Malwarebytes has announced a major overhaul of its popular Anti-Malware tool, changing the name of the paid ‘Pro’ version to ‘Premium’ and promising to support Windows XP users after 8 April

Firing up the new version 2.0, the program has been re-organised under a clearer interface the firm hopes with make its features more accessible and understandable.

All versions get a better heuristics engine and anti-rootkit detection while in addition to real-time protection Premium users also get blocking of malicious websites, scheduled scanning (the free version allows only on-demand scans), URL filtering and PUP protection, automatic updating and faster ‘hyper scans’.

It is fair to say that Malwarebytes has smartened up its GUI in ways that help the user but also itself – the features that might motivate users to upgrade to the paid version are now much more obvious from the interface than they were before.

On that topic, Techworld understands that the $24.95 (£23.74 inc VAT - see note) licensing for Premium will now cover up to three PCs under a single annual license; under the old ‘Pro’ license, covering this number of computers could work out much more expensive. Anyone who bought the Pro version on the old lifetime basis will get Premium on the same terms, which counts as a pretty good deal albeit that it only covers the single PC offered on this license.

Note: The Malwarebytes front-end for buying Premium is pretty confusing. Anyone wishing to buy three licenses should purchase only *one* key, not three as implied by the design of the web form. Techworld understands that this singe key can then be entered three times on separate PCs. 

Users who intend to use Windows XP after the 8 April end of support cut-off will be pleased to hear that Malwarebytes plans to continue supporting them indefinitely.

According to founder Marcin Kleczynski, the qualification to that support was that future security capabilities in the software would not be guaranteed to be supported by XP’s architecture.  

The re-name was driven by research that suggested people saw the old ‘Pro’ version as being oriented towards professional or business use when it was in fact designed to be used for by anyone. Kleczynski believed the new name would remove that ambiguity.

“Six years after the launch of the first version, and following 18 months of development and countless research hours, we are thrilled to announce Premium,” he said.

“It has been a real labour of love.  We are proud of what we have created and believe it builds upon the success of our existing products to give people a strong proactive countermeasure against today’s advanced online threats.”

Because of the program’s large user base, the current 1.75 free version will be moved over to 2.0 gradually, but this process can also be started manually.