Given the chart-topping strength of its protection, the question should be: why wouldn't you buy G Data AntiVirus 2010? Our review may provide some answers.

Most security programs use a single antivirus engine, but the German-made G Data AntiVirus 2010 uses two separate engines: BitDefender and Avast. That double coverage may have helped it rack up an impressive 99.95 percent block rate for traditional, signature-based detection of known malware, a rate better than that of any other app we tested.

G Data AntiVirus 2010 was likewise strong at blocking annoying adware, running up a 99.8 percent score, and these strengths helped it earn top billing.

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G Data AntiVirus 2010's dominance continued on heuristic tests that use two-week-old signature databases and newer malware to simulate how well a program can detect threats that don't yet have a signature. In this test, G Data blocked 71.9 percent of the samples used by - again, the best mark we saw. And in behavioural detection tests - which checks how well antivirus software recognises malware based solely on what it attempts to do - G Data again led the pack by blocking 12 out of 15 test samples.

Despite this stellar performance, G Data AntiVirus 2010 isn't perfect. It put up a few false alerts in the behavioural tests and prevented three benign apps from adding Registry entries that would allow them to automatically start with your PC. And it didn't fare well at removing active rootkits, a type of stealth malware. It identified and blocked all 10 test rootkits before they could install, but in the case of already-active rootkits, G Data removed only seven - fewer than any other program tested.

See also: Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 review

See also: Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 review

See all: Antivirus reviews

In on-access scan speed (how quickly the app can automatically check files when you save or copy them, for in­­stance), G Data AntiVirus 2010 finished in sixth place with a 10.15MB-per-second throughput.

The G Data AntiVirus 2010 user interface is clean and well organised, and makes it easy to get to most things from the opening page. Unlike many of the apps we tested, however, it requires you to select an action in a warning pop-up if it finds something suspicious on your hard drive. You can change that default action - to quarantine, for example - but this takes a little digging around in the settings.

If G Data AntiVirus 2010 finds what it deems to be threatening code during a manual or scheduled scan, you'll have to double-click every item that it flagged and de­­cide what to do with each discovery. But the scan results window doesn't present this option intuitively.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

G Data AntiVirus 2010: Specs

  • Windows 7/Vista/XP
  • internet connection
  • 512MB RAM
  • Windows 7/Vista/XP
  • internet connection
  • 512MB RAM


Less technical users who are willing to forgo the best malware detection in favor of a more set-it-and-forget security solution might prefer our second-place finisher, Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010. For anyone willing to put in a little extra effort, however, G Data AntiVirus 2010 is a clear choice.