I think this category (antivirus programs) will be a very difficult one to review, partly because it's difficult (and risky) to have more than one program installed on a machine at a time. And the installing/uninstalling of the programs is not always the simplest process. So whoever is (will) review these will need some help from those of us using the different programs, like this thread is doing already.
I'll give my input on the ones I've tried. Years ago, I used to use Norton (before I was picky). But when the bloat bothered me, I looked for another one. So after Norton, I tried a few products like Kaspersky, F-Secure, F-Prot, Panda, Avast, McAfee...I think that's it.
Norton sucks, as most of us know. They have a Corporate edition that my old company used to use, which actually wasn't bad. But it's not for consumers like us.
Kaspersky is good, it's what I use now. It can be a little resource heavy compared to others, but not enough to annoy me yet. Before I knew about it, what intrigued me about it was that it was universally agreed that it had the best detection method. The current version cleaned up the interface and made it more user-friendly (and a little lighter on resources if I'm not mistaken). The interface is still a little complex for the uninitiated user, but I have no problem with it. I mean, you can't have tons of features and still keep the interface super-simple. Another thing I like about Kaspersky is the feedback you get of what it's doing. There's a live log window and statistics for every little thing, and I love that.
F-Secure was my alternative to Kaspersky in case it ever got too resource hungry. Scot Finnie picked F-Secure as his AV of choice, discussed in this DC thread:http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=4652.0
F-secure is nice. It's more user friendly than Kaspersky, and for all practical purposes, just as effective in detections. The reason I like Kaspersky better is because F-Secure doesn't offer as much feedback and statistics. It kind of just does the job (well, I might add) but only notifies you if bad things happen. In Kaspersky, you can see a log of every file it scans, the result of the scan, and other information. I like that, because I'm very nosy. F-Secure also installs something like 12 processes, which freaks some people out, but I never noticed it affecting my machine's performance.
F-Prot is a program I tried once because it sounded like F-Secure. It turned out to be decent. The interface was a little weird because each thing was it's own window; it was kind of modular. I think NOD32 is modular also, but I've never tried it. F-Prot seemed like a nice, simple, effective program. Not much feedback, not too many options, but it did the job. I think I recommended it to my sister who doesn't spend too much time with the computer, I don't know if it's still being used. Anyway, it was too simple for me, and if I remember correctly, it had annoying notifications when something was detected that couldn't be customized.
Panda...I tried this out just a little bit. It was too bubbly for me. Looked like an AV program for kindergarten kids. But it's pretty good from what I understand.
Avast...I tried Avast out for a short time. I was looking for a good free program at the time. It was decent. It had good customizability, and it functioned well. Nothing too special as far as I was concerned. You can skin it. Why anyone would want to skin an antivirus program is beyond me, but you can. It's like skinning a defrag program...what's the point?
McAfee...CRAP! I hate McAfee. My mom bought a laptop recently that came with it and it was pure crap. It has a crazy interface that's bubbly and looks simple, but it's pretty non-functional. And you have to register online (with a password and login) to use to program. I think it was for downloading updates and new definitions? Anyway, it was junk. There was no way to turn it off, and there was always some notification for something popping up. And uninstalling was very very difficult. I hate that program and won't ever give it the time of day ever again. I was going off about it to my supervisor a week ago when I found out he used it at home. Apparently, he didn't have to register for anything, so maybe I just had a bad experience. But I remember clearly how much I disliked that program. And this was fairly recently, like a couple of months ago (McAfee Internet Security 2006 or something). Oh man! I just remembered that my computer here at work uses McAfee Viruscan Enterprise. But that one's not so bad. I still hate them.
So those are my mini-reviews. I don't agree with Scot Finnie's assesment of Kaspersky, I've never had those problems with it, but maybe he uses his computer in more complex ways than I do. (Here's a link to our DC discussion of that:)http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=4652.0
By the way, I don't concern myself about the details of the detection engines of the different programs. Honestly, I feel that any of the major AV programs will provide good enough protection for me. For me, it's more of an issue of UI, customizability, resource use, feedback, etc. I never get caught up in the debates of how certain tests are performed and analyzed, etc. I know a lot of people here love NOD32, and I trust their opinion. I've never tried it, but if I ever had problems, it would be first on my list to go to. From what I've experienced and heard, my recommendations for AV programs (for powerusers) are:
Kaspersky, F-Secure, NOD32