Having an antivirus program installed is mandatory if you want to keep your computer safe against the increasing number of threats that can harm it. However, there are smaller, specialized applications designed to provide an extra-layer of protection and they are becoming more and more popular.
IObit Malware Fighter is a highly appreciated antimalware tool that is perfectly capable of complementing your antivirus with the right set of functions wrapped up in a friendly GUI with minimum impact on your system’s performance.
It’s a rare opportunity to see such a swift and easy install process. The program basically does all the default configurations and you won’t experience any nagging adware windows throughout the process. As soon as the installation is finished the program will automatically search for updates and prompt you to download them.
IObit Malware Fighter’s system requirements can be classified as modest. You will need to have one of the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows 2000, XP (32 and 64-bit), Vista (32 and 64-bit), 7 (32 and 64-bit), 8. Hardware requirements: 300 MHz CPU or faster, 256 MB of RAM and 30 MB of free hard disk space.
The GUI is clean and straightforward: even at first glance you will quickly find your way around the program’s features. All of the main features are displayed on a dark-grey background and accessing any of them will show the related tab. Each function is also accompanied by a large, descriptive icon and easy to read info and options.
The Overview tab shows the enabled types of protection (in the free version you will only benefit from DOG detection) a graph of real-time scanned/blocked objects (first sub-tab) and detailed statistics for scanned/blocked objects (second sub-tab).
The Scan tab enables you to choose from three different scan modes: Smart Scan (only checks the most vulnerable sections of your system), Full Scan (whole computer scan) and Custom Scan (for scanning individual files and folders).
Real-Time protection functions are shown in the Protect tab. The free version of IObit Malware Fighter provides real-time protection only for system startup, browser settings, malicious webpages, privacy cookies and unknown files while protection for RAM processes, USB devices and actions are only available in the commercial version of the program.
And last but not least, from the Cloud tab you will be able to upload any file to the IObit Cloud that will verify it using advanced cloud computing technology and heuristic analysis.
The small top menu lets you see quarantined files, perform a manual update of the program and under the “More” option you will be able to access the program’s settings, User Manual, Technical Support (only available in the commercial version), official website and an About window with general info for the program.
Even if the installation doesn’t involve any type of adware and the program will not bother you with annoying pop-ups advertising other programs or nagging you to buy the paid version, you will see a window that prompts you to update the application to IObit Malware Fighter Pro edition every time you click on a disabled feature. Also a small bar with IObit’s latest news is displayed at the bottom of the interface, but I consider it harmless since you have the option to hide/unhide it.
- Small, lightweight program.
- Easy to use, clean interface.
- A decent set of antimalware features with real-time protection capabilities.
- The Cloud feature lets you upload individual files to IObit’s Cloud and perform a thorough verification.
- Well-organized, easy to read User Manual.
- The free version of the program doesn’t have scheduled scans, some real-time protection functions are disabled and automatic updates are only performed on system startup.
While IObit Malware Fighter is a popular antimalware tool, it does have some serious competition. The free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has similar capabilities and proven efficiency. However it still lacks scheduled tasks and real-time protection which are only available in the commercial product.
Other alternatives you may want to take a look at are Spybot Search & Destroy (focused more on detecting spyware but it can run alongside an antimalware tool and further improve your PC’s protection), Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ and SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition.
IObit Malware Fighter comes with some solid, reliable functions and a straightforward, clean interface that will make you learn how to use it in a snap. Since this tool is free, there’s really no harm in trying it and the fact that it’s popular proves its efficiency. On the other hand, there are plenty of other similar programs available, but who’s stopping you to try them all? There’s no such thing as “too much protection”.