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ZenOK 2012 Review Free

Wednesday, 06 April 2011 17:33:58 (US Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00)

    ZenOK has recently released their 2012 version.  While a couple of websites report only a few minor changes in the new version, I found some additional ones.  The updated program now includes a new installer, security toolbar, tutorial wizard, excellent resource usage, automatic updates, and a slightly modified GUI.  Also, according to Wilders Security Forum, the latest version uses a form of the Bitdefender scanning engine.  So one can expect good virus detection capability.
    The installation of ZenOK 2012 went well.  The download was 44.4 megabytes in size and started immediately on the Windows 7 test system.  The setup file now automatically detects potentially conflicting security software and offers the capability to remove it (detected Panda Secure Vault).  However, the publisher has also added an option to continue without uninstalling the detected software (handy and not included on most of the free antivirus tested).   The installer then prompted for a required restart.  After this was completed, the program displayed a new helpful tutorial outlining how the program works.  The program also starts an initial scan and automatically updates.  Finally, the program prompted to automatically backup important files. 

    Unfortunately, ZenOK 2012 only offers one scanning option in addition to the real-time shield.  The “antivirus full scan”, scans at approximately 10 megabytes per second which is faster than the average antivirus.  The scanner also reported that it was scanning at an average of 160 files per second which is a two fold increase from the previous 2011 version.  The scanner detected one potential threat item located at C:BootBCD  which was labeled as “file locked” .  While this is a false positive, it’s nice that the program brought this file to attention.  However, one problem with the antivirus system in general is that all services can be stopped via task manager.  This could make it relatively easy for a virus to disable the antivirus. 

    In addition, to the scanner ZenOK 2012 has full cloud backup system installed.  I think more free antivirus need this type of feature because most viruses are detected after they have already wrecked havoc on a machine.  With the option to backup files, important files are protected on ZenOK’s servers and cannot be accessed by a virus.  If a virus corrupts a file, simply download an uninfected copy from the cloud.  Some additional features allow one to snooze the real time shield for a predefined time and also a full quarantine.
Resource usage is now one of ZenOK 2012 strong points.  The program uses about 2 megabytes of RAM while idle (still actively scanning).  During a full system scan, the program uses approximately 30 megabytes of RAM and about 6 to 10 percent CPU power.   These numbers are well below the benchmark free antivirus.

    Some things that could be improved are the antivirus self defense and more configurable settings.   I also noticed that the scanner paused by itself at times but, I couldn’t reproduce it more than once.  The program could also have support for more languages and have slightly faster scanning when opening new explorer windows.