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Decent Free/Cheap Computer Antivirus Program
Old 03-10-2010, 10:10 AM   #1
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Decent Free/Cheap Computer Antivirus Program

I have XP on my netbook and the Norton antivirus program it came with is expiring soon. I think the program has been OK but not if it will cost much to renew as it look like it will, it was only $10 originally. Anyway, is there decent freeware antivirus protection? And then, how do I remove Norton, which has seemed to embed itself in the OS?
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:15 AM   #2
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Norton should have an uninstall option depending on the version. Anyway, you may want to look here at a fairly recent (December 2009) review of antivirus options, many of which are free or cheaper:

Free Antivirus and Antispyware - Reviews by PC Magazine

As far as Norton goes, I think they charge something like $69 for an annual renewal for use on three computers if you renew directly with Symantec (unless there's a special offer at the time), but I've seen it on Amazon for half that price at times.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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I use AVG Free and have been very happy with it. It even found some viruses that (pay) Norton had missed.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:57 AM   #4
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I have observed that Norton is as bad as a virus and that McAfee is worse. I use avast! and Spybot.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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I have observed that Norton is as bad as a virus and that McAfee is worse. I use avast! and Spybot.
Most reports and reviews of Norton 2009 and 2010 have been positive. My understanding is that they completely rewrote it for the 2009 version to make it much less resource-hogging, and it's light years better than the 2008 and prior versions of buggy bloatware that bogged your system to a crawl.

Having said that, it's still $40-50 a year for 3 PCs from most retailers (only suckers pay the full $69 retail price here), and my experience is that the anti-virus component AVG is on par with it (Norton does other things, but the free AVG does anti-virus just as well, IMO).
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 03-10-2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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I recommend AVG free. I used to use it, but I cannot download any updates to its database any longer, since my OS ( Windows ME) is so old. I was forced to find another antivirus, and chose the free version of Avast, which has been good.
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:10 PM   #7
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I really dislike Norton customer service and I especially hate how they want to charge full price for a renewal. Unfortunately, my experience with smaller guys also hasn't been wonderful. That said Costco generally has a $10-20 off coupon on it a couple of times of year, so I end up picking it up for <$40.

I'll try AVG in the future.
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:19 PM   #8
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I got fed up with anti-virus programs years ago. They take up space, they slow things down, they have problems requiring you to contact tech support. I've used AVG, Norton, PC-Cillin, and others.

I've gone without for years now and I have had no problems. I back up once per week, and I run malware checks now and then and the free online housecall. I use gmail, so it would be hard for a virus to get through via email.
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:55 PM   #9
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I was happily using AVG, then I had to download the newer version and things went to hell in a handbasket. My computer just crept until I uninstalled it. Someone smarter than me may know why. I ended up downloading MS Essentials and I'm happy so far.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:48 PM   #10
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I have been happy with the free version of Avast. I also use Ad-Aware, and Malwarebytes to scan for malware now and then.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:04 PM   #11
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I've used AVG and been happy with it.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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Norton and Mcafee are both really low quality virus scanners. It is amazing they actually try and charge money for them. Using low resources is the bare minimum a virus scanner should be doing.

I go into the deepest, darkest parts of the net, so I make sure my computer has good quality protection.

I use avast! as a virus scanner (for active viruses), spybot for its immunity protection, and a-squared to pickup malware/trojans/viruses which hide themselves. A-squared is by far the most sensitive and accurate, but, it requires a manual scan, so I only do it once a week.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:56 PM   #13
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I have used Avast and Avg. I currently use Avast. No reason, just change every year or so. Actually if i am going to do any extensive browsing I use Ubuntu Linux and no antivirus.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:13 PM   #14
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I use Microsoft Security Essentials: http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/
It's free and has got decent reviews from various sites. It's fast and doesn't seem to interfere with other programs. I also try and not click on any weird links and I ran SpyBot occasionally.

I have used AVG in the past, but besides the speed issues, I got sick of the constant annoyances.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:41 PM   #15
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I just switched to AVG to give it a try. My work provides free Symantec and McAfee, but I found them to really (REALLY) bog down my PC. Not sure what was going on, since my PC is pretty fast.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:08 AM   #16
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AVG Free 9.0. You have to sort though a lot of ads and "upgrade" offers to make sure that you end up with just the free version.

This latest version somehow validates files that have been scanned and are unchanged so that it doesn't have to scan them again. Of course a hacker would want to examine this assumption's coding for flaws...

4-5 years back Norton gave the federal govt (including civil service and military, even Reservists) an unlimited free user's license for home PCs. Don't know if this freebie is still available.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:20 AM   #17
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Form the PC Magazine review article I went with their favorite, the Panda Cloud Antivirus free program. It uninstalled Norton and went to work and seems to work unobtrusively in the background. I'll see how it goes and go to AVG or AVAST if anything goes wrong and I can recover.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I got fed up with anti-virus programs years ago. They take up space, they slow things down, they have problems requiring you to contact tech support. I've used AVG, Norton, PC-Cillin, and others.

I've gone without for years now and I have had no problems. I back up once per week, and I run malware checks now and then and the free online housecall. I use gmail, so it would be hard for a virus to get through via email.

You must be behind a NAT router at the very least. It is surprising that you have not gotten infected. Good job!
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
AVG Free 9.0. You have to sort though a lot of ads and "upgrade" offers to make sure that you end up with just the free version.

This latest version somehow validates files that have been scanned and are unchanged so that it doesn't have to scan them again. Of course a hacker would want to examine this assumption's coding for flaws...

4-5 years back Norton gave the federal govt (including civil service and military, even Reservists) an unlimited free user's license for home PCs. Don't know if this freebie is still available.
Free software and anti-virus are one of few things I miss from w*rk.

I use free AVG.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:33 PM   #20
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I use AVG. I've heard many nice things about Avast and tried that but AVG seemed more inuitive to me.
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