BitDefender Total Security 2008 is a rock-solid security product in a long line of quality security products from Softwin. Total Security 2008 will serve most home users superbly, but there are some quirky user interface flaws that mar this otherwise excellent package.
BitDefender Total Security 2008 is essentially the same package as BitDefender Internet Security 2008, with three added features: data backup, a tune-up utility, and what BitDefender calls Trace Cleanup, which essentially is a file "shredder." I reviewed BitDefender Internet Security 2008 for BrightHub, and you can read the BitDefender Internet Security 2008 review. Since most of BitDefender's feature set is the same, this review will mainly cover the features unique to the Total Security package.
In general, BitDefender products are solid. They perform well, they are feature-rich, and do the job they are advertised to do. In this year's model, the user interface doesn't seem as refined as in previous versions (even though it looks great), but the scanners performed like champs, catching everything I threw at them.
The additional features of this product are a mixed bag. The tune-up utility offers very basic tools that can't hold a candle to the best-in-class competition. Trace Cleanup appears to work as advertised--the files you tell it to delete do actually get deleted. Beyond the obvious evidence of the missing file, though, there’s no utility within BitDefender itself that indicates that any trace of the file has been removed, so you have to take the tool’s word for it. The backup utility, however, is a better story and may be worth the extra cost to those users needing a robust backup solution.
Price to Value
The backup utility, tuneup utility, and file shredder add about $20 to the price of this package over the downgrade, BitDefender Internet Security 2008. Since Windows XP and Windows Vista come with backup utilities (Vista's is more robust than XP's), and the tune-up utility includes features like a disk defragmenter and a temporary-Internet-file cleaner--features also already present in Windows--I question whether the extra $20 is worth what you're paying for.
There is the added convenience of having all these tools in one place; if the tools are improvements over those found in the operating system, it might be worth the extra money. Each user will have to determine his or her own needs. In my opinion, users should stick with the lower-priced package from BitDefender and spend the $20 on a fuller-featured system utility suite like iolo's System Mechanic or use the tools already present in the operating system.
Installation & Setup
Installation was unproblematic and unintrusive enough, except for the annoying registration wizard at the end. The custom installer asked just enough setup questions to allow the BitDefender tools to get to work after the reboot, but not so many that I had to babysit setup for an inordinate amount of time. The installer also made sure other products weren't running on top of BitDefender (which can cause major slowdowns). [See image 1]
The installer wrote about 72 MB of data to the hard disk (not including the installation package it had to download from the Internet) and created almost 1,000 registry keys.
For my review of the security features of BitDefender Total Security 2008, please see my BitDefender Internet Security 2008 review.
In general, the security features are robust and do their jobs well. The features are highly customizable and easy to use. I found the firewall a bit too restrictive out of the gate and expected the firewall logic to automatically allow programs like the Google Toolbar and Internet Explorer to access the Internet. Instead, I had to explicitly give these common programs permission. [See image 2]
The scanners performed wonderfully. In this review, I will focus more on the added features such as the backup and tune-up utilities.
The tune-up utility consists of four main programs: a temporary Internet file cleaner, a duplicate file finder, a disk degfragmenter, and a registry cleaner. Each of the products performed as I would expect. They wouldn't be considered best in class, by any means. They performed their functions in the most basic way without a lot of ability to customize or enhance. [See image 6]
For example, the defragmenter scanner screen displayed a single marquee-style progress bar with a very poorly designed elapsed time indicator. There is no visible cluster chart and the UI gives no sense of how long the operation will take. It's not possible to determine how well the tool works either since there are no visible indicators of the level of fragmentation. [See image 3]
The registry cleaner worked essentially the same way. You're told whether or not you should clean your registry, the tool will scan the registry, and then you're presented with a list of items that need to be deleted. The best cleaners will check and double-check the entries and show progress all along the way. The suite does include a registry recovery tool, which is important. [See image 4]
The duplicate file finder worked well and was usable, but wouldn't scan system folders (I pointed the tool at the Program Files folder), which is where I tend to want to reduce bulk.
The backup utility is robust and appeared to me to be a true application in the sense that it could be sold independently. It has all the features one would expect in a backup utility and performed admirably. [See image 5]
Not only will the tool create a backup of your data, but it includes a CD/DVD burning utility that supports burning ISO images to disk. (Unfortunately, the UI suffered from some oddity that didn't allow me to take a screenshot of this utility.)
For users looking for a full-featured backup utility, BitDefender's offering is worth the extra $20.
- Beef up the tune-up tools in order to have a chance of competing with the top-class tools.
- Fix the sluggish and quirky user interface.
- Offer support for networked computers.
BitDefender Total Security 2008 is just as stable and solid a performer as I've come to expect from Softwin. Buy the product for its top-notch performance and excellent handling of viruses and spyware. The "extras" really aren't worth the additional (if modest) amount, but BitDefender has built its reputation on keeping computers secure. That still is its core strength and the one for which you should consider this product.
McAfee VirusScan Plus, CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008, Norton 360 , Microsoft OneCare