Betsy Speicher

Anti-Virus Software

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My Norton Anti-Virus Live Update subscription will expire in a few days. I would like to use different anti-virus software that stays up-to-date, isn't a resource hog, is known to be reliable, scans incoming mail in Outlook, and is free or cheap.

Any suggestions?

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My Norton Anti-Virus Live Update subscription will expire in a few days. I would like to use different anti-virus software that stays up-to-date, isn't a resource hog, is known to be reliable, scans incoming mail in Outlook, and is free or cheap.

Any suggestions?

Avg antivirus. It has a good free version, a better version that has a 2 year subscription and isn't much, and has an appropriate resource footprint. Norton is a complete abomination, I'd rather have a virus. :P

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My Norton Anti-Virus Live Update subscription will expire in a few days. I would like to use different anti-virus software that stays up-to-date, isn't a resource hog, is known to be reliable, scans incoming mail in Outlook, and is free or cheap.

Any suggestions?

Does your ISP offer a free download? I get McAfee for free from Comcast. It updates automatically.

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Does your ISP offer a free download? I get McAfee for free from Comcast. It updates automatically.

I tried McAfee a few years ago and it was one problem after another.

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Is there any easy way to rid a machine of an anti-virus program? It always seems like a Herculean task.

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Does your ISP offer a free download? I get McAfee for free from Comcast. It updates automatically.

I tried McAfee a few years ago and it was one problem after another.

I had similar problems with them a long time ago also. I tried Norton, but gave up after I could get McAfee free. I haven't had any problems with this version.

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I have used 'avast' anti-virus software for at least the last couple years. In that time, I have not suffered from any viruses. It runs unobtrusively in the background. It can be set to scan outlook/exchange as well as any other pop mail service. It can also be set to scan instant messaging services and P2P services as well as a host of other things. The software and especially the virus databases are constantly updated. And best of all, the software is free.

Check it out here:

http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html

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I tried McAfee a few years ago and it was one problem after another.

I had the same experience. It would continually run in the background, slowing down other applications and basically being a resource hog.

I heard recently, though from just one person, that McAfee's software is much better now. I haven't looked into it any further.

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Replying to Betsy: I also had many problems with McAfee.

To Jason: Uninstalling Norton is a nightmare. The last time I made the mistake of using it, it caused massive system problems; it refused to successfully uninstall and I had to manually start blowing away registry entries. I was flabbergasted as its insolent and insidious injection into the system, with what seemed like hundreds of registry entries.

AVG has always been very well behaved. I recently uninstalled the pay version on one machine (to be replaced by the free version) and I had no problem at all.

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I have used free AVG on at least one machine for years. I am using the anti-virus in zone alarm now, but only because it is part of the complete security package.

You cannot have more than one anti-virus program installed on the same machine at the same time.

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I use NOD 32, lightweight with very good support and most of the time you don't know it is there. NOD32 The last review of several AV programs I looked at was a year ago, NOD32's heuristic analysis was, depending on the test, ranked either the best or among the best. Unfortunately it is about the same price as Norton, with the renewal weighing in at ~$28.

I have never had problems with Avast or AVG. :P

Programs like Norton and McAfee make changes or additions to the Windows kernel, something that is unsupported by Microsoft.

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To Jason: Uninstalling Norton is a nightmare. The last time I made the mistake of using it, it caused massive system problems; it refused to successfully uninstall and I had to manually start blowing away registry entries. I was flabbergasted as its insolent and insidious injection into the system, with what seemed like hundreds of registry entries.

AVG has always been very well behaved. I recently uninstalled the pay version on one machine (to be replaced by the free version) and I had no problem at all.

I currently have McAfee on my two personal machines and find it to slow down both machines. I would like to switch to AVG, which I use on my company laptop. I concur with Phil that it is wel behaved and unintrusive.

Has anyone had trouble uninstalling McAfee?

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Replying to Betsy: I also had many problems with McAfee.

To Jason: Uninstalling Norton is a nightmare. The last time I made the mistake of using it, it caused massive system problems; it refused to successfully uninstall and I had to manually start blowing away registry entries. I was flabbergasted as its insolent and insidious injection into the system, with what seemed like hundreds of registry entries.

AVG has always been very well behaved. I recently uninstalled the pay version on one machine (to be replaced by the free version) and I had no problem at all.

You are right about AVG (being good) and about Norton (not). They have a damn nerve leaving their finger prints all over the registry when you uninstall them. I had to get special help to go into the registry and clean up their rubbish. I can't get over the gall of some, like Real Audio, who decide how to install themselves in a computer they don't own. Then there are the blatant spy ware installers -- they should be thrown into jail for vandalism, nuisance and invasion of privacy.

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Mac owners: Any idea what these people are talking about?

Well, given that Vista may drive even more people to Macs, someday Macs may be popular enough to draw the attention of more virus writers. :P

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...You are right about AVG (being good) and about Norton (not). They have a damn nerve leaving their finger prints all over the registry when you uninstall them. I had to get special help to go into the registry and clean up their rubbish. I can't get over the gall of some, like Real Audio, who decide how to install themselves in a computer they don't own. Then there are the blatant spy ware installers -- they should be thrown into jail for vandalism, nuisance and invasion of privacy.

Watch out for RealAudio automatically installing itself in the registry as a "trusted application" for Internet Explorer to bypass security. Also be sure to go through all the optional settings to undo the defaults that violate security in many ways.

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Mac owners: Any idea what these people are talking about?

:D

:D

I used to know all about it. What a nightmare! :P

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Well, I installed AVG and, so far, so good. I uninstalled Norton and the uninstall hung so I went searching about and found the Norton Removal Tool on the Norton web site. It seemed to do the trick but, just to be sure, I ran RegCure to delete unnecessary Registry entries. It deleted over a 100, but I haven't run it for a few days so I don't know how many were from Norton.

Thanks everybody -- and especially Phil -- for your help.

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I use NOD 32, lightweight with very good support and most of the time you don't know it is there. NOD32 The last review of several AV programs I looked at was a year ago, NOD32's heuristic analysis was, depending on the test, ranked either the best or among the best. Unfortunately it is about the same price as Norton, with the renewal weighing in at ~$28.
It's not a poll, but I'll weigh in for NOD32. I really like the program. As you say, very 'lightweight' and fast. It has a teeny footprint -- perfect for a laptop -- and a full scan with NOD32 turns up positives in zipped installs that Norton and McAfee have never caught. It also seems to catch all spyware and adware that my SpySweeper and AdAware used to catch. They've caught no fish since I installed it.

I detest Norton for the reasons stated by others -- the invasiveness into the registry and the operating system -- and their obnoxious unresizable, unremovable space hog on the task bar in the recent releases. NOD32 is appropriately servile and knows its place. It's efficient and invisible, like a good butler (not that I've ever had one). Norton is more like a paramilitary thug, with his submachine gun at his side and goon-like presence. Yes, you're protected, but it's making sure you know this the whole time you're on the machine. Oh, and don't forget the incessant emails warning you to upgrade to Norton WeOwnYourLifeSystemCripplingCenter every other day.

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Well, I installed AVG and, so far, so good. I uninstalled Norton and the uninstall hung so I went searching about and found the Norton Removal Tool on the Norton web site. It seemed to do the trick but, just to be sure, I ran RegCure to delete unnecessary Registry entries. It deleted over a 100, but I haven't run it for a few days so I don't know how many were from Norton.

Thanks everybody -- and especially Phil -- for your help.

Betsy,

I think I may want to do this too. Can you give more details about where on Norton's website you found the Norton Removal Tool, and where/how to get AVG and RegCure?

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Be very careful making changes to the registry. If you don't know what you are doing you can do catastrophic damage to the whole system. So always back up the system partition before changing the registry.

An anti-virus program is only as good as the updates. When a new virus is found, word spreads quickly among the experts and the AV companies all plunge into action to trap it. Update the AV database a few times a day if you can if your PC is running all the time, but at least once a day. Remember that the algorithms used to trap viruses are based on known viruses out in public. If someone wanted to get you with a custom virus they could bypass your AV software. So the same goes for new viruses, which is why regular updating is so important.

Also, AV software is only part of your security. You also need a firewall and anti-spyware.

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