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Ikarus Virus Utilities Review

Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:55:07 (US Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00)

    Ikarus is relatively new and is widely used in Austria.  The program has a real time shield that is VB100 and PC Security Labs certified.  The engine also protects against spyware and is even used by Emsisoft A2 in their software.  There has been extensive testing in which users credit the antivirus with having excellent detection rates.  However, some users’ state that the program has higher resource usage (evident in tests).  The program offers several different scanning options, scheduling, and frequent updates.
    The installation of Ikarus Virus Utilities went well.  The setup file is a tiny 15.5 megabytes in size.  The only problem is that by default the installation is significantly outdated (late 2009) and required a time consuming update (the program folder increased to approximately 175 megabytes and the update took about 25 minutes to download with a broadband connection).  The installer detects conflicting security software via registry entries.  However, some of the software detected was actually uninstalled months ago.  After the installation, the program immediately launched.

    Ikarus Virus Utilities offers four different scanning settings, the entire computer, fast system, system partition, and a removable media scan.  The unique thing is that the program displays an approximate time to completion for each scan.  For the fast scan, Ikarus stated that it would take approximately 10 minutes to complete and it actually turned out to be relatively accurate.  The program scans at a brisk 8 to 10 megabytes per second which is faster than the average free antivirus.  The scanner didn’t detect any viruses on the test system and scanned an impressive 89,948 files.  It seems that the scanner automatically goes into a background mode once the scan is minimized.  I detected a slight slow down on the test system when a folder with a large amount of files was opened.  In addition to the pre defined profiles, one can create scan profiles that can include a wide range of folders and start at a specific time period.

    Ikarus Virus Utilities is generally a pretty barebones antivirus and includes a only a handful of features.  There is email scanning but it only seems to support Outlook.  One can customize where the scan report is placed within the email and if attachments are scanned.  There is a quarantine which offers a few unique options in addition to a simple restore and delete functionality like most free antivirus.  One can temporary unblock a quarantined item which allows it to function until the next reboot.  There is also the option to save a backup of the file(s) and delete the original virus.  Settings are kind of sparce, there is the option to configure a dial up connection, create file and folder exclusions, restore the default settings, and unfortunately not much else.  However, it’s nice that there are 12 languages supported from Chinese to Turkish.

    The resource usage of Ikarus Virus Utilities is mediocre.  While idle, the GuardX service used approximately 102 megabytes and the tray icon, 4 megabytes.  Thankfully, during scanning, the memory usage only increased by about 5 megabytes and used about 5 to 10 percent CPU power.

    I would like to see a few improvements in future versions, including the ability to pause a virus scan, interface improvements (I sometimes had difficulty canceling a scan), more settings to modify the scanner, and better logging formats.