DOS Days

Central Point Software, Inc.

Central Point Software started out in 1980, and were initially known for their Copy II Plus and Copy II PC utilities, along with an "Option Board" that facilitated the copying of copy-protected diskettes on Apple II, Mac and PC. A little later in 1985, they released the PC Tools utility - a graphical file and disk manager. These rivalled other file & directory tools including XTree and The Norton Utilities. They later expanded their product range with backup and anti-virus software. In 1994 they were acquired by Symantec for $60m.

PC Tools

Following in the success of the Copy II product line, they launched PC Tools in 1985. Designed to supplement DOS with system and disk utilities at the push of a button (it was a TSR). The product grew over the coming few years with undelete features, a backup utility, disk optimiser and a desktop shell.

For DOS, it ran until version 9.0, released in late 1993. Several Windows versions were also released until Symantec bought Central Point in 1994.

Central Point Anti-Virus

Central Point added an anti-virus product to their suite in 1991, having bought the licence to a utility called "Turbo Anti-Virus", written by Israeli company Carmel.

This was eventually sold to Microsoft to incorporate into MS-DOS from version 6.0 onwards. This was rebranded Microsoft Anti-Virus (MSAV for short), but was ultimately the same product under the hood as CPAV. In 1994, Symantec bought Central Point Software, so the product then became Norton Anti-Virus.

Central Point Anti-Virus version 1.3 (1992) being installed and running

Anti-Virus comprised the following tools:

  • CPAV - the main scanning program with user interface
  • BOOTSAFE - checks your boot sector or partition table for modifications, and saves a copy of the partition table on each of your hard disk drives
  • VSAFE - a memory-resident program that checks executable files that are accessed, protects your floppy and hard disk boot sectors, protects against low-level formatting, and can even write-protect your drive.
  • VWATCH - a memory-resident program


Version 1.3 (also for DOS) was released in 1992. In October of that year, it won the PC Magazine Editor's Choice award. Newly introduced in this version was detection and cleaning of polymorphic viruses (those that change their signature with each new infection), BOOTSAFE allowed you to use DOS ERRORLEVEL values, PCCONFIG was a new tool used to change colours, mouse, keyboard and display options.

Version 2.1 was released in 1993(?). I believe it was this version that was rebranded by Microsoft and bundled in with MS-DOS 6.0, which was launched on 30th March 1993.


To download any of these versions or separate virus definitions, please visit the Anti-Virus Utilities page.