Estimated Price: $69.00
Right about now you’re all saying, “A virus detection program for my Mac, what for?” Because even though there are thousands of viruses for the PC types and 50 or so for us Mac users, it’s better to be safe then sorry. Yes, I still use Disinfectant, but I needed something that gave me a better margin of safety when it came to downloading items off the Internet, bulletin boards or receiving items through e-mail.
Datawatch’s Virex 5.7 is a definite improvement over the Virex 5.5.3P2 which came with my Macintosh Performa. Easy to install, Virex 5.7 first prompts you to scan your hard disk. After you’ve done this, the dialog box offers you several options on how to proceed, including removing previous versions of Virex. You then choose on installing the Virex Control Panel, the Virex Control Strip module (for those of you using Control Strip on your Mac or PowerBook) and the Virex DropScan. (more on DropScan later) You continue, choosing where to install the Virex application, picking the “accelerated for Power Mac” version and deciding if you want to keep your previous preferences from your earlier version of Virex as they are. Click “INSTALL,” then quit when you’re done and you’re all finished with the install. Virex is also capable of being installed over a network system, with a site license, of course.
As before, Virex lets you choose what you want checked and how you want it checked by the program. Pick by volume, folder, file or floppy, and Virex will scan it for you. When it finds Trojan horses, they are deleted. When it discovers an infected file, its repair features can restore almost any file infected back to its original condition, but it recommends, and I believe most people would agree, that you should replace the item with a fresh copy from the backup disk/original application disk you have. Virex does have the capability that you can copy the infected file to where you want it, in case it can’t be repaired, (and you don’t have a backup copy) you can still use a disk editing program to attempt to retrieve your date before getting rid of it.
What I found to take the longest time was creating the baseline “Snapshot” that Virex uses to compare for changes that can harm your data. But, several minutes at the very beginning of the setup and use of Virex when you install it is well worth it if Virex detects an “unknown entity” rummaging through your data and successfully warns you of the problem and lets you take care of it.
The item I liked best about Virex 5.7 was Virex DropScan. Drag-and-Drop friendly, Virex 5.7 installs, when you direct it to, the DropScan icon onto your desktop where, when you drag the icon of a document, file or folder onto it, immediately sets off the Virex Control Panel to scan the item. No muss, no fuss. About to send a file or a folder to a friend or upload something to your Bulletin Board Service, no problem. Just drag it onto the DropScan icon, and your item is checked. I know it’s been saving me the time of having to open the virus program up, be it Disinfectant or Virex, and letting me get on with my work. The other important item about version 5.7 was its ability to scan items as they are downloaded or copied onto your computer, and you are well ahead of the game. Throw in the fact that Virex can now scan compressed files and we have a definite winner here.
Speed wise, I’ve noticed a difference between the earlier Virex and version 5.7, with 5.7 being quicker in its scans. Several seconds difference means I’m on to other projects sooner then I was before. Setup wise, Virex is easy to work with and offers you options on what, where and when to scan. And, of course, you have the ability to update your Virex program each month (primarily for updates on the Word Macro viruses) by downloading the Virex update which Datawatch provides at their Web site and through most online services. All in all, a good value for what you are receiving.
Russ Walkowich (firstname.lastname@example.org)