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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    I'm considering whether to buy an AV program, but I'm not so sure after reading reviews on the web which say that there are free alternatives that do the job just as well as their paid brethren. Although, I've learned from experience that you can't expect much from free products...

    So, my question to you - Do you believe that it's absolutely necessary to get a paid AV program in order to have a REAL protection, and not just a mediocre one which is what you get if you use a free program?

    TIA

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Security programs come in all shapes and sizes. What are you using now?

    If you want to start with free and you are running a recent version of Windows, get Microsoft Security Essentials. You can supplement that with some tools that handle specific tasks, such as scheduled malware cleanings (e.g., Malwarebytes Anti-Malware) and vulnerability detection (e.g., Secunia PSI).

    You will get a diversity of views on other suites and point products, but you don't need to wait for replies: just read down this board for more views.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I agree with Jeff on MS Security Essentials. It is a free app from MS (believe it ot not) that includes AV and AM that runs quietly in the background, updates signatures every day and can be used for a periodic system scan. On my systems I also use MalwareBytes AM to run weekly scans as well as Spybot Search and Destroy for weekly scans. Keep in mind that running more than one AV or AM in real time (running all the time in background) is not a good idea. Conflicts can occur. That's why I use MSE for real time protection and weekly scans for the others.

    As Jeff states you will find a hundred people with a hundred different ideas what will work best. I have found a scheme that works well for me and does not cost me anything. Remember that another part of security in my opinion is to keep the S/W on your system up to date. Many updates in today's environment revolve around security breaches so it's important to update regularly.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Take a look at this chart here for results of recent testing of paid and free antivirus. Alwil, Microsoft (Microsoft Security Essentials) and Avira Free are three of the free antivirus solutions, and they performed very well compared to all the paid for choices.

    This test was referenced by Woody Leonhard on his site here , which is an interesting site to watch.

    I personally use Avast Home Free Edition and for two years now have had great success. I also have Microsoft Security Essentials installed on a machine for testing, and am very pleased with it (used for two months).
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Star Lounger
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    Thank you all for your replies.

    I'm using Windows XP pro SP3. I hope it's not a deciding factor in whether to buy an AV program or not...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    Remember that another part of security in my opinion is to keep the S/W on your system up to date.
    What's S/W?

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfe777 View Post
    Thank you all for your replies.

    I'm using Windows XP pro SP3. I hope it's not a deciding factor in whether to buy an AV program or not...

    What's S/W?
    Just an abbrieviation for software
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  7. #7
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfe777 View Post
    Thank you all for your replies.

    I'm using Windows XP pro SP3. I hope it's not a deciding factor in whether to buy an AV program or not...
    I'm using the Avast! Home Free Edition on XP Pro SP3, and XP Home SP3 and Microsoft Security Essentials on a Windows 7 desktop and Avast on a Windows 7 laptop. I am confident in these products no matter what version of Windows I use.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    2 Star Lounger
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    Wink

    Hi rfe :

    If an antivirus company offers both a "Free" and "Professional" version,
    both versions use the same Scanning Engine ; the difference is that
    the "Pro" version offers more features, which may or may not be
    important to you . IF having excellent Support Forums as it relates to
    antivirus "detection(s)" is important to you, then you should avoid
    Microsoft Security Essentials, since I view their Support Forums very
    poor ; in contrast, Avast has One of the better Support Forums and I
    occasionally help out there .
    IF I were to PAY for an antivirus program, it would be for NOD32 from
    Eset Software; however, I have happily used the FREE Avast Home
    Edition for several years .
    And many in the malware-fighting community consider Spybot to be
    no longer in the top tier of antiSPYWARE programs . I currently use
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware & SUPERAntiSpyware .
    For the BEST in what counts in Life :

    http://www.ctftoronto.com

  9. #9
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If your the kind of person who is always getting infected with every latest whatever, like a malware magnet, and in frequent need of tech support, then Robin is correct. You should go with a product where the support is well rated and the dection rates are well above the 90th percentile. Many paid-for products have professional forums and offer 24 hr tech support.

    It also depends on your needs and habits, or dare I say, bad habits.

    But if you feel that you don't encounter infection related issues too often and are proficient in troubleshooting a wide
    range of infective issues on your own, and have thoughtful backup regimens. Then products with more limited tech support would
    be hardly noticable. Here you rely on yourself for resolving issues. The only question then would be the capability of the
    product. Whether they be free or not, and what resources they consume, or difficulty of use and what not (personal preferences).
    Invasive "all on" suits and heavy duty programs may be overkill.
    So, my question to you - Do you believe that it's absolutely necessary to get a paid AV program in order to have a REAL protection, and not just a mediocre one which is what you get if you use a free program?
    My answer to this is no, There is no malware infection on the internet that can't be fixed, repaired or otherwise rectified to a satisfactory degree with a freeware program or a set of detailed manual instruction. Restoring a "secure" backup and or doing a total clean install are also legitimate means of repair.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Taylor View Post
    IF having excellent Support Forums as it relates to
    antivirus "detection(s)" is important to you, then you should avoid
    Microsoft Security Essentials, since I view their Support Forums very
    poor ; in contrast, Avast has One of the better Support Forums and I
    occasionally help out there .
    Since I began using MSE approx 6 months ago on 5 PC's running 32 Bit and 64 Bit versions of Win 7 HP and Ultimate,and another using Vista, I have NEVER had a need to visit a support forum. Perhaps that's because we're lucky. I think not, I think it's because it just works as advertised. It runs quietly in the background and does it's job. I have used Norton, Bit Defender and Avast free in the past. I would not consider either Norton or Bit Defender ever again for my use, but would also consider Avast again if the need arose. I'm presently using MSE because it includes both AV and Antimalware protection. I find this attractive.

    I guess if you have to visit a support forum (I spent hours at the various Bit Defender forums) on a regular basis, that says something about the product you are using.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  11. #11
    2 Star Lounger Katz's Avatar
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    Win XP Pro SP3. I use Avast free A-V and Outpost free Firewall on my main comp. Regularly I scan with MBAM and SAS, but they rarely find more than tracking cookies. I'm the kind of person who prevents infections pretty well, the opposite of what Clint described. I don't use toolbars, don't click on ads, etc.

    On my older comp, also Win XP Pro SP3, I use Avira free A-V and Comodo free Firewall.
    2 desktops: Win XP Pro SP3 / 3 GHZ/3 GB RAM/ Firefox, Thunderbird /
    Open Office

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