McAfee Antivirus review

Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by Daniel Wright

McAfee is an anti-malware product developed by McAfee, LLC. McAfee was founded in 1987 by John McAfee. John McAfee later resigned from the company in 1994. It was initially known as McAfee Associates, Inc. McAfee, LLC is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. In its over 30 years of existence, McAfee, LLC has grown to be one of the world’s top cybersecurity companies.

In 1992, the company was incorporated in the state of Delaware. It later merged with Network General, Helix software and PGP Corporation to form Network Associates.In 2004, Remedy, a subsidiary of BMC software, acquired Magic Solutions which was part of Network Associates. It also sold Sniffer Technologies, to a different company also known as Network General. It then changed its name back to McAfee, once again choosing to focus on cybersecurity.

Intel acquired the company for $7.68 billion in 2010 renaming it Intel Security. This pleased John McAfee who no longer wanted his name associated with the company. However, in 2017, the company was spun off by Intel and was renamed McAfee once again. Currently, McAfee commands 11.5% market share of Windows Anti-Malware Applications.

McAfee Products

Some of the McAfee cybersecurity products include:

  • McAfee Network Security Platform – prevents intrusion into the computer while connected to the internet.
  • McAfee 6000 Anti-Malware Engine
  • McAfee Change Control – this product monitors the integrity of files on Windows and Linux OS.
  • McAfee WebAdvisor 
  • McAfee VirusScan – this is a package of three products:
    • McAfee Total Protection,
    • McAfee Antivirus Plus, and
    • McAfee Livesafe

In this article, we are going to focus on the McAfee Antivirus 

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Protection Capabilities of McAfee Anti-virus

McAfee generally has good protection capabilities even for its cheapest products. The file shredder for instance. Normally only available on costlier versions for other vendors. With McAfee it is available even on the cheapest version of McAfee.

The McAfee Anti-virus will crawl the internet and detect websites with malicious programs. The software will warn you or block your computer from accessing them.

McAfee Antivirus also provides 2-way firewall protection to your computer while surfing the web. Firewall protection monitors incoming data from untrusted sources. In addition it will also block any suspicious files from entering the computer.

McAfee Anti-virus protection basically involves scanning the files to detect any programs that match the antivirus signatures stored in its database. It monitors file behaviors in a simulated environment, known as the sandboxes, to determine how they would affect other files in the computer. If they are found to be malicious, they’ll be contained. If they are suspicious, they are uploaded for analysis to the McAfee lab.

McAfee Anti-virus Features

Being the basic antivirus version of McAfee, McAfee Anti-virus lacks some of the features available in the other products. However, it has most of the basic features that one could live with on a home computer.

McAfee employs the heuristic engine – this type of engine can contain unknown malware by running them in a simulated environment to see how they will interact with other files in the computer. While in the simulated environment, known as a sandbox, the file cannot affect other files in the computer. If the file is found to be malicious, it is deleted or contained. McAfee greatly improved its engine in 2017 – initially, it had a bad reputation of being ineffective. Currently, though, it ranks well with other top anti-malware vendors.

McAfee offers live tech –support to its customers. The support is available 24/7 via live chat or call. McAfee however no longer responds to emails.

McAfee Anti-virus comes with the file shredder tool. This tool shreds unwanted files – it permanently deletes them beyond recovery.

There is also the game mode. The main purpose of the gamer mode is to increase performance during gaming and still provide security. McAfee has ensured that you don’t have to choose between security and performance during gaming. The McAfee game mode optimizes the CPU, GPU and RAM to provide better performance. It also blocks notifications to avoid interruptions during gaming.

The consumption of computer resources by the antivirus is also greatly reduced to improve performance.

The McAfee System Optimizer is another feature that comes with basic McAfee Antivirus. The McAfee PC optimizer will analyze your McAfee performance and give recommendations.

McAfee Features not Available on McAfee Anti-virus

The basic version of anti-malware by McAfee definitely lacks features that are available on other McAfee products. Let’s look at some of those features.

  • Bundled Platforms: this is the capability of the same software to run on different operating systems. The McAfee Antivirus Plus, McAfee Internet Security, McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe can run on Android, Mac and iOS devices.  The basic McAfee Antivirus can only run on windows.
  • McAfee Antivirus can only run on a single device. The other superior versions can run on more than 10 devices.
  • The McAfee Antivirus and McAfee Antivirus Plus do not come with the anti-spam feature which the others come with. Anti-spam blocks incoming unsolicited messages and adverts.
  • The McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet security, and McAfee Antivirus Plus do not come with File Encryption which the other two software come with. File encryption protects confidential data from attackers.
  • The McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet security, and McAfee Antivirus security also don’t come with the identity protection feature.
  • The McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet security, and McAfee Antivirus don’t come with the parental control feature.


From our research, these are some of the advantages we found using McAfee Antivirus:-

  • Enjoy improved anti-malware technology that now ranks among the best in the market. Since 2017, the anti-malware properties of all McAfee products has greatly improved. Better still, the basic McAfee Antivirus offers just as good protection as the superior, more expensive versions.
  • 24/7 free customer care – McAfee offers a live chat and call customer care 24/7 for all its products including the basic McAfee antivirus.
  • The latest version of McAfee Antivirus is easy to use. The latest version also consumes minimal resources hence does not slow down your computer.
  • Though it does not offer a free version, the basic version of McAfee Antivirus is quite cheap.
  • It offers Artemis – real-time protection that scans all files at a very fast rate and blocks malware within seconds.


Although McAfee has undergone lots of improvements lately, it was once a very unpopular antivirus. It still holds some of those disadvantages. They include:-

  • McAfee is said to not fair very well among competitors in speed and efficiency.
  • It uses lots of space during scanning hence its hard to do other tasks while scanning.
  • With the McAfee Antivirus, you’ll miss out on many features available on the other versions of McAfee such as parental control, bundled platform etc.
  • You can only use it on a single computer.
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Frequently asked questions

How to get McAfee free trial for 180 days?

McAfee doesn’t offer a free antivirus, however, you can download a free 6-month trial of McAfee Antivirus Plus officially via this link We do not recommend downloading McAfee antivirus on torrent sites or downloading a cracked version as these are often infected with viruses.

Is McAfee a free anti-virus?

No. McAfee doesn’t currently offer any free version of its anti-virus software. There’s a free Security Scan however it doesn’t have all the proactive capabilities for protection as a full antivirus solution.

Daniel Wright