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McAfee Antispyware 2.0

�McAfee antispyware 2.0 - Send to a friend �Printer friendly version
mcafeebox.gif Product: McAfee AntiSpyware 2.0
Price: $29.99
Company Info: McAfee
Editor Rating: 1 1/2 star
McAfee Spyware Test Rating
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+ Attractive user interface

- Poor protection against spyware
- Advertised as $19.99 (doesn't mention $10 mail-in rebate)
- Annoying registration process

McAfee Antispyware 2.0 Product Review

McAfee Antispyware provides poor protection against spyware. The product sports an attractive user interface, but has a number of annoying usability quirks. McAfee has finally lowered the price to $29.99, but deceptively advertises it at $19.99 (It isn't until you get to the checkout process that they tell you the price is after a $10 mail-in rebate). McAfee's marketing team takes every opportunity to upsell you on their other software, which results in a product that borders on "adware" itself.

Like other products, McAfee's product will immunize your computer against common invaders, such as browser hijackers, unwanted search bars, and pop-up advertising programs. We discovered no problems on either Windows XP or Windows 2000, unlike some of the other products which caused serious browser slowdowns on Windows XP.


McAfee's mercenary approach to selling their product became evident when we first placed our order. On the website, the product is advertised as costing $19.99. However, once you put the program in your shopping cart, they alert you to the fine print: this is after a $10 mail-in rebate. So while it is technically true that the software costs $19.99, you have to pay $29.99 up front. And the truth is, most people will never send the rebate form in.

And if this wasn't bad enough, McAfee adds an "extended download" product to your shopping cart without your consent. This comes with an additional $9.99 fee. The extended download service simply allows you to download the program for an entire year (rather than 30 days). Is this service really worth $10? We didn't think so and it struck as deceptive marketing.

On the plus side, somebody has (finally) reeled in McAfee's gestapo marketing tactics by removing the mandatory registration form from the install process.


Every time we run McAfee Antispyware, we are bombarded with a never-ending stream of pop-up alerts. If you don't know a lot about computers, prepared to be overwhelmed with information. Because we had a lot of spyware running on our test PC, we had to manually shut down dozens of popups warning us that "A potentially unwanted program has been detected". These popups don't automatically go away either - instead, they sit on the computer screen blocking your work until you click on them. After the first hundred or so, we were so frustrated we had to kill the program.

mcafee alert.gif
McAfee Antispyware popped up hundreds of annoying alerts like this one, constantly interrupting our work.

However, scanning was simple enough. Clicking a link on the main screen kicks it off, and we found that the product was reasonably fast, completing a scan in 16 minutes.

Spyware Removal

We ran McAfee Antispyware on two infected PCs running a combination of old and new spyware programs. It did not flag any legitimate applications as spyware.

In our spyware removal effectiveness test, McAfee Antispyware performed poorly. It detected about 42% of the spyware we tested for, but only disabled 12% of it. This was among the poorer performing products out there.

After we rebooted our PC, many spyware programs remained running, completely unaffected by the scan. While the popup ads were no longer appearing, the computer continued to run nearly as slowly as before.

McAfee AntiSpyware scan results screen

Incidentally, our results mirrored independent testing conducted by VeriTest. However, while Veritest found that Webroot cleaned 3x as much spyware as McAfee, we found Webroot to be 5x more effective.


McAfee Antispyware lets you rollback any changes it makes. This is helpful if you have wiped out spyware that is needed by an otherwise useful program (Real Player and Kazaa are typical examples of software embedded with spyware on your PC that won�t run without it).

Other Options

McAfee Antispyware lacks a scheduler, meaning that you will have to manually run your own scans. Not only do you have to remember to do this, but it also slows down your PC while it runs. We felt this was a major omission with the product.


McAfee is a major brand name in consumer software, and we had high hopes for this product, especially given PC Magazines' quote: "McAfee's spyware detection and removal functions placed it among the best antispyware tools we've tested". However, we found the program to be downright average, disabling only about half of the spyware we tested it against. Furthermore, McAfee's marketing team has tainted the product with fine-print rebates, unauthorized shopping cart additions, opt-out email lists, and aggressive upselling. Perhaps that's what it takes to be a name brand, but there are much better (and cheaper) products on the market.

Purchase Price: $39.99
Free Trial/Scan: No

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Last Updated on April 5, 2006 02:16 PM �|�TrackBack

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