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Comodo AntiVirus 2011

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Information Below:  Review, Screenshots

Review of Free Comodo AntiVirus 2011:

Comodo Comodo Group Inc, is a security company founded in 1998 and now based in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. Comodo offers a number of free programs including AntiSpam, Firewall, Internet Security, and Comodo's Free Antivirus Software - which we'll investigate below.

1) Installation:  3/5

On our reference machine*, Comodo AntiVirus Free took a mere 57 seconds to install. However, the application also forced a machine reboot, an inconvenience that most anti-virus applications manage to avoid.

The installation process seems slower than this rapid installation time because Comodo uses a shell installer that downloads the latest version of Comodo Antivirus just prior to installation. This is a common tactic used by many antivirus manufacturers to ensure their users aren't installing an outdated platform.

During installation, Comodo attempts to install a 60-day free trial of its GeekBuddy program, which provides users with live assistance for their PC issues. Unless they're attentive, users may not realize they've given Comodo permission to install a second application. (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:  7.5/10

Comodo is one of the more aggressive antivirus applications we've reviewed to date. Besides scanning for viruses, Comodo Antivirus also monitors running applications for suspicious activity. While most antivirus applications do this, Comodo's Defense+ feature goes a step further by placing all "unknown" (read: unknown to Comodo) applications in a Sandbox. Such applications can only execute in a partially trusted environment until they are moved to the Trusted List, either by the users or by a review team at Comodo. We found that Comodo sandboxed a number of mainstream applications, such as the Twitter program TweetDeck. The bottom line is that users of Comodo may find they have to spend a slice of time training their antivirus program not to blacklist trusted applications.

Comodo 2011 Dashboard:

View Larger Comodo Screenshots

Outside of Defense+, Comodo offers a standard slate of features for a free antivirus platform, including real-time and on-demand file scanning. Applications that users may suspect of being malicious can be run explicitly in a partially trusted Sandbox, a feature not available on most antivirus platforms. The context menu for the Comodo icon in the System Tray supports enabling Game Mode, which suppresses virus scanning activity while the user is running processor-intensive games. Most antivirus vendors only support Game Mode in the paid versions of their platforms, so its addition in Comodo's free offering is a nice touch.

One downside of Comodo is that its configuration options are spread across at least three dialogs: Scanner Settings on the Antivirus tab, Computer Security Policy and Defense+ Settings on the Defense+ tab, and Preferences on the More tab. The Computer Security Policy dialog is arcane and confusing, and seems built more for the benefit of Comodo Technical Support than for the average end user.

Nag Factor: Comodo doesn't hassle users to upgrade to its Comodo Internet Security Pro, opting instead push its GeekBuddy program on users of its free antivirus program. This up-sell only occurs during installation, however; the program's nag factor is otherwise nonexistent.

3) Virus Scanner:  4/5

Comodo supports several types of scans, including a Full Scan, a Critical Areas Scan, and a Spyware Scan.

Comodo Virus Scanner:

View Larger Comodo Screenshots

Speed: On our reference machine (see above), Comodo scanned an impressive 56.9MB of data every second, and processed our 1GB test file matrix in a mere 18 seconds - making it the fastest virus scanner we reviewed this year. (See Scan Time Comparison Graph)

Updates: Comodo Antivirus is very strong when it comes to keeping itself current: it updates its virus definitions an average of 4 times every day. (See Updates Per Day Comparison Graph)

4) Performance Testing:  6.5/10

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 Comodo AntiVirus are below:

Memory Use: Comodo AntiVirus 2011 uses 47.1 MB of system memory. #10 rated of the 12 antivirus programs we tested.

Reboot Time: Comodo added 30.3 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #12 rated program we tested this year.

Installation Size: Comodo AntiVirus requires 340 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #10 rated program we tested.

Initial Scan Speed: Comodo scans files the first time at a speed of 56.9 MB/s. #1 rated program we tested.

Subsequent Scan Speed: Comodo performs subsequent scans at a speed of 62.1 MB/s. #3 rated program we tested.

Initial Application Launch: Free Comodo AntiVirus 2011 added 0.129s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #1 rated program we tested.

Subsequent Application Launch: Comodo added 0.232s on average for subsequent web browser launches. This was the #10 rated program we tested.

File Conversion Time: Comodo added 0.33s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #4 rated program we tested.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a comparative score tallied from the above 8 Antivirus tests. Comodo AntiVirus scored a total of 53 out of 96 points when compared to the other antivirus programs tested. This ranked Comodo as the #6 rated free antivirus program we tested this year - behind antivirus competitors: ClamWin, Avira, Avast, Rising, and Kingsoft.

View graphs of the above Free Antivirus Performance Tests.

5) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection)  7.5/15

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-Test is a major antivirus testing lab which is located in Germany. In their recent antivirus testing in 2011, Comodo received a 10.5 / 18 score on the Windows 7 platform. In the previous test run on Windows Vista in late 2010, Comodo only received a 9.5 / 18 score. Neither of these scores were good enough to receive AV-Test's Certification level (12 points needed on each test for Certification in the 2010 tests, and 11 points needed for 2011 tests). Despite these tests being run on Comodo's Internet Security software, they are useful when evaluating Comodo's more basic antivirus program since they test the software's Protection and Repair capabilities against Viruses and Malware.

Win 7: Win Vista:
b) ICSA Labs Desktop Anti-Virus Certified. ICSA is an independent organization that sets standards for security products and certifies anti-virus software.
c) Virus Bulletin's VB 100% Certified. Comodo passed the most recent VB100 test (April/2011), but failed the previous 2 tests in 2010 it was involved in. The VB 100% award is given to antivirus software that detects all viruses "in the wild."
d) West Coast Labs' Checkmark Anti-Virus Desktop Certification. WCL specializes in functionality testing, performance validation and Checkmark Certification of security products.

6) Help & Support:  3.5/5

On-Screen Help: Comodo features plenty of on-screen help text, as well as inline links to additional documentation on the Comodo Web site.

Local Help: No local Help file; all Comodo documentation is available online.

Online Help: Comodo's online help manual is extensive, but seems mismatched with the current version of the product. In the section on the Sandbox, for example, the documentation refers to the "My Own Safe Files" program list, whereas the application itself calls this the Trusted Files list. Comodo also supports an active user forum, but offers nothing else in the way of direct support. Users who need more hands-on help are urged to pay for Comodo's GeekBuddy program.

»Quick Support Links:

     • Comodo Help Home
     • Comodo User Forums


Comodo AntiVirus 2011 is a solid and extremely fast antivirus platform with lightning quick scanning, plus it possesses a few great free features (and a couple of features that seem more distracting than helpful). However, Comodo falls short where it matters most -'s results found Comodo to be a mediocre antivirus program when it comes to fighting viruses and malware. This alone makes us recommend users try another antivirus program - despite Comodo's Fair overall score.

Overall Rating: Fair    (Total Score: 32 / 50 = 3 Stars)

Misc Info:

    • Version Tested:
5.3.174622.1216 (2011)
    • Release Date:
    • Review Date:
    • Last Updated:
May 4, 2011
    • Previous Version:
Comodo AntiVirus 2010

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