There are many programs in the wild that perform an anti-virus function.  There are very few programs out there that have a Windows Home Server compatible version.  BitDefender is one of those companies.  The company has several anti-virus solutions that are available to install on a WHS.  For this review, I will be installing and taking a look at their Total Security Package.  Who is BitDefender?

BitDefender®is the creator of one of the industry’s fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software.

Since our inception in 2001, BitDefender® has continued to raise the bar and set new standards in proactive threat prevention. BitDefender® made its entrance on international market when opening its own offices in Germany, Spain, USA and the UK. The company’s global expansion plans are still underway as BitDefender® is strengthening its position based on a series of strategic partnerships. Moreover, BitDefender is also setting sail for Asia.

End of 2007, BitDefender® receives investment to support global expansion and advance leadership position in antivirus software and data security. The investment group is comprised of Romanian and American private investors with substantial investment experience in the region and in the IT sector.

The BitDefender® proprietary technologies, based on innovative ideas and trends in the information security industry, have been internationally avowed by authorized organizations, prizes and certifications (Av-Test.org, Virus Bulletin, ICSA lab, Checkmark, IST Prize etc). BitDefender® is the only South- Eastern European company to have been awarded the European IST Prize for innovation by the European Commission and the representatives of 18 European academies. In 2008, BitDefender was rated #1 for protection by Consumer Reports, the largest consumer reporting publication.

Every year, BitDefender® launches a new generation of its desktop product line and issues patches for the corporate suites with new functionalities based on its innovative technologies. In 2006, BitDefender® introduces B-HAVE (Behavioral Heuristic Analyzer in Virtual Environments), its proprietary heuristic detection technology. Same year, NeuNet, the new heuristic detection technologies is integrated in the BitDefender® solutions. Also the Spam Image Filter, an important step in fighting the new spamming techniques has been included in the BitDefender® engines. In 2007 BitDefender® presented its new solution – Mobile Security providing real-time antivirus protection for mobile devices (smart phones and PDAs).

Every day, BitDefender® protects tens of millions of home and corporate users across the globe — giving them the peace of mind of knowing that their digital experiences will be secure. BitDefender® solutions are distributed by a global network of value-added distribution and reseller partners in more than 100 countries worldwide. More information is available on our security solutions‘ site.

The program is available as a free no-hassle download from the BitDefender website as 30-day trialware.

Prior to installing BitDefender, it is highly recommended that an on-line virus scan be performed at the web page illustrated below.

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Once downloaded, you simply execute the installation program directly.  This installer will install the program so that you can execute it directly from the Start menu.  There is no WHS console integration available with BitDefender.  The complete install process is illustrated in the following screens.

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After the prerequisite restart, BitDefender will lead you through several configuration screens.  Other than changing the network type to a “trusted” network, I proceeded through the configuration screens and kept the default program options as is.

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Once finished, BitDefender places an icon in the system tray for easy access from the desktop, which is the normal method that I have seen for anti-virus programs.  BitDefender does not have a Console add-in, so if you are a user of the WHS Console, I would recommend that you install Advanced Admin Console to have access to the BitDefender User Interface.

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Clicking on the system tray icon brings up the BitDefender user interface, as seen below.

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Switching to the Advanced View changes the UI to what is seen below.

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While perusing the various options that BitDefender has available in this version, I felt somewhat overwhelmed by what is available to the user.

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Perhaps overwhelmed is not the correct term.  It is more of a case of confusion on my part in how the various program options and settings are grouped.  If you click on Settings, you are presented with more options than are seen above.

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If you go to the advanced view, you have another set of options to peruse.

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It would appear that each level of settings noted above of contains a subset of the previous screen.  BitDefender Total Security is an incredibly feature rich program that does exactly what is designated by its version name: Total Security.  Perhaps a lot more than what is required by a WHS.  In the end, it would seem to make more sense to have a “Basic” settings tab and an “Advanced” settings tab.  Group everything under these tabs in lieu of having a sense of everything being scattered all over, which is the impression I get with the current UI.

That is enough about program settings.  How well does it work and how obtrusive (or not) is it on the user and on the system?

To answer the first part, I will have to rely on labs that rate anti-virus software.  I certainly do not have the tools, test setups, and “contained” viruses sitting around that these people have to test AV programs.  The comparison charts are for too large to show here, so I will provide the links to some sites that perform these tests:

An interesting read on how CNET tests anti-virus programs can be found here.  How did BitDefender fare in these tests?  With most reviews, any given program will move up or down the ladder depending upon how a program is tested.  This is true for BitDefender.  The most complete review is the PC Magazine review and it goes into a lot more depth on various features that are simply not relevant to a WHS, and more in-depth performance tests than I have the ability to perform.

For use with a WHS, there are 2 items that I can check to see what kind of hit BitDefender has on system performance.

  • System resources:

WHS System idle, BitDefender resident.

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I observed the vsserv.exe use between 0 and 6% at any given time.  I would definitely not call BitDefender a resource hog when working in the background.

  • Client Backup:

I ran a Manual Backup of this machine.  I followed this backup immediately another backup.  I then ran a third backup while BitDefender was performing a manual scan.

Run 2, BitDefender was not performing a manual scan:

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Run 3, BitDefender was performing a manual scan.

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And the associated resources being used during this time.  I did observe the vsserv.exe spike a few times around the 50% level, but it normally ranged in the 0 to 6% level.

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As can be seen, running a system scan did not effect backups in the least.  It was quite interesting that the final backup took a significant shorter time to complete than the second backup.

So, is BitDefender Total Security the program for you?

The interface needs to be completely redone to make it more user friendly and less confusing.  I would like to see BitDefender integrated into the console.  Also, Total Security is way more of an anti-virus solution than is needed for a WHS, in my opinion.  BitDefender does have a few program variations, as can be seen in the following chart:

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For a WHS, the least expensive variation should cover most everything that a normal user would need.  As each variation covers 3 computers, however, the added features may warrant a more expensive version.

The program works.  It does not bring my system to a halt during normal background usage or during a scan.  It has a decent AV rating.  Not at the top, but it does hold its own.  How does it compare to the other AV solutions for a WHS?  I have not used the other solutions on a WHS, but give me time.

Company: BitDefender

Version Reviewed: BitDefender Total Security 2009

Cost: $79.95

BitDefender links:

Web site: BitDefender
KnowledgeBase: bitdefender.com/site/KnowledgeBase/consumer/

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