If you are going to upgrade your XP systems to Windows 7, then you will need to use VirusScan 8.7i as VirusScan 8.5i is not supported.
You can read the support article KB60468 which mentions what is supported.
I am aware that 8.5 is not supported on XP, I was more or less asking the difference between the two versions. Is 8.7 any more secure then 8.5, or new features etc
Below is what is new in VirusScan 8.7i.
Support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008
This release provides support for Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn).
Architectural changesVirusScan Enterprise incorporates some significant architectural changes that affect the manner in which the VirusScan Enterprise 8.7i core components work. These changes result in greater security benefits to customers, including:
Better rootkit detection and cleaning without system restart — Safe memory patching, better IRP repair support at the system core, and the ability to read locked files at the kernal level provide better rootkit detection and the ability to clean detections without restarting the system.
On-access scan performance improvements during system startup — A new boot cache process improves on-access scan performance during system startup.
Greater self-protection — The self-protection feature has been enhanced to protect against a wider range of mal-processes that can terminate McAfee processes. This provides greater VirusScan Enterprise self-protection and product stability.
Real-time malware protectionA new feature, Heuristic network check for suspicious files, provides customers with real-time detections for malware.
This feature uses sensitivity levels that can be configured, based on your risk tolerance, to look for suspicious files on your endpoints that are running VirusScan Enterprise 8.7i.
When enabled, this feature detects a suspicious program and sends a DNS request containing a fingerprint of the suspicious file to McAfee Avert Labs, which then communicates the appropriate action back to VirusScan Enterprise 8.7i.
The real-time defense feature also provides protection for classes of malware for which signatures might not be available.
This protection is in addition to the world-class DAT-based detection VirusScan Enterprise has always provided. The user experience remains the same and no additional client software is required.
In this release, this feature is available only for on-demand scans and email scanning and is disabled by default. You must select a sensitivity level to enable the feature.
Performance improvementsThese changes improve performance.
New scan deferral options improve local control of on-demand scans, including the ability to defer scans when using battery power or during presentations. One option can be configured to allow end users to defer scheduled on-demand scans for the increment of time you specify. You can specify hourly increments up to twenty-four hours, or forever.
Enhanced system throttling now includes registry and memory scanning in addition to file scanning.
Improved email scanner
The email scanner now supports double-byte and multi-byte languages. This improves detection reliability.
Buffer overflow protection exclusions by API
The ability to specify buffer overflow exclusions by API was removed from VirusScan Enterprise 8.5i, but has been reinstated for the VirusScan Enterprise 8.7i release. The API exclusion name is case-sensitive.
On-access scanner — Scan processes on enable
A new feature, Scan processes on enable, scans processes that are already running when the McShield service becomes enabled. When the McShield service starts, the scanner examines any process that is already running and any process as it is launched.
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The major differences between VSE 8.5i and 8.7 ( In Layman terms ) are as follows :-
1} Support : VSE 8.5i is not compatible with Windows 7 where as VSE 8.7i is. It is incorrectly stated in the conversation above that VSE 8.5i is not supported on XP. It sure is supported.
2} Artemis :- Artemis is integrated both in the On Access Scanner as well as the On Demand Scanner in VSE 8.7i. Unlike VSE 8.5i for which you have to download a special Superdat to enable the Artemis. The Settings can be changed from the Virus Scan Console in VSE 8.7i for the Artemis but that does not hold true for VSE 8.5i.
3} Perfromance :- VSE 8.7i is considered a lesser resource hog compared to VSE 8.5i
There are other miscellaneous improvements and the exact information can be found by browsing through the release notes and product guides of these versions.
Please be sure to uninstall VSE 8.5i prior to the upgrade of the operating system.
We do not support VirusScan Enterprise going through an OS upgrade. Too much of the underlying operating system changes in that process.
Case and point, is VSE 8.5i does not support the new OS you are migrating to, and you could encounter severe issues until the product is removed - best remove it beforehand.
VSE 8.7i does add security above what 8.5i could give but not in the area of file scanning and AV protection. The two are equivalent in that respect.
In addition to what has been presented, VSE 8.7i introduces the Validation and Trust Protection service, which makes core components of the product more resistant to being compromised. And it brings more compatibility with 3rd party applications by way of the EngineServer.exe service.