Free antivirus software recommendations

Thu, 2009-01-22 23:13 by admin · Forum/category:

Here are three recommendations.

  • Free Avira AntiVir – a nice program, apart from some self-advertisements.
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus – a new contender, which seems to be unobtrusive, very simple to use, and well-working.
  • AVG Free – but do not install or activate their LinkScanner function. The program tends to be overbearing and intrusive.
  • avast! antivirus Home Edition – a bit slow with the updates, but otherwise good.
  • The new kid on the block is Microsoft's free antivirus program Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), which I am using now. An elegant, inconspicuous program that doesn't get in my way. I usually have the real-time protection switched off for performance reasons, which has the sole disadvantage that the icon is red with a white cross, warning me about the reduced security. But you don't have to do that.

    Check the comment Problem with MSE though. The program may have a flaw.

Keywords: virus scanner scanners recommendation

WhiteDog66's picture

MSE runs smoothly because it does nothing!

Mon, 2010-02-15 16:52 by WhiteDog66

After stupidly claiming that MSE is a serene application, I found that the technical basis of that claim is that it does nothing. I removed it and installed the whole PCTools suite. Stupidly I paid for that. If they do not refund I shall place a review on

Endless problems, including that is disabled my MS workgroup. I cannot find a way to open ports without ruining security. PCTools was very impressive at finding long-buried trojans missed by all the other products I have listed in my previous post. So now I have three clean machines ready for a security solution which does not run my CPU up to 98.5% and run off 50,000,000 cpu ticks before it lets me onto my email!

The Matousec website has some amazing firewall test results, including a single-digit fail score for MSE.

Problem with MSE

Sun, 2010-01-24 20:41 by admin

I have installed Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) on three computers. It works well on two, but fails to update its virus database on the third.

It cannot even count days properly. It tells me that its virus database has not been updated for 7 days, while in truth it has not been updated for much longer.

Checking the web, I'm apparently not the only one to whom this happens, so be aware of this flaw. At least it tells you straight away if it doesn't work by showing a white exclamation mark on its turned-orange icon and warning you about lack of protection.

Its support information and people in its support forum give you the expected standard fare about checking your firewall, reinstalling the program, etc., meaning that they have no clue why a relatively simple part of its operation, that works well in most other antivirus programs, keeps failing in this one.

My personal recommendation is, if you experience this problem, don't waste any time and install a third-party antivirus program instead. And use the saved time to report here what happened.

WhiteDog66's picture

Microsoft Security Essentials is my best so far

Sun, 2010-01-24 17:53 by WhiteDog66

I moved to the Microsoft product for a lot of reasons. Some of them are mentioned in the other posts.

Over the years I had tried:

V-Com (same as Trendnet)

None of these was perfect, though Avira was tolerable, and Trendnet ran fine. I did not renew the licence for it. F-Secure profoundly crashed two XP machines and messed up the network. Avira came up with false positives. and was touchy about some javascript on certain websites on one machine, but not on another. Figure.

The uninstall of some of these is nearly impossible. There are hidden startup files and zillions of rogue registry entries which stay there forever, even surviving registry cleaner programs. The dedicated uninstallers are useless.

Using JV16 tools I found that both Symantec and McAfee left behind more than 4000 disused registry items each. The removal of Avira required major surgery to the program directory, registry keys and start files list. I assume that the authors design the programs to be resistant to removal by malware, but this is insulting to all but the most advanced users.

Revo uninstaller pro is a wonderful tool for removal of programs and all their traces, but you can do the same manually if you want. JV16 will do the job and maybe Glary Utilities.

My reason for posting is that all of these programs have limitations some of them serious. So far (1 week, 3 machines) the MSE is just so calm and positive. It consumes 6 MB of RAM versus 100+ for Avira. I see no reason to pay for "protection."

Even though email is the "main" source of trouble, bear in mind that the files going through big ISP's are scanned en mass and the likelihood of getting a bad file is much reduced compared to previous years.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Tue, 2009-10-06 12:28 by zenandzen

I have installed the new Microsoft Security Essentials & it is only days so far, but I feel I have already gained some speed & power ,& after having removed Avira Free less intrusive updates & no real need to disable the antivirus to to run a game like Half Life 2, or any of my Steam games.
So far so good.


Avira German

Thu, 2009-09-10 09:15 by cwhkcs

Avira GmbH is a German antivirus software company. Its antivirus applications are based on the AntiVir scan engine also known as "Luke Filewalker", first launched in 1988. It was called "H+BEDV Datentechnik GmbH" when it was founded. However, due to aesthetic purposes only, the name was changed to what it currently is now. Avira's engine has been licensed to Ashampoo antivirus and Webroot WebWasher.

free AVG

Wed, 2009-02-04 11:45 by Brigham

I tried AVG and it was very good. When I tried to uninstall it, however, I had to download a special uninstaller. I don't know why this is, perhaps they don't want to see us go!!

AVG no longer recommendable?

Fri, 2009-02-06 10:51 by admin

I'm close to stopping to recommend AVG. Your comment confirms my "overbearing and intrusive" label. They seem to be going the way of Symantec/Norton.

Security essentials

Sun, 2010-01-03 22:59 by Brigham

I have Microsoft Security Essentials, I also have McAfee. The MSE suddenly warned me that I had a Trojan Clicker on my computer. McAfee had no mention of it. With MSE it was a simple matter to clear up the trouble. Do you think that I should let the McAfee expire and not renew it?

I would

Mon, 2010-01-04 07:29 by admin

Difficult question. I personally run only MS Security Essentials now and have uninstalled my previous virus checker.

Since I don't like McAfee much, I would uninstall it.

But when I give this advice, there is always the little risk that one day your computer may catch a virus that Security Essentials does not know, but some other virus checker would have known. Then you could blame me. (:-)

A few very careful computer users actually run two different virus checkers. I'm not that careful, but I always try to make sure that malware cannot get to my computer in the first place (router with NAT, very careful with email attachments). I even have the real-time protection switched off, because I'm pretty sure I will not catch any serious malware, and many years of experience seem to bear that out, but I don't recommend that, unless you know pretty much about malware vectors.


Mon, 2010-01-04 10:36 by Brigham

I would never blame anyone who gave me bad advice. After all, I don't have to take it do I? I just wanted to know what other people did, especially people who know much more about computing than me.

Good to know

Mon, 2010-01-04 19:05 by admin

Anyway, a good piece of protection is a router with NAT, i.e. any typical home router. The reason is that the computers behind it are no longer reachable from the outside, because they have private IP addresses. Unless, of course, the router has been set up for port forwarding, but then you have to know what you're doing. Even then only the desired ports are reachable from the outside, and those should not be too easy to attack.

The other security risk is email attachments. They are probably the biggest security hole of our time, followed by web sites that trick you into downloading and running malware.

More things can be said about laptops visiting your home network, web sites using security holes on computers that don't use Microsoft's update service, and some others.

Avast is some better

Sat, 2009-08-01 17:35 by udhaya_k

Yes. I tried Avast instead mcafee. It does not prevent any installation and also find some new viruses that mcfee didn't.

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