McAfee Total Protection Review

by The Team

Posted on Friday, April 24, 2015

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McAfee is a global leader in internet and computer security, and they have a wide range of products created for small businesses, large enterprise businesses, and individual consumers. Since the needs of each of those groups are vastly different, McAfee has set up individual websites for each category of products to save you time and prevent confusion when shopping. We're checking out one of their most popular products, McAfee Total Protection, which includes comprehensive coverage for up to three personal computers.

Once you find your way to the McAfee consumer website, you can browse products tailored for PCs, Macs, mobile devices, and all-in-one software that covers all of the above categories. They also have a bunch of free tools and trials of their premium products so you could do everything from scan your computer for a virus to get a 30 day trial of their software without ever opening your wallet.

The Purchase:

McAfee Total Protection offers complete, award-winning coverage for up to three PCs for one year, and is currently priced at $89.99. In addition to the antivirus protection and PC optimization offered with their basic software, Total Protection takes it up a couple of notches by also including a suite of parental controls, antispam features for your email, and wireless network protection to keep outsiders from accessing personal information. Every McAfee subscription service comes with their auto-renewal feature that uses the payment information they have on file to renew your subscription every year so your coverage never lapses. However, there is no way to opt out of this before you purchase their software. You must go to your account page to manually turn it off if you would prefer to manage your subscription yourself. One nice thing that makes McAfee stand out is the lack of add-ons on the checkout page. There were no attempts at last-minute upsells with a backup CD or premium technical support that you have to un-check before you make your purchase.

Download & Installation:

Once the software is purchased using either a credit card, PayPal or ClickandBuy, you can enter your product key to download my new software right then and there, or if you would prefer to wait, just check your email for an order confirmation with download and installation instructions to follow at your leisure.

Installation of the AntiVirus Plus software was quick and easy. They provide a handy installation guide that shows you exactly what you need to do. The only thinking that was required was when the program wanted to know whether I preferred a complete install or custom install. I was curious about what exactly they were installing, so I chose custom (against their recommendation!!). This brought up a menu of services that I could click to read about in more detail, and then decide whether or not I wanted to include that feature in my installation.

Using the Software:

In about 15 minutes, including the time it took to reboot my computer, my McAfee Total Protection software was up and running. They have an easy-to-read display that lays out all of the different areas of protection on one screen. This is the main control panel that allows you to navigate to and use all of the Total Protection features.

Virus and Spyware Protection allows you to schedule regular scans and run custom scans of your PC to detect and eliminate threats. You can also turn on real-time scanning that instantly checks files anytime they are used on your computer. You can choose how thoroughly you want files scanned to strike a balance between speed and protection.

Web and Email Protection uses firewall technology to protect your computer from outsiders who may try to gain access to your network and steal information or take control of your PC. You can manage how aggressively spam emails are filtered, and whether or not you want to use McAfee's spam and phishing filters on webmail clients like Gmail or Yahoo. This area also manages the SiteAdvisor that lets you know in advance if a website that you're visiting or URL that you're sharing on a social network is safe.

Data Protection manages the virtual "shredder" that helps protect your privacy by permanently erasing sensitive files. Data can often be recovered from files you thought you had deleted, but McAfee's software will go in and really delete a file to make sure nothing can be recovered. You get to choose between five shred types ranging from "basic" to "complete." Think of it as a paper shredder, and you get to choose how many times you want to run the same page through the machine. This version of McAfee software also comes with File Lock, a digital "vault" that is installed on your computer to secure important documents, photographs and more. You get to choose the size of the vault and password protect it so only you can get in.

The PC and Home Network Tools section gives you an overview of all devices currently on your network so you can manage security issues, plus it has a PC optimizer that lets you improve your computer's performance by getting rid of unnecessary files. They've even included a Vulnerability Scanner that keeps your PC up to date with the latest software updates and security patches.

Every parent with school-aged children will want to check out the Parental Controls section. This enables you to set time limits on computer usage and only allow children to visit pre-approved websites. You can also view reports to see if a child attempted to access a blocked website or go online during a restricted timeframe.

The two lower sections, McAfee Updates and Your Subscription are both pretty self-explanatory. One manages how often and how automatically updates are installed on your computer, and the other just gives you a quick overview of your subscription status and has options for changing your account info and user profile.


McAfee Total Protection includes a comprehensive suite of privacy and security tools to help safeguard your personal information and protect the whole family from viruses and malware. The McAfee website is easy to navigate, the shopping and purchase experience is smooth and transparent, and installation was intuitive. It doesn't take any technical skill to use the software, and everything is laid out in an accessible manner so you know exactly what you're choosing to protect and what level of security fits your lifestyle. Many homes these days have multiple computers that access the internet, so being able to protect three computers for one low price is a deal you don't want to pass up.

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