Malwarebytes has built an impressive fan-base around its free anti-malware application designed to fend off viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, dialers, rootkits and other web-based threats.
Before proceeding any further, users should know that the free edition does not include scheduled scans, real-time protection, removable drive scans and malicious website blocking. These features and more are available in the paid version called Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium.
The main advantage of the free application is that it can be run as a secondary line of defense against online threats, by pairing it with the real-time safeguard of another av utility's.
Setting up Malwarebytes Anti-Malware isn't usually a problem to any users, no matter how inexperienced they may be with antivirus applications. As for the interface, the tool is as intuitive as they get, thanks to large buttons and short descriptions that explain each option.
Threat Scan is the app's comprehensive scanning method, as it looks into critical areas of the system where malware is known to hide. The alternative is Custom Scan, which permits users to handpick the exact drives and directories to look into, along with the scan objects (memory, startup and registry settings, archives, rootkits). In addition, it is possible to personalize the tool's behavior when detecting potentially unwanted programs and modifications (PUMs).
Users who want to further customize Anti-Malware's behavioral pattern may tinker with settings surrounding exclusions, rootkits, archives and advanced heuristics. It is possible to enable and examine scan logs, resort to a proxy server for virus database updates, disable notifications, integrate the app into the Windows Explorer context menu for quick scanning, and so on. Items sent to the quarantine can be examined before deciding whether to keep or delete them.
Our most recent tests have shown that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware delivers very good results when it comes to virus detection. Its main downside, however, is that it frequently hangs during various operations (such as scanning or verifying the latest virus signatures) and it is generally very slow when it comes to removing the infected files.
To conclude, there are two sides to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware's story: hardcore PC users who often travel to the dark side of the Internet are better off with faster and more stable utilities. However, by pairing it up with a reliable third-party real-time guard, the program can become quite handy to casual users who want to double-check.