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What Free Antivirus Do You Install On Windows?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the is-clamav-no-longer-good? dept.

Security 896

Techman83 writes "After years of changing between AVG Free + Avast, it's coming time to find a new free alternative for friends/relatives who run Windows. AVG and Avast have been quite good, but are starting to bloat out in size, and also becoming very misleading. Avast recently auto updated from 4.8 to 5 and now requires you to register (even for the free version) and both are making it harder to actually find the free version. Is this the end of reasonable free antivirus, or is there another product I can entrust to keep the 'my computer's doing weird things' calls to a minimum?"

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I dont use... (-1, Flamebait)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525982)


So I cant "install" such a thing.

Whats this "antivirus" thing anyway?

Re:I dont use... (2)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526286)

It's analogous to chain mail armor; it's effective against old weapons like broadswords and crap, but completely useless against guns. Today's malware are the equivalent of heavy artillary and most antivirus software is akin to chain mail or even leather armor.

Or, to put it in a car analogy: many antivirus programs would be like wiping a coat of mineral oil ("baby oil") on your unpainted/freshly sandblasted car, and then driving your car through the winter in New England where they salt the roads very heavily. You're hoping the car will still be nice and shiny come April, but sorry, the body is totally rust-covered and has been perforated in several spots.

Uh...Avast? (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525988)

I still use Avast. Oh noes, it took me 2 minutes to fill out the little form. It takes up few resources, it has updates for it nearly every day, it's free as in beer, and I have gotten a virus in ages. What's not to like?

Re:Uh...Avast? (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526024)

HAVEN'T gotten*

Gah. no preview = epic fail

Re:Uh...Avast? (2, Informative)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526070)

I've found Avast registration to be even easier now. I don't even have to go back to the website to register and get a key from my e-mail address. I can just register right in the program itself.

It gets the job done for me.

Re:Uh...Avast? (4, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526256)

Yes, the registration process has been greatly simplified. If only I didn't have to dig through the options to disable voice announcements...

Re:Uh...Avast? (5, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526134)

I used Avast 4.8 for about a month. Then they upgraded to 5.0. Didn't care about the registration, but everything else just irked me to no end. On the other hand, MSE has every advantage you listed, plus no registration, and the updates are gathered through Windows Update, so you don't have yet another service updating itself.

Oh, and the quick scan takes about 3 minutes.

Re:Uh...Avast? (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526378)

I don't know what the authors problem is. With Avast the first time you install it you don't have to register, eventually you'll have to register, but that is not for a few months. After that you will have to re-register something like every 6 or 9 months. Hell, its not like you even have to give them valid information.

I just installed version 5, absolutely no issues.

Re:Uh...Avast? (4, Insightful)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526386)

and I have gotten a virus in ages.

That you know of.

Microsoft (3, Informative)

dan828 (753380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525996)

Microsoft security essentials []

I mean, if anyone knows about viruses, it'd be Microsoft.

Re:Microsoft (2, Informative)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526060)

MSE is pretty great on my laptop. Only 1GB RAM under Windows 7 and I haven't noticed any performance hit.

Re:Microsoft (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526062)

I use it at home because it's free, and probably doesn't contain malware itself. Can't really say how effective it is because it has never found any malware on my machines.

Re:Microsoft (5, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526370)

Well, I can say it alerted me to one attempted drive-by trojan install, isolated the file, and deleted it, all before I did anything to react to the initial notice. First time I've gotten any sort of notice not related to tracking cookies in a few years.

Re:Microsoft (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526440)

If a product even bothers to tell you about tracking cookies, it's more about religion than security, and should be avoided.

Re:Microsoft (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526408)

MS Security Essentials pulled up suspected trojans in a couple of old keygens that I'd had sitting around on my machine for years (hadn't used them in a long long time). These are files that both Avast and AVG glossed over when I was using them.

Re:Microsoft (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526066)

I put this on my latest Win7 build. I use Avast! on a vista laptop and ClamAV on another.

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526172)

Ye. And Windows buyers should know its NOT free to run Windows
with friends.

Re:Microsoft (4, Interesting)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526202)

I have heard good things about MSE from several people, but I haven't tried it myself.

Re:Microsoft (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526268)

I trust MSE about as much as I trust IE.

That's what we use (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526270)

At work (a university) the central IT has chosen to license Sophos. It is, well, crap to put it mildly and takes up amazing amounts of resources. So, instead we use Security Essentials on many systems. Works well, it has successfully stopped viruses that users have tried to get. Pretty light on resources over all, not the lightest weight program I've seen but up there.

Best one for free I've seen. Personally ESET NOD32 is my favourite and what I license for home, but if the price requirement is $0, then MSE is what I use.

Re:Microsoft (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526284)

I don't know if Security Essentials is a good antivirus app - probably not as good as some products but a lot better than nothing so long as you don't treat it as a substitute for common sense. It's incredibly unobtrusive which is a refreshing change compared to some of the bloatware out there.

Re:Microsoft (0, Troll)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526300)

Me too!

Ars technica review of MSE (5, Informative)

igomaniac (409731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526320)

An in-depth look at Microsoft Security Essentials, it made me decide to try it out on my girlfriend's laptop (I run OS X myself) and it's worked great.

Re:Microsoft (3, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526348)

I mean, if anyone knows about viruses, it'd be Microsoft.

Caring is another matter. Given their long history of "lightning fast" responses to security problems, I'm not overwhelmed with confidence in their commitment.

Re:Microsoft (1)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526368)

"Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background" Is there any software that is loud?

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526384)

It may be blasphemy here...but I have used MSE on a number of computers, XP, Vista, and 7 and been extremely happy with it. Easy to configure and a small far no infections either.

Re:Microsoft (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526426)


I've gone between Avast, AVG, and ClamWin (less annoying but, to me, lacking). I switched to MSE because it does both Virus and Spyware. It's faster and lighter than either Avast or AVG. It auto-updates well (and frequently). And coming from Microsoft, I expect them to have more insight into Windows exploits that are available.

I don't have viruses, but I practice smart browsing, too. (And my family is locked so that they can't install anything to their computers -- that eliminates quite a few virii right there.)

Re:Microsoft - why no AV in Windows install? (2, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526462)

Why do they make you download it?
- it's to preserve their "partners'" (Symantec & company) market

If MS was really, truly concerned about keeping malware off your PC, there'd be a free AV program installed when you got your PC, with automatic updates.
But that would kill the market for independent AV software. And MS isn't really concerned about malware, except when it influences their profits. MS is certainly not concerned about the quality of your computing experience unless it involves you not purchasing any more MS products. // don't mind me, I run Linux, because I'm fed up with MS. // kids have switched to Apples for the same reason.

Re:Microsoft (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526464)

I swear by MSE myself on the client side. The engine is the same as their enterprise level AV solution and so far has proven itself on a day by day basis. It also is very lightweight. I have used some AV products that have a lot of CPU/disk overhead, and in the end don't provide as much protection as MSE.

To boot, MSE is licensed at no charge (its not free because it is paid for by a purchased copies of Windows, and will check if the Windows copy is genuine.) Another advantage is that MSE doesn't nag to be upgraded to a premium version like other "free" AV products.

For clients who need audit trails, I either recommend Symantec Endpoint Protection or MSE's big brother, Forefront Client. Both work well on servers, and both can give a status of what the level of protection is on machines on the network with ease.

Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526008)


Microsoft Security Essentials (2, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526014)

I install Microsoft Security Essentials if I have to install AV (and if it's available - only XP onwards).

Doesn't do as well as Kaspersky and some other payware ones, but does better than most of the free ones.

And is certainly less bloated than the McAfee and Symantec crap[1].

[1] Why install AV software that makes your computer behave like it's infected by loads of viruses...

Re:Microsoft Security Essentials (3, Informative)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526088)

I concur, Security Essentials is pleasantly small to download, fast to install, easy on resources, and reasonably effective. Be aware though it does validate with Genuine Advantage.

Re:Microsoft Security Essentials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526206)

Another pleasant surprise is how effectively it has managed to intercept a lot of the scareware that just saunters past many of the alternatives. I've been swapping SAV out with this for all of my field users, and the difference is immediately noticeable.

Re:Microsoft Security Essentials (5, Informative)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526236)

I respectfully disagree with your notion that Kaspersky is better than MSE. I had Kaspersky's basic anti-virus for 2 years before MSE came out, and it was a terrible resource hog. And not just during scans; the actual real-time protection would increase the time to open a video file from ~2 seconds after double-clicking to ~15 seconds.

Additionally, when it detects a suspicious file, the program issues the most gut-wrenching squealing noise I've ever heard. And it does this by default; you have to go into settings to disable the noise.


DBAN (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526018)

fdisk works in a pinch.

Re:DBAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526340)

Sounds like you work with the Geek Squad.

Re:DBAN (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526392)

I work for Geek Squad and what is fdisk?

Install a linux of some sort (0, Offtopic)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526022)

Try Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS or OpenSuse or Fedora or any of the others... unless your software (and wallet) already got locked into Microsoft...

Re:Install a linux of some sort (2, Funny)

B Nesson (1153483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526112)

Thank you so much!

I had no idea there were other operating systems!

Re:Install a linux of some sort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526166)

After years of changing between AVG Free + Avast, it's coming time to find a new free alternative for friends/relatives who run Windows.

Nice stimulus response post, complete with 10% reading comprehension.

Re:Install a linux of some sort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526246)

For some of us, it is a question of hardware. Linux won't run correctly on my new laptop. Can't seem to control screen dimming and the wireless card comes and goes. I'm stuck with Windows :(

Re:Install a linux of some sort (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526254)

Amen brother. Ubuntu 9.10 is an awesome windows replacement. I silently switched my wife's laptop to it 4 weeks ago and she is happy as a clam. Wine install was brain-dead easy. office 2003 runs on it perfectly, and IE6 installed well for her to upload tax info to the state and feds.

She's an accountant and only uses Excel for spreadsheets that wont open in OO.o

Honestly there is no reason to not switch away from windows and it's virus/spyware riddled existence for a bulk of the people out there.

Re:Install a linux of some sort (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526356)

>>>Install a linux of some sort

Yep. And then I won't be able to run:

- My Dialup ISP (the dialup is okay but the web accelerator refuses to run)
- Games
- Atari or Nintendo emulators
- Flash
- Opera 10 (refuses to install)
- RealPlayer
- Ipod-encoded (MP4) video

But HEY at least I'm virus free!

Re:Install a linux of some sort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526472)

But HEY at least I'm virus free!

With the added bonus of not being able to install RealPla... oh, wait.

I've had really good results installing... (-1, Offtopic)

greenguy (162630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526030)


Avira (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526052)

Microsoft Security Essentials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526054)

Not a huge Microsoft fan, but I've been installing this on friends and family machines since it came out. It seems to work well - no problems thus far.

Install through (1, Informative)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526072)

Both Avast and AVG are on that site. Using there installer avoids all of the searching through six layers of pages, and it avoids all of the crapware. And you can bundle installers for multiple apps into one file. Quick and easy. You may be able to make an installer and mail it to your relatives and have them run it. I don't know though as I haven't tried it.

Microsoft Security Essentials (3, Informative)

jrronimo (978486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526076)

Microsoft Security Essentials [] is free, lightweight, and pretty good. Even Ars Techinca [] thought so, if you trust them.

Why free? (3, Interesting)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526080)

I should think "friends/relatives who run Windows" would be exactly the type to appreciate the convenience of a low-impact reliable AV package, which means they may have to pay a few bucks. It's fine to play FOS yourself or with trivial office or audio stuff, and I do it myself. But I still give ESET a few shekels/year for each windows PC in my house. It just makes sense to me.

Re:Why free? (4, Insightful)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526314)

I used to used to get my parents to buy Norton for their home PC and remote support them. But if the years subscription was up they wouldn't have the latest protection until I was around to do the upgrade.

I eventually went free as Norton started causing more problems than it was supposed to solve. Originally I rolled out AVG but that too had yearly requirements to upgrade. I switched all the family members I support a few months ago to the microsoft solution and "it just works", having the definitions and program updates rolled into the windows update has saved a lot of hassle. It being low resource usage is also a major plus. Everyone is happy.

...I wish 3rd party software would integrate into the windows update system, it would save a lot of bother (and pop-us, nag screens and update checking tasks loaded at startup).

Re:Why free? (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526330)

Yeah, I could have moderated you, but thought I'd agree with my 2 cents. I run Kaspersky, and it IS mostly free. I pick it up at Fry's when it's on sale, and there's a rebate (for the upgrade, so I guess I paid something at one point). But it's, if not 100% free, pretty cheap, usually gets pretty good marks on the various comparisons, and seems to be keeping my computer safe. And the license has been for 3 copies, so all the computers I have run it. For maybe $10-20 bucks to start, and not much more than $10 a year after that, if anything. I had been using AVG, I find I like Kaspersky a little better. But I have sent money to AVG in the past, I'm not averse to paying for good software.

clam (2, Informative)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526084) []
Although it is missing an on access scan, I am not sure if that is a plus of a minus.

Not a good idea (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526398)

For one, on access scanning is generally considered pretty important. Ideally you want your AV program to act as a filter, making sure that nothing gets on it in the first place. After all if you system gets infect, it could well shut down the scanner. So just scheduled scans is only so useful. You really want to scan files as they come in to the computer.

Then there's the fact that Clam seems to do pretty poorly in AV tests. If you look at Wikipedia you find that it is bombing many of them rather hard. While no virus scanner is perfect, it seems to be significantly below its peer group.

Re:clam (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526448)

NO. No to ClamWin.

I've had two different office machines get hosed because ClamWin false positived on Windows' userinit.exe. If userinit.exe is missing, Windows doesn't even display an error message, it simply can't login to the system. Even in SAFE MODE.

We're a small office and I've taken over IT from the person that installed ClamWin all over the place, we're going with Avast Pro because it's robust and I'm so grateful they offer a free Home version that I can recommend to my family for their personal equipment. Avast Home has always required registration so I'm not sure what sort of crack the OP is smoking.

Re:clam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526470)

In spite of the performance hit, not having on-access scanning on a computer used on the Internet is a big minus, IMO.

You can always disable the on-access bit if you're gaming, or whatever.

Avira (4, Informative)

HellProphet (1045990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526086)

Avira Anti-vir. It is good, fully functioned with updates, custom scheduled scans and on access scanning. The only thing you have to deal with is a daily ad that you can dismiss by hitting OK and it won't pop up for another 24 hours. Also it uses up half the resources of AVG, McAfee, Norton.

Re:Avira (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526222)

Avira's pop-up can easily be blocked, unless you run a Home version of Windows, which IIRC requires a Safe Mode boot and some mumbo-jumbo. On more functional versions of Windows you can easily disallow the execution of avnotify.exe and you're done.

That being said, I've heard good things about Panda antivirus-in-a-cloud as well as Avast! - along with Avira, they would be my top three of free antivirus programs to install on my family members' computers.

Avast history (1)

flimm (1626043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526092)

You always had to register for the free version of Avast, and re-register every six months.

Re:Avast history (1)

specific (963862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526200)

Check again.... it's one year. []

Re:Avast history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526210)

I only had to re-register every year. If it's 6 months, now...that's new. But I haven't used it in some time. I use Security Essentials now.

Another product (-1, Offtopic)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526094)

is there another product I can entrust to keep the 'my computer's doing weird things' calls to a minimum?"

There is. It's the word "no". As in, "No, I don't use windows myself, and I don't recommend it. Sorry I can't help."

Registration isn't new (5, Informative)

MisterBuggie (924728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526104)

Obviously you've never actually used Avast. You've always had to register for the free version, and renew the regsitration once a year. They're giving it away for free, I honestly don't see registering as a big deal.

And the new version is actually a lot better, it finally detects rootkits... If you're looking for something that actually does its job and yet doesn't take up any space or processing power, I doubt you'll find anything...

If you're gonna pay for your operating system, and then complain about free antiviruses, you might want to consider changing to linux...

Comodo (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526116)

Comodo has always had a wonderful firewall, and lately I have been thinking of trying their AV for my less than tech savvy relatives on windows. Avast has bothered me lately with their voice updates, though generally I still like Avast. AVG is the only one I think is not so good.

MSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526120)

Microsoft Security Essentials. It is less obtrusive than most of the other AV programs and is free.

Security Essentials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526128)

disclaimer: a very good friend of mine works on some of the core technologies in this product

It pretty much isn't noticeable, i run an E6600 and game/dev/surf on my desktop and it really isn't noticeable. certainly nothing 'weird'. I also use it on my netbook which is only a 1.6GHz atom and still no real performance hogging.

I've had a number of times where it has gone off about this or that file, and when it does it is pretty much hands off if i don't start clicking buttons and choosing actions.

Smaller AV programs? (4, Insightful)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526138)

Techman83 writes "...AVG and Avast have been quite good, but are starting to bloat out in size..."

Um, in case you haven't noticed, more viruses, exploits and malware are coming out all the time.
I'd be very surprised if ANY antivirus software got smaller.

In fact, I'd be highly suspicious.

M$FT Antivirus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526140)

Even if you don't use "windows" you still need an anti-virus program, if not to protect your stuff, to protect us from you! M$FT now has a free version of AV for Windows Genuine home users called Microsoft Security Essentials. I have been using it for a few months and would highly recommend.

Avast and MS Essentials (1)

Anarren (256665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526146)

I use Avast on my workhorse machine and MS Security Essentials on my netbook. I feel like Avast does more, but is a resource hog, so only use it on my heftier machine. Both are running XP.

Antivirus 2009 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526152)

Excellent [buy v1agra] product. I haven't have any malware [|\|iger1an 419] detected since I installed it [install Antivirus 2009 today!].

Ummm... (-1, Troll)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526154)


Re:Ummm... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526266)

The antivirus you recommend is not compatible with the video games that I play or the IDE that I program in.

Re:Ummm... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526346)

So change your IDE & program your own games for Linux, problem solved! :-)

Panda Cloud (4, Interesting)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526176)

I've been trying this out on my home computers so far and its definitely less resource intensive than previous AV solutions I've used. I haven't gotten infected with anything lately (that I know of) so I don't know how well it handles infections yet.

Actual web page is here [] and you can read up on it a bit here [] .

Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526184)

Though technically I install it "over", not "on" Windows.

A few options (2, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526194)

There are quite a few options actually. I'll list them in order of effectiveness.

1. BSD or Linux. You won't get hit by viruses or any crap like that, unless you're enough of a moron to run everything as root and go out of your way to make the system open. Unfortunately neither option will run 100% of your Windows software.

2. Unplug your Windows box. Guaranteed 100% effective. The drawback is that apps won't run. ;)

3. Comodo antivirus; [] I have been trying it on various workstations and have found it to be reasonably good. Less effective than the above options! ;) Seriously though it's pretty good. It's not antispyware though, and it doesn't slow the system to a crawl like some other programs. That should be a non-issue. If not, then why are you running MSIE after you've been warned for years? ;)

4. Microsoft Security Essentials: Microsoft actually did a very good job with this basic suite. It's not bloated at all, is straight and to the point, and catches some spyware even malwarebytes misses. It's good now, but then again, Microsoft has dropped the ball with every antivirus and antispyware software they have installed to date.

5. You could try Norton Internet Security. I understand they've completely rearchitected it and brought over NO legacy code and are not bloated so you might want to try it, but I haven't looked at the Norton suite since the 2003 version that turned their antivirus into a failed abortion.

I was using Moon Secure on various systems for a while: it's free, open source, etc. but it has not been updated in forever and is rapidly becoming less and less effective, plus it has quite a few defects including making the Windows logon process EXTREMELY slow on some configurations.

I use VirusX (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526208)

I also use an Amiga, so that's probably not helpful for you.

Spybot Search & Destroy does a good job of protecting not only your browser (makes it immune) and adware, but also cleans up viruses.

I install... (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526226)

none, I prefer my operating system without a condom. It's more fun that way :). I also stripe without parity (mainly because I don't care what happens to my windows installations).

Spybot Search & Destroy (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526232)

I've used Spybot S&D since my XP days. I like it, but I don't know how much cred it has with other people.

Re:Spybot Search & Destroy (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526380)

Spybot searches for malware, not Viruses and the like as it isn't an AV. They are different products for different problems.

Re:Spybot Search & Destroy (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526454)

Thanks for the clarification.

Re:Spybot Search & Destroy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526450)

I still use Spybot S&D, but I also use Symantec Corporate Edition. You really need more than one AV these days. The NoScript plugin for Firefox helps a lot when it comes to random internet browsing. Prevention is the best protection.

Avast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526234)

I've been using Avast in it's various versions for many years now and while I agree that it has definitely increased it's footprint in terms of memory use, disk space, and even visual intrusion level, it's still my choice for AV. As long as I have been using it, Avast has always required registration. It's a simple form to fill out and the key arrives very quickly. Also I use the same key across my home network with no problems. As far as resource use it's inevitable that a newer version will require more power and such to run, but the recent optional update to version 5 is much more efficient, particularly on multiple cores, at running user initiated scans and the behavior shields. I'm running Windows 7 Pro x64 and am very satisfied with Avast.

RE: What Free Antivirus Do You Install On Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526244)

What's actually so bad about registering? Don't companies like Avast deserve to know how many actual users they have? Tracking downloads is not good enough information, as i myself have downloaded Avast at least 2 dozen times, if they only tracked downloads, then they'd think i was over 2 dozen people, and their numbers would be completely wrong, as i know for a fact i'm not the only one who re-downloads things from time to time.

The registration process was simple and clean, took place in a simple popup, with NO email verification. I don't see why it's an issue, but if it is, why aren't you looking for an alternative for windows? It has required activation since windows xp.

Comodo (1)

pnuema (523776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526262)

Comodo [] gives you firewall and anti-virus in one package, and I have been using it for a couple of years.

None (1, Insightful)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526278)

Seriously, no antivirus. But then, I only use Windows occasionally to play games. I'm surprised I only had one (1) virus problem over the last 5 years in Windows, which I fixed thanks to a targeted tool. Apart from that, I practice Safe Computing, and that appears to have kept me out of trouble.

However, for all that I know, my windows system may be part of a few botnets that don't cause me any problems :\

On my family's computers... I forced Ubuntu upon those I could, and left the others to fend for themselves.

Trend online scanner nothing on computer (2, Interesting)

splatter (39844) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526290)

Used it for years. God help me if they ditch the old URL I'll have to start googling it. []

Avira or Security Essentials (1)

Bos20k (444115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526296)

I would recommend either Avira [] or M$ Security Essentials.

A while ago I read some link off Slashdot that compared the CPU/RAM usage of various virus scanners. Avira was at or near the top on all the tests. My use of it seems to validate that.

Security Essentials is a Microsoft product so I figure they know all or most of the tricks of their own OS to make it reasonably low on resource usage which it seems to be. It also has no nag screens which is nice.

buy a mac or install linux (2, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526324)


you're gonna get a lot of this here. so let's get this out of the way, shall we ?

now, if you REALLY need to run some kinds of windows apps, since your computer probably came with windows already, no need to put it to waste. move it to a virtual machine with sun's excellent virtual box, plus fork some more cash for crossover office.

here at my job, I got fed up with windows, so after the company replaced our old notebooks by newwer dual core machines, i moved to linux, office (i can't get rid of outlook yet.) runs on crossover, some proprietary tools run on windows xp inside virtual box, that i fire up only when needed.

the good thing about virtual machines is that you can make snapshots. create a snapshot of yours right after installing windows. then use it whenever you need, just be carefull not to open anything funny, avoid using a browser inside it. even if all these precautions you get infected, discard the current state and boot the last clean snapshot.

everything else, run on the linux host. this way you don't need an anti-virus any better than microsoft's own.

i never used any virtualization solution on macs, but if vmware's fusion product is anything like the windows/linux counterpart, it certainly have similar functionality.

BitDefender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526326)

I use BitDefender. It works well on my Atom-powered netbook (Windows XP) and my main workstation (Windows 7). It has a quick scan mode which is pretty neat that skips scanning unchanged files. The performance hit is negligible. It integrates with Thunderbird to enhance my junk mail filtering. it works well with low-resolution screens such as my netbook with its 600 pixel vertical resolution. Most importantly, it is consistently one of the highest rated products in terms of detecting malware. I also like the fact that you can have the interface cater to beginner users, with an interface that has but three buttons (one of which is to scan), or advanced users with all the options laid out.

GNU/Linux! (1)

Subm (79417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526344)

What Free Antivirus Do You Install On Windows?

GNU/Linux, of course.

Re:GNU/Linux! (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526422)


I know you're going to get modded down as a troll, but the answer is correct.

Now, for the Wintendo virtual machines I run inside of GNU/Linux (Ubuntu 9.1 currently) I use Avast! as my AV of choice. Yes, it is hard to find the free version, but at least it updates.

Microsoft Security Essentials (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526360)

I was recently introduced to this, and it pleasantly surprised me. It's lightweight, and it's rated well. Pretty much the only packages that have better detection rates is payware, and this beats the payware in false positives. Also, the interface is easy to understand, and it stays out of the way.

NONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526362)

why they choke your computer as bad as the virus that they dont ever catch while constantly nagging you

besides system restore takes what a whole 4 min, there is no real viruses anymore just windows spyware

Obligatory answer... (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526364)

Linux :)

I don't mean that in the snarky, "everyone should only use Linux" sense. But my Linux computers are certainly the ones that require the least care and feeding. And Linux is free.

Avast (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526390)


That said:
Avast Free has always required you to register.
I have been using it for years and recommend it to all my clients.
In Avast 5, the registration process is easier than ever.

i stopped using avast because of popups (3, Interesting)

HelloKitty (71619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526402)

avast kept popping up ads to buy their stuff.
switched to avira, no popups. similar number of false positives as avast... i saw no difference between them. but really, who knows if they're working.

is there a way to evaluate antivirus software? i mean, after it's 1.) no popups, 2.) not bloaty 3.) easy on the system 4.) convenient to use... how do you know if it actually works?

I mean I could write a system tray app that's a "virus checker". and always tells you your system's ok... haha

anyway, reading around, seemed like avast, avira, and avg were the best free ones. and after running avg and avast, I liked avira. but really, no idea who's the best.

I don't use anything. (3, Interesting)

andi75 (84413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526466)

- I let windows check for updates, but install them manually.
- I mostly download my software from sourceforge / cygwin's mirrors (yes, I'm risking that those could be compromised).

I haven't noticed anything fishy yet, and my WoW account hasn't been hacked in 5 years :-)

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