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Free ESET NOD 32 License and Review

28. June 2011

   ESET is apparently giving away for free NOD 32 antivirus via their ESET India website. The ESET website claims no registration or activation is required.  However, the trick is that one needs to be physically located in India to get the free activation and if activated anywhere else it appears to be a 30 day trial.  Therefore, install a free VPN software that routes through India for the initial installation.  There are several available and one simply needs to do a Google search to find it.  Also, make sure that all ports are routed through India during of the installation and first launch of the program.  ESET also offers free technical support 5 days a week for Indian users.

   ESET NOD 32 installation is unique compared to other antivirus.  The download was a small 46 megabytes in size.  The installer prompts to setup a password to prevent users from accessing the antivirus (interesting that it was included in the setup), the option to enable threat sense protection, customize the installation directory and more.

   ESET NOD 32 offers better protection than the most free antivirus.  The engine is VB100 certified.  The trick is that Virus Bulletin releases certifications every month.  If you look at the VB logo on a lot of websites it states the month that it was won (often several months behind, check out Microsoft security essentials. For Example, it says Dec 2006 or something).  Most antivirus only win the VB award maybe a handful of times every year.  ESET, on the other hand, has won this every month since 1998.  NOD 32 also has been certified by AV-Comparatives as having excellent antivirus protection.  Put all of these factors together and NOD 32 has great virus detection. 

   There are two different scanning options, the smart scan and the full system scan.  The smart scan is very fast and scans all critical areas common files, programs files, windows folder and more at approximately 8 megabytes per second.   ESET NOD 32 detected openvps.exe as a potential threat but, this is a safe component of a VPN.  The smart scan finished in about 22 minutes on a 130+ gigabyte hard drive at 7200 rpm.  

   From previous reviews, I have noted a that ESET has a ton of features.  I can now saw for sure that NOD 32 has the most customizable settings of any antivirus.  A few things that I like is that NOD 32 monitors actual ports in addition to the file system for virus activity.  So, in theory NOD32 can catch a virus before the entire thing is downloaded onto a system via a pattern signature.  One can also completely block removable media or assign it to only certain ports.  I am also a fan of the new interface as it presents everything that's useful with the option to switch on advanced options.

   Resource usage with NOD32 is excellent.  The program uses about 46 megabytes while idle and about 80 megabytes when scanning.  It seems that the program actively limits scanning based upon computer activity.  It also was one of the first times I didn’t actually detect any slow down as a result of a scan or the automatic protection.

   One issue with NOD32 is how it presents the status of the scan.  It seems that it moves through 60% within a minute but gets stuck.  It would be nice to space out and more properly indicate the scanning status.  The settings could also be presented in an easier to understand manner.