PC Tools has a knack for producing clean, accessible user interfaces, and we found the simple front-end of its Internet Security suite a breath of fresh air. True, it offers only a basic set of components, and comparatively few configuration options, but we have no objection to a minimal package if it keeps overheads low.
Unfortunately, that couldn't be further from the truth. Despite PC Tools Internet Security's narrow feature set it somehow made the biggest impact on boot time and memory of any package here. A full minute after the desktop appeared, system RAM usage was over 1GB and the CPU meter was hovering at around 20%.
As if to trump this dubious achievement, the suite went on to achieve a malware detection score of just 68% - landing it in last place in this test by a wide margin. Three of the samples it missed were caught by every single other package. And more than once it insisted we'd have to reboot to remove infected files, which no other suite found necessary.
The web threat test went slightly better: here, PC Tools' suite scored 34%, ranking it tenth in a field of 15. We didn't like the appearance of the browser defender plug-in, though, which added a thick, brightly-coloured bar to the top of every web page.
The suite's best performance was in our network scan, where it revealed only the same vulnerabilities as the likes of McAfee and Norton. That's still only an average degree of protection, though.
PC Tools has made some great utilities in the past and we hope it will again. Internet Security 2009, however, is definitely one to avoid.