Computer Anti-virus Solutions

Even though I’m super busy with work at the moment, I though I’d take a break to write some things about  software I use for different purposes. A few things have made me think a lot about this in the last couple of days.

Firstly, I’m back home from uni for Easter, so got the usual request from the parents (and friends!) to look at their computers in the office. One was being extremely slow, and the internet wasn’t working on it, further investigation showed that the device manager was completely blank. After a lot of searching, I found that this can be a symptom of spyware called MSMGT, which we certainly had! After removing that by hand, with the help of the program ‘hijack this’ (only recommended for ‘advanced’ users) I set to work removing the inevitable onslaught of other spyware on the machine. I downloaded spybot S&D. It tooks a few hours, but came back with nearly 200 different problems. Wow. They had a copy of Norton running, which expired over a year ago, and had turned Windows update off. They wondered why they had these problems!

After sorting all that out, I wondered what the best anti-virus program would be to live on the machine. I’ve toyed with a lot in my time, starting with AVG, moving to Avira, and Avast. I can’t use AVG anymore, when it runs the scans it bogs the system down so much I end up just cancelling them, making it useless. They also all seem to be getting pushier and pushier with upgrading! Adverts, flashing upgrade boxes, and making it harder and harder to find the free version to download. That’s the problem with these programs, they all have another agenda – to make money. The only open-source program I know of (ClamWin) only does scan on demand, and doesn’t have a resident scanner, so that’s no good! I thought I’d try out Microsoft’s latest offering, Microsoft Security Essentials, being out for around 6 months or so.

I must admit, it did impress me. I’m not usually much of a Microsoft fan-boy. Mostly because I really don’t like paying for anything, being young and poor, so open-source (and Google) suits me fine. Their other free thing, that browser, is rubbish (more in another post possibly), and I tend to use LaTeX rather than office, because it suits the content I have to write about better (maybe more on my experiences with that too!). I use the Ubuntu distro of Linux most of the time, only dipping back to Windows when I have to, but the rest of the world lives in it, so I reluctantly do it more than I’d like! Anyway, it downloaded easily, you have to have a genuine Windows (not many people have fake windows really anyway…), and the best thing for me is that it has no premium option! No constant persuading to fork out cash, it runs nicely in the background, only bugging me for the important things (like – ‘do you want to get rid of this?’) and when it’s scanning, it doesn’t take over, I didn’t notice it. It has enough advanced options to keep the advancer user happy, whilst being simple on the face of it for the basic user.

Reading around the internet, it didn’t quite get the highest rating for security, (A rather than A+ which only Avira got), which I guess is what I expected from MS, but as uptake increases for it, user feedback on discovered malware should push it to be better and better. I think the trade-off to not get bugged is worth it. This is now my new favourite, but of course I’ll keep trying new versions of others periodically. I’m sure lifehacker will tell me if something big happens!

I hope I’ve managed to justify my reasoning, this was partly to convince myself I’m doing the right thing by recommending this from now on to friends and family (I get asked this question a lot).

This blog will really be a mixed back probably from my random mix of hobbies and passions; from rock climbing to programming, with some engineering and robots in between, and I run my computer very efficiently, small inbox, few desktop icons, only the required processes in the background, I kinda have to do this because my PC’s so old, if I didn’t it would die on me, so I’m sure I may share hints and tips periodically. I also keep myself massively occupied, and generally don’t enjoy writing, having only ever really written when forced to by the powers that be, so this will only have new posts once in a blue moon probably (an astronomical event that is 1.16 × 10-8 hertz, or every 2.7 years for most people)  I might start to enjoy it here, you never know!

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