In order to keep healthy, a person must have a combination of preventative medicine and medicine to get rid of infections. Nowadays, this applies to computers as well, as there are thousands of viruses lurking dangerously about the internet. Dr. Solomon's AntiVirus Toolkit provides this strong combination. Its WinGuard is an excellent real time virus shield and FindVirus, the file scanner, is very powerful, boasting protection from 12,000 viruses. However, the AVTK could use a few of the features one finds in many other antivirus packages today, as well as a little interface tweaking.

The Pinnacle of Protection

Equipped with the excellent resident WinGuard, the AVTK is an impenetrable shield against viruses attempting to enter the system. WinGuard scans for viruses in files which are executed, opened or copied on your computer. The user has the option to scan all files, all OLE files or just those that Dr. Solomon feels are threatening. If the user selects to scan all OLE files, then each file accessed is checked for OLE contents, and then further scanned if any are found. If you leave it up to Dr. Solomon, WinGuard will still scan files with Microsoft Word and Excel extensions, as well as executables. However, I found it a bit tedious that you cannot choose which file types to scan, you are limited to either checking all files or checking files based on a fixed list of types. WinGuard can also scan files as they are written to disk, adding a new level of security when dealing with internet downloads. Overall, WinGuard is an excellent shield, however it does lack some helpful features.

Back to Basics

FindVirus, the main virus scanner, is pretty fast, however it also lacks a few functions that could make life a lot easier. It is accessed through the Find or Repair buttons or menus. When launched it shows a simple drive list and a Find, Help and Advanced button. In the Advanced dialogue the user can specify to a point which files to scan, as well as some other general options about the scan. The What to Scan section is rather primitive: like with WinGuard, the user has no option to edit the list of files to scan. The only options you have are scanning All files or Executable ones. Executables files include any that can contain executable code, which includes Microsoft Office document macros. The fixed file list is limiting, for example, when the user knows what type of virus he or she has, and only wants to scan one type of file to find it. A unique feature of Dr. Solomon's is that it not only scans within numerous different types of archives, it also scans archives nested within archives. Although this process does slow down the scans dramatically, the increased thoroughness could save your system from disaster. The design of the AVTK is somewhat awkward. There are two different types of scans: Find and Repair. Find simply searches and finds viruses, Repair in effect does a Find and then attempts to repair those viruses which it found. Why not just combine the two into one, leaving the Repair part an option?

Although the interface of the main AVTK program is lacking, this is not the case with the new component of Dr. Solomon's, the Scheduler. The Scheduler can schedule events which can either be FindVirus scans or launches of third party programs or batch files. Events can be scheduled to occur one time only or periodically. A nice mark of the periodic scheduling is that you can choose the date and time that this event starts taking place and that it stops. At a tiny 690 KB in memory, Dr. Solomon's Scheduler is the most effective I've seen. The automation of hard drive scans with the AVTK comes with almost no sacrafice of memory. The AVTK also comes with a feature called Check for Changes. This records information about the files on the computer and then can later check for changes in the files and boot sectors.

One Thumb Up...

Dr. Solomon's AntiVirus Toolkit is a very powerful package, despite some shortcomings in configurability. WinGuard is incredibly small and uses very few resources, FindVirus is one of the fastest I've seen. This combination makes the AntiVirus Toolkit an appealing suite. But it could be much more appealing if the price were not so high and if it were designed a little better. These problems are addressed in Dr. Solomon's new Anti-Virus, a version of the Toolkit geared towards home users, as it includes a much more user-friendly interface, including the ability to make updates over the internet. Unfortunately, in Anti-Virus, some features, such as the Scheduler, have been cut out.

Product Information: System Requirements (Windows 95 version)
Manufacturer:
Dr. Solomon's Software
(www.drsolomon.com)

Price: $85
Platforms Available:
DOS, Windows & DOS, Windows 95, Windows NT, NetWare, SCO Unix, OS/2, Macintosh
Processor: 386, 486 or Pentium compatible
Platform: Windows 95
HD Space: 6 MB

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