Test Environment

The following computer has been used to conduct the antivirus test / benchmark.

Model: Dell Studio One 1909 Desktop
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3GHz, 1333FSB, 6MB Cache)
RAM: 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2
HDD: 640GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 9400 256MB
O/S: Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit)

Baseline Creation

Testing was performed on the same machine used in previous testing. Windows 7 System Image Recovery was used to take a snapshot of the whole clean system partition (C:) and the image is saved to another partition (E:) that is on the same hard drive. A full system restore will be performed before testing of each different antivirus software. The baseline of the clean system has been carefully configured not to affect the performance of the antivirus.

1. Install and active Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit)
2. Disable UAC
3. Disable auto Windows Update
4. Disable Windows Defender
5. Disable Windows Firewall
6. Disable Aero by activating Windows Classic theme
7. Configured a fixed IP address, subnet, gateway and DNS
8. Disable Windows Search Indexing Service
9. Disable Internet Time synchronization
10. Set Solid color background
11. Disable Windows sounds
12. Disable screen saver
13. Disable monitoring of all Security and Maintenance components in Action Center
14. Disable System Protection
15. Select High Performance power plan, never turn off display and never put computer to sleep
16. Run Windows Update and install all updates
17. Restart
18. Run Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files
19. Create system image

How are the tests / benchmark conducted?

Benchmark 1: Application Launch
AppTimer was used to measure the time taken to launch Safari web browser. Some antivirus installs plugins or extensions to Internet Explorer or Firefox which will affect the launch time, hence we have chosen Safari browser. 15 launches per set and followed by a reboot. 5 sets were done in total and calculated the average numbers.

Benchmark 2: Boot Time
Instead of using third party software, the more reliable and accurate way to correctly measure Windows 7 boot time is by using Microsoft Windows Performance Toolkit. 5 reboots were done in total and calculated the average numbers.

Benchmark 3: Idle Memory Usage
Process Explorer was used to measure the idle memory usage of the antivirus process when Windows has finished starting up. Some antivirus has the ability to clean its process memory to an illogical number, so we record the memory usage of the antivirus process every 60 seconds for 10 times and calculate the average numbers.

Benchmark 4: Peak Memory Usage
Process Explorer was used to measure the peak memory usage of the antivirus process. Waited for 10 minutes and the readings were taken.

Benchmark 5: Setup Installer File Size
This is merely the file size of the antivirus setup installer file which is downloaded from the official website.

Benchmark 6: 1st Full Scan
The first full or complete scan time measured. Hard drive contains third party files (C: 14.5GB + D: 11.3GB)

Benchmark 7: 2nd Full Scan
Some antivirus has the technology to skip scanning files that has been scanned/analyzed and not modified. This greatly reduces the scanning time on a large hard drive with a lot of data.

Benchmark 8: Hard Drive Space Usage
Passmark OSCheck has been used to measure the cumulative file size after the antivirus has been installed and fully updated.

Benchmark 9: Install 3rd Party Software
ptime.exe has been used to measure a silent unattended installation of Microsoft .NET Framework 4. Windows is rebooted after every installation. Five installations were done and average numbers were calculated.

Benchmark 10: Uninstall 3rd Party Software
ptime.exe has been used to measure a silent unattended uninstallation of Microsoft .NET Framework 4. Two command lines were ran in order to fully remove .NET Framework and the two results were added to get a single result. Windows is rebooted after every uninstallation. 5 cycles to get an average benchmark.

Benchmark 11: Compress File
7z.exe is used to compress 5 different folders and measured with ptime.exe.

Benchmark 12: Extract File
7z.exe is used to extract 5 different compressed files (files different from benchmark 11) and measured with ptime.exe.

Benchmark 13: Registry Key Count
SysTracer was used to calculate the total registry key count after completing the antivirus installation and update. Only HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKEY_Current_User were included in the count.

Benchmark 14: Load Website
We used WATIR to instruct loading of 50 websites to Internet Explorer in sequence automatically and the time taken to load all 50 sites were measured with HttpWatch Professional v7.0.24. A free 3 months maintenance license was given for free by HttpWatch to help facilitate this test. Thanks! The 50 sites were hosted in another computer in the local area network running Apache becase testing on real websites via Internet can be inaccurate due to probable instability of internet connection and webhost.

Benchmark 15: File Download
wget.exe was used to automate downloading of all files from a folder hosted on another computer in the local area network running HFS (HTTP File Server). Then ptime.exe was used to measure the time taken to complete the download. 5 different folders were downloaded to get an average number.

Benchmark 16: Convert Audio File
ffmpeg.exe was used together with ptime.exe to measure the time required to convert 5 different MP3s to WAV format.

Benchmark 17: File Input Output
We compiled a C++ source code written by http://thepcspy.com/read/what_really_slows_windows_down/ which creates a text file, writes a line, close the file, reopen the file, and write an extra line; repeating for 10,000 times. The application will automatically generate a result file with time taken to complete the process.

Benchmark 18: Game Score
Heaven Benchmark 2.1 was used to benchmark the 3D graphics performance. It supports the latest DirectX 11 and 5 tests were done to get an average number.
*** Incomplete because I have only started to include this benchmark at a much later time ***

Antivirus Versions Tested

The antiviruses tested are based on its default installation and configuration unless noted. The list below will continue to grow as I will test more antivirus/security software when I have the time. If you have any antivirus or security products that offers "real time" protection and wants me to benchmark/test it, please contact me.

  • Ad-Aware Pro v8.3.0
  • avast! Free Antivirus 5.0.545
  • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0.829
  • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1120
  • Avira AntiVir Personal v10.0.0.567
  • BitDefender Antivirus 2010 v13.0.21.347
  • BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 v14.0.23.312
  • BullGuard Internet Security v9.0.0.16
  • CA Anti-Virus Plus Anti-Spyware 2010 v6.0.0.285
  • Comodo Antivirus 4.1.150349.920
  • Coranti 2010 v1.000.00044
  • Dr.Web anti-virus for Windows
  • Emsisoft Anti-Malware
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus v4.2.42.0
  • F-Secure Anti-Virus 2010 v10.00.246
  • G Data AntiVirus 2011 v21.0.2.1
  • IKARUS virus.utilities 1.0.214
  • Immunet Protect Plus
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 v11.0.0.232
  • Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 v11.0.0.232 (a)
  • Kaspersky PURE v9.0.0.192
  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware v1.46
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus v10.5.178
  • McAfee Internet Security v10.5.178
  • Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0.1961
  • Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0.375
  • Norman Antivirus & Antispyware v8.0
  • Norton 360 v4.2.0.12
  • Norton Antivirus 2010 v17.7.0.12
  • Norton Antivirus 2011 v18.1.0.37
  • Outpost Antivirus Pro 7.0.1 (3376.514.1234)
  • Panda Antivirus Pro 2010 v9.01.00
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro
  • Preventon Antivirus Free v4.2.37
  • Prevx
  • Quick Heal AntiVirus 2010 v11.00 (
  • Rising Antivirus 2010 v22.00.04.22
  • Sophos Endpoint Security and Control v9.5 (Anti-Virus)
  • Trend Micro Internet Security v17.50.1647
  • Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus+ v3.0.1303
  • VIPRE Antivirus v4.0.3295
  • Webroot Antivirus with Spy Sweeper 2010 v7.0.4.102
  • ZoneAlarm Anti-virus v9.1.603.000