Windows 7 forum


What is the Best Anti-Virus/Maleware software for Windows 7.

by Spontaneous_D / May 18, 2013 11:44 PM PDT

Can someone tell me what are the top three antivirus/malware software programs for Windows 7. I need to get one today.

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All Answers

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I don't think there's any concensus
by wpgwpg / May 19, 2013 12:38 AM PDT

Every time I pick up a magazine to read about antivirus programs, I see something totally different from what I've seen before, and I'm afraid the same is true for recommendations I see in forums like this one. Comcast provides a free Norton Security Suite for its customers which I've been using on my laptop for the last 17 months with no problems. Some people like AVG and Avast. I've been using the free version of AVG on my desktop PC for years without any problems, and I know folks who swear by Avast. Malwarebytes is another one I've seen recommended pretty often. McAfee has popular software as well, but some folks will tell you Norton and McAfee are junk. I disagree about Norton because it's working well for me, but the last time I used McAfee several years ago it was a resource hog. The one thing everyone seems agreed on is that no one program will take care of everything, so just be aware of that.
Good luck.

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You. You are the single biggest source of malware infections meaning you are the single biggest source for preventing them. Software programs are limited in what they can do, and will not stop you if you insist on doing something foolish. There is no magic bullet program that you can install and will miraculously protect you from every single threat past, present, and future. There are, however, some fairly simple habits you can adopt and/or change that will go a very long ways towards keeping you safe.


The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer (e.g. Maxathon and MSN Explorer)
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(8)(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimen (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other online tips
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke sleeping bears (17)
6: Do not use registry cleaners/fixers/optimizers (18)(19)

Offline tips and suggestions
1: Avoid buying Acer, HP. Compaq, Gateway, and eMachines computers (20)(21)(22)(23)
2: Avoid sub-$500 systems that aren't netbooks or part of some limited time price promotion (24)


(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. The jury is still out on Vista's Windows Mail, but given Microsoft's history with email programs, extreme caution is advised. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. I would personally recommend Firefox with the NoScript extension for added security, but it the important thing is to pick one and use it instead of IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(8) Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences
(18) Most of these programs are scams, and sell you something you don't need. Most of them report non-issues in an attempt to boost the number of "issues". Sometimes using these programs can lead to a non-functioning computer.
(19) The Windows registry is not some mystical black box of untapped performance tweaks for Windows, that will lead to untold improvements in system performance. Most of the tweaks will lead to very modest performance gains of 1-2% tops, and probably less than 10% all combined. There is also a good chance that you will render your system unbootable if you make a mistake when editing. Registry default settings are set that way for a reason. Just do yourself a favor, and forget you ever heard of the Windows registry unless you are a computer programmer/debugger and your job requires knowledge of the registry.
(20) Acer now owns Gateway and eMachines
(21) HP owns Compaq
(22) Hardware failures seem far more common with these brands than can be considered normal
(23) These companies use cheap labor in Asian countries were working conditions are often what would be considered sweat shops, and are run by brutal dictatorships, which you are supporting by buying from these companies
(24) If you just do some simple math, and realize that the cost of individual components like the CPU are around 25-33% of the total retail cost of the system, and everyone involved in the making and selling of the system is looking to make a profit, how much money can they possibly be making on each system. And if you're only making a few pennies on every system, how much quality control do you really think is going to go into the manufacturing process?

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I agree with most of your
by orlbuckeye / May 20, 2013 11:32 PM PDT
In reply to: You

post but I have had 4 Acers and the run and perform like a charm. They have survived without needing repairs. Two of them were high end with higher qulaity components.

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Same for me
by Nerosas / May 24, 2013 10:56 PM PDT

I have an Acer and an HP and they both work really well. If there's any company you should not buy from it's Dell. I have a Dell laptop and for the past 3 years it's constantly had lots of hardware problems.

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Dos and Don'ts for avoiding virus problems
by Big A / May 28, 2013 3:06 AM PDT
In reply to: You

Hello Jimmy, I agree with most of your advice - and will pass it on to my friend who ha a new pc running W8 (awful sytem) and who always asks me questions, she can read your post through !

Do you know anything about Macs...?

Robbo A

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The common thing about the Apple Mac OS X virus is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 28, 2013 3:10 AM PDT
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More than I want to
by Jimmy Greystone / May 28, 2013 7:17 AM PDT

More than I want to I'm afraid. Apple is kind of a two-faced company, and I mean that far more literally than most people think.

There's what you might call the consumer facing side of Apple, which is all smiles and friendly hellos. I also include the system designers and programmers in this category, who admittedly do a real bang up job. Or at least they did while Steve was around, but it doesn't look like Tim Cook waited until Steve was even cold in the ground before starting to dismantle some of those things.

Then there's the business facing side of Apple, which is a complete and total nightmare to deal with. In order to do any kind of business with Apple, as far as Apple is concerned, that gives them carte blanch authority to tell you how you should run your business. If you ever pose even the hint of competition they will land on you with an entire jungle's worth of 800lbs gorillas, doing their utmost to completely paralyze your business.

I'm funny in that I don't like doing business with companies like that. I hate bullies, and Apple is one of the biggest bullies in the corporate world today. I have nothing but respect for what their system designers and software programmers have managed to accomplish. Even if none of the ideas were original, Apple is often the first company that manages to get the whole experience right. Other companies had come out with MP3 players before the iPod, there were tablets before the iPad (including Apple's own Newton), and there were certainly touch screen cell phones before the iPhone, but in every case none of them worked as well in as many different scenarios as Apple's offering, so Apple rightfully dominated the market. The problem was when they started believing their own hype, and think that because they've had a couple of huge successes, everyone should do whatever they want. The world revolves around Apple HQ in Cupertino you might say. That's where my problem with them begins.

So for the time being, what Bob says is true. I still expect it to change at pretty much any moment, so woe be to anyone who thinks that just buying a Mac will be the answer to all their security prayers, but again Bob speaks the truth. As things stand right now, you can still run a Mac without really needing to worry about an AV program since all known examples of malware rely on social engineering to get on the system to begin with. Sooner or later someone will find a remote exploit that will blow the whole thing wide open, so the smart Mac user is still looking over their shoulder every now and then.

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I like Norton and I
by orlbuckeye / May 20, 2013 11:24 PM PDT

use Norton 360. I also use AntiMalwareBytes to remove maleware. They both do different things.

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by pauly1651 / May 24, 2013 10:57 AM PDT
In reply to: I like Norton and I

I don't like Norton
Norton's bad for me
Mommy put it on my PC, to try and upset me.
I fooled Mommy
I put it on her PC
now her PC's blowing up
so she don't bother me.
No more.
OK, seriously.
I use AVG, Malwarebytes, and I be real careful.
That is what works the best.

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I've been using Norton for years.
by orlbuckeye / May 29, 2013 12:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Norton?

Back in the day if you got attacked and the virus damaged Norton enough that it didn't uninstall or let you reinstall it was a pain. I remember deleting registry entries. I started using Norton 360 and have had no problems. I also use Malwarebytes. I use it, my sister's family has it on 3 computers and my girlfriends family has it on 4 or 5 computers with no problems. My company with over 2000 pc's uses Norton and have for years. Most of the rankings have Avast ranked higher then AVG in the free virus protection software.

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Use the free versions of Avast & Malwarebytes
by AZKID44 / May 24, 2013 11:28 AM PDT

As previously stated here, there are many AV and Anti-Malware programs out there ... as well as differing opinions. However, you will be well served using the free versions of Avast and Malwarebytes (MBAM) for your Win7 PC.

One note of caution .... NEVER EVER run 2 Anti-virus programs simultaneously. That's a recipe for disaster!!! Using a AV program with an on demand Anti-Malware program like MBAM is not a problem.

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by Zouch / May 24, 2013 7:40 PM PDT

I've used Kaspersky products since 2007, when I gave up on ZoneAlarm after Checkpoint wrecked it. I had Kaspersky Internet Security Suite to begin with but upgraded to Pure about 4 years ago. No infections or anything untoward in that time. Their Antivirus checks for signature updates every HOUR! I tracked it for a few days out of interest and it actually updated about 6-8 times a day. No noticeable overhead on my laptop (Centrino Sonoma) unlike McAfee or M/S Security Essentials that I tried at last renewal (but only very briefly!).

Downside is that it isn't free but they very often have special deals offering more PCs or more years coverage.

Your mileage may, of course, vary.

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by krampec / May 24, 2013 8:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Kaspersky

In short: For antivirus: Kaspersky (AV 2013, licensed, $30-40 a year)
For Malware: Malwarebytes (Free)

In long: Kaspersky, Malwarebytes

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Just out of curiosity
by Jimmy Greystone / May 24, 2013 10:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Kaspersky

Just out of curiosity, how exactly do you know that you have no infections or anything untowards now or in the time you've been using Kaspersky? I'm not trying to be sarcastic either. You need more than one malware scanner typically because the few things Malwarebytes might miss could be picked up by some other program. So why the assumption that AV Program X is infallible? For all you know, there could be someone working at Kaspersky who has used their insider knowledge to develop a trojan that will escape detection, or maybe they have the ability to ensure that the specific signature of this threat never makes it into the definitions files that are pushed out. It doesn't even necessarily require special insider knowledge, there simply could exist some trojan or rootkit that a very skilled developer created which carefully mimics behavior of a legitimate program to avoid detection, or maybe it is very narrowly focused and is looking for specific high value targets instead of the usual vacuum cleaner method employed. The Russian mob has actually gotten quite sophisticated, and will go so far as to pay to send people to college to study computer science in exchange for that person then going to work for them creating malware and other things. There was also that bit of malware that came to light maybe a year ago, and was suspected to be a joint operation between US and Israeli intelligence services aimed at taking out Iranian equipment for enriching fissionable material. That was only found by pure chance, and had likely been in operation for years prior.

Just because you haven't noticed any issues doesn't necessarily mean they aren't there. For example, when you get a cold, you were actually infected a week or two back, it just took that long for the virus to incubate in your body and reach critical mass so you notice that you're sick.

Also, high frequency definition updates can be a double edged sword if you get a false-positive in the definition file that then takes out some key system file. It would hardly be the first time a major AV vendor has made such a mistake.

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by krampec / May 25, 2013 1:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Just out of curiosity

Well, there's no absolute hermetic protection.
Does it mean that you have to use a dozen different tools to achieve total protection?
I live with Kaspersky and MalwareBytes for over 6 years, in complete peace/silence,
and relaxed.
To be protected, is one thing. To be reasonable, is another. I'm a private-home user,
not a security-industry, and there's a reasonable limit to the extent for spending resources (read=$)
on that issue.
All that said, is there a chance to be hacked by some vicious "enemy"?
Of course.
I choose to be reasonable.

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Fair enough
by Jimmy Greystone / May 25, 2013 1:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Curiosity

Fair enough, but the question is more to how do you know you're secure. Someone earlier said how they've used Kaspersky for some period of time and never had any infections. Well, how exactly do they know? All they've told us is that Kaspersky has never caught anything, not that they've never had any kind of infection. I gave the example of that "Flame" malware, which went undetected for a very long time as proof of concept that such things CAN and DO happen.

AV products, and I'm lumping anti-malware in there as well, are all reactionary based models. First someone has to identify a virus/malware program, then they have to analyze its behavior before they can devise some method of disposing of it. So there's always that "0-day" window between the time some AV company gets a sample of the virus or malware and has time to implement a removal strategy into the definitions file. It could take hours, days, weeks, months, who knows.

Blind faith in a specific software program to protect you against every possible thing that can (and will) show up on the Internet is NOT a reasonable thing to do. Any security expert will tell you that an effective security strategy is about layering. Every layer will have holes somewhere, so the idea is that some other layer will cover that hole. Think about your favorite spy movie or TV show where the main characters have to break into some high security location. There's usually security cameras, laser grid, pressure sensors in the floor, motion detectors, maybe thermal imaging cameras, probably even an actual human security guard as well. You have multiple overlapping systems to try and make it as difficult as possible for someone to manage to penetrate each one. Of course all of this is useless if you forget to turn it on. In the context of computer security, that would be like not installing the latest batch of security patches and/or using a program like Internet Explorer, with a very well documented history of pretty significant security problems. At least when you have other options.

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im very happy with ESET's NOD32
by Hermy56 / May 25, 2013 6:06 AM PDT

started to use it about 5 years ago after reading a test result in a Dutch computer magazine saying most AVG's slow down your computer after some time, because of expanding disc space and continuous checks. I was experiencing that on my old Acer XP laptop, so I decided to try the recommended AVG, who should use only a fraction of space compared to the others. As far as my experience goes I'm convinced. Costs in the Netherlands about € 120 (some $ 150) for a 3-year licence for 3 computers.
Once a month or so I run McAfee security Scan Plus, free download, which says my wifi-router is unvisible and resistant to any attack, so I suppose I can do without Firewall (though I think the Windows firewall is on by default, but I never really checked).
<div>But I agree with most of the comments: take very good care, double check etc. and still keep avoiding using MSproducts as far as possible.

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