ESET NOD32 Antivirus: Incredibly efficient, amazingly simple

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An antivirus program is definitely a must these days on anyone’s computer and fortunately there are plenty of them to choose from. Nevertheless, the obvious truth is that most people are not power users, meaning that even if they use the computer in many purposes, their job does not require in-depth knowledge of it or they don’t have time, motivation or patience to learn such things. As a consequence they might end up getting lost in a jungle of features and settings of a highly capable and complex antivirus application from which they can’t actually benefit.

And this is where ESET NOD32 Antivirus comes to the rescue: easy on system resources, designed for simplicity and user-friendliness yet containing all the technologies needed to provide efficient protection against threats for home users, all of these traits describe it best.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus Standard Display Mode

Installation & Requirements

Living up to its promises, NOD32’s installer can automatically perform all the required settings and get the program up and running in no time, or you can choose the custom install mode and tweak it yourself. Even if most custom installations are somewhat more suitable to advanced users, NOD32 manages to impress us again with relevant explanations that accompany each setting, allowing almost anyone to understand what they opt for.

The custom install process comprises settings for your Internet connection, automatic updates, password protection, ThreatSense.Net Early Warning System (which can submit new threats to ESET lab and contribute to your computer’s protection) and enabling/disabling the detection of potentially unwanted programs. Of course all of these settings can be modified later on, right from the program’s interface.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is as accessible for computers as it is for its users, boasting with a lightweight implementation and low system requirements:  the program works on Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7 and demands only 60 MB of RAM, 37 MB of disk space for downloading the installer and 230 MB of disk space for the installed program.

Interface

Similar to the install process, the appearance of ESET NOD32 Antivirus has two ways of displaying information, accessible on the lower left of the interface. The Standard Mode contains a sidebar on the left with the program’s main aspects:  Protection Status, Computer Scan, Update, Setup and Help & Support. When accessing each feature, the program displays related information, options and settings in the main content area.

The Advanced Mode preserves all the above mentioned features and then reveals some more: the Protection Status gains two more options, the first displaying a graphic showing the file system activity in real-time and the second providing a pie-chart that shows percentages of infected, cleaned and clean objects for each protection module. The Tools is an entirely new category that appears on the sidebar when switching from Standard to Advanced Mode. From there you can view Log files for detected threats, events and on-demand computer scan, a list with quarantined objects, the Scheduler, and SysInspector, a diagnostic tool capable of showing a wide array of system information.

Another addition within the Advanced Mode is the small top menu from where you can access the User Interface display settings, Setup (now containing an option for accessing the Advanced Setup), Tools and a comprehensive Help section, all of these features being also available on the sidebar.

In terms of looks the appearance of ESET NOD32 Antivirus was designed mostly to be readable and understandable even by visually impaired users, as the sidebar menu categories are equipped with large representative icons to make all the functions pop.

As a whole, we consider NOD32’s GUI a total success because it’s functional and eye-pleasing while allowing full control over the program with ease and no prior knowledge required.

Pros

– Small and lightweight program with low resource usage.

– High-speed computer scans with minimal impact on system performance.

– Very efficient proactive protection (against previously unseen malware).

– The Background Scanning Mode runs computer scans in the background without slowing down your system.

– In Advanced Mode the Help option from the upper-right-hand corner, displays the exact category you are currently browsing.

– The program can easily be configured to automate most of the tasks, making it suitable for inexperienced users.

Cons

– Average malware detection ratings.

– Poor threat removal capabilities.

– The trial version has the update feature disabled.

Alternatives

ESET NOD32 Antivirus shines when it comes to simplicity, sadly as a basic security software product its capabilities are struggling to comply with modern standards. For people that weren’t impressed by NOD32’s ease-of-use the market offers a whole range of similar antiviruses, many of them with better performances concerning threat detection and removal.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a comprehensive antivirus application, renowned for its seamless compatibility with Windows-based systems and lightweight architecture.

Avira Antivir Personal is another trustworthy security app that is currently one of the most popular free antivirus programs and for good reason: it offers real-time protection, impressive threat detection and it’s available for both Windows and Linux operating systems.

AVG Antivirus is a paid program with a good reputation concerning the protection against threats it offers and a bunch of features that are not so easy to find within an antivirus application such as the Internet LinkScanner and social networking protection.

Conclusion

Every application has a flaw or two here and there but keep in mind that ESET NOD32 Antivirus was designed for a specific purpose: to come in aid of individuals with no or little technical skills that would rather benefit 100% from an essential and easy to use antivirus program instead of getting stuck with a more complex product they can only partially understand and control.