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ESET NOD32 Antivirus Review
Excellent independent lab results
Will scan in safe mode
Effective malware cleanup
Easy to navigate
Founded in 1992, ESET is a leading IT security company with its headquarters in Slovakia. It made its mark in the industry by launching its first antivirus product, NOD, designed specifically for MS-DOS computers.
ESET has since been working to upgrade its software with modern tools, and with NOD32 Antivirus the company has graduated to a full-suite antivirus solution in an attempt to keep up with its international competitors. Does the software make the grade? We looked closely at ESET NOD32 to find out.
NOD32 can be purchased direct through the ESET company website, with a backup DVD available for an extra 10 dollars, or free with the purchase of a three-five user license. The problem with purchasing multiple licenses is that the process for registering NOD32 on more than one computer is bit convoluted, requiring a randomly generated user ID and password supplied by the company upon registration.
NOD32 is light on system resources, but ease of installation ends there. While setup is not necessarily sluggish, it is slowed down by a number of screens that pop up, requiring user input. One is, of course, registration, while another asks the user if they want protection from Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).
NOD32 protects against known and unknown viruses, worms, adware, Trojans, rootkits and spyware. The antispyware included in the software helps protect your identity online and the Host-Based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) disables unauthorized alterations to programs. You can also protect your computer from viruses delivered through USB flash drives with the Removable Media Control feature.
Internet – The ESET antivirus system works against malware attack by blocking applications connecting to dangerous URLs and displaying a pop-up window to show what it did.
Email – The ESET software scans both inbound and outbound email for malware and viruses.
AV-Comparatives awarded ESET an "ADVANCED" rating in June 2023 for its "Real-World Protection Test," which it will undoubtedly be disappointed about.
ESET does not appear in the latest round of lab tests by AV-TEST.
Scans & updates
The in-depth scan of your hard drive takes around 13 minutes, a quick time for antivirus software. The scanning process is simple and you can launch it whenever you need to. Follow-up scans are much quicker. The scans happen in the background and are carried out in real-time so you are protected against malicious files.
When the system finishes its scan, it gives you a report on what it completed and what it found. The full report is complicated and there’s a lot of information there that you probably won’t need. If the software is unsure about a threat, it will display the details in a list and ask you if you want to quarantine or delete the threat.
Backup disk – The ESET backup disk will only work with the installation of Microsoft Automated Installation, an extra step that is not included on other antivirus programs.
Gamer mode – The gamer mode stops pop-ups, notifications and scanning from interrupting your game or presentation.
The SysInspector tool is useful but probably more useful for experienced users. You can take snapshots of your computer that track changes made to systems, giving you the chance to see what was added or removed. You can also use these snapshots to communicate with tech support should you need to give them more information.
The software also includes a tool teaching you about safety online and how to navigate without danger.
Ease of use
This may be a new version but we didn’t see many changes to the ESET NOD32 interface. It is reasonably simple to navigate because you only see the most relevant controls and settings on display. The Most Frequently Used Actions are prominently displayed while the more advanced settings are hidden under the advanced setup menu.
The software is perfectly good for beginners and you’ll have no problems navigating. You can set the system to work on its own without much intervention.
Help & support
ESET has a knowledgebase on its website that is reasonably easy to navigate, with plenty of questions answered. There are video tutorials and a forum.
Unfortunately, there is no telephone contact option and no chat function. If you want to report an issue you must fill in the web form and wait for someone to get back to you.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus is not perfect, by any means, but it scores well in independent tests. This offers simple antivirus protection, but there are better products out there.
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