Review of ClamWin Free AntiVirus Version 0.97:
ClamWin Free Antivirus is an open-source initiative to port the ClamAV antivirus platform from Unix/Linux to Windows. The project has a long way to go before it can hope to compete with offerings from commercial companies: its current incarnation suffers from a substandard UI and a lack of basic features.
1) Installation: 2.5/5
On our reference system*, ClamWin installed in only 34 seconds. While that's excellent, we found the installation process unnecessarily verbose. Users are forced to click through seven or eight screens before the installation officially begins. (See Installation Time Comparison Graph)
*Reference Computer: Windows 7 Home Premium running on a Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200, with 3GB of RAM and a 210GB hard drive.
2) Features & Ease of Use: 3.5/10
Users looking for a free virus scanner with a bevy of features won't find it in ClamWin. The Dashboard has none of the basic information you find in other antivirus dashboards, such as current system health and time of last scan. Instead, ClamWin displays a list of all available system drives, along with four command buttons: Displays Preferences, Starts Internet Update, Scans Computer Memory for Viruses, and Scans Selected Files for Viruses. ClamWin provides activity reports on previous scans, but these are little more than text files.
View Larger ClamWin Screenshots
The Preferences window is extensive, given the program's paucity of features. Users can exclude certain files types, control Quarantine behavior, configure ClamWin to scan e-mail file attachments, and increase the frequency of virus definition updates (ClamWin's default is to download one update per day). Users can even configure ClamWin to send an e-mail whenever a virus has been discovered - a nice option for monitoring unattended systems.
Nag Factor: Since ClamWin is a free open source project, it doesn't display any advertising or upgrade pitches. This is a nice bonus with their basic software - as some free antivirus programs can become bombarded with upgrade pitches, such as PC Tools AntiVirus Free 2011. Although, ClamWin will try to package Ask.com's toolbar & make it your default search engine during the installation (you can easily uncheck these options).
3) Virus Scanner: 2/5
Unlike other antivirus platforms, ClamWin doesn't offer the usual scanning trifecta (Full/Quick/Custom). It supports a File Scan, which can scan everything from a single file to a full disk volume, and a Memory Scan, which examines all files currently loaded into system memory. Also, unlike all other antivirus programs we've reviewed, ClamWin does not have a real-time scanner - i.e., it does not examine files for new infections when they are created or modified.
ClamWin Virus Scanner:
View Larger ClamWin Screenshots
Speed: On our reference system (see above), ClamWin proved an absolute dog in terms of scanning speeds: it only managed to digest 5.1MB of data per second, and required 3 minutes and 21 seconds to chew through our 1GB test file matrix. (See Scan Time Comparison Graph)
Updates: If users manually change the virus definition update period to hourly in their Preferences window, ClamWin will download an average of 5 virus definition updates daily. (See Updates Per Day Comparison Graph)
4) Performance Testing: 8.5/10
A good antivirus program should not only prevent viruses and malware from infecting your computer but also not impact the Performance of your computer too much. We run each free antivirus program through a series of Performance Tests to see the impact it has on a standard computer. The results of our testing for ClamWin Free AntiVirus are below:
Memory Use: ClamWin Free AntiVirus Version 0.97 uses 14.7 MB of system memory. #5 rated of the 12 antivirus programs we tested.|
Reboot Time: ClamWin added 4.3 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #1 rated program we tested this year.
Installation Size: ClamWin Free AntiVirus requires 63 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #1 rated program we tested.
Initial Scan Speed: ClamWin scans files the first time at a speed of 5.1 MB/s. #12 rated program we tested.
Subsequent Scan Speed: ClamWin performs subsequent scans at a speed of 6.1 MB/s. #12 rated program we tested.
Initial Application Launch: ClamWin Free AntiVirus Version 0.97 added 0.515s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #6 rated program we tested.
Subsequent Application Launch: ClamWin added 0.020s on average for subsequent web browser launches. This was the #1 rated program we tested.
File Conversion Time: ClamWin added 0.18s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #1 rated program we tested.
System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a comparative score tallied from the above 8 Antivirus tests. ClamWin Free AntiVirus scored a total of 65 out of 96 points when compared to the
other antivirus programs tested. This ranked ClamWin as the #1 rated program we reviewed this year - though a #1 rating would normally be impressive, there's little surprise ClamWin's overly simplistic program would have the least impact on your computer, because frankly there isn't much to it.
View graphs of the above Free Antivirus Performance Tests.
5) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection) 3/15
The most important function of an antivirus program is to keep your computer free from Viruses and other Malware. Below we'll take a look at some of the industry's top Virus/Malware Detection testing and certification.|
a) AV Comparatives is an independent antivirus testing lab in Austria providing some of the most trusted virus detection tests in the industry. They haven't included ClamWin Antivirus in their recent testing, but back in February 2007 (which is a long time in the security world), ClamWin was included in AV-Comparatives group test of programs not included in its regular testing due to not being able to "fulfill some requirements (e.g. detecting at least 85% of the normal full test-set)." Even in this test ClamWin performed extremely poorly - detecting only 67% of Viruses and 48% of Trojans. This placed ClamWin 6th overall of the 8 programs in the test - a poor showing in this "Second Group Test" of programs not able to make the cut to be included in AV-Comparatives main testing. [read full report]
b) Other Certifications: ClamWin has not been Certified or even tested by most of the other major antivirus testing labs, including AV-Test.org, ICSA Labs, Virus Bulletin, and West Coast Labs. Overall, no encouraging news for ClamWin's Effectiveness against malware - and in the security marketplace, no news is bad news.|
6) Help & Support: 2/5
On-Screen Assistance: ClamWin's in-application help consists of a couple of tooltips. Beyond that, the text does little to help users understand the program.
Help Manual: ClamWin ships with a local help manual that is written mainly for advanced computer users. The manual is short on tutorial content, and long on troubleshooting tips and advanced features (such as executing ClamWin from a command line prompt).
Online Help and Support: Online technical support is available through a set of user forums. The Web site also contains a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list. Since ClamWin is an open source project, there is no other official avenue for product support.
»Quick Support Links:
ClamWin User Forums
ClamWin is proof that an open-source initiative is unable to compete in the constantly evolving security marketplace. With 100s of new viruses being spawned each day, it takes a dedicated commitment (ie. $$$) to stay up-to-date with the constantly evolving threats. Besides ClamWin's failure in virus and malware protection, ClamWin's interface is badly outdated, its features non-existent, and support offerings limited. While an interesting open-source concept, ClamWin fails to deliver. Users would be better served reading our other free antivirus reviews for an alternative.
|Overall Rating: Below Average || (Total Score: 21.5 / 50 = 2 Stars)|
| Version Tested:||0.97|
| Release Date:|
| Review Date:|
| Last Updated:||May 10, 2011|
| Previous Version:||Version 0.96|
Top 5 Free Antivirus Reviews:|
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ClamWin Free AntiVirus 0.97 Screenshots