Windows Defender

Overview

Key features:
-Bootable rescue disk available as separate download
-Built into Windows 8/8.1/10
-Available for Windows Vista/7 as Microsoft Security Essentials
-Will run on any Windows system
Microsoft’s own anti-malware tools come by default with Windows 10, giving you a modicum of protection even if you’re not able to immediately install dedicated anti-malware tools. Available for Windows Vista and 7 under the Microsoft Security Essentials name, and called Windows Defender when it accompanies Windows 8 through 10 in a slightly more up-to-date incarnation that includes extra protection against rootkits and boot sector viruses, Microsoft’s security software provides both scanning and real-time protection.

Defender was among the worst performing anti-virus products tested by AV-TEST this spring. While it did well against a reference set of recently collected malware, spotting 99.7% in March and 99.8% in April, it put in a consistently poor performance against real-world exposure tests to malware that was live online, with a detection rate of 88.9% in March and 88% in April.

It was also a little more prone to misidentifying legitimate software as malicious, although with five false positives out of a set of more than a million, it wasn’t a major problem. Defender proved to be fairly unobtrusive in terms of its effect on system performance, except when it came to installing applications for the first time, where it reduced performance by an average of 51%.

Windows Defender is by its nature a lightweight affair, which also makes it remarkably easy to use. Its main homescreen displays your protection and update status, details of when your last scan was carried out and lets you immediately run a quick, full or custom scan. Custom scans, as you’d expect, let you give any directory on a local or removable drive a quick once-over without having to scan your entire hard disk.

The Update tab lets you check and update Defender’s virus definitions database, and the History tab allows you to view the details of items on your PC that have been quarantined as malicious, manually allowed or detected in general. In an interesting privacy and security-orientated move, to view the details of these files, remove or restore them, you’ll need to click the View details button and log in as an administrator if your account doesn’t already have admin status.

Regardless of which tab you’re looking at, help and settings icons are always present at the top right of the Windows Defender client. Clicking on Help takes you straight to an online community forum in your browser of choice, while a dropdown arrow directs you to a page where you can manually upload a suspicious file for Microsoft’s malware team to analyse.

The Settings icon takes you straight to Windows’ main Update & Security settings. From here you can disable or re-enable features, including real-time and cloud-based protection and the automatic submission of potentially malicious files to Microsoft, and exclude specific folders, files, processes or file extensions from Defender’s scans.

While Windows Defender is better than having no anti-virus in place at all, we strongly advise against using it for long-term protection against malware due to its relatively poor performance in live malware exposure tests.

PANDA FREE ANTIVIRUS

Overview
Key features:

-Can create bootable rescue disk
-Silent detection mode
-Windows XP SP2/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
-Requires Intel Pentium 300MHz or faster, 265MB RAM, 240MB free disk space
Panda Free Antivirus 2016 promises a lightweight, partially cloud-based anti-malware solution. It’s the minimalist entry in Panda’s range, which includes three other paid-for anti-virus and protection suites offering a range of extra programs and features bundled alongside.

Panda put in a strong performance in AV-TEST’s spring results, with 99.9% detection rate in a scan of widespread recent malware samples. It performed well in real-world live exposure tests, too, with a 100% protection score in March and 98.8% in April – and it misidentified only a handful of legitimate programs as malicious.

However, its performance was poor on everything except file copying. AV-TEST found that Panda slowed program launch speeds, downloads, website loading and, in particular, installation far more than average across all anti-virus software.

Like some of its rivals, Panda Free by default wants to install some extra software and services from its sponsors. You’ll probably want to untick the option of setting Yahoo as your default search provider and Yahoo MyStart as your default browser homepage.

However, the case for the Panda Security Toolbar module is less clear-cut. It’s a browser plugin that can warn you of potentially malicious links, but it’s also adware that follows your browsing habits and suggests related promotions, which is likely to be a security concern for some and an irritant to others. It certainly doesn’t feel particularly comfortable in a piece of security software.

Panda’s Notification Area icon gives you a right-click menu where you can enable its silent Gaming and Multimedia mode, and pause the program’s monitoring capabilities. However, most of Panda’s features are to be found in its main client interface, a cheery-looking turquoise-and-white affair that follows the Windows Modern UI style.
The client’s Start page let you see how many files Panda has scanned and immediately gives your PC a full, critical area or custom scan. Panda Free anti-virus comes equipped with a Process Monitor, USB Protection tool and a Rescue Kit creator, and if you’ve signed up for a Panda account, you can view the status of other Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS devices associated with the same account.
Panda’s USB drive protector offers to scan any USB drive you insert by default. You can also use its Vaccinate tool to disable auto-run files on USB drives, or configure it to vaccinate any USB drive you insert. While auto-run files can be a threat, support for the feature is limited under Windows 10, so this is less useful these days. However, completely crippling a USB drive’s auto-run files could potentially affect the functionality of a tiny minority of legacy software tools that rely on such a file to work on older computers, so it’s worth keeping in mind.
The Process Monitor flags up potentially malicious processes, displays the number of HTTP connections they’re using and provides a blocking feature. However, it isn’t as easy to get a complete overview of your processes as you would via either Task Manager of Microsoft TechNet favourite Process Explorer.
Finally, the Rescue Kit screen lets you create a bootable USB disk that connects to Panda’s Cloud Scanner or immediately run it on your PC. Panda Cloud Scanner is a separate emergency-use program that Panda says “detects what traditional virus scanning can’t detect”. It’s certainly very sensitive, picking up a couple of harmless but unnecessary registry keys and cached internet files as potentially unwanted, although not malicious, content on our very clean test PC.
Panda has a few extra settings, which you can use to instruct it to scan compressed files by default, ask before neutralising a virus, add exceptions, disable some scanning features and change the default weekly deletion schedule for quarantined files.
While Panda did provide capable protection in AV-TEST’s research, it also has a rather heavy impact on system performance – and we’re not fans of its ad-laden browser plugin, so while it’s a decent performer, other products in this test are more attractive.

MrBoom

Mr.Boom is a Bomberman clone for the RetroArch platform and was converted from DOS assembly using asm2c.

It runs on all RetroArch platforms: Android, Linux, Mac Os X, Nintendo Gamecube (NGC), Nintendo Wii, Raspberry Pi, Sony Playstation 3 (PS3), Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), Windows, Xbox, Xbox360…

It can also be compiled as a stand-alone version using SDL2.