ByNeil J. Rubenking
When I test any antivirus product, I normally do it in a virtual machine, for safety.
If a malware sample gets past the product’s protection, I just revert the virtual machine to an earlier clean snapshot.

The Kure applies that same concept to protecting your own PC.

Each time you reboot, the system returns to its pristine state, free of any malware that may have sneaked in.

To be sure you can get to a pristine state, The Kure also includes a licensed edition of McAfee’s antivirus technology.
In testing, the revert-to-safety feature worked fine, but the antivirus component didn’t measure up.

At $19.95 per year, The Kure is inexpensive.

A year’s license for McAfee AntiVirus Plus (2016) costs $59.99.

Admittedly, that McAfee license includes a full-scale antivirus that you can install on any number of devices.

As Seen on TV!It’s not common, but occasionally you see antivirus products advertised on TV, sometimes in the frantic, hype-filled mode skewered so accurately in Saturday Night Live skits (Bass-O-Matic, anyone?).

For example, last year PC Pitstop PC Matic ran a wild commercial featuring virus-writing villain Boris RipYouOff (they’ve since pulled that ad).
With The Kure, you don’t have to turn on the TV; just visit the product website to get all the excitement and hoopla you could want.

A video advertisement from the Saving Shopping Channel (which doesn’t seem to exist outside this website) plays as you scroll down through claim after claim.

The Kure works 100 percent of the time, while all other antivirus products only work 25 percent of the time! The Kure does something that no other software does! If malware damages your computer irrecoverably, The Kure will replace it, up to a value of $1,000! And so on.
I didn’t listen to the entire half-hour video presentation, but I did hear some troubling statements.

For example, “It knows when you’ve created a Word document.” That’s simply untrue.

All The Kure “knows” is that any file in a protected folder shouldn’t be wiped out.
If you create a Word document somewhere else, you’ll lose it on reboot. “The Kure does everything your antivirus does, but takes it to the next level.” Part of “everything your antivirus does” is real-time protection against malware attack, something not found in The Kure, so this isn’t entirely accurate, either.
This sales technique clearly works on some customers, or the company would take a different tack.
It’s definitely entertaining.
I prefer a website that offers straightforward information about how the product works, however, with links to independent lab tests and easy access to informative help and documentation.

Multistage InstallGetting The Kure installed on your PC is a somewhat involved process. You first download and install The Kure Installer Setup, which installs and launches The Kure Installer.

The Kure Installer runs a malware scan which aims to ensure that your system starts off clean.

As the product’s website states, “The Kure does something that no other software does.

Before it installs itself, it will clean your computer completely.
It will clean up any and all malware and viruses automatically.”
In fact, quite a few other antivirus products run a preinstall scan.

A bigger problem is the fact that in my testing The Kure’s preinstall scan did not detect any of the malware samples present in a folder on the test system’s desktop.
When the preinstall scanner has finished, it launches The Kure Setup, which looks so much like The Kure Installer Setup that I had to look twice. Once setup finishes, you reboot the system to continue.
After the reboot, the product itself launches and starts in on its initial configuration.

At this point, you must enter your transaction code and serial number.

By default, The Kure adds each user account’s desktop, pictures, music, documents, and favorites folders to the list of saved folders (folders whose contents don’t get wiped out upon reboot), and gives you a chance to add more saved folders. Once you finish configuration by defining a settings-protection password, you reboot again.

Done!
Unusual Appearance The product’s dark grey main window is mostly empty except for three big, colorful buttons. One lets you enable and disable The Kure’s protection.

Another brings up the McAfee antivirus scanner.

And the third launches an extra-cost Fix My PC remote-control session.

There’s also a button to connect with a technician and get live-chat help.
This main window defaults to quite a large size, wider than would fit on the 1,024 by 768 display that I normally use in my virtual machines.

The size seemed a little odd to me, because both the main window and other windows have plenty of space. Odder still, if you shrink the main window, the on-screen elements don’t reformat, word-wrap, or change arrangement.
Instead, everything just gets tinier and tinier.

It’s a Brand New Day!I reviewed a previous iteration of this technology called Centurion SmartShield Plus Antivirus last year.
SmartShield had three operating modes: locked, working, and unlocked.

The Kure has just two: enabled and disabled.

That’s certainly easier for the average user to understand. When it’s enabled, all changes to the file system and Registry are virtualized.

The system works just as if those changes truly took effect, but on reboot, poof! The system is back to its clean original state.
Of course, if you just finished writing the Great American Novel, only to have it vanish on reboot, you wouldn’t be too happy.

That’s why The Kure exempts the personal folders I mentioned earlier, ensuring that files you save there won’t be discarded.
Do note that The Kure is not a literal time machine.
It can’t reverse effects outside of your computer.
If a data-stealing Trojan sent your personal details to a criminal, The Kure can’t claw back that info.
If an encrypting ransomware attack damaged files on network drives, or on local drives other than the boot drive, once again The Kure can’t help.
Some system changes are important—Windows Updates, for example. You’ll definitely want to dig into settings and turn on The Kure’s automatic handling of Windows Updates.

For other product updates, or to install new software, you must disable The Kure, reboot, perform the installation, re-enable The Kure, and reboot again.
If you choose to use The Kure in conjunction with a regular, full-scale antivirus, you’ll have to deal with updates manually. Otherwise on each reboot your antivirus will revert to its earlier antivirus definitions. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus would be a good choice here, as it relies mainly on cloud-based analysis rather than on a local signature database.

Quietzone work in much the same way as The Kure.
In its permanent mode, it discards all changes (except in protected folders) on each reboot. Quietzone doesn’t handle Windows Updates automatically, though.
To get the full benefit of The Kure’s protection, you need to change your habits.

Any malware that does get a foothold on your computer will reign unhindered until you reboot, so putting the computer in hibernation or sleep mode is no good. You need to turn off the computer when you’re not using it.

Then when you return and power up, you’ve got a fresh, clean system.
Malware MalfunctionThe Kure doesn’t attempt to detect malware in real time, though the built-in McAfee antivirus engine does scan your protected folders in the background every few minutes. You can also invoke it at any time to run a quick, full, or custom scan. Since antivirus isn’t the primary function of this product, you won’t find it listed in reports from the antivirus labs.
It wouldn’t be reasonable to pit The Kure against full-scale antivirus products like Bitdefender and Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2016), both of which earn top marks from those labs.
Scanning for malware really is an important concomitant to the kind of revert-to-safety protection offered by The Kure. You don’t want to have malware present in the supposedly safe clean configuration! In my hands-on testing, The Kure missed its first chance at cleanup when its install-time scan didn’t find any of my samples.
A full scan of my test system detected a fair number of the malware samples that I had stored in a folder on the desktop.
I dug into the list of infected files to see what it caught.

The numbers looked reasonable, until I realized that it had reported most of the samples twice.
In fact, the scan detected just 46 percent of my samples.

For comparison, if this were my standard malware-blocking test, The Kure would have earned 4.6 of 10 possible points, the second-lowest score among products tested with this same sample set.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2016 managed 9.3 points, as did Avast Pro Antivirus 2016.
When I tested the actual McAfee AntiVirus against the exact same set of samples, it detected 89 percent, almost all of them by using its real-time protection, and earned 8.8 points.

That’s a pretty big discrepancy.
Scanning for malware really is an important concomitant to the kind of revert-to-safety protection offered by The Kure. You don’t want to have malware present in the supposedly safe clean configuration! In my hands-on testing, The Kure missed its first chance at cleanup when its install-time scan didn’t find any of my samples.
A full scan of my test system detected a fair number of the malware samples that I had stored in a folder on the desktop.
I dug into the list of infected files to see what it caught.

The numbers looked reasonable, until I realized that it had reported most of the samples twice.
In fact, the scan detected just 46 percent of my samples. When I tested the actual McAfee AntiVirus against the exact same set of samples, it detected 89 percent, almost all of them by using its real-time protection.

That’s a pretty big discrepancy.

But wait, there’s more! When I looked at the malware samples folder, I realized that all of the files reported as quarantined were still present, not in quarantine at all.

And nothing stopped me from launching them.
I launched a ransomware sample, which took over the desktop completely. On the plus side, a reboot did eliminate the problem—that part of the program totally works.
The Kure has a built-in button to get assistance from tech support.
I clicked that button to launch a chat session and asked for an explanation of why the quarantined files were still present.

The chat agent seemed confused at first, offering me a definition of the word quarantine, and asking what program I’m talking about. Once we sorted out the details, he informed me that the antivirus engine comes from McAfee, and thus any explanation would have to come from McAfee.
I don’t actually buy that. Yes, it’s McAfee’s engine detecting bad files, but putting those files into quarantine is a job for The Kure itself.
Getting PhysicalNaturally I also asked my contacts at the company for an explanation.

They pointed out that testing The Kure inside a virtual machine could be a bad idea, and I had to agree.
So, I installed The Kure on a physical test system and repeated my evaluation.

The results were unchanged; it claimed to quarantine the same set of malware samples, but did not actually quarantine them.
I supplied the developers with log files that clearly showed a specific error related to the quarantine process.

At the very last minute, they came up with a fix, one that I verified by swapping in two modified DLL files.

The quarantine system now actually quarantines files.
Once the fix goes through QA it will get slipstreamed into the product.
I do wonder how many other users had the same problem but just didn’t know it because they didn’t run into any actual malware.
I encountered the problem both on a virtual machine running Windows 8.1 and on a physical PC running Windows 7.

I observed a couple of problems early on in my testing: The Kure crashed a couple of times, and other times it spun its wheels for a long, long time, displaying “Loading The Kure, please wait…” I wrote these off as problems related to running in a virtual machine. However, even on the physical test system The Kure got stuck indefinitely at the loading screen, requiring a reboot.
A Good Idea, But…I actually started a review of The Kure back in January, but I had to shelve it because the core revert-to-safety feature didn’t work correctly when I copied malware into saved folders.
I waited until the company contacted me again, reporting that the developers fixed that problem.

As far as I can tell, the program now has no problem reverting the system to its clean, safe state.

This is a really good idea, especially in situations where you rarely need to install new programs or make serious system configuration changes.

As long as you remember to turn off the computer when done, avoiding sleep mode, you’ll always boot to a fresh, clean system.
Ensuring that the system really is clean does require some antivirus help, though, and that’s where The Kure falls down.

Even assuming that a new build solves the quarantine problem I observed, this product’s detection rate remains unacceptable.
If you really want the clean-on-reboot experience, you need to pair The Kure with a reliable antivirus, and there are plenty of choices. Our Editors’ Choice products in this area are Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, McAfee AntiVirus Plus, and Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus.

Do note that you will need to disable The Kure to let the antivirus download updates; otherwise the updates will vanish when you reboot.