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Free AntiVirus vs Bought AntiVirus

by pizzaboxmac93-23170347319 / December 14, 2009 11:13 AM PST

Is free AntiVirus (like from AVG, Avast or Microsoft Security Essentials) as good as McAfee or Norton? Or am I better off getting McAfee or Norton? Thanks in advance!

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by Donna Buenaventura / December 14, 2009 2:16 PM PST

If you want protection against malware, spyware, rootkits, trojan and virus... free Avast, AntiVir, AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials and Panda Cloud AntiVirus offers the same malware protection that Norton and McAfee is offering.

The difference only is there are more 'features' and extra layer of protection in using a suite e.g. Firewall, anti-spam, web protection etc but you can get those protection in other free standalone tools e.g.
Firewall: Outpost, Online Armor
Web Protection: Hosts file or WOT et al

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by pizzaboxmac93-23170347319 / December 15, 2009 8:40 AM PST
In reply to: Yes

Thank you! My antivirus subscription was running out. I think I'll go with Microsoft Security Essentials.

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(NT) You're welcome :)
by Donna Buenaventura / December 15, 2009 8:49 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks!
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Thunderbird Scan
by pizzaboxmac93-23170347319 / December 16, 2009 5:58 AM PST
In reply to: You're welcome :)

One more thing... which of these free AntiVirus programs also scans email in Thunderbird?

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I know that AVG and Avast scan email in their free...
by Paul C / December 16, 2009 7:58 AM PST
In reply to: Thunderbird Scan

...versions, and I imagine that the others do as well. Email scanning is an absolute requirement for an effective antivirus app these days.

Just remember that in addition to a good antivirus app, you also need at least two anti spyware apps and a firewall.

Here, therefore, are some links:

Firewalls: http://www.iopus.com/guides/free-firewall.htm NOTE: The ratings are theirs, not mine. I like Zone Alarm best; you may differ.

Malewarebytes Anti-Malware: http://www.malwarebytes.org/ Free version only scans on demand; you must manually update and start it. It still is effective.

SUPER AntiSpyware: http://www.superantispyware.com/?tag=GOOGLE-SUPERANTISPYWARE You must manually scan and update, but the app does stay resident and run 24/7.

SpywareBlaster: http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html Runs 24/7, you must update manually. Works by blocking unwanted malware from installing.

PC Tools' Threatfire: http://www.threatfire.com/download/ Runs 24/7, updates automatically in the free version.

Pick at least one that runs 24/7 and a couple others to scan regularly wfter updating. I know, I know: All that sounds like a lot of hassle, and it is. However, isn't what you've experienced even more hassle? Just pick a day to do it; I get up in the wee hours of Sunday to update, scan and backup my PC.

Hope this helps,


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(NT) Thank you all! :)
by pizzaboxmac93-23170347319 / December 16, 2009 11:13 AM PST
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The AVG option
by Josepe-sv / December 18, 2009 10:28 PM PST
In reply to: Thank you all! :)

I think some user conscious, responsibles, can work fine with basic AVG free protection. But the free AVG must be configured correctly for best protection. Enabling the Removable scan and repair option, shell extension autorepair in On, etc.
Every time the machines should be restored (formating and reinstalling Windows).
Anyway, a malicious user can damage the system even if works with the best of Symantec.

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AVG? Perhaps...
by rbsjrx / December 18, 2009 11:06 PM PST
In reply to: The AVG option

"I think some user conscious, responsibles, can work fine with basic AVG free protection. But the free AVG must be configured correctly..."

Perhaps. My nearly disastrous experience with AVG happened several years ago and as the old saying goes, "Once [almost] burned, twice shy." The utility of any AV software is all about trust - AVG simply lost mine and I've never since given it a chance to regain it. There's simply too much at stake in case it's still mediocre.

"Anyway, a malicious user can damage the system even if works with the best of Symantec."

The worst example you could possibly cite! Because of its popularity with OEMs, the consumer version of Symantec has deliberate holes in it useed to allow all the other OEM trialware and cr*pware to run. Even without the security holes, Symantec is a resource hog that can noticeably slow *any* machine. Replacing Symantec is usually one of the first things I do with *any* new Windows machine!

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Email security
by QBALL263 / December 17, 2009 1:18 AM PST

I need help as I know enough about computers to get myself in DEEP KIMCHEE! I am running Win7 w/Firefox and Google, Online Armor,& Avira. I am very concerned about Email safety (virus, phishing, etc). Do any of these programs scan incoming Email? I know some of them look VERY authentic, but you never know. ANY help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance...

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The antivirus apps I mentioned DO scan email.
by Paul C / December 17, 2009 1:25 AM PST
In reply to: Email security

If memory serves, they also provide some level of anti phishing protection, as does Avira. The latest version of Firefox has very good anti phishing protection, as does Mozilla's Thunderbird email reader.

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Email antivirus...
by QBALL263 / December 17, 2009 1:44 AM PST

Thanks, Paul. I forgot to mention that I use Gmail. The main reaion I'm concerned is that recently I received a SPAM msg that was actually a reply that I was expecting. I also use a Yahoo email account. I just really like to "cover my SIX" as much as possible.

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False Detection Questions
by pizzaboxmac93-23170347319 / December 27, 2009 4:41 AM PST
In reply to: Thunderbird Scan

Which one of the free antivirus programs has the least false detections? I don't want the antivirus to think that a Windows OS file is a virus.

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False positives
by rbsjrx / December 27, 2009 8:19 AM PST

"Which one of the free antivirus programs has the least false detections? I don't want the antivirus to think that a Windows OS file is a virus."

Of the ones I know, use, and trust (i.e. Zone Alarm, MalwareBytes, Avast, ClamAV/ClamWin), I've never had a false positive.

Actually, that's not entirely true... I did have some false positives with utility software I'd written myself back in the DOS and/or Win3.1 days, but since I wrote them, I knew there was no problem.

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Spyware, viruses, & security Forum
by mkprabhu / December 20, 2009 6:55 PM PST
In reply to: Yes

Earlier, I had a paid version of one of the welknown AV systems and now I have the Free version of AVG and had no problem what so ever. However, recently after consulting a service engr. I got installed the Microsoft Security Essentials and both are working satisfactorily.
There have been instances when each one of them identified diff. threats while/after scanning of the PC and have cleared them as well.
However, I would like to know if there is any harm in keeping both the AV programs running simultaneously.

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Free can be good
by rbsjrx / December 18, 2009 10:00 AM PST

I have one dedicated Windows machine, several dual-boot Windows/Linux machines, and maintain several other Windows machines on my family's network. For my and my wife's machines, I will only use Zone Alarm Extreme Security Suite. It's bullet-proof and has never let me down. For my daughter's and granddaughter's machines, I mostly use freeware anti-malware suites. The ones I've come to trust the most are Avast and MalwareBytes. The closest I ever came to an AV-induced disaster happened on a machine I had running AVG. I escaped major damage only by luck rather than anything to do with AVG. AntiVir was OK, but it's nagware and I quickly grew tiered of it trying to get me to upgrade to the non-free version - your mileage may vary. OTOH, My daughter dislikes Avast since it has a tendency to ask her questions she's not technically competent to answer. So my only unqualified recommendations are for MalWareBytes (free) or Zone Alarm(commercial). The only thing is that if you use MalwareBytes, it doesn't include a firewall, so if you're running any version of Windows older than Vista SP2, you should also grab a copy of Comodo's firewall.

I can't comment on Win7's anti-malware suite, except to note that it has as big of a target painted on it as any other Microsoft product, which makes it a bit more vulnerable.

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AVG and ZoneAlarm
by davidmicohen / December 18, 2009 11:30 AM PST

Avg and ZoneAlarm both are fantastic programs that provide a high level of security for you system with their freeware versions, they also provide a very detailed level of updates for both of them, also for free. I have tried others,but have no complaints leaving my security in the hands of those freeware... I do pay $5 a month for my MOzy backup service, which is invaluable.....

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Free can have its dark side
by richteral / December 18, 2009 7:01 PM PST
In reply to: AVG and ZoneAlarm

To look up the level of protection ZA demonstrates in testing at matousec.com will doubtless be illuminating. AVG Free holds up much better in its field, but has become top-heavy & using it needs reassessing, too.

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Bought antivirus Vs Free antivirus.
by sharatchandra / December 18, 2009 7:00 PM PST

In my opinion free antivirus has limited components whereas bought antivirus( total security) ensure cover to all the threats like antivirus, spyware, internet security, firewall etc. Norton security, it is reported, slows down your machine. In present day McAfee total security, or PC Tools or Trend Micro appear to be the better options.

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I have used both
by netug / December 18, 2009 9:16 PM PST

McAfee came courtesy of my ISP. PITA is it takes over the system whenever it wants to update or run a scan. It also quarantenes "suspect" files, i.e. a .dll required by a program. There is no way to exclude any certain file/application from such action.

Comodo Firewall and Comodo Antivirus run 24/7, update automatic and the good thing is, you never know they are there.

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I agree about Mcafee
by ruapits / December 20, 2009 10:08 PM PST
In reply to: I have used both

I reciently canceled by subscription to Mcafee. I agree with the poster that it is a PITA and takes over your system. Got tired of it so I can canceled.

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Norton NIS has cleaned up this problem
by Greshawe / December 20, 2009 9:58 PM PST

It is very light weight and does not hog the machine like it use to. I use it now exclusively on all my home computers and laptops. After over 2 years of side by side use with AVG, Ad-Aware, Spybot, and Malware bytes i have dropped the last 4 as i have not had a problem after installing NIS. Norton Internet Security 2010

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Security suites
by rbsjrx / December 20, 2009 11:43 PM PST

The message here is clear. Windows security is a multi-headed problem and each specific issue has to be addressed. A competent security suite provides the most convenient protection, although the performance of almost any suite can be matched with free software components if you don't mind maintaining multiple programs.

The premier suites are Norton, Zone Alarm, and Kapersky. I use Zone Alarm because it's earned my trust, I'm used to it, it's cost-effective, and its browser security is outstanding, even providing virtualization for guaranteed anonymous browsing if you need it. In AV performance, Zone Alarm and Kapersky are equal since ZA uses the Kapersky engine. Norton's performance has improved, but it still ships with security holes to facilitate the other trialware which typically coexists with it on new machines.

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Response to Free AntiVirus vs Bought AntiVirus
by kjleitch1 / December 28, 2009 3:05 AM PST

I download a free anti virus program called "Avira" free. http://www.free-av.com/ It was rated the best free anti virus software by consumers report. I tried it and was satisfied with the protection it gave especially for a free program So I decided to buy the premium edition about $20.00 bucks. The program is very excellent, it will catch malware, spyware, adware, trojans, virus programs, etc, before they try to install themselves onto your system. And deny access or delete the intruder. You get a window that gives you choices on what to do. Avira free or premium edition does not use up a lot of resources, AVG is good but it uses a lot of system resources. The ones I don't like because of resource usage is Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, and the worst of all is Panda. Do not install these programs as they well eventually take over your windows based operating system and you will need to go into the registry to clean them out. Sometimes just an uninstall option will not work, so a thorough registry removal is necessary, and this will take 1 to 2 hours to do. Believe me I have done this for many of my clients. You have to know what your are doing, other wise you can delete certain registry commands that could render your operating system useless, such as in the case of removing Norton from your system via the registry. Norton uses a windows system 32 file that actually write itself into the boot up process of windows OS. "Avira" updates itself every time I log on to my computer but only if your internet connection is automatic. Otherwise you will need to do an update manually, after you connect to the internet. All in all it is a very good program. Another program rated number 1 for purchase by consumer reports was "Eset" a very good program that I installed on a friends laptop and it is very dependable.

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