In a world that is overrun by viruses, malware, and other threats to your security and privacy, you might find yourself very quickly overwhelmed by the problems and the solutions. When you purchase a new PC, you might feel the default option has enough antivirus protection to keep you safe.
Or, you might not. After all, wouldn’t a company that focuses only on antivirus and anti-malware be better able to protect you than a company that produces an operating system, an office suite, hardware, and more? That’s where solutions like Total AV come into play. Total AV antivirus is (relatively speaking) a new kid on the block with computer security, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid them due to its features and affordability.
But is this solution better than what ships with Windows 10?
The truth of the matter is, a default antivirus, like Windows Defender, is a good enough solution for some users. That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Why? Because the default Windows solution is very basic. Outside of that, it’s not going to do much more for you. That’s where third-party security suites, in particular, Total AV software, come into play.
In this TotalAV review, we’ll take a look and see if Total AV is the right tool for you.
Total AV Antivirus Review 2020: Is TotalAV Good and Safe to Use?
There have been instances where a piece of software posing as a security suite is actually malicious itself. Those are rare, and Total AV is not one of them. In fact, like it’s competition, Total AV antivirus can be trusted. You can safely install and use it on your Windows computers without fear it will encrypt your data, demand a ransom, or bring your computer to a halt.
But why choose Total AV over the competition? What does it offer to entice you to choose it over, say, McAfee?
The truth is, their product does lack some advanced security features and functionality, and that prevents Total AV from becoming one of the leaders. But, at the same time, it offers a free version that will protect your device by scanning and detecting threats. And, the 30-day money-back guarantee option, along with the 80% off deal (only $19 per year instead of $29) makes this antivirus software even more appealing.
Let’s dig in a bit deeper than most Total AV antivirus reviews do and find out why it’s definitely worth a try.
Pros and cons
There’s plenty of pros to like about Total AV software, and a few cons to dislike. Let’s first take a look at the positives for this antivirus solution:
- Very low learning curve
- Free version (with limited feature set)
- You won’t notice it running.
- Plenty of extra features
- Versions for Windows, macOS, and Android
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Protection from viruses and malware, nice duplicate scanner, reliavle VPN
- No trial for the Pro version
- Limited to 6 devices per license (for the Total Security version)
- Web Shield only works for Firefox and Chrome browsers
- Interface, despite being great, only has a “dark mode”
- Doesn’t protect against rootkits or ransomware
- VPN, Ad Block Pro, Password Vault are addon features
As you can see, the pros and cons are pretty equal. However, this isn’t a numbers game. It’s about protection. Because of that, Total AV software should already be on your radar as a new antivirus solution. In fact, AV-Comparatives lists Total AV as steadily improving its ability to catch malware (going from 97.8% between Feb/March 2020 to 98.5% between Feb/May 2020). From that same site, Total AV was awarded a gold star for Real-World Protection and two gold stars for Performance.
- Fans of discounts: the mentioned 80% off deal applies when you buy one of the 1-year packages
- Users with one or more devices (no more than six) with multiple operating systems
- Users who want an incredibly easy to use interface
- Users with Windows machines ranging in performance from low to powerful
- Users who need simple antivirus protection from viruses and malware
Highlights of Total AV
- Quick scan or system scan options.
- Smart scan helps you keep your PC free from junk
- Password vault is relatively easy to use
- Doesn’t inundate the user with too many features
- Interface is one of the best in the market
- Quarantined files are easy to view and manage
- Quickly check to see if your passwords have been stolen.
- Other security features
- If Total AV doesn’t meet or exceed your expectations, you’ll get your money back
Features of Total AV
Reliability & Security
Total AV has only been around since 2016. That’s not a long time in the computer protection business. But in that short time, Total AV antivirus has managed to become a serious player in the market. And just because Total AV doesn’t have decades under its belt, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as your antivirus solution.
If there’s one big tell for such a piece of software, it’s knowing that the solution is always working in the background to protect you and your data. That’s one area where Total AV shines. With a real-time file scanner, Total AV software works in the background to scan for files, all the while taking a minimal hit on your PC’s performance. In fact, from the list of antivirus solutions I’ve tested, Total AV ranks near the top of least intrusive solutions. That translates to you only knowing Total AV is there when it discovers something it doesn’t like.
Of course, an antivirus solution is only as right as its ability to protect you from threats. How does Total AV stand up to the task? Let’s take a look at another section of our Total AV review.
Lab test results
Total AV has been put through the standard test for antivirus software solutions. The results were actually quite surprising for a software solution this young. In fact, given how we’ve seen other solutions fail at multiple tests, we were shocked that the Total AV test came out so well.
Let’s take a look at how the test results played out.
One of the most important types of protection you’ll want on your computer is from malware threats. Why? Because malware is one of the top threats, computer users face. In fact, according to ExpertInsights.com, malware is second only to Phishing attacks in the number (with phishing attacks accounting for 90% of breaches).
Malware attacks are so prevalent because they come in many forms. Malware encompasses threats like trojans and viruses—any attack that makes use of malicious software to exploit your operating system or the desktop apps you use.
Total AV did a remarkable job catching malware from both viruses and trojans.
Not only did Total AV catch the extracted EICAR malware test program, but it also caught the zipped file containing the program. Even better, Total AV antivirus gives you a few options on what to do with any malicious files it finds. From the Selection Action drop-down, you can pick:
This is an excellent feature for when the software comes up with a false-positive that you know isn’t malicious. You can then Whitelist that file, and Total AV will never tag it as malicious again. Of course, you’ll want to be very careful when whitelisting files.
According to AV-test.org, Total AV ranked 100% on detecting widespread and prevalent malware (with 21,851 samples used). The same site found Total AV is just above the industry average of 98.8% in protecting against 0-day malware attacks (which includes both web and email threats).
First off, what is a ransomware attack? This is actually one of the more challenging threats in the wild. Such a type of attack encrypts your data such that you cannot view it, copy it, save it, or recover it. Once infected with this type of attack, it’s very hard to recover your data without paying the attacker for the decryption key.
The most common method of ransomware attacks is via embedded email links. What this means is your antivirus solution needs to protect you against clicking such links.
Because of how nasty these attacks can be, it’s imperative that your antivirus solution is capable of protecting you against ransomware. To ensure you are protected against ransomware attacks, you must make sure you have WebShield enabled, as well as Automatically enable Total AV WebShield at system start, Block ‘Low Trust’ websites, and Block Cryptomining URLs.
AV-Comparatives scored Total AV two stars out of three (an Advanced rating) for malware protection tests (which includes ransomware). It is a pretty sounding result considering the affordable price compared to other antiviruses.
Phishing scams are attacks made by scammers that attempt to trick you into giving out your personal information, bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card details. This most often comes in the form of emails informing you that something is wrong with your account. The phishing email will look perfectly legitimate and include links for you to log into your account. Those links will even take you to sites that look legitimate. They are not.
Any antivirus that aims to protect you from phishing scams will be able to prevent you from opening suspect links.
We ran the Amtso Phishing Test to check Total AV’s ability to detect such an attack. This particular test is quite famous for testing antivirus software against a number of attack types. Unfortunately, even with Total AV WebShield enabled, it failed the Amtso Phishing test.
Anyone deeply concerned about Phishing attacks should be concerned about Total AV not catching this. However, it’s not the end of the world. The problem with Phishing attacks is that they are not only constantly evolving; they improve with every iteration. Because of that, part of the onus is on the end-user. As no antivirus solution is perfect, you should always use your computer with an eye toward caution.
One of the best things you can do is hover your cursor over email links to make sure they are what they say they are. If you’re reading an email from MSNBC and there’s a link over it to make sure the link actually takes you to an MSNBC site. It really is that simple.
Nevertheless, this is another area where Total AV antivirus shines. The simplicity of scanning your system couldn’t be any easier. You have a Quick Scan, System Scan, or Custom Scan. A Quick Scan only scans files in your user directories, files you have downloaded, saved, and created.
It’s generally a faster scan but does depend on how much data you have saved to your user directory. If you have quite a large amount of files and folders, the Quick Scan can take some time. If, however, you have a few to an average number of files and folders, the Quick Scan can take minutes.
The System Scan, on the other hand, can take quite a while, as it scans every file and folder on your computer. This is the type of scan you launch at the end of the day and hope it’s finished by morning. But you shouldn’t ignore the System Scan, because it’s your best bet at ensuring nothing has modified system files on your computer.
When Total AV completes the scan, it will allow you to easily quarantine any malicious files it discovers. It’s always smart to quarantine any file unless you are sure it is safe. If you don’t quarantine a suspect file, that file will be included in the next scan.
Like most good antivirus solutions, Total AV allows you to schedule scans. This is done from within the Scan Settings page, where you can set not only the date and time of the type of scan you want to run but also the type of scan you want to run and even the types of files you want to scan.
The only bit of confusion might be the file types to scan. The options are:
- All – scans all known file types
- Smart – scans the entire system for issues and compiles them into individual reports. This type of scan includes files found on the Desktop, Startup, Browser, Folders, Cookies, and Cache
- Custom – allows you select from a large number of file types, including 602, 7z, cpl, csv, dll, doc, docx, dot, dotx, egt, epub, ex$, exe, fdx, gadget, gz, html, hwp, hwpml, info, job, key, lnk, log, lwp, mbp, mcw, mobi, msc, msg, msi, nbp,pages, pdf, ppt, pptx, ps1, rar, rpt, rtf, shb, shs, sip, src, stw, sxw, sys, tex, text, txt, u3p, vbs, wpd, xhtml, xlr, xls, xps, zip
Once you’ve selected a file type, make sure to choose a time frame where you won’t be using your computer. Although Total AV doesn’t require too much of your system resources to run a scan, if you’re using your computer for something that is resource-intensive (such as games, streaming video, or number-crunching), you might notice the hit. So set the scan up for a time after you go to sleep.
Also, out of the box, Total AV sets those scheduled scans to run weekly. You should seriously consider changing that to Fortnightly (daily). Why? Because you are always saving files to your drive. You don’t want to accidentally save a malicious file to your drive, only to have to wait for Total AV to run its scan in a few days.
Of course, when in doubt, run a manual scan. Fortunately, Total AV integrates with your file manager, so all you have to do is locate the file or folder in question, right-click it, and select Scan With Total AV. The scan will run and report back if anything malicious or suspicious is found.
There’s also the Real-Time scan (which is an additional feature to purchase, depending on the version of Total AV you buy). The Real-Time scan will scan for malicious files as they come into your computer. The second you attempt to save a file from an email, Total AV will review it and let you know if it’s safe. This real-time protection is invaluable.
Total AV offers a number of additional features, some of which are free and some of which require an additional cost (more on this in a bit). Some of these features you should definitely consider using, while others you can skip.
The features you should consider making use of include the following:
VPN: The Total AV VPN is an additional feature that requires an additional cost (unless you purchase either the Internet Security or Total Security version of Total AV). However, if you’re looking for the most security and privacy you can get, chances are pretty good; you’ll want to employ a VPN anyway. Why? Because a VPN works to not only hide your internet traffic but encrypt it. For anyone that transmits sensitive information, that’s a must.
With the Total AV VPN, you can choose your VPN location (from a long list of countries). All you have to do is select your country and click Connect. Once connected, Total AV will keep track of the time you’ve spent on the VPN and how much data has been transferred.
Password Manager: Another feature you should definitely consider is the Password Vault. Once again, this is a paid service, so it’s up to you if you use it or not. However, the use of a password manager should not be considered optional. Whether you make use of the Total AV password manager, or you use a different tool, you should undoubtedly be employing this technology.
What is a password manager? Simple: A password manager makes it possible for you to secure all of your passwords in an encrypted file that only requires a single password to access. This way, you can use solid passwords (that you cannot memorize) for your apps and services. When you need one of those passwords, you simply open the password manager, type your master password, search for the service, and copy the password.
As with most good password managers, the Total AV Password Vault includes a password generator. This tool will generate a strong, random password that you can then use for new password entry. This is a feature you should always be using.
By using a password manager, you can rest assured that your passwords are strong and considerably harder to crack.
WebShield: This is another Total AV feature you should consider a must-have. WebShield will block access to rogue websites that attempt to gather personal information and/or install malicious software onto your computer. It is to guarantee you safe browsing.
One nice feature Total AV has included with WebShield is the ability to whitelist websites. You might find, on occasion, Total AV tags a website as malicious. If this happens and you know the website in question isn’t rogue, you can add that website to the whitelist, which means Total AV will no longer scan it and consider it a malicious site.
Notification Options: Although this isn’t a feature that will protect you, it’s nice that Total AV has included it in the package. With Notification Settings, you can determine what Total AV informs you of. The available options are:
- When an Antivirus scan is started/finished
- When WebShield blocks a web page
- When the Password Vault locks
- When a VPN connects/disconnects
- When your computer connects to an insecure Wi-FI network
There is also an option to be notified of Total AV marketing material and a silent mode when an application is in fullscreen (such as when you’re watching a video, and you don’t want it to be interrupted by a notification).
These options can either be enabled or disabled.
Application Uninstaller: With Windows 10, uninstalling applications can be a challenge. Just finding where to do it confounds some people. With Total AV, you can quickly gain access to the application uninstaller and remove any applications you don’t want. This feature is really quite well done. One nice thing about this option is that it doesn’t include essential system software, so you won’t be in any danger of uninstalling a piece of software you need. Even so, use this with care.
Junk Cleaner: This feature is a disk cleaner that scans for cached Windows updates, files within the recycle bin, temporary files, and Windows Error Reporting Files. This is an essential tool because so often, these junk files can really start to consume precious disk space. And given how easy this feature is to use, there’s no reason not to make it work for you.
Of course, there are a couple of features found in Total AV that you might want to skip. Startup Manger may want to change your Windows files, while Browser Cleanup access you web browser data. Everyone has their privacy principles. Thus, if you trust third-parties enough, include these options as well.
Ease of Use
It doesn’t matter how reliable an antivirus solution is; if it’s not easy to use, it won’t be any good to the average consumer. This is yet another area where Total AV does an excellent job—it’s incredibly simple to use. Some antivirus platforms offer so many bells and whistles that they can become confusing to those who aren’t familiar with how such tools work. That’s not the case with Total AV.
Even though Total AV offers a disk cleaner, a password vault, web security, optimization tools, personal information protection, real-time antivirus, system tune tools, it still remains one of the easiest to use solutions on the market.
In fact, most users would be able to install this antivirus solution on Windows 10 and be up and running without having to bother with phone support, live chat, or even the documentation. It’s that simple.
So if you’re concerned that Total AV will be too complicated for you to use, rest easy.
Total AV interface
One of the reasons why Total AV is so simple to use is because they’ve put a fair amount of time and effort into designing a user interface that makes working with all of the features quite simple. You’d be hard-pressed to find an antivirus tool that offers an interface this well thought out.
The only downside to the Total AV interface is that it only offers a dark mode. This could be problematic for some users who have trouble working with interfaces that work with a dark color scheme. That shouldn’t be considered a deal-breaker, but keep it in mind.
How Much is Total AV Cost: Comparison Table of Total AV Packages
This is where things get a bit dicey. Although Total AV advertises a pretty low price (you can score the Pro version for $29.00), it’s a bit deceiving because a number of the features you want require additional purchases. Total AV offers the following packages that include specific features:
|Number of Device Licenses||0||3||5||6|
|Real-Time Antivirus Protection||✖||✔||✔||✔|
|Advanced Ransomware Protection||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Virus, Trojans Adware Spyware & Malware Real-Time Protection||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Protection against Phishing Scams||✖||✔||✔||✔|
|Free Up System Space with Disk Cleaner||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|PC Performance & Optimization Tools||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Remote Firewall Protection||✖||✔||✔||✔|
|Stay Safe Online with Web Shield Extension||✖||✔||✔||✔|
|Web Browser Cleaner & Manager||✖||✔||✔||✔|
|Safe Password Vault||✖||✖||✖||✔|
|24/7 Priority Super-Fast Support||✖||✖||✖||✔|
|Smartphone Optimizer & Protection||✖||✖||✖||✔|
|Safe Browsing VPN||✖||✖||✔||✔|
It gets a bit confusing because you can purchase features ala carte. Say you buy the Pro version, but want to add the VPN. You can do that as an in-app addon. Each element has a different price tag, and if you add on enough features, that $29.00 yearly subscription can get a bit pricey. In the end, it’s more cost-effective to purchase the plan with all of the features you want, instead of doing it piecemeal. This is one aspect of Total AV that could change.
Total AV Antivirus Free Version – Basic tool for detecting malware
The free version of Total AV is, as the name implies, elementary. In fact, with this tool, you pretty much only get a malware scanner and a few optimization tools. At this price point, you are getting the basic features for your protection.
Total AV Antivirus Pro for entry-level protection
If you’re willing to pay for a yearly subscription for the Total AV Pro edition, you start seeing features that make the purchase price worth your pennies. Not only do you get protection against numerous types of malicious software for up to 3 devices, but the real-time protection alone is also worth the price of entry.
The one thing you should know about the pricing is that the first year will come at a significant discount. After that first year is up, expect the price to jump quite a bit.
The regular yearly price for Total AV Pro is $99.00. In this regard, one may consider some benefits coming from the discounts Total AV provides.
Total AV Internet Security for multiple devices protection
The next step up is Total AV Internet security. This version gives you everything found in Pro, supports up to 5 devices, and tacks on the VPN. Once again, this is an upsell that will be worth the extra price for a lot of users. The introductory price for this version is $39.00. After the first year, the price jumps to $119.00 per year.
Total AV Total Security Antivirus for maximum protection
Finally, we have the top tier version of Total AV, called Total Security. This version of the product includes everything in both Pro and Internet Security, supports up to 6 devices, and adds an ad blocker and the Password Vault into the mix. The introductory price for Total Security is $59.00. After the first year, the price increases to $149.00 per year.
Two things about pricing. First off, there is no 30-day free trial for Total AV antivirus. This is quite the oversight of the product’s makers, as nearly every reputable antivirus solution offers a free trial. The second thing you should know is that, although Total AV doesn’t have a 30-day trial, they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you’re not satisfied, contact the company, and they will refund your money.
Support and Customer Service
Total AV offers several routes for customer service. You should visit the Total AV Help Center, where you can search through their Knowledge Base for answers to the most asked questions. If the Knowledge Base doesn’t help, Total AV offers email support, live chat, and phone support. Another route for possible support is to contact Total AV by way of their official Twitter account.
- To get in touch via email use [email protected]
- To fix billing issues use special billing phone – 833 201 8681.
For the purpose of this Total AV review, I contacted all three forms of primary support with a single question:
“When I quarantine files, where are they stored, and can I access them?”
Due to specific question, the knowledge base failed me, and my only actual support option was email. It is possible you don’t get immediate answers, but be patient as many other brands have the same the same practice these days. It’s rare that a company will respond within an hour or so (especially during peak hours). However, they are likely to return to you during a day.
Total AV Antivirus Software Video Review
TotalAV Antivirus FAQ
How to Uninstall Total AV on Windows or Mac OS
Check our detailed guide ‘How to remove Total AV antivirus from your operating systems’:
If you decided to install another antivirus program for Windows 10, you can see our comparison reviews below for Norton, McAfee, Avast, Avira and Kaspersky, or just read other articles and guides.
Total AV Alternatives & Competitors
As with any antivirus solution, there are quite a lot of competitors who are perfectly capable of meeting or exceeding your needs. Some of these alternative solutions are actually more established than Total AV software and have more to offer (by way of features and support). Possible options are Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton AntiVirus Plus, Bitdefender, Webroot. Just click below to compare them: