fix them. Apparently it fails badly in this so a nice interface etc. is 100% irrelevant. I agree with other readers - the FREE uSoft suite MSE (Security Essentials) does the job well so why would anyone pay for anything else? uSoft should know how to defend their own Windows software! Dick Jenkin.

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1 stars

"If (a$$ kissing) CNET gives it a poor review..."

November 08, 2011  |  By F3ck

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

Nothing...not one single thing.

Cons

Everything...simply everything.

They ship this trial-poison in almost every new PC and the very first thing anyone does is exorcize the McAfee demons before this bloated, horrible software gets comfortable.

Summary

"too many inconsistencies throughout the rest of the suite to overlook benchmarks in favor of reputation."

Reputation? Maybe 10 years ago...but nobody uses this garbage now. Only reputation it has is horrible.

Never forget 4/21/2010

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2 stars

"unreliable ineffective"

November 08, 2011  |  By Guwaporon

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

effective during the first two years of using it

Cons

makes my internet browsing super slooowwww.....

Summary

i've had this av software since i purchased my computer. the first two years of using it gave me a fairly well experience but when i renewed my subscription this year, i notice that whenever i browse the internet, it became very slow. i called my internet provider and have a look on my problem and they noticed that when they turn off the mcafee firewall, the internet browsing goes back to a normal speed with no hassle. i forward this to mcafee customer support and in fairness they responded quickly and gave me the instruction on how to fix it. i follow the instructions and still nothing happens. i couldn't browse the internet. and then i read one of the comments here that they installed the microsoft essential. i gave it a try and i'm impressed with the result. my internet browsing is back to normal. the most amazing part with the microsoft essential is that, it's free. i regret renewing my subscription to mcafee software. it's like, i just threw my money in the bin. how i wish i can have a refund.

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1 stars

"Not that good, but wait until you try to take it off!!!"

November 08, 2011  |  By MARKTIRAS

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

None that I know of.

Cons

I was not happy with the 2011 program that was furnished with the cable provider. Not very good. Even providers rep.said so.

Summary

Wait until you try to get rid of it. It leaves residue all over the place. I googled "Get rid of McAfee residue" or something like that & a program from McAfee guys has letterS that will tell you how to clean it.
It may be somewhere lower than his first remarks or letter.
Good Luck

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1 stars

"I don`t like it,it don`t work right."

November 04, 2011  |  By haroldmarcum

 |  Version: McAfee Total Protection 2012

Pros

None,I like Avast free Better.

Cons

It never finds any thing,I wish I had never got it.

Summary

Don`t waste your money on it.

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Results 1–10 of 13

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2012
Reengineered for the fastest PC performance ever, the software's innovative design simplifies your security experience. Comprehensive suite includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, identity and firewall protection, online file backup, home network defense and revitalized parental controls.
General
Publisher McAfee
Publisher web site http://home.mcafee.com/
Release Date October 31, 2011
Date Added October 31, 2011
Version 2012
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Antivirus Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 143.05MB
File Name External File
Popularity
Total Downloads 396,341
Downloads Last Week 285
Pricing
License Model Free to try
Limitations 30-day trial
Price $44.99

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