Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro

Quick Heal is an Indian company which develops security software under its own name, and produces enterprise offerings under the Seqrite brand.

Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro is the company’s starter product for home users, although you wouldn't know that from the feature list. It has a firewall, sandbox, anti-keylogger, intrusion detection: it's more like a suite than a standalone antivirus.

The program works on anything from Windows 2000 up, which is unusual when much of the competition now requires Windows 7 or later. 

Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro is priced at $30 (£24) for a one-year, one-user licence. That's the package we’ve reviewed here, but if value is important you could try Quick Heal Total Security Multi Device. That gives you a lot more functionality, yet is still only $35 (£27) to cover three devices, and these can be any mix of Windows, Mac or Android.

Setup

The Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro trial build was easy to find on the website, and proved a surprisingly tiny download at just 525KB. On launch it downloaded the real program and kicked off the installation process. This was mostly very standard – with one exception.

Like many antivirus packages, Quick Heal has options to automatically upload suspect files or stats on malware detection. These aren't significant privacy risks, but many users don't like this kind of ‘phone home’ functionality and look to disable it wherever necessary. Perhaps to avoid that, Quick Heal hides these options at the bottom of its program licence. There's no indication they're there, so unless you scroll past more than 4,000 words of densely-packed legalese, you'll never know you've just accepted these ‘submit’ options. That's the kind of practice we'd expect from adware, not a professional antivirus application.

After installation, Quick Heal asked that we activate the trial to receive free updates. We clicked a button and were prompted to enter a lot of personal data: name, email address, contact number, country, state and city. These aren't validated beyond the email address, though, so if you enter a contact number of ‘1’ and choose a location in Afghanistan, for instance, the program won't care.

The Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro console opened with a ‘protection is out of date’ warning, explaining that, we quote, "virus protection is not updated since long time" and recommending we click Update Now. That's not difficult, but most antivirus apps manage this themselves rather than leaving this entirely to the user.

An alert quickly appeared stating that there were ‘suspicious file entries’ in our quarantine folder, and these should be submitted to the ‘research lab’. That's presumably linked to the buried ‘submit’ options in the installer, but what was odd is the alert asked for our email address. Why? Does that mean submitted files are linked to email addresses, so the company could pull up a list of everything you've ever had flagged? That wouldn't necessarily be a significant privacy risk, but it's not something asked by other antivirus providers and Quick Heal doesn't explain why it's required.

As a final installation check we browsed the Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro files and folders. There's a single unsigned file, but otherwise the package took a reasonable amount of disk space, correctly protected its files from malware, and used just two background processes, which typically consumed under 100MB of RAM.

Features

The Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro interface is cluttered, and not particularly intuitive. For example, it gives the most space to large buttons highlighting four areas – Files & Folders, Emails, Internet & Network, External Drives – and we thought these would give us access to related functions, like ‘scan this folder’ or ‘check that external drive’. But, no – clicking a button displays settings only, and once the program is configured you might never need to click any of them again. 

Meanwhile, common actions are more involved than they ought to be. To scan external drives you must click Scan > Custom Scan, then click Add to manually add each drive, then click Start Scan. 

The scanning process is relatively quick. Quick Heal took around nine minutes for an initial scan of 160,000 test files. After that, the program only checks files when they've changed. When we checked the same folder later it scanned only 2,206 files in fractionally under a minute. 

Quick Heal detected our test malware samples without difficulty, but we found the program's default settings also generated several false alarms. It quarantined Process Hacker almost as soon as it was first launched, for instance. The program has a lot of low-level system tweaking functionality, but it's extremely well known and entirely safe, and we haven't had as much as a warning about it from anything else.

A URL filter is included to block infected websites. This wasn't very effective in our small-scale test, but with new sites appearing every day it's a difficult feature to test effectively, and we've seen good reports about it elsewhere.

We were surprised to see that Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro has a firewall: they're normally reserved for internet security suites. But don't get your hopes up. It's not particularly smart, or easy to set up or use. ZoneAlarm gives you more power for free.

A Browser Security module restricts the ability of web browsers to access or modify system folders. It works to a degree, but there are limits to what this sort of approach can achieve, and it may also cause problems with regular browser usage. You'll be safer with something like Bitdefender's Safepay, a separate browser which has been engineered with extreme security in mind from the beginning.

An anti-keylogger claims to prevent malware logging your key presses to steal sensitive information. Sounds great, in theory, but it didn't block our test keyloggers.

There are several bonus tools. A few might be useful, including a module to create a bootable recovery disc to clean up a PC. The rest aren't of any real value, and can't even compete with the best freeware.

Protection

Reliably measuring antivirus detection rates is a complicated business which takes considerable time, effort, and near-instant access to samples of the very latest malware. We can't get close to that, but fortunately Quick Heal has been assessed in detail by several of the big independent testing labs.

AV Comparatives hasn't looked at Quick Heal so far in 2017, but the company did reasonably well in its 2016 Real World Protection tests, winning three top Advanced+ ratings. That's not even close to the best – Bitdefender and Kaspersky won seven out of seven – but it's comparable with BullGuard and Adaware, and outperformed Sophos over the same period.

Quick Heal Total Security did even better in AV-Test's October 2016 home user report, achieving near 100% detection rates.

VirusBulletin's RAP averages quadrant is a neat way to visualise how an antivirus performs against the top competition. The August 2016 to February 2017 chart places Quick Heal roughly in the middle, finding that it wasn’t great at anything, but not a disaster either. That matches up with AV Comparatives' verdict, and we think it's likely the best summary of the program's abilities.

Final verdict

Quick Heal AntiVirus Pro has a lot of features, but none of them are particularly impressive, its antivirus engine is only average, and there's just not enough power or functionality to justify the price.

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