CNET Editors' review
Panda Cloud Cleaner would make an adorable title for a children's book, but it's based on the Collective Intelligence of the cloud, so it's more like sci-fi. Actually, it's a free anti-malware utility with cloud-sourced updates and definitions, which means timely detection and prevention of threats. We're big on anti when it comes to viruses and other malware, so Cloud Cleaner's claim to detect malware that other tools miss caught our attention. You'll need an active Internet connection, and not just for updates: Panda Cloud Cleaner sends your scan data to the cloud for analysis. It's anonymous and helps contain malware before it can spread, but you should be aware in case that's a concern.
We clicked Accept and Scan to finish installing Panda Cloud Cleaner. Unlike other similar programs that start a scan as soon as you open it, Panda's scan starts only when you tell it to. Cloud Cleaner's Advanced Tools let us Kill All Processes (drastic!) and Unlock Files (as well as send files to Panda) but there's no exclusion list or similar options: Everything is in the hands of online experts, supposedly. Cloud Cleaner took about as long to scan our PC as our regular anti-malware tools, and the process is similar up to the point that Cloud Cleaner transmits your scan data to the cloud for checking against the latest definitions. The process didn't take long, but a slow or unreliable Internet connection could be an issue. We could review the program's findings and select items before cleaning. We selected everything but our gaming mouse's profiles for cleaning. We weren't displeased that Cloud Cleaner requires a system reboot to finish the job, but we declined Panda's request to call a toll-free number to "complete the removal process." We don't mind the cloud-based analysis (much) but a phone call is a bit too intrusive for our tastes.
Before we rebooted, we ran some similar tools, which returned similar results; not identical. If Panda Cloud Cleaner's intimate Web integration and "call me!" hook don't bother you, it can serve as part of a comprehensive anti-malware front.
From Panda Security:
Panda Cloud Cleaner is an advanced disinfector based on Collective Intelligence that detects malware that traditional security solutions cannot detect. Panda Cloud Cleaner can help you detect threats to your PC that other programs might end up missing.
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"Found an old shortcut, so I did a Panda Cloud Cleaning"
Version: Panda Cloud Cleaner 1.0.71
I guess I used Panda Cloud Cleaner once before. So I started it again and the first thing it does is update itself.
Then I gave it the go ahead to scan the whole computer, and it got to 75% in about 10 minutes.
It looks like the last 25% is going to take close to an hour. That's very non-linear of the progress bar.
Now that the professional CNET reviewer mentions it, I remember that it's true that the last step is to Phone Panda to "complete the cleaning process." There is no explanation about how much cleaning is accomplished without the phone call, or what amount of cleaning is neglected if you don't call. I mean, it's good-natured of them to make such facilities available to the world, but some better explanation is due.
OK, it finished. It shows 3 sets of concerns: Malware & PUPs; Unknown Files and Suspicious Policies; and System Cleaning. Each has an arrow that would appear to lead to the more specific items, but each arrow leads to the same list, and the list is cryptic, and it's hard to know which was a PUP, etc. It lists my MoreJong game as malware (trj/Generic.pcc), but there's nothing on Google to suggest anyone else has a problem with it.
Continuing with the Cons:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer Description, the Advanced subkey stores the settings of options on the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, but Panda considers these subkeys to be "suspicious." I wonder if Windows would stop working if I let the Cloud Cleaner remover them.
It wants to remove five .exe files in my programs folder; programs that I use every day, including Core Temp, HDTune, etc.
And finally, it wants to erase the Temporary Internet Files. I can do that myself.
Wow, surprisingly poor. This time, I'll be deleting Panda Cloud Cleaner instead of leaving it on my computer. The only question is how can I remember to never download it again for the rest of my life.
I assume their regular anti-virus software is OK...
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