The core of a good Windows internet security suite is obviously the protection it offers you from viruses, spyware and other threats which could disrupt your work or cost you money to recover from.

PC Tools' new PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2011 appears to knock up some impressive scores on that front, with the company claiming 100 percent behaviour-based detection, 100 percent for detection and cleaning of WildList malware, and 100 percent detection of rootkits - all based on AVTest.org results commissioned by PC Tools in August this year.

The program's interface is smart and clear, with the four main areas of protection: virus scan, Intelliguard, anti-spam and firewall each with their own large button and ancillary settings and other tools collected together in a column down the left hand side.

Of these four categories, the one that may not be completely familiar is Intelliguard. This is PC Tools' umbrella term for a suite of protections which prevent, among other things, downloading compromised emails and browsing to dangerous sites. It also protects against new viruses, before antivirus signatures become available.

Our test system had been running AVG Free before installing and PC Tools Internet Security 2011 spotted four new threats and 35 infections that the free software hadn’t - although the risk factor on all of them was 'low'. Cookie and tracking cookie discovery is often down to how you have the scanning engine set up, but PC Tools Internet Security 2011's adware and spyware flagging is a good call.

The extra protection in PC Tools Internet Security 2011 doesn't come without a speed penalty, though. We measured the startup times of our test system before and after installing PC Tools Internet Security 2011. Before installation if took 2 mins 26 secs for Windows to start and all the installed apps to appear in the utility tray. After, it took around 3 minutes, suggesting a performance hit here at least of approximately 20 percent.

We also timed how long it took to copy a 100MB file basket from an internal hard drive to an external USB and back. The results were 11.8 secs and 10.7 secs without PC Tools Internet Security 2011; and 14.3 secs and 11.4 secs with it - an average increase of around 12 percent. Even so, both these results are not unusual.

The PC Tools Internet Security 2011 suite includes a rescue CD burner for the first time, so if the worst does happen and your PC is hit by an attack which prevents it starting up, you can use the CD to load a separate Linux system and attempt recovery from there.

OUR VERDICT

PC Tools Internet Security 2011 is easy-to-use and effective Windows internet security suite, covering all the protection bases, though there is the usual noticeable performance hit when it's running.