Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 Free Download

 Installing Kaspersky 2012 was not the chore that last year's was. Kaspersky 2011 was plagued by a bug that would halt the installation process if even minor Registry keys from competing suites were detected. The 2012 version had a smooth and fuss-free install, and although it didn't demand a reboot once completed, we found that registering the program wouldn't take until a system reboot was completed. Basically, you're on the hook for a reboot here. It's annoying, and there's nothing to be done about it because of the deep hooks into your system that security suites require.
Kaspersky 2012 launches with cloud support

 In the security suite business, there's a lot of cribbing and looking over the shoulder of the kid sitting next to you, so Kaspersky's radically different new interface is a pleasure to use. First off, it doesn't suck the life from your eyeballs. It retains the green, white, and gray scheme from previous years, and the rest is new.
 Based on a mobile app-drawer design, it presents your security status at the top and stashes the four major security features of scanning, updating, parental controls, and access to ancillary tools at the bottom. The app drawer layout puts key security status information up front, and keeps your tools organized yet easily accessible below. You can slide the features sideways to see more options, or click the arrow at the bottom to pull up drawer-style the full list of options. Settings and Reports live in the upper right corner, and both use terminology repeated throughout the interface. This creates a solid level of consistency, and ought to appeal to basic security consumers and power users alike.
 A Cloud Protection button at the top of the interface opens a screen that explains Kaspersky's new cloud technology. Like its competitors that have already incorporated cloud-based detection, you can opt out of anonymously contributing your data. (This doesn't make you any less safe.) Kaspersky's opt-out is a bit tricky to get to, though. Hit Settings, the annoyingly unlabeled Advanced Settings tab, Feedback, and then uncheck the box to opt out.
 Unlike competitor Bitdefender, which allows you to reorder the tool buttons so that you can have the ones you use most often at the ready, Kaspersky's tool layout is locked down. This is one of the few drawbacks to the new design. Another is that in the Settings window, the tabs on the left are unlabeled and their icons are not necessarily as obvious to understand as possible. In order, they are Protection Center, Scan, Update, and Advanced Settings.
 Labeling aside, the settings themselves were remarkably easy to navigate and comprehend--even the advanced ones. Meanwhile, jumping from feature to feature was a zippy experience, and we encountered absolutely no lag when skipping between screens.
Features and support:
 The most notable improvement in Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is its new cloud-based detection network. It sends data anonymously to Kaspersky's servers, where a combination of automatic and manual processes figure out whether that new program you've downloaded is safe or not. The point of cloud-based detection is to lighten the suite's load on your system, while providing faster real-time defense. As you'll see in the Performance section of this review, the changes have made Kaspersky better at keeping you safe.
 The Safe Run sandbox has been changed, too. The updates to Safe Run allow it to be used on the desktop itself, protecting users systemwide. The in-app access to Safe Run includes a folder that bottlenecks files created during Safe Run, allowing them to be saved to the unsandboxed desktop but scanning them for threats before allowing them to move freely about your system. Transitioning between sandboxed and unsandboxed states is smooth. It's been designed to resemble the Windows default remote access tool, so using it feels like a native Windows feature.
 The File Advisor is a Windows Explorer context menu option for checking out a file's reputation without having to go through the main Kaspersky program itself. It creates a pipeline from the Kaspersky Security Network, or KSN, to the files on your desktop. We found it to pull down reputation data quickly, although its speed also will depend on your Internet connection. The Safe Run sandbox, which lets you run potentially dangerous programs in a walled-off garden, now works with both regular applications and Web sites. A green frame tells you when it's active.
 The System Watcher was introduced last year as fancy name for the refurbished system log. The Roll Back feature has been punched up in 2012, so the suite can now easily undo or rollback damage caused by any malware that does slip through, and the Network Monitor feature shows you real-time traffic to and from your computer. Among the better ancillary tools are an Internet Explorer security analyzer, a good idea if you're stuck on Windows XP and IE8 or earlier. It's weird that it doesn't support any other browsers. There's also a virtual keyboard for when you're worried about keyloggers. It's mostly an older feature that Kaspersky keeps around for bragging rights, because it's highly unlikely that you'd have Kaspersky running and be infected by a keylogger.
 The features available in the desktop gadget have been overhauled to more closely reflect the full UI. Click the center of the monitor-style gadget to open Kaspersky's interface. Across the bottom are four buttons: Update; a security-action Task Manager; Reports, for digging into what Kaspersky's been doing; and a one-click button for jumping right into Safe Run. It's a well-designed tool that puts the most essential Kaspersky tools front and center. Security features worked just as fast as when going through the main program.
 If you're familiar with current security suites, you know that they all have some variation of a "Quick Scan." Kaspersky eliminated this last year, instead introducing a Vulnerability scan and Critical Areas scan to complement the Full Scan. Part of this, we suspect, is because Kaspersky's scans just aren't that fast. It does refocus the user's attention on the nature of what the scan is looking for, although seeing as how most people probably want their security to just work, it might be a trend that's not worth bucking. When a scan is complete, it provides you with a list of recommended actions and information as to whether the problem ought to be fixed ASAP or whether it's a minor issue, like a tracking cookie.
 Unchanged from last year, online support is decent, with the standard offerings of forums, live chat, knowledge base articles, and telephone support. Live chat isn't as robust as with some competitors, only available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. The telephone support is similarly restricted from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday. The tech support number is buried fairly deep on the Kaspersky site, probably to discourage calls. They can be reached at 781-503-1820 or 1-866-525-9094.
 Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 (KIS) shares the same detection engine as its less feature-laden sibling, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 (KAV), so both are discussed here.
Kaspersky 2012 doesn't focus on speedy scans as much as its competitors. For most of the scan's duration on a real-world computer, it promised to complete in less than 3 minutes, when in reality it took an average of 8 minutes, 10 seconds to complete over three runs. Meanwhile, the Full scan tightened up and completed scanning in 1 hour, 32 minutes--that's about average for Full Scans.

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