Get money by contributing to ThinkMobiles! Learn more

McAfee Total Protection review

banner

McAfee antivirus was founded in 1987 by Scottish-American programmer John McAfee, which makes this antivirus a pioneer in its industry. During its history McAfee has experienced rebranding several times due to mergers. At the moment, since 2016, the antivirus belongs to TPG by 51% and Intel by 49%. Carrying on our antivirus review series (see Kaspersky, Avast, Malwarebytes, etc.) McAfee Total Protection review is only reasonable.

According to OPSWAT research due October 2014, McAfee was one of the five largest manufacturers of antiviruses, accounting for 5.7% of the global market. McAfee has award-winning Internet security and is considered a reliable product. According to McAfee, more than 500 million people use their software.

McAfee Total Protection review

System requirements & specs

The version we have tested, McAfee Total Protection 16.0 R20, supports:

  • Microsoft Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 SP1 (32- and 64-bit)
  • Mac OS X 10.12 or later
  • Google Android smartphones and tablets 4.1 or higher
  • Apple iOS 10 or later

For devices running Windows or Mac, you need at least 500 MB of disk space, 2 GB RAM or more and a processor of 1 GHz or faster are recommended.

Specifications
Vendor McAfee LLC (Website)
Newest version (for Windows) 16.0
Operating systems Windows 7/8/8.1/10
Installer file size 5.44 MB
Languages Depends on Windows language
Key features Firewall, WebAdvisor, Cleaner, Anti-Spam
Extra features APP Booster, Web Booster, Shredder, True Key, File Locker, Safe Family
License Trial / Subscription
Pricing $34.99 Individual (1 device / 1 year)
$39.99 Multi-device (5 devices / 1 year)
$44.99 Household (10 devices / 1 year)

Feature overview

The Trial version has all the features that are provided in the licensed subscription itself. In addition to real-time protection and malware removal, McAfee Total Protection includes Firewall, WebAdvisor (browser extension), Safe Connect, Safe Family, Anti-Spam, as well as APP Boost, WEB Boost, File Locker, Cleaner, Shredder, TrueKey and other features additionally.

McAfee total protection interface

All the most important McAfee functionality is in the “PC Security” tab, it shows the protection status of all components, there is a possibility to run a system scan, update outdated applications on your device (in our case, nothing was found) or update McAfee itself, which in our case was of the latest version.

Protect me on the web (McAfee WebAdvisor) is a plug-in for browsers, in the case of a Chrome browser (plug-in source), the plug-in uses more than 10 million users, the plug-in is actively updating and should be an integral part for every McAfee Total Protection user, since without this add-on, the probability to download the virus and run it is quite high. More details about protection we'll describe later in the tests.

Remove cookies and trackers is a useful feature that eliminates the need to use third-party software or to search for the needed clean up functionality in the browsers themselves.

The PC Performance tab allows the user to download and install App Booster and Web Booster, the installation is very convenient, going in the automatic mode with a couple of clicks in McAfee Total Protection itself. Regarding the benefits of these add-ons, they are very doubtful, having experience with similar software. But please note that the Boosters testing by McAfee is not ours.

My Privacy is another tab with a set of additional software for the user's safety.

  • Shred unwanted files – deletes files from your device, from the usual files deletion to deletion without the ability to recover.
  • Manager of passwords (Meet True Key) – the simple, secure password solution now included in your McAfee package (extension for browsers).
  • Protect against identity theft – the subscription costs additional funds. It includes cyber monitoring, data theft insurance*, 1-Bureau Credit Monitoring*, Social Security Number (SSN) Trace, 24/7/365 Dedicated Agents. *Valid in the US, except of NYstate.
  • Protect my kids (Safe family) – allows you to set control over your child in the form of scheduled Internet access, physical location, history of what your child does, what applications it uses, etc.
  • Lock private files – creates an encrypted partition in the system, where the user can store private data with a password.

Another feature that is interesting to some users is the McAfee news feed from McAfee Blog. Now, let's make this McAfee Total Protection review more practical.

Testing

McAfee testing and the user experience is the most important and crucial part, since it gives the impression of a software product. Further we will try to cover everything regarding the performance of McAfee's Total Protection software product.

Test stand: virtual OS on the base of Oracle VM VirtualBox v6.0, Windows 10 Pro X64 Image (Update 1903), CPU I7-3612QM (4 core 2.1 GHz), 6 GB RAM, SSDNow A400.

1. McAfee performance test

Scanning type Time Scanned files Load CPU (avg)
Fast 5 minutes 3,277 40-50%
Full 1 hour 10 minutes 106,440 98-100%

The load on the drive was no more than 5% in both cases of testing, RAM less than 3GB.

Output:

  • Quick” scan allows you to surf the Internet and perform everyday simple tasks on the device.
  • Full scan” loads the CPU to the limit, which makes it almost impossible to use the device.

Tip: For sufficient security, it is recommended to perform a full system scan once a week, for this use the task scheduler to scan when you do not need the computer.

2. Virus protection test

Just back in 2013, Eicar test virus was created, but this kind of testing can be considered insufficient for a full-fledged experience. To test protection, we’ll do some tests and take a couple of the latest viruses from vxvault and see the result, as well as run archives with thousands of different viruses and see the result (WARNING: Do not think that these are jokes and simple viruses.

There are some of them that even the antivirus will not respond, and they will do what is programmed in them to the system. So if you’re not sure of your actions, we don’t recommend trying to download viruses from such portals or doing such tests by yourself).

Virus name MD5 Hash Virustotal Notes
5.exe d24f5633755ee
85407c6a460dbd55448
Source 04.11.2019 The file started and worked, forced scanning of the file found the file safe.
05.11.2019 The virus was added to the McAfee virus database and was successfully recognized by manual.
2c.jpg C65C495D5B6C61
41F9075F333376577A
Source We managed to download the file and try to open it, McAfee did not react in any way, a manual scan of the file detected a virus.

McAfee perfectly detected the testing of archives containing viruses, but Real-time protection does not work at all, including the presence of the test virus Eicar was not detected until we asked to scan the file through RMB – Scan. Without additional plug-ins and other components, McAfee Total Protection alone is useful only if you manually check the files and the system as a whole.

In our case, one of the viruses of the pandora’s box infected the system and even a full scan of the system does not detect it. Thus our CPU loads an unknown process by 80-95%, all the space on the local drive C is occupied, the start doesn't work and maybe a lot of other errors occurred, but McAfee is doing fine.

3. Firewall

We were unable to perform a full-fledged Firewall test since there is no way to disable Firewall at the network equipment level, all ports are closed by default. Nevertheless, when using a VPN, McAfee blocks some packages, so we can assume that McAfee copes with network security tasks successfully.

UX in McAfee Total Protection

McAfee interface and its functionality is made for users who need everything in one box. After all, there really are a lot of opportunities, but each of them has limited capabilities, unlike highly specialized software. It’s not difficult to use McAfee as a whole, but if you need to fine-tune a specific module, it can be difficult to find the required parameter, or it even can be absent.

McAfee resources use

It is sad to mention this in McAfee Total Protection review, but real-time file monitoring frankly dissapoints. You can accidentally download a virus and even start it and infect your system, and you can only find out about it if you scan the system completely. Besides, McAfee creates a large number of background processes in the system that consistently consume a certain amount of your device resources and what they do besides network protection (firewall) is not clear.

We were also upset by the process of McAfee Total Protection installation on Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 – we were not able to install McAfee for more than 4 hours! It all started with an error:

McAfee Windows Updates request

Unfortunately, the updates on the link offered by McAfee are no longer available, so we found them on the Microsoft website for you if necessary:

Update for Windows 7 for x86-based Systems (KB2533623)
Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2533623)

Update for Windows 7 for x86-based Systems (KB3033929)
Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB3033929)

Download and install updates depending on the bit depth of your OS. In our case, when installing the component update, error 0x8024800c occurred, therefore we provided instructions on how to fix it below.

Having fixed error 0x8024800c, McAfee began to freeze during the installation process. After restarting the OS, the automatic McAfee removal procedure began and this process was cyclic, as a result, we demolished Windows 7 without further investigation on the error and started testing on Windows 10.

Fixing McAfee 0x8024800c error

Option 1:

  • Use the Run window to start Services (all Windows versions) Press the Win + R keys on your keyboard, to open the Run window. Then, type “services.msc” and hit Enter or press OK.
  • Find the “Windows Update” service, stop it and disable it.

McAffee 0x8024800c error

  • Delete the directory C: \ Windows \ SoftwareDistribution \;
  • Start the service by repeating the first two steps.

Option 2:

  • Run Command Prompt as administrator.
  • Type “net stop wuauserv” and hit Enter.
  • Type “ren c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution softwaredistribution.old” and hit Enter.
  • Type “net start wuauserv” and hit Enter.

McAfee Total Protection review: Verdict

Considering that McAfee claims to have “Real-time scanning”, we were not able to detect it, scanning only happens if the user sets the scan in manual mode or in the task scheduler.

As for typical McAfee Total Protection review, we should note that this antivirus has a large number of functions. For most users, though, half of those are unnecessary, and the second half is limited in functionality. Some components are integrated directly, while others work as a separate component. In the case of “Protect against identity theft” you also have to pay extra.

The most important part is that the antivirus protection works, the database is large, but as tests showed with database update delays, unlike competitors, a combination of circumstances is possible. Also, if the virus has already infected your system, McAfee does not see any threats, at least this happened in our test with the virus. Perhaps, in general, scanning through VirusTotal would be more effective.

Technical support does not have the ability to contact by mail or chat, you must use a database of previously created material with possible questions and solutions to problems. McAfee automated bot will help you with this on the site, and in extreme cases, you can get in touch by talking on the phone, which is not very convenient for most countries.

Pros: Big virus database A large number of additional components

Cons: No real time protection A large number of processes in the system Does not see a threat in the infected system Delayed virus database update Installation difficulties may occur

FAQ

Q: How many devices does McAfee Total Protection support?
A: Depending on the plan, the number of devices varies from one to ten.

Q: How to install McAfee Total Protection on Mac?
A: Register, if an account already exists, log in to your personal account on the McAfee website, then select the type of your device and download the version for OS X, run the installation file and follow the instructions.

Q: How to install McAfee Total Protection on Android?
A: Log in to the Google Play Store, find and install McAfee Mobile Security.

Q: How to install McAfee Total Protection on iPhone/iPad?
A: Log in to the App Store, find and install McAfee Mobile Security.

Q: How to activate McAfee antivirus?
A: Go to the McAfee website, register, log in, purchase software, when prompted, enter the SN you received when purchasing the product, download and install the software.

Q: How to renew McAfee Total Protection?
A: If you are limited by the number of devices in your subscription, uninstall McAfee on the device where you no longer need it and install it on the new device, if there are problems during activation, contact support.

Q: How much does it cost to prolong McAfee?
A: Prices may vary therefore see current prices on the McAfee website.

Q: Is there McAfee Total Protection free version?
A: There is no free version. There is a trial which is available for 30 days without limitations.

Q: How to disable / uninstall McAfee antivirus?
A: McAfee antivirus is uninstalled in the standard way through the application manager or using third-party software.

Q: How to contact McAfee antivirus support?
A: On the McAfee website, you will find contact information for support.

Q: What is DAT file for McAfee antivirus?
A: Virus definition or DAT files contain virus signatures and other information that McAfee products use to protect computers against existing and new potential threats.

Q: How to get McAfee antivirus voucher?
A: You can purchase McAfee activation voucher on third-party portals, like Download.cnet.com.

Q: Are there McAfee discounts?
A: McAfee has regular discounts. You can still find promotional codes with discounts of up to 70%.

Q: How to update McAfee Total Protection?
A: You can check for updates manually at any time. If an update is found, it is downloaded and applied. Double-click the McAfee icon on your desktop. Click PC Security. Click Update McAfee App, then click Check for Updates. Wait for the update to complete. A message will let you know that you are up to date.

Q: Is it possible to update McAfee offline?
A: Yes, on the McAfee website you can download both the DAT file and the kernel itself.

Q: How to get McAfee antivirus refund?
A: You must phone Customer Service directly.

Q: What is McAfee removal tool?
A: Sometimes it can be difficult to uninstall McAfee software from computer completely. The best way to do so is to use the Removal Tool offered by McAfee.

Q: How to use McAfee antivirus quarantine?
A: McAfee website has a detailed guide on this topic.

Q: What is McAfee antivirus Plus 2020?
A: It is an essential antivirus protection for your PC.

Q: Why is McAfee antivirus not working?
A: Contact technical support. If they do not help you, maybe you should consider another product.

Q: Is McAfee antivirus a malware?
A: No, that's a defender from malware.

Q: How to manage exclusions in McAfee antivirus?
A: If you need to exclude files / folders during scanning, follow the instructions: open your McAfee security software, click the settings tab, click Real-Time Scanning, click Excluded Files, click Add file. Then select a file that you want to exclude from scans. Repeat the process if needed.

Reviews 7

McAfee Total Protection reviews 7

Super convenient protection!

I am far from computers and antiviruses and have never used it before. I bought a new laptop and there was installed trial McAfee Total Protection. I liked that it has introductory materials for novices. I found out about additional opportunities I have never suspected before. For example - vulnerability scanner. This feature scans the system and installed applications on the ability to update to the latest version for maximum protection. Also there is “File Locking” feature. This allows you to block access to files and folders with password. After the trial period of 30 days, I decided to buy the antivirus.

Pros:

  • Vulnerability Scanner .
  • File Locking.

Cons:

  • A small number of settings, mostly on / off.
Overall
4.75
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
5.0
Ability
4.0
Max Konan, 2019-11-05 12:42:44

i want to buy it

I'm new user of McAfee, have never see it before. I have installed it almost one week ago. Installing has taken about 5 minutes and was easy. The antivirus is fast and has simple friendly interface. I like it and i want to buy McAfee Total Protection (i use a trial now).

Pros:

  • simple friendly interface

Cons:

  • Have not found yet
Overall
5
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
5.0
Ability
5.0
Kimberly B., 2019-06-13 01:20:43

it was getting worse year after year.

It slows down my pc. And i have not a slow pc. There are Intel I7, SSD and 32gb DDR4 memory. It must fly, but - no.Some of the antivirus processes use a lot of the CPU resources. I have written to support services, but they could not help me. I have decided t uninstall McAfee TS after the few terrible months. There are fine alternatives with similar price. It is sad, because i liked it before. I have begun to use it 3 years ago. and it was getting worse year after year.

Pros:

  • Easy interface

Cons:

  • Slow doun the pc
Overall
3.75
Quality
4.0
Ease of Use
4.0
Functionality
4.0
Ability
3.0
Savyasachi Singh, 2019-06-09 02:05:15

automatically renewed

I don't like their customer service. It is very poor. There was a problem with the renew - they automatically made it, have did not ask for any permit. No, they have said that had sent me the email and i did not responded to. But i have never receive it! And have never chosen auto renew the subscription. They (support) blamed me that it was my fault! I have immediately canceled the subscription and delete the product. There are many good antivirus and antimalware software.

Pros:

  • quality of the scan

Cons:

  • customer service
Overall
4.75
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
4.0
Ability
5.0
JDFELLERS, 2019-04-23 13:51:32

It has slowed down the pc

i have purchased McAfee not a long time ago. And I have the bad thinking now. It has slowed down my pc- it always start many processes - nearly 18. I checked it in taskman several times. In addition i have got the problems with my internet connections: some times McAfee blocked it. There are all good with firewall settings - the programs is in the allowed list. I have given my own money for the troubles.

Pros:

  • Can not tell yet

Cons:

  • Too many started processes
Overall
4.75
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
4.0
Ability
5.0
WilyWaldo, 2019-02-22 17:39:08

Old (2016) McAfee is better than new

I think that McAfee has been the best in 2016 version, it was an excellent. But they have changed all later in new 2018 product. Why they have done it?? It was a great product that worked good. I like McAfee Total Protection but i can not recommended it now... Why?? I do not like the notification screens: blocking bad sites, runs a scan, telling about updates you need... This screens interrupt my work every 5-10 minutes. And i can't turn it off. Maybe for somebody it is not a problem, but it is for me: i record songs. It annoy me very hard... I think and expect that antiviruses must to run in the background.

Pros:

  • fine protect

Cons:

  • the notification screens
Overall
3.75
Quality
4.0
Ease of Use
3.0
Functionality
3.0
Ability
5.0
L, 2019-02-19 01:12:53

was no any freeze when working

I have installed it recently (two or three days ago). The installing is easy. It has a lot of the run processes, but i do not feel it- was no any freeze when working. Also there are the fine optimization, i see the progress The product has an amazing interface: simple and user-friendly. It all are at first glance, how works its engine i shall see in future

Pros:

  • an amazing interface

Cons:

  • no yet
Overall
5
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
5.0
Ability
5.0
Denis, 2018-12-28 05:11:34

Leave comment

[{"code":"6411DC193F"
[{"code":"6411DC193F"
"label":"13% Off"
"label":"13% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"749C824C44"
{"code":"749C824C44"
"label":"17% Off"
"label":"17% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"0F018EF43E"
{"code":"0F018EF43E"
"label":"21% Off"
"label":"21% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"TM10"
{"code":"TM10"
"label":"10% Off"
"label":"10% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"2610F8AFFF"
{"code":"2610F8AFFF"
"label":"14% Off"
"label":"14% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"9BAF4992D0"
{"code":"9BAF4992D0"
"label":"16% Off"
"label":"16% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"FC344F0F5D"
{"code":"FC344F0F5D"
"label":"19% Off"
"label":"19% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"E8E2E8EE7D"
{"code":"E8E2E8EE7D"
"label":"11% Off"
"label":"11% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"A3DF85D0CB"
{"code":"A3DF85D0CB"
"label":"15% Off"
"label":"15% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"14616E7EF0"
{"code":"14616E7EF0"
"label":"18% Off"
"label":"18% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"DE0722BECB"
{"code":"DE0722BECB"
"label":"22% Off"
"label":"22% Off"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"B34D0AF600"
{"code":"B34D0AF600"
"label":"12% Off"
"label":"12% Off"
"win":true}]
"win":true}]