Trend Micro antivirus review: Good protection with a few quirks

Web reputation technology steers you clear of malicious sites.

Computer keyboard secured with padlock
(Image: © Fly:D @ Unsplash)

Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Trend Micro is excellent at stopping malware from infecting your computer by stopping malicious files before they even have a chance to start downloading. It has extra protection for your email, banking, and credit card accounts. It is so good, Trend Micro is listed on both my guide to the best antivirus software and Windows Central's best internet security software list.

Here is a rundown of everything I learned while testing Trend Micro's antivirus programs and the tools included, and a quick comparison of each subscription to help you decide which one is the right one for you.

Quick review

Trend Micro is one of the best antivirus software because it is really good at blocking websites with known malicious files and phishing schemes. During testing, I purposely tried to access sites made to look like the login pages of PayPal and Facebook. Trend Micro used its web reputation technology to stop me every time. 

Internet threats aren’t the only place Trend Micro protects you. This antivirus program scans all USB drives before allowing any files to open or transfer to your device to ensure they are legitimate and bug-free. It also has spam filters to help reduce the number of threats through email in both the body of the message and through attachments.

As with most antivirus programs, Trend Micro has several different subscription packages available from basic antivirus protection to a full all-in-one computer protection option. While they all have the same level of malware detection, each has a different number of advanced security tools to provide an even more secure browsing experience.

Trend Micro comes with enough security tools enabled by default, but there is still a lot to be configured if you want the best experience with this program. Learning which setting to change can be a bit daunting for those who aren't the most tech-savvy users, but it is necessary if you want to turn off pesky popup messages and reduce how much of your device's resources Trend Micro uses.

Your personal guard: Malware Protection

On average, Trend Micro stops about 98% of malware threats. This is higher than the industry standard of about 95%, so we feel really good about recommending using Trend micro for your devices. Trend Micro stops malicious files during the download process and places them in its quarantine folder. Here you can double-check if it was a false positive result, or simply leave it alone for Trend Micro to scrub clean after a couple of days.

Some threats are so new that they haven’t been identified or added to the malware databases used by antivirus software. All of Trend Micro’s programs use Advanced AI learning. This means it takes what it already knows about the behaviors of malware and identifies potential new infections, known as zero-day threats. These, too, will be stopped and quarantined.

As part of my in-house testing, I allowed several computers to become infected with a few threats so I could see Trend Micro's ability to find and remove malware that does get by the internet protections. This program didn't have any problem finding these threats that included ransomware, Trojans, and rootkits. Threats were moved to the quarantine folder and held securely there before being permanently removed, leaving no remnants to re-infect the computers. 

Spam filters are included with all Trend Micro subscriptions. These keep phishing schemes and annoying emails from reaching your inbox while also scanning the messages and attachments for any malicious downloads. These spam filters work with both paid and free email accounts.

As part of my in-house testing, I allowed several computers to become infected with a few threats so I could see Trend Micro's ability to find and remove malware that does get by the internet protections.

Trend Micro uses every possible trick to keep you safe from ransomware, too. Since this is probably the most costly malware to be attacked by, Trend Mico uses advanced technology specifically designed to stop ransomware and keep your important files safe from being locked down. This includes Folder Shield which encrypts files so well that ransomware doesn’t recognize that it is important and will bypass it. However, not all of Trend Micro’s products include this. 

In-house testing of antivirus software

(Image credit: Future)

See where Trend Micro ranks, and learn more about this program, in my list of the best antivirus software for Windows.

Taking center stage: Overall performance

Part of the overall score I gave to Trend Micro includes how well the programs work on different devices. Windows machines are looked at more closely than others, but Android phones are close behind.

Performance looks at two main areas. The first is how much lag the antivirus software creates on the devices you use it on. Because software takes a chunk of device memory, depending on how much you already have locally saved could affect the overall performance.

Trend Micro does create a noticeable slowdown, especially on mobile devices. Usually, it doesn’t affect your work too much. It may take a couple of seconds longer for a webpage to load, or for an email to be sent. It could create a problem if you’re playing games online, and while watching videos. Once a video is fully downloaded, lag shouldn’t be a problem.

I did notice that Trend Micro has a lot of popup notifications. In some cases, I was told about an issue several times during a 60-second period. This became bothersome while watching a video, during conference calls, and while listening to music since every alert came with a very loud chime. These can be turned off, but you will need to turn off each notification individually.

There are workarounds to help Trend Micro create less drag to your system, including enabling its silent, or full-screen mode, but it takes some effort and a bit of software know-how to find and figure it out. This is why I also look at how easy a program is to use when determining overall performance.

For basic antivirus protections, it’s really easy to simply install and press the scan button. But configuring for the more advanced tools, you need to be a little bit more tech-savvy. For something a little easier to work with, I suggest looking into either Bitdefender or Avast. Both have similar tools, but they aren't as difficult to find our use.

Beyond virus protection: Security features

Pay Guard is one of the best safe banking tools out there. This unique tool protects your credit card numbers and online accounts from being stolen while you shop and bank online. It is more than a simple anti-keylogger. Pay Guard uses additional shields to protect personal identifying information and even log-in credentials from being swiped.

While every antivirus software subscription offered by Trend Micro has Pay Guard and does well in stopping malware, there are a number of advanced security tools that are available with high-priced subscriptions. These give you even more protection against threats other than viruses and ransomware.

The first tool included with Trend Micro’s advanced programs is parental controls. These help parents limit the time their kids have online while also filtering and blocking unhealthy and dangerous content. It also reduces the risk of cyberbullying.

A password manager is included for most advanced subscriptions. This tool saves your login credentials, so you don’t have to worry about remembering them. But it also helps you create very long and difficult-to-decipher passwords that make it more difficult for them to be swiped, guessed, or used.

Another great inclusion is social media security tools. These watch out for malicious downloads and links embedded in social media posts and ads. Also, these tools keep scammers and unwanted people from viewing and posting on your pages, even if you choose to let your profile remain public.

The more you use your device, the more it gets bogged down with lingering bits of programs, cookies, and outdated software. Using Trend Micro to scan for these, and other issues, help optimize your computer or cellphone so that it stays in tip-top working order. It will work fast and you won’t have small holes in your system where hackers and snoops could sneak in.

Trend Micro’s highest subscription option comes with identity theft monitoring and a VPN.

Trend Micro’s highest subscription option comes with identity theft monitoring and a VPN. You also get the best support with this option, including remote diagnosis and repair of the program,

Identity theft monitoring keeps an eye on the dark web and alerts you if any of your personal information is found there. This includes your anmes, birthdate, social security number, and banking information. It will also look out for login information for emails and social media accounts.

The VPN lets you work online without leaving a trail behind you. Everything you do on the web while using the Trend Micro VPN won’t be logged and it can’t be tracked back to you.

Is it worth it? The cost of using Trend Micro

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security is the basic protection program available. It only covers one Windows device, but it starts at $20 for a whole year. It doesn’t have many advanced security settings, like a password manager, parental controls, or VPN access, but it does come with Pay Guard. Also, this is the introductory price. Every year after the first will cost more.

Internet Security is also only for Windows devices, but it comes with three licenses. Building on the protection and tools included in Antivirus+, Internet Security has parental controls. Social media protections, and system optimization. For the first year, you can protect three computers for $40, but subsequent years will cost more.

The best protection software from Trend Mciro is its Maximum Security. For $50, you can protect up to 5 devices, including Mac and cell phones. This subscription comes with all security and privacy tools, like ID theft monitoring, password managers, and VPN access. You also get 24/7 support and remote diagnosis and fixes.

Compare Trend Micro products

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Trend Micro Antivirus+ SecurityTrend Micro Internet SecurityTrend Micro Maximum SecurityTrend Micro Premium Security
Operating systemWindowsWindowsWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, and ChromebookWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Chromebook
Number of devices13510
Starting price$19.95$39.95$49.95$59.95
Ransomware protection✔️✔️✔️✔️
Pay Guard✔️✔️✔️✔️
Advnaced AI learning✔️✔️✔️✔️
System optimizerRow 6 - Cell 1 ✔️✔️✔️
Parental controlsRow 7 - Cell 1 ✔️✔️✔️
Social media protectionsRow 8 - Cell 1 ✔️✔️✔️
Password managerRow 9 - Cell 1 Row 9 - Cell 2 ✔️✔️
ID theft monitoringRow 10 - Cell 1 Row 10 - Cell 2 Row 10 - Cell 3 ✔️
VPN accesssRow 11 - Cell 1 Row 11 - Cell 2 Row 11 - Cell 3 ✔️
24/7 tech supportRow 12 - Cell 1 Row 12 - Cell 2 Row 12 - Cell 3 ✔️


While every antivirus software subscription offered by Trend Micro has its signature tool, Pay Guard, and they all do very well in stopping malware, there are noticeable differences between the number of advanced security tools offered between its subscriptions. Higher-priced software includes password managers, parental controls, identity theft monitoring, and VPN access. The biggest drawbacks are in performance. 

Trend Micro does create noticeable lag, and has a lot of popup alerts, but these shouldn’t be enough to really stop you while it’s running. You can configure the program to stop or minimize these, but you’ll need to be at least a little tech savvy to figure them out on your own. If you have Trend Micro Maximum Security software, you have free access to tech support and they can help you remotely with this.

Nikki Johnston
Commissioned editor

Nikki is a commissioned editor for Future Plc covering internet security including antivirus and VPN. With over 18 years of research and writing experience, and 11 years of testing and reviewing internet security solutions, Nikki knows how to dive deep to get the information consumers need to make better buying decisions. She is also a mom to 10 children, and personally uses many of the products she reviews to ensure the safety of her own family.