Good Malware Protection Doesn’t Need to Slow You Down!

Good malware protection doesn’t need to slow you down!

“Security software slows down my PC.” This is a comment that is often heard when talking about malware protection on computers and laptops. While this may be true for many security products, even including the security software that is built into the Windows operating system, this is not the case with McAfee security. As a matter of fact, independent tests since 2016 have proven that McAfee is not only good at catching malware, it’s also one of the lightest security products available today.

What is malware protection?

Security software continuously keeps an eye on all the data that comes in and goes out of your PC. It does this in order to verify that there are no security threats to your personal data, privacy and identity while you are, for example, shopping online, checking your social media or working remotely.

Because security software is always active and protecting in the background many users have the idea that malware protection necessarily slows down the performance of their PCs. This idea however is likely based on experiences from long ago as certain security products did indeed have serious impacts on the user experience.

Measuring PC Performance

To measure how much impact malware protection nowadays has on PC performance, some independent test labs include performance impact benchmarks in their security product tests. The most well-known of these test labs are AV-TEST, which is based in Germany, and Austria based AV-Comparatives. These independent labs are among the most reputable and well-known anti-malware test labs in the world.

In their tests both labs look at ~20 security brands, including McAfee, and the test results show that McAfee Total Protection is one of the lightest security products available today.

Let’s have a closer look at what AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives have to say.


Every two months AV-TEST publishes the results of its on-going tests of 20 security products. As part of these tests the lab continuously evaluates the latest versions of all products using their default settings and measures the average impact of the product on computer speed in daily use.

A security product can achieve a maximum of 6 points depending on the test results. McAfee has consistently received the highest score in all performance tests since May 2018:

AV-Test PC Performance

Because of these excellent test results McAfee Total Protection was awarded the ‘2019 Performance Award’ by AV-TEST in March 2020.

Best Performance 2019AV-TEST Award

Below is what AV-TEST states about the award and about McAfee Total Protection:

Only products that make a high-performance finish in the AV-TEST labs throughout the test period of an entire year can claim this proof of absolute peak performance. With the AV-TEST Awards, a security product proves not only its technical superiority. Above all, it proves that it is documented as being the best the market currently has to offer in the fight against cyber-attacks.

With ‘Total Protection’, McAfee succeeded at fielding a top product in 2019 which was able to meet the high standards of the AV-TEST Institute. In the consumer field, McAfee receives recognition for best performance and is thus given the Best Performance 2019 Award by the AV-TEST Institute. 

With ‘Total Protection’, McAfee proves that good malware defense does not have to sacrifice system performance, says Andreas Marx, CEO of AV-TEST. Hardly any other software was able to achieve such stellar results in the category of performance in the annual test. Which is why McAfee receives the Performance Award for consumer software.

The announcement of the award can be seen on the AV-TEST website here.


Every year in April and October AV-Comparatives publishes their Performance Test Report. For this report the lab looks at 17 security products including McAfee Total Protection and evaluates how much impact these have on PC performance.

The test lab uses low-end computers as these are most widely used and more at risk of suffering from resource consumption and thus performance impact. The tests also mimic daily usage as much as possible and focus on activities such as copying files, installing and uninstalling applications, launching applications, downloading files and browsing websites.

Based on the results on these tests the products are then evaluated and graded in award levels ranging from ADVANCED+ (the highest ranking) to STANDARD (the lowest ranking).

McAfee has achieved the ADVANCED+ ranking continuously since October 2016:

AV-Comparatives Performance Impact Scores

As a result, McAfee received the Silver Award in the category ‘Overall Performance (Low System-Impact)’ in February 2020 for demonstrating a lower impact on system performance than other products throughout 2019.

And in 2020 we are off to a good start again!

On May 8th AV-Comparatives published April 2020 Performance Test Report and McAfee Total Protection is again awarded with the highest possible rating: ADVANCED+.

With this result McAfee continues to show less impact on PC Performance than most other security products and is one of the lightest security products on the market: 


McAfee continues to show less impact on PC Performance than most other security products. Summary

Even though good malware protection is continuously monitoring all activity on your PC and laptop for cyber threats, this doesn’t have to mean that it also slows down the performance of your devices.

As we have seen in the test results of two of the world’s most reputable anti-malware test labs AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, McAfee Total Protection has been achieving stellar test results in performance tests since October 2016 which also resulted in McAfee being awarded by both test labs with performance awards in 2019.

And with an excellent start in the 2020 test reports we believe that it is fair to say that good malware protection doesn’t need to slow you down and McAfee Total Protection is one of the lightest security products currently available.



Introducing McAfee+

Identity theft protection and privacy for your digital life

FacebookLinkedInTwitterEmailCopy Link

Stay Updated

Follow us to stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats.


More from Internet Security

Back to top