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InoculateIT Personal Edition 5.1


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Rating: Excellent!


Holy virulent infections Batman! This InoculateIT PE is extremely good. While I've not tested it in an infected environment, which I have NAV5 in Win98, it is otherwise at least the equal of anything else out there, including NAV5.0 in Win98 and certainly superior to NAV2K in either OS. Additionally, InoculateIT PE spanks the pants off of McAfee with one hand tied behind its back!

Disappointed in the latest Symantec release of their anti-virus utility, Norton Anti Virus 2000 (NAV2K), I went searching for a better alternative. I didn't have to go very far. I simply surfed by PokPok's PC911 Security Page and linked over to InoculateIT's site to check out their latest freeware version of their anti-virus program. As the recent release, v5.1 is now specifically for Windows 2000 as well as Win9x and WinNT4 (with Service Pack 3), I decided to give it a try.

The installation was a snap. You may choose to custom install or go with the defaults. I chose "custom" but then went with almost all the default settings after all. A quick reboot and it was up and running. I immediately used its "Auto Download" feature (like Norton's "Live Update") to update the virus definitions. This first use of InoculateIT PE immediately underscored the different approach Computer Associates (makers of InoculateIT PE) have taken in constructing their product. When you download new definitions, "PE" asks if you want to install the new definitions or just keep them on your local hard drive for later use. I know of no other anti-virus program which allows you that latitude. Norton does provide the definitions for download; however, you either go to their site and download, or run Live Update - one or the other. I prefer to have the freedom to choose when I use the automatic feature -- it accomplishes either task with one job as you please. I like the "PE" approach.

It's been a while since I used the previous version of InoculateIT PE, but this version is noticeably more full featured, specifically in the options department. That it scans more quickly than NAVx and gives you much more information about what it's doing as it scans serves to reassure me that I have efficient and effective anti-virus protection. That it doesn't hide what it's doing, as other competing not-for-free utilities do, tells me that I'm not being treated like the lowest common denominator. If I want the information, it's there.

As a further comparison to Norton's products in the exact same environment, "PE" tells me that it has scanned the Master Boot Records, particularly sensitive to infection, of each of my drives and partitions. Norton has decided difficulty performing this most basic task, and when it is able to do so, it portions out a minimum of information about the job where "PE" gives full details.

If InoculateIT PE has a weakness, it is that it lacks a built-in scheduler as does Norton. You should be able to set up scheduled system scans using Win2K's more sophisticated Task Scheduler utility (InoculateIT PE is available from the programs listing when you launch the scheduler), but there is no question that it is easier to accomplish this task with Norton than with "PE." However, bear in mind that your system is constantly protected with "PE" just as it is with Norton, so long as you have auto-protection enabled. Anytime you open a file or program it is first scanned before it is opened. The protection is always there whether you run a scheduled scan or not.

It is remarkable that this sophisticated and extremely well made software is available to the general public for private use at no charge. Presumably Computer Associates is offering "PE" as a way to attract attention to its other for-sale professional products for use on servers and in an office environment. I'm sold; if I were the Systems Administrator for the company I would seriously consider their products. Of course regular computer users like you and I really benefit from this strategy. Chalk one up for Joe Sixpack!

Submitted by: PokPok

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