Ashampoo's slogan is "We Make Software!"--and they mean it. The German software company is best known for its wealth of PC tune-up tools, which include a Windows optimizer, a registry cleaner, and an Internet accelerator. Now, Ashampoo also makes a security suite--sort of.
Ashampoo Anti-Virus 2014, which costs $40 for one year of protection on one PC, is the company's first foray into the antimalware market. I'm all for newcomers, and I can vouch for the fact that a big name doesn't necessarily mean better protection or more robust features, but Ashampoo's suite is not exactly what it appears to be. According to the company's website, Anti-Virus 2014 "combines two powerful scan engines to achieve the best protection." What this actually means is that Ashampoo didn't, in this instance, make its own software--instead, it licensed antivirus engines from fellow security providers Bitdefender and Emsisoft.
Protection-wise, this isn't an issue. We had our partner, AV-Test, run Ashampoo through its tests, and the security suite performed admirably. In the real-world protection test, Ashampoo completely blocked 100 percent of malware attacks. In the malware zoo detection test, the suite detected 99.83 percent of prevalent malware (discovered in the last four weeks), which is quite good--Ashampoo failed to detect one Win32 bot (out of 922) and it also missed a handful of Trojan Horses.
The suite manages to do this without putting too much strain on your system: In AV-Test's performance tests, Ashampoo scored 10 (out of a 5 25 scale, with 5 indicating minimal performance degradation). While it's not the lightest antivirus program on the market, you shouldn't see too much of an overall impact. The suite added a mere .11 seconds to startup time, and had virtually no impact on file download time. AV-Test's results did show an increase in website load time (around 13 seconds, on average), as well as application install time (15 seconds on average) and file copy time (118 seconds on average).
But a security suite is more than just its licensed antivirus engines. Ashampoo bills its suite as software you can "install and forget," because the suite supposedly works swiftly and silently in the background to keep your system protected, speedy, and up-to-date. I didn't find this to be the case, however.
Installing Ashampoo is relatively quick, with just a couple of screens to click through, but it does require a restart. The installer prompts you to remove incompatible software. However, it doesn't take you directly to the uninstall screen or scan your system for said software, so the onus is on you to ferret out any offenders.
Ashampoo's greatest asset is its interface, which is polished, attractive, and touch-friendly. The main screen features a large panel that displays your protection status and four large buttons for quickly analyzing your system, updating your signatures, and accessing quarantined files and additional tools. It doesn't have a quick-scan button from the main screen, but if you hit the "Analyze" button you'll see an array of scanning options (full system scan, quick scan, external drive scan, and custom scan).
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