Before installing, Windows Defender and Windows Firewall are disabled as the total security comes with a proprietary one. The whole process of installing took about 5 minutes, with us having to restart our computer afterwards. As soon as that is done, the wizard will ask for a licence key or provide you with a trial key for 30 days. You can then create a Bitdefender account that will give you access to technical support , special offers, promotions, back up, and will allow you to retrieve your key if you ever misplace it.
After the first part of installing is done, users would have to configure your network. You will be asked to add your contacts to your 'friends' list for its anti-spam and train its anti-spam filter by looking at your outlook folders, choose your preferred user interface, configure your home management, protect and manage sensitive data, control the content from the Internet (Parental Control), send virus reports, update the defender, and run system scans.
We are advising users to read the manual or go visit online forums instead of just clicking 'Next.' It may seem like eternity to put in your credit card details and other personal information on the 'Identity Rules,' but it is one of the more important steps to do in order to be protected.
After installing the patches, you can now go configure your settings depending on how protected you want to be. The Basic view is has 5 main tabs: Dashboard which shows the overall status of the computer, Security which monitors local and online security, parental control, and vulnerability scan, Tune-up which allows a user to enable/disable the registry cleaner, computer cleanup, duplicate file folder, and disk defragmenter, File Manager which turns on the File Vault and Local Backup, and Network which shows the network structure. The interface is easy to use, allowing users to manually scan, do a cleanup or defragment, or backup with a single touch of a button.
Other tools like parental control, vulnerability status, as well as the game/laptop mode are on the Advanced view, allowing users to make their computers more secure. It may be good for some advanced users, but for those who just want to protect their computer and do scans every once in a while, it may be too technical.
The first full system scan lasted for an hour and a half, with the software detecting two 'infected items' that were purposely hidden on the hard drive. Other subsequent scans were shorter and unobtrusive, allowing us to use the computer without experiencing slowdowns.
The Total Security 2009 also protects your web browser by installing an anti-phishing bar on Firefox and Explorer, as well as protect your e-mail inbox by providing a Bitdefender Antispam toolbar that you can train as you receive more spam e-mails (like the Commonwealth Bank Spam going around). It also comes with a File Vault feature that creates a virtual drive with a password, an online backup service that can store files up to 2GB, and a Laptop mode that skips scans when you are using the notebook's battery.
While the BitDefender Total Security 2009 provide a lot of features, it is just too hard to use. If you have the technical know-how and want to tinker with settings, then this is the software for you. However, if you are the type to install and forget, then we suggest looking elsewhere. The Total Security 2009 is available now for $89.93 for one PC for a year.