Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 134 / OCTOBER 1991 / PAGE 143

Central Point Anti-Virus. (data protection software) (evaluation)
by Bob Guerra

You know that feeling you get when, after a complete physical examination, the doctor shakes your hand and tells you you're as fit as a fiddle? Well, that's how I feel since installing Central Point Anti-Virus on my hard drive. The program assures me that my system is free of computer viruses. Central Point Anti-Virus not only checks your entire system for any signs of viruses but also can remover viruses from infected files and provide continuous protection from infection. That supplies invaluable peace of mind.

Central Point Anti-Virus recognizes more than 400 viruses - nasty little bugs with names like Dark Avenger, Chaos, Disk Killer, Leprosy, Beast, and Friday the 13th. Even more frightening than the names of viruses is the wide range of symptoms you're likely to encounter if the viruses manage to infect your system. Symptoms range from the annoying (files increase in size, your system slows down, music plays over your PC speaker, or mysterious messages appear) to the disastrous (your hard drive reformats!).

Two memory-resident utilities, VSafe and VWatch, provide continuous protection. The highly configurable VSafe uses 22K of system memory and monitors your system at all times for suspicious activity. If free memory's scarce on your system, substitute the 8K VWatch instead. VWatch checks for the presence of know viruses each time a program executes or a disk is accessed.

You can install either utility as a COM file or as a driver. As COM files, the utilities can easily be removed from memory at any time with a couple of keystrokes. You can't disable the driver versions of these utilities, but since they load into memory before COMMAND.COM, they automatically check this file for viruses.

Bootsafe, a utility run from your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, protects your system against viruses that try to infiltrate the boot sector on your hard drive. During installation, the program creates images of your boot sector and partition table and stores them in a hidden image file in the root directory of your hard drive. Then each time you boot your system, the program looks for existing boot sector viruses by comparing the current boot sector and partition table with those in the image file.

As with VSafe and VWatch, Bootsafe is completely optional during installation, If you don't think you need continuous protection, you can simply load Central Point Anti-Virus periodically to scan for viruses. If you choose to use the program in this manner, it will even remind you at regular intervals (user-selectable from one week to three months) to scan your system. Despite the sophistication of Central Point Anti-Virus, the program remains very easy to use, with context-sensitive help available at all times and a clear and extremely thorough manual. Besides telling you everything you need to know to use the program, the manual explains how the program works and includes a 43-page Virus Dictionary, which lists close to 200 viruses and describes in some detail their symptoms and infection mechanisms. In addition, you can count on support from the Virus Protection Service Plan, which provides registered users with a virus hotline, quarterly mailings, online support via Central Point's BBS (for CompuServe), and one free upgrade. Now, that's a comprehensive PC health package.