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Best of the Free Anti-virus Choices? 499

Posted by Hemos
from the protect-yerself dept.
iamjoltman writes "I've been looking to replace the McAfee anti-virus on my parent's XP machine. So, I've been looking at the three free anti-virus choices, AVG Free Edition, avast! Home Edition and AntiVir Personal Edition. I know there are other options, but I believe any others are only on-demand scanners, and that's not an option. So, what does the Slashdot crowd think is the best of these choices? Keep in mind, I'm only looking in anti-virus, I'll go elsewhere for firewall or malware protection."
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Best of the Free Anti-virus Choices?

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  • Oblig: ClamAV (Score:2, Informative)

    I'd reccommend clamAV for windows [sosdg.org] or clamwin [clamwin.com], both are windows ports of the excellent GPLd clam AV [clamav.net].

    But I'm also going to make an obligatory [ubuntu.com] dig at windows. Consider downloading some software that means you wont have to run anti-virus software.

    (Staying true to my username, I would also like to reccommend os x, but as it's not available for download [thepiratebay.org], and requires new hardware, I won't).
    • RTFSummary (Score:2, Informative)

      by JeanBaptiste (537955)
      He wants scanners that provide real-time protection, not just on-demand scanning.

      And I've often wondered why Clam doesn't make a real-time protection piece. With all the other stuff they have I figure they're already 97% of the way there, with the AV signature databases and all. I'd use it, or at least give it a try.

      AVG by grisoft is where its at though.
      • Re:RTFSummary (Score:3, Interesting)

        He wants scanners that provide real-time protection, not just on-demand scanning.

        Fair enough, I read it too quickly. However, clamwin can be integrated into outlook & ie (two major vectors), and be setup to run periodically.

        As every 'real time' protection anti virus scanner I've ever reccommended has been more trouble then its worth (high resource usage, memory leaks & false alarm pop-ups causing the user to turn it off every single time), I would still go with my reccommendation.
        • Re:RTFSummary (Score:5, Informative)

          by erktrek (473476) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:45AM (#15380933)
          You can use WinPooch [sourceforge.net] in combination with ClamWin to allow for active scanning type goodness.
          Cheers,
          E.
        • Re:RTFSummary (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BiggyP (466507)
          But does it integrate with Firefox and Thunderbird, it's a serious question, i haven't tried clamAV in a while. AVG's personal email scanner solution sits between any mail client(using standard protocols) and the mail servers and performs transparent scanning of messages sent and received, and a very good job it does too.

          ClamAV, well the win32 ports, does look like a promising prjoect and i look forward to seeing a more feature complete version, until then i'm afraid i'll continue to recommend AVG free to n
          • Re:RTFSummary (Score:3, Interesting)

            by skiflyer (716312)
            AVG's personal email scanner solution sits between any mail client(using standard protocols) and the mail servers and performs transparent scanning of messages sent and received, and a very good job it does too.

            Has something changed since I last looked? I thought it was protocol... as in POP3 only, leaving me and my imap solutions out of luck.
        • Re:RTFSummary (Score:5, Informative)

          by de Selby (167520) on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:19PM (#15381797)
          "As every 'real time' protection anti virus scanner I've ever reccommended has been more trouble then its worth (high resource usage, memory leaks & false alarm pop-ups causing the user to turn it off every single time), I would still go with my reccommendation."

          For Windows, I've been happily using NOD32. The install file is about 11 meg, the install dir is about 25, and the memory footprint I'm seeing right now is about 16 (and I think I could get it lower by turning off some options). I haven't noticed any delay in booting and I haven't received any false positives. (It's even found things on my system that Norton didn't.) Best of all, the only two times I've ever received a popup were when it actually found a virus/trojan -- and you can even turn that off and have it act on its own.

          The downside, though, is that I don't think it's grandma-friendly; options galore.

          They have a free 30 day trial version if you're game. // That's my product placement for the day.
      • Re:RTFSummary (Score:2, Interesting)

        by martinultima (832468)
        I'd have to say I recommend AVG from what little experience I've had working with Windows lately (a couple years ago I ditched my last Windows 98 install for Linux, and haven't had anything Microsoft branded on any of my own machines ever since). Not only is it a very high-quality free virus scanner, it's also got probably the most colorful interface I've ever seen – if you've seen all their Easter Island-ish clipart images, you'll know what I mean. Highly recommended.

        Although if you get tired of Wi
    • Re:Oblig: ClamAV (Score:4, Insightful)

      by essdodson (466448) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:14AM (#15380601) Homepage
      And you've ignored everything that the requestor said he wanted in a product. Good job.
      • Seeing how clamwin has autoscheduling and integration with Outlook to autoremove virus, it goes beyond on demand scanning.
        • by spun (1352)
          There are plenty of other ways for an infected file to get onto a system besides Outlook, and a scheduled scan can't catch those files until it runs. On demand provides the ultimate protection for uneducated users, which is why ClamWin is adding it in.

          From the FAQ:

          Q.) Can ClamWin check files automatically as they are accessed

          A.) The answer is not yet.

          So far ClamWin does not have on-access scanner so you need to be careful and scan a suspicious file before opening it. If you do that you will be as safe as wi
    • Re:Oblig: ClamAV (Score:4, Informative)

      by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjawtheshark.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:18AM (#15380635) Homepage Journal
      I think you missed: I believe any others are only on-demand scanners

      ClamAV is an on-demand scanner. Do not despair: with WinPooch [winpooch.free.fr], you can make it a resident scanner. Alas, I only read about it here on slashdot and didn't try it myself. Anyone here knows how good it is?

      I personally use AVG Free Edition and it works just fine. It's non-intrusive and does its work well. That's the reason why I didn't uninstall it to try out WinPooch.

      • Re:Oblig: ClamAV (Score:3, Informative)

        ClamAV is an on-demand scanner. Do not despair: with WinPooch, you can make it a resident scanner. Alas, I only read about it here on slashdot and didn't try it myself. Anyone here knows how good it is?

        I use it on my virtualized Windows 2000 Server box running inside Qemu on top of Ubuntu.

        Not sure if it's a result of running under Qemu (and I use kqemu acceleration, BTW) or if it's just the code itself, but WinPooch seems to take a long time to start up, but once it does the performance hit doesn't seem to
    • Problem ClamAV for windows does only triggered scans and will not do an active on access scan yet.

      I also would be all over it if it did the Processor sucking on access scanning that the other virus scan products do.
    • I don't mean this to be a flame, but since detection rates are generally more important than software license in these cases due to the risk one would take with a subpar AV, I wonder if there's any statistics on detection rates that include clamAV?

      Again, I'm not looking to discredit the tool, because I love OSS as well. Actually, one could say it would be a way to in the future credit it. :-)
    • Re:Oblig: ClamAV (Score:4, Informative)

      by i621148 (728860) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:38AM (#15380847) Homepage
      after you install clamwin:

      open notepad and paste the below,

      # Save this as C:\Program Files\ClamWin\bin\freshclam.conf
      DatabaseMirror database.clamav.net
      MaxAttempts 3
      then do as the first line suggests and save it in the location.

      then open notepad and paste the below,
      echo off
      cls
      echo Clam Scan Open Source Virus Detection and Removal Script
      chkdsk /f /r
      cd C:\Program Files\ClamWin\bin
      freshclam --datadir="C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\.clamwin\db" --config-file="C:\Program Files\ClamWin\bin\freshclam.conf"
      clamscan --database="C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\.clamwin\db" --recursive --verbose --bell --remove C:\
      echo .
      echo beginning hard drive maintennance...
      defrag c: -v
      shutdown -r

      save this as tune_up.bat somewhere and click on it when you
      are done with your work everyday.

  • Elsewhere.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by goldaryn (834427) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:11AM (#15380561) Homepage
    So, what does the Slashdot crowd think is the best of these choices? Keep in mind, I'm only looking in anti-virus, I'll go elsewhere for firewall or malware protection."

    You going to ask on Digg about those two then? :-)
  • AVG here.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_rajah (749499) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:12AM (#15380567) Homepage
    I've been using the free (as in gratis) version of AVG on all the Windows computers in the family for a long time and have been very pleased with the results.. No successful virus attacks in 9 computers over a period of at least 3 years. The hard part, and this is not specific to AVG, is getting the family members who still use dialup to stay current with updates since some of the downloads take quite a while.

    I can't comment on the other free antivirus programs as I've not tried them.
    • Avast vs AVG (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alien54 (180860) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:25AM (#15380719) Journal
      Avast has an excellent feature that nobody else has, which is the ability to scan in command line mode on reboot before major services load, similar to running chkdsk. This enables you to kill a lot of things that fire up as a wndows service. They get a gold star for this.

      AVAST also has plugins for about a dozen IM and p2p services. This is excellent for a number of reasons.

      On the other hand, the free version does not seem to have a scheduled scan feature, not that I've noticed.

      AVG is more user friendly, does have a scheduled scan feature that Avast does not seem to have. It does not seem to have a plugin for IM and p2p networks.

      • Re:Avast vs AVG (Score:2, Informative)

        by solafide (845228)
        Avast, having tried it, is not pleasant for me. Avast seriously slowed the computers I installed it on (and they sped up again when I uninstalled it), while AVG - I can't tell any difference. Been running AVG for nigh on 9 months now, and no virii yet.
      • And, seeing as there's ways to pass parameters to the Avast executable, and Windows has a scheduled tasks facility... ;)

        I use Avast, myself. :)
      • Re:Avast vs AVG (Score:2, Informative)

        by Observador (224372)

        I also recommend the free version of AVG. Due to user-friendlyness, sheduling, set-it and forget updating, etc.

        AVG also runs on Linux [grisoft.com]

    • Re:AVG here.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by twilightzero (244291) <mrolfs AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:41AM (#15380881) Homepage Journal
      I'll third this comment also. I use AVG Free at home, my parents use it on their computers, my siblings use it (at my insistence), and the church I run IT for uses AVG Network edition.

      The client is very light and non-intrusive as opposed to some well known others *COUGHNORTONCOUGHSYMANTECCOUGH*. I actually like that every email, both incoming and outgoing, gets a stamp that it was scanned. Lets me know that yes, it's still working properly and lets everybody else know that the email was definitively scanned.

      The corporate network edition we use at the church is definitely VERY nice to work with. For $250 we got 10 licenses, 2 years of updates, and a central administration program. Installation is the easiest I've ever done on any networked antivirus:

      1) Turn on all machines
      2) Install AVG network admin tool on your file server (or any other machine)
      3) Click Services > Install Antivirus, put in the relevant info, click Scan Network, and it will find all the active computers on your subnet.
      4) Select the workstations you want done and click Install.

      It's that simple. I think I installed all 8 workstations in under 5 minutes (and that includes turning them on and waiting for them to boot). You can also very easily set the server admin to download updates and push them out to the clients however often you want so the clients aren't bogging your network down with update requests.

      I haven't used Avast but I've heard both good and bad things about it from other people, but I have yet to hear true negative feedback about AVG (true as opposed to fanboy whining).
      • Re:AVG here.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aliencow (653119)
        Stamped email are so ridiculous, what the hell is to stop a virus from sending an email saying OMG SCANNED BY AVG NO VIRUS IN HERE LOLLLLIPOP!|!!111 nothing. Yeah that's what I thought, so when you stamp your email, you only give false security to the people reading it.
    • Its a good program, the developers need to eat, so I purchased it after the trial.
  • AVG is good (Score:2, Redundant)

    by whizkid042 (515649)
    I've always had good luck with AVG, but YMMV.
  • Avast! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:12AM (#15380575) Homepage
    I see no need to repeat myself, so I'll just link to my previous post on this subject [slashdot.org].

    • I can only speak of Avast! antivirus in the Windows XP X64 Environment, and I have to say I don't like it.
      It is one of the few AVs that actually support Win XP x64 (at least when it came out) and it was bloated. There were constantly pop-ups and it was a memory hog (again, can't speak for x86 Windows & Avast).
      I mainly got rid of it for the pop-ups, even with notifier off it still told me things that I really didn't care to know, mainly that it was running.

      A good antivirus (IMHO) should start, update and
    • Avast! is good stuff.
  • AVG (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:12AM (#15380582) Homepage Journal
    I like it. I've used commercial AV before, but the free AVG is as good, or better than those. And it can be set to auto-update and auto-scan.

    I haven't used the other free ones; AVG has never given me a need to switch.
  • AVG Camp (Score:2, Troll)

    by karrde (853)
    I don't know if it's the best, but I'm in the AVG Free camp myself. Auto-updating was big. nice side effect that you can't really turn that part off. I work on family and friends computers, and I've started dropping this on thier computers. Espically when I'm working on them because of a virus. That way I know if I have to work on the computer again, it shouldn't be because they've contracted another virus.
  • by GundamFan (848341)
    I use AVG at home and would recomend the free version to anyone.
  • AV Comparison (Score:5, Informative)

    by OneFix at Work (684397) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:14AM (#15380599)
    I would say according to this [av-comparatives.org] comparison, AntiVir is the best...and of course, this is the only comparison that really matters...
    • Thanks, that's a pretty nice website, and being updated too!

      The AntiVir suggestion goes well with what I've heard too.

      Generally I think many suggest AVG because it's what they've tried, and it works. It somehow seem to be the most used free AV, but I'm not convinced that's founded in detection rates, resource usage, etc. It could be the ZoneAlarm case -- the by far most popular one, but from my experiences, e.g Kerio has interfered with other system/network-close tools far less. I can't count how many times
    • Re:AV Comparison (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      1) that comparison tested PRO not FREE versions

      2) antivir did NOT have the highest score
    • What a lot of crud to say and of course, this is the only comparison that really matters.... There is so very much more to be concerned with:

      Size of memory footprint
      Scan speed
      Scheduled scanning ability
      Plugs into email applications
      How it behaves with other applications
      How easy it is to use.

      So NO that is not the only comparison that matters.
  • That of not only protection but saving the time wasting recovery from infections?

    I don't know the answer on that one.
    • by pla (258480) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:45AM (#15380927) Journal
      That of not only protection but saving the time wasting recovery from infections?

      If "free" meant "less effective" then you would have a good point. But it doesn't - The three mentioned in the FP all perform comparably to Symantec, and (from at least one independant review I've seen) considerably better than McAfee.

      Not to mention, they consume FAR lower system resources. At work we run Symantec corporate edition, and I actually need to disable it to burn a DVD rather than a coaster (and I don't run on old or low-end hardware). At home, AntiVir chugs away without making a nuissance of itself or reducing all disc access to a crawl. It also doesn't install six services, two autoruns, and a handfull of TCP/IP stack hijacks, which Symantec does.


      Personally, I long for Clam to support on-demand scanning. But until then... AntiVir wins, with AVG a close second (and the only free on-demand choice for server versions of Windows).
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:18AM (#15380631) Homepage Journal
    I was using AVG and my system had been very sluggish. After several spyware scans with Spybot S&D, Ad Aware and Windows Guardian I was comfortable that I had no spyware or adware on my system. So, I decided to try a different virus scanner. I tried Avast first, it located one infected file that AVG did not.

    I removed the file and my system immediately began to run faster. I wondered if AVG missed something, could Avast miss something, so I downloaded and installed AntiVir. AntiVir drove me crazy with all kinds of false positives. AntiVir picked up many security audit tools that I was evaluating as trojans. I'd never be able to use my system if I left it installed. I went back to Avast. For the time being, Avast is my personal virus scanner of choice. Apparently no false positives and it found a virus that AVG did not.

    LK
    • I've also seen Avast find things which both Symantec and AVG had missed.
      • Redundancy is the key here. I've had AVG pick up things that other solutions had missed, just as Avast! picks up things that AVG misses -- it seems that no single library is complete.

        My machines are set up with AVG auto-scanning and updating, but about once a month I pop in and do manual scans with other software, which one it is varies month-to-month -- usually Avast or AntiVir. AntiVir, as someone else pointed out, does turn up some false positives -- which is why I only use it as a secondary sweeper
    • I had the same experience with AVG. Sluggish and not finding anything, I used Trend Micro's online housecall and found viruses. I ditched AVG for Avast and have been pleased with it so far.

      I would be like to hear about the OP other ideas for firewall and malware.

    • I think you have to be careful about this kind of claim. If the virus missed was a new variant, you may just be seeing a difference in updating the virus definitions database. And it might be caused by your database update setting rather than the supplier not having updated their database. And even if it is caused by one vendor being first to market with updated definition - the same company might be second to market another time. I've used both AVG and Avast! and have seen each catch something the othe
    • Finding one extra virus doesn't necessarily mean it's the better scanner, of course.

      Maybe you just never got one that AVG could detect that Avast! couldn't.

      I think the approach of running multiple virus scanners is the best choice because you're less likely to let one slip through.
  • AntiVir (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whysanity (231556) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:20AM (#15380656) Homepage Journal
    I've recommended AntiVir [free-av.com] to a number of family and friends. The usability increases with each iteration, and gives you options to schedule automatic updates. The only downside is during updates, it sends up a single advertisement for thier full-featured product. So far, I've installed it for my girlfriend, sister, mother, and grandmother. No one has yet had a virus breakout - of course, the promotion of Firefox to Default Browser(TM) and a little user education goes a long way.

    As a sidenote, check out the Anandtech Consolidated Security Thread [anandtech.com] for great commentary on a slew of security products. As of version 6, (now version 7) AntiVir is rated [virus.gr] at a 84.5% detection rate.

    As for myself, I just use good ol' common sense and a router.
    • Re:AntiVir (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Neurotoxic666 (679255) <neurotoxic666NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:42AM (#15380891) Homepage
      Agreed. AntiVir gets the job done. No fancy graphical interface, no abusive CPU usage, no unwanted services running. It's easy to use, easy to update, it scans rather quickly and I've never seen one single computer running AntiVir that got infected.

      I've used AntiVir to countless a dozen PCs that were running Norton and got infected anyway. I recommend it to all of my clients. So far, I'd say there are around 40 computers I'm taking care of here and there that are running AntiVir without any problem. I am highly satisfied with this product. No, I don't work there.

    • Obligatory Geek Girlfriend Joke:

      You have a girlfiend?

      Please return to you normal /.'ing.
    • I second Antivir (Score:2, Informative)

      by Norfair (845108)
      Twice now, it's caught virii that AVG missed, and the scanning engine is, in my experience, a lot faster than AVGs.
  • If you want an open source product, I think Clam AV is the only option. I am a pragmatist and have found AVG free edition fine for personal use. It has pretty good detection and does not destabalize the system like some well known non-free antivirus products. It is not the best for virus removal, but I concentrate on prevention.
  • Go with Antivir (Score:5, Informative)

    by Deathlizard (115856) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:27AM (#15380736) Homepage Journal
    A while back, I did some testing of my own using the three above scanners. The test was done using a virtual PC VM that could be rolled back and reset, that way all three were tested with an exact PC image and system. Then they were subjected to an IE attack from a known malicious site (which I wont mention since I don't want you infecting your PC)

    AVG was dead last, and could not stop even simple web attacks from propagating, even with the highest settings, although it was the least intrusive and fastest of the three, and didn't nag you to upgrade or anything.

    Second was Avast. it stopped a lot of the malicious code, but some still got through and started to drop spyware into the system. It supposedly has guards similar to Windows defender, but didn't seem to do anything to stop the unknown propagations from occurring even on maximum settings.

    Antivir was the best out of the three, catching most of the viruses at it's default setting, and all of the malware at it's maximum (it has definitions for questionable programs like VNC, Jokes and the like, but it's turned off by default) It's biggest problem is that it is the naggiest AV of the three, which constantly asking you to upgrade to the paid version. It also has a tendency to be very sensitive to programs that do virus like behavior at maximum settings, so expect some false positives from time to time.
    • Re:Go with Antivir (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xtracto (837672) on Monday May 22, 2006 @11:02AM (#15381122) Journal
      Nice summary, I just installed AVG Free and it deleted the keylogger I was using (it is my own laptop and I have always had a key logger), unfortunately I could not find an option to ignore the specific file/process, each time it was accessed AVG told me that I was infected with "trojan keylogger" and gave me the option to "ignore, heal, quarintine, etc.." but I had to click on ignore EACH time I used it or I restarted my computer (or I accessed the file in any way).

      So, my question would be, does any of these 2 other AV has a way to "incoulate" or ignore certain file and process forever?

  • I would have to say that I recommend AVG Anti-Virus. I admit, at times, the free version has difficulty removing certain virus components, but at least it always detects. I've always had a problem with Avast anti-virus and it's annoying user interface. And Antivir did not look that great to me either. We use AVG Anti-Virus here in the computer repair center I work for and everyone seems to love it just fine. But if your computer has a good bit of memory and you have the money and/or you're a Comcast/AOL us
  • I use AntiVir on 2000 Workstation and XP boxes. I chose it specifically because it catches viruses the big names (Symantec and McAfee) deliberately ignore, such as the FBI's "Magic Lantern" (or whatever they've renamed it this month). As a perk, it really does run well and consumes a minimum of system resources.

    Unfortunately, AntiVir refuses to run on any "servers" (meaning NT4 server, 2000 server, and any form of 2003). On those, I run AVG, which works almost as well, IMO, but has a slightly less frien
  • I've tried AntiVir and AVG. They are both excellent in terms of protection from viruses, but I find that AVG is quicker to update and the interface looks more modern. Antivir's interface looks like something out of the Windows 3.1 era.

    Antivir also requires you to re-run their setup program each time you have to update the engine, which in my experience could be at least once a month. This is cumbersome and can be confusing to computer illiterate users. Since I've switched to AVG I haven't run into these pro
  • by lseltzer (311306) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:35AM (#15380821)
    PCMag looked at these three last September. [pcmag.com]
    Most new computers come bundled with a free antivirus solution, but sooner or later you have to start paying to get the latest virus-definition updates. When the subscription lapses, your protection evaporates. Don't let that happen! If you don't have the funds or inclination to maintain a subscription, try a free antivirus utility. We looked at three that provide full system scanning and also scan all files on access. (Two others, BitDefender 8 Free Edition and ClamWin Free Antivirus 0.86.2, were omitted, because they lack real-time scanning.)
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:36AM (#15380830) Homepage Journal
    Just that you have looked at free ones.

    Nod32 from eSet has been running hassle-free on my Windows machine for quite a while and has scored 100% detection rates in third-party testing.
    • Nod32's internet scanner (called IMON) hooks into the tcp/ip stack in such a way as to break python-based BitTorrent clients upon their attempt to open a 65th socket.. this results in a ~60 peer limit, which results in poor transfer rates.

      This was the main reason I ditched it, it was otherwise a great piece of software. Of course, YMMV.
  • AVG for me (Score:3, Informative)

    by randomErr (172078) <ervin...kosch@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:37AM (#15380837) Homepage Journal
    AVG Free Edition - Use it, Love it. Our curch used the commercial version.
    avast! Home Edition - Had install problems. Many of my firends live by it.
    AntiVir Personal Edition - Ran good, but I have had problems with random freezes when used on a system with an accounting package writen in VB 6 that used SQLBase. Not sure which cause which.
    clamAV for windows - Haven't used it.
    clamwin - Haven't used it.
  • After getting tired of Norton AntiVirus "couple hundred per year" and "won't work if you choose a newer OS without buying an even newer version", etc.... I installed avast! Pro. I have to say, I am liking it. Works on different platforms, $40/year, etc...

    My wife got a notice at work that some webpage she tried to go to contained a virus... I purposely went to it to see if avast! would catch it - and it did.

    And, you can try it for free :)
  • by abbamouse (469716) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:40AM (#15380871) Homepage
    I've used AntiVir since the late 1990s or thereabouts. The most recent version has taken to spamming me with an ad for the pay version every time it updates (once a day). The ad pops up and interrupts whatever I'm doing. It doesn't go away until you click it. So this nice freeware seems to have become nagware. I'll be reading others' responses to find out what I should be running instead of AntiVir.
  • At least as much as an anti-virus package can. Just use google [slashdot.org] to find it ;)
  • by DoctorDyna (828525) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:45AM (#15380926)
    Try using the anti-virus software I use at home. It's a mental document I have that I spew at everybody who uses my network. I call it: "Don't be an idiot."

    It contains several points.

    1. Don't click before you read
    2. Don't open e-mail attachments unless it's from sombody you know in real life.
    3. Don't ever run anything in a browser, or click anything that a web site says you should, no matter HOW WONDERFUL it claims to be.
    4. Don't use file sharing or P2P of any kind.
    5. Don't give out your e-mail address to any site that you use for communication. Use a seprate spam e-mail address with a free provider when a website requests an e-mail address.

    There are other things, but the general idea is this. Most anti-virus software will slow down your computer. Sometimes, as much so that it behaves as if it's actually infected with a virus. Following general rules you can lead a completely normal life with a computer, sans anti virus software. I have been doing it for over 12 years, and none of my computers have ever been infected with a real virus. Sure, I've had to do MS updates for sasser and the like to prevent other drone computers on the internet from attacking me using a flaw, but that doesn't count as being infected with a virus, and most likely wouldn't have been something an anti-virus program would have stopped to begin with.

    Oh, and Linux zealots: Please try to stop yourselves from suggesting that Linux in some form is the "end all, catch all" cure for PC woes and viruses. I would much rather go to my mothers house once a month ro remove a virus than once every 15 minutes to try to explain how to do something simple with her system. Before you fuckers get happy with the moderate menu please understand I'm not bashing Linux, I'm just saying we have to stop making the answer to every question "Install Linux."

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday May 22, 2006 @11:09AM (#15381186) Journal
      Hah! You think your list of items keep you from being infected with malware? You're asking for a big fat infection. Here's my foolproof list:

      (1) Don't turn your machine on. If it's not turned on, you can't get infected.
      (2) If you do, by accident, turn your machine on, don't log in.
      (3) If, somehow, you accidentally type in your username and password, don't open a web browser.
      (4) If you happen to open a web browser window, make sure thw wire that connects your PC to the network is not attached.

      These simple steps will prevent infection by malware. I've never had an infection of any sort using these guidelines -- my PET2001 still remains virus-free due to these simple precautions -- and it's been in use since 1981!.

      Sorry to take the piss, but your smug feeling of superiority is ill-placed. You severely limit the functionality of your PC -- and while it may work for you, it won't work for people who want a different experience from their PC -- like making use of streaming media, or playing simple games. It's totally unreasonable to expect Joe User to not accidentally accept an installation of something they nasty.

      And, I have to add, it's only a matter of time before you ARE infected -- and since you don't scan, you'll have no way of knowing if you're propagating.
  • by geobeck (924637) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:46AM (#15380946) Homepage

    What I can't understand is why people will pay $500-$2500 for their computer, another $200-$1000 for software, but won't pay a measly $20-$40 per year for an antivirus.

    I use Trend Micro Pc-cillin Internet Security 2006 [trendmicro.com]. It's $50 to buy, and $25 a year after the first year, and it's the best I've tried so far. It includes antivirus, firewall (very configurable), anti-spam (which I don't use), and malware protection.

    Unlike Norton, which only updates their definitions once a week, Trend Micro updates theirs every three hours. It's the same update frequency as their enterprise solutions [trendmicro.com], which are very powerful and easy to administer.

    I know I sound like a commercial, but come on; with all the money you've spent on your computer, don't skimp on protecting it. Then again, as others have suggested, you could just go with Mac or Linux and not worry about viruses at all. (Just get something to protect against worms and root attacks.)

  • I've been using avast! Home Edition for well over a year now on three Windows boxes, and I couldn't be happier. The e-mail scanner is top-notch and integrates automatically with Thunderbird. I'd estimate that avast! has caught nearly 500 virus attachments in the past year alone.

    The real-time system scan also performs well, with relatively little memory usage compared to Norton or McAfee. I haven't made much use of the P2P or IM scanners, but if they're up to par with the system and e-mail components, I'd

  • My favorites: For online scans, housecall.trendmicro.com [trendmicro.com] is your way to go. Does Linux too. NOD32 [nod32.com] is the most impressive Windows scanner I've found. For cleaning out and managing the registry, you want JV16 Power Tools [macecraft.com], but running msconfig's the quickest way to clean the crap out of the registry as you don't need anything to download. Be careful though...
  • by Fex303 (557896)
    Another happy Avast user in this corner.

    I've been using it for about three years now, and I've never had an infection on my computer or any of the machines belonging to friends and family that I 'administer'. At one stage I was carrying around burnt CDs with the Blaster removal tool and Avast on them and giving them to people when they complained about the damn thing.

    My only gripe is that the small alert notice that lets you know Avast has been updated does not play well with fullscreen 3D apps. Every

  • by bahwi (43111)
    I use ClamWin. I haven't checked out any of the others, but we use clam on all the unix boxes for mail av so I just followed that to the windows world. =) Worth checking out, although very primative it works. Absolutely no bells and whistles, it's a *nix product in a win shell.
  • Use BitDefender [bitdefender.com]. Ranked highest in PC Magazine (although the commercial version is pricey), the free version is up for Windows and Linux.
  • by jambarama (784670) <jambarama@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:46PM (#15382037) Homepage Journal
    I have really had good luck with Clamwin. It doesn't do realtime scanning - so you actually have to scan stuff manually, or setup some auto scans. On the other hand, it won't bog down your system scanning every bloody little thing you download. Plus it is open scource - that is a bonus.

    If you couple clamwin with winpooch (open source anti-spyware) it gives you incredible control over your system. With winpooch, clamwin can do real-time scanning.

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