Review of Kingsoft Free Antivirus:
Kingsoft Corporate Limited is a Chinese software company founded in 1989. Its software offerings include online games, internet applications, and office and security software. A name not widely known outside the Asian market, we'll examine how Kingsoft's antivirus software compares to its competition.
1) Installation: 4.5/5
On our reference computer*, Kingsoft AntiVirus Free installed in a blazing fast 37 seconds, with no reboots. The installation process was one of the simplest we've seen amongst free antivirus software: Kingsoft displays a single, compact dialog before it downloads and installs its latest version.
At the end of the installation process, KingSoft prompts you to install the Softonic Toolbar. If you fail to uncheck the pre-checked box, Kingsoft will install Softonic into your browsers, and re-write your search engine and home page preferences. This is a minor annoyance, and is a common feature found in other free anti-virus installers. (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: 8/10
The Kingsoft AntiVirus Dashboard is broken down into four well-organized sections: Scan, Protection, Tools, and Support.
View Larger Kingsoft Free Antivirus Screenshots
Under Protection, Kingsoft provides options for enabling or disabling a range of security options. By default, your machine is fully protected. Standard protection features include Auto-Protect, which scans for intrusions as new files are downloaded or modified, and Self Defense, which protects Kingsoft itself from corruption. Kingsoft AntiVirus also supports USB Device Protection, a freebie that's not often included in free antivirus platforms. Also, Cloud Security Defense uses virus reports from Kingsoft's user base to quarantine potentially unknown viruses before they do lasting damage to your machine.
The Tools menu offers a couple of useful free maintenance utilities, such as Disk Cleaner to reclaim disk space used by temporary files, and History Cleaner to clear browser and Windows Media Player caches of outdated files. System Repair attempts to reconfigure Internet Explorer and Windows to factory settings, in the event that a virus or trojan altered your system without your permission.
Clicking the Settings link in the upper right hand corner displays a dialog with a rich collection of program configuration options. Of particular note: Kingsoft supports by default a Do Not Disturb mode (also known as "Gaming Mode"), which prevents Kingsoft from initiating a virus scan when an application is running in full screen.
Nag Factor: Kingsoft AntiVirus Free is nag-free: it displays no upgrade pitches, and no advertisements from third parties (besides packaging Softonic's Toolbar as discussed above). The Support dialog contains a couple of links to some of Kingsoft's paid products.
3) Virus Scanner: 4/5
Kingsoft AntiVirus is a cloud-based virus platform. When connected online, Kingsoft scans files by submitting file signatures to its distributed servers, which contain the most up to date virus definitions. The application maintains a backup database of virus definitions on your computer, and uses it as a fallback when your machine is offline. For virus scanning options Kingsoft offers the usual array of options: Full Scan, Quick Scan (a scan of the most commonly infected folders on a Windows PC), and Custom Scan.
Kingsoft Virus Scanner:
View Larger Kingsoft Free Antivirus Screenshots
Speed: On our reference machine (see Section 1), Kingsoft AntiVirus processed an average of 40.3MB per second, and spun through our 1GB test file matrix in 25 seconds. This makes Kingsoft one of the fastest free virus scanners on the market. (See Scan Time Comparison Graph)
Updates: While Kingsoft works mainly against the cloud, it keeps its backup virus definition database fresh on a consistent basis, downloading an average of 12 updates per day. (See Updates Per Day Comparison Graph)
4) Performance Testing: 7.5/10
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 Kingsoft Free Antivirus are below:
Memory Use: Kingsoft Free Antivirus uses 32.6 MB of system memory. #8 rated of the 12 antivirus programs we tested.|
Reboot Time: Kingsoft Free Antivirus added 23.8 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #10 rated program we tested this year.
Installation Size: Kingsoft Free Antivirus requires 191 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #3 rated program we tested.
Initial Scan Speed: Kingsoft Free Antivirus scans files the first time at a speed of 40.3 MB/s. #2 rated program we tested.
Subsequent Scan Speed: Kingsoft Free Antivirus performs subsequent scans at a speed of 55.1 MB/s. #5 rated program we tested.
Initial Application Launch: Kingsoft Free Antivirus added 1.061s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #8 rated program we tested.
Subsequent Application Launch: Kingsoft Free Antivirus added 0.045s on average for subsequent web browser launches. This was the #3 rated program we tested.
File Conversion Time: Kingsoft Free Antivirus added 0.38s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #7 rated program we tested.
System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a comparative score tallied from the above 8 Antivirus tests. Kingsoft Free Antivirus scored a total of 58 out of 96 points when compared to the
other free antivirus programs tested. This put Kingsoft Free Antivirus as the #5 rated free antivirus program we tested this year - overall a good showing in these Performance tests.
View graphs of the above Free Antivirus Performance Tests.
5) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection) 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 Comparatives is an independent antivirus testing lab in Austria
providing some of the most trusted virus detection tests in the industry. They have 2 major virus/malware tests that they perform. Kingsoft has recently been dropped from testing by AV-Comparatives.org, but in the last test Kingsoft was included in (back in August 2010), the On Demand Detection Test, Kingsoft Free Antivirus was rated 0 out of 3 Stars (a "TESTED" rating). Kingsoft's poor rating in this test was due to only detecting 80.1% of threats, as well as having "very many" false positives - both of which are signals of a poor antivirus program. In the previous test last May 2010, the Proactive Test, Kingsoft also received a 0-Star rating. In this 2nd test Kingsoft detected only 11% of new malware threats - a far cry from the 60%-plus detection rates of top programs Panda Free Antivirus and G Data.
b) ICSA Labs has NOT Certified Kingsoft Antivirus software. ICSA is an independent organization that sets standards for security products and certifies anti-virus software.
c) Virus Bulletin's VB 100% Certified. Kingsoft Free Antivirus passed the most recent VB100 test (April/2011), but Kingsoft failed the previous 2 tests in August/December 2010. 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: 2.5/5
Kingsoft's English help, unfortunately, is marred by a lackluster translation from its original Chinese. While Kingsoft does a decent job in spite of this, its competitors provide superior help resources.
On-Screen Assistance: Despite its awkward English, Kingsoft provides decent on-screen help text, especially on the Protection page. The Scan page, however, could use a little more helpful text around the differences between Full Scan and Quick Scan; the current text is abstract, and forces users to consult the documentation to learn more.
Help Manual: The online help manual is available from the Help command in the upper right corner of the Dashboard. Again, despite the clumsy English, the manual is well designed, focusing on screenshots and features as opposed to deep technical explanations of the product's function. The Scan for Viruses topic provides a great overview of the different scan types.
Online Support Options: Kingsoft provides a user forum, but it's not very active and contains few recent posts. Some threads haven't been updated since 2009.
»Quick Support Links:
Kingsoft Support Portal
Kingsoft Help Manual
Kingsoft AntiVirus Free is a fast cloud-based antivirus platform with an easy to use interface, an impressive range of free features, and almost no in-program advertising. On the down side, there are few support options, and native English users may be frustrated by the rough Chinese-to-English translations. But perhaps most worrying is Kingsoft's poor test results by antivirus testing labs such as AV-Comparatives.org, which found Kingsoft's protection against malware to be suspect at best. This alone makes us suggest users instead try other free antivirus software despite Kingsoft being an otherwise promising program.
|Overall Rating: Fair || (Total Score: 31.5 / 50 = 3 Stars)|
| Version Tested:||2010.08.22.247|
| Release Date:|
| Review Date:|
| Last Updated:||May 9, 2011|
Top 5 Free Antivirus Reviews:|
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