possible frontrunner in the anti-virus category if it were not plagued
by so many problems...
First I’ll start with what you need. All PC-cillin II says that it needs for Installation is a 386, a CD-ROM (any speed), 8 MB of RAM, and at least 5 MB of free hard drive space. I tested PC-cillin II on my Pentium-75 running Windows95 with 16 MB of RAM, a 4x CD-ROM and a Gig hard drive sliced and diced with Partition Magic 3.0 (still wish I had more than 100 MB free!).
Installing PC-cillin II is fairly routine, put in the CD and run the Setup program. From there it performs a basic scan of the memory and some key files, then it goes on to ask you for your serial number (provided), and where you want to install. It will also prompt you to create a emergency boot disk in case something happen, but for some reason it wouldn’t work on my system.
Once I rebooted my system I noticed a few changes. First of all it added two lines to my AUTOEXEC.BAT file, one telling it to scan the root directory and the C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND sub-directory. The other file told it to scan all TSRs that were loaded. After this was done it continued with my startup and loaded Windows95. My Windows startup normally takes about 20 secs., so I was wondering what was going on when it took nearly a minute and a half to start. The cause of this? PC-cillin II’s taskbar monitor. So wondering what this little icon of hope was I right clicked on it.
Up popped three choices: Show Monitor, Open PC-cillin II, and Unload PC-cillin II. Starting with the first choice I decided to show the monitor.
The Smart Monitor is a control panel with various gages and meters and buttons to push. From there you can choose to do a full scan, update the virus file, change the various options and visit the Virus Lab, an online service to analyze viruses that are unknown. As much as I would have liked to try the various online services that they offer, I lack Internet access.
Just when I thought that all was fine and dandy various things started to happen. At first I just accredited them to random events, but then I discovered that they were in fact linked to PC-cillin II.
My first problem occurred when I went to play Quake. Every time I tried it through Windows I kept getting an invalid page fault. After closing PC-cillin’s background monitor things ran fine.
My second occurrence was when I ran defrag on my E drive. No sooner then it started then it froze my system, twice! Once again after having to restart my system and closing PC-cillin Defrag ran without trouble.
After the second time that this happened I began to wonder what was going on so I decided to call their tech. support and test out how well it worked. Well to my surprise I found out that both TouchStone’s tech. support and BBS were long distance calls which I was not going call.
I was hoping that this may have been the last of the problem but to my luck more things happened. when scanning for the standard test virus "eicar" which is used to test the installation of AV programs. Right about here I questioned the integrity of PC-cillin II.
And last but not least it attempted to piggy-back McAfee virus scan and crashed itself about halfway through the scanning process.
In conclusion PC-cillin II for Windows 95 could and would be a very capable competitor if it were not for the long distance support and its various problems.
PC-cillin II is a product of Touchstone Software and retails for $49.95.
Jeff Escamilla is a sophomore at Communications Arts High School. In his spare time he enjoys "tweaking" and fixing computers. He is also active in the Taft Raider Band, playing trumpet.