I have a dilemma.
I’ve written numerous WorldStart articles about free software; all of which performed as promised, and was safe–as far as I could tell. However, with Anvi Smart Defender I wandered into previously unexplored territory. Except for a couple minor inconveniences, this software seems to perform well and it received glowing reviews from other trusted sources, but something about it bothers me. So, unlike most WorldStart download articles–along with a review–this software evaluation is about following your instincts.
Anvi Smart Defender is an anti-malware program that can add an extra layer of malware and virus protection, when run in conjunction with an effective antivirus. In addition to these protections, it offers PC optimization and repair features.
After installing it on a Vista laptop, I began by running a cloud scan, and followed that with a full computer scan. Six potential threats were discovered, but since these were overlooked by other dependable malware scanners installed on my machine, it’s possible that they’re false positives. This means that, while these files carry some of the characteristics of malware, they’re probably harmless. The false positive issue was one brought up by several people who’d tested the beta version.
Other issues addressed by beta users include the program hanging, tying up the system, and creating problems on restart. For that reason, I tested most of the features, restarted the computer several times, and tried in every way I could to challenge this tool, and encountered none of those problems.
If you’d like to give it a try, Anvi Smart Defender can be downloaded here.
The main menu buttons are at the top of the screen; Scan, Cloud Scan, Guard, Optimize, and Update.
Like many malware scanners, the Scan screen offers 3 options; Quick, Full, and Custom Scan.
As mentioned earlier, the Full Scan revealed 6 potential threats. To reveal the threat details, click the Threats Found number, or the View Details link.
Since these may have been false positives, I chose not to allow Smart Defender to repair them. Instead, the report was saved as a text file, which can be reviewed later. Click the Save Report button and save the file to any location you choose (this was saved to the Desktop).
The text file is displayed below.
Cloud Scan searches for potentially risky file types, and provides a list which can be uploaded for analysis. Click the Cloud Scan button (lower right).
The results can then be uploaded by clicking the Upload button.
All the questionable files found on my machine were deemed to be safe.
Guard offers five optional guards. All are set to On by default, but can be turned off individually.
System Optimize provides several tools to improve computer performance. System Optimize, Registry Fix, Privacy Cleaner, and Memory Sweep are checked by default. Disk Defragment is available, but not automatically checked.
In the System Optimize screen, click one of the Settings links (above), to set up scheduled scans, or to make other settings adjustments (below).
The final screen is the Update screen. Just click the Update Now button to check for the latest version.
One of the things that bothered me–and this is certainly no crime–was very poorly written information on their site. It would seem that, if someone went to the trouble to develop, produce, and distribute complex software, their documentation would be professionally presented. Another source of frustration concerns scheduled scans because, at the scheduled time, the Windows User Account Control requires permission for the program to run. So, if a scan is scheduled when you’re not present, it won’t run. Although the UAC can be overridden, I rarely take that step. The most troubling issue is the doubt regarding false positives. What if I’d allowed all the suspicious files to be repaired? Would unintended consequences lead to another problem down the road? This is where instinct took over. Since I’ve trusted other malware scanners to automatically quarantine or remove suspicious files, I can’t logically explain why I didn’t allow Anvi to do the same.
To be fair, those other scanners found no malicious items in the Smart Defender program files, and it certainly appears to perform as promised. So there is no compelling reason not to give Smart Defender a good review. But, in the end, I listened to that little voice in my head, and uninstalled the program. The bottom line is, if anything about free software makes you wary, it’s probably best to follow your instincts. The only evidence I have that this works, is years of relatively trouble-free experience on the computer.