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Antivirus comparison?


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A lot of my clients have neither firewalls nor antivirus programs to help secure their systems.

 

I have been recommending/installing ZoneAlarm (the free version) and the free AVG, but recently came upon a website that ranked AVG a lot lower than a couple other freebie antivirus programs.

 

A second website also had AVG ranked lower than other free programs.

 

Avast! and AntiVir both seem to rank higher than AVG. Is there any general consensus regarding any of these programs? Which of the free antivirus programs are the best?

 

I like AVGs ease of use and automatic updating, but if OTHER products are rated better, I'd like to be able to pass along that info to my clients.

 

Any help greatly appreciated.

 

RayG

 

ps. I did a search for 'antivirus comparison' here on the board, but it didn't turn up any of the specific info I'm looking for.

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My personal expierience with AVG is that it'll find trojans/viruses but it's not really good at cleaning them up...it's light on resources, so I guess it's O.K. until you run into trouble...then just find the better one's to do the clean up job

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Anti-virus programs usually give you the protection you pay for. I have used a couple of the freebies and found that their protection was minimal. I first purchased Norton, ran it for a few months and realized it was slowing my system down and eventually Norton kept my computer from starting.

 

When I realized what was going on, I uninstalled it, edited the registry to remove any of Norton's entries and the computer ran again as it had before. There is only one anti-virus I found to be more destructive to your system than Norton and that was McAfee. I purchased it after Norton and found that McAfee had created two firewall mini-ports in the device manager that was unremovable. When I clicked on them to remove them. I promptly received a message warning me that I was about to crash my system if I removed the mini-ports.

 

As of now, I am running ETrust EZ Armor with their firewall and PestPatrol Spyware Removal tool and have had no problems with any of the three. Just remember one thing. When comparing Anti-Virus programs, the vendor's site you are visiting is not about to tell you that their product is inferior to someone elses. Also depending on your system, not all anti-virus programs act the same way from one computer to another. I realize that it is costly to do as I have and purchase several different programs, but sometimes it is necessary to do that to find one that suits your needs.

 

Good Luck

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Ray, I realize from personal experience that you can't very well foist paid antivirus applications on all your customers (most wouldn't appreciate the additional cost on top of the labor/parts it took to repair their computer), and in most cases in order to make your customers happy, it's kind of nice to be able to offer them protection for their computer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. What I have been doing for my customers is alternate between AVG and Avast, depending on their system resources. If I feel their computer can handle it, I'll install Avast because I like its capabilities/effectiveness more than I do AVGs. But for the systems that don't have the processor/memory to efficiently run Avast, I'll put AVG on it because AVG is lighter on system resources.

 

I have yet to try AntiVir, so I cannot testify as to its resource drain potential, although I have heard it's effectiveness ranks right up there with the best of the free AVs. I would like to find out sometime whether AntiVir has more or less of a drain on resources than Avast. -kd5-

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I'm with kd5. I like Avast! more than AVG, but it tends to eat up alot of resources, and takes a long time to scan. Certainly worth it if your computer has the free resources. :tup:

 

I haven't used AntiVir either, but I've read rave reviews from every corner of net about it. :)

 

There's also Bit Defender that I haven't used before.

 

If you're looking for good free firewalls, I'd go with Sygate. ZoneAlarm is good, but in the experience I've had with it, it seems to have compatibility issues with other software.

 

with regards

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I'm with Champion_Munch, although I would recommend ZoneAlarm (ZoneAlarm does have a lot of compatibility issues with many security products such as F-Secure).

 

I chose Avast! over the others (AVG, AntiVir and BitDefender) because Avast is the only free antivirus app that has email support (which is not common for a free product).

 

Moreover, Avast's autoupdate function is truly effective. Once, I had two updates within 5 hours (all I had to do was click on the popup notice from the notification area about the information of the installed updates). Avast has also proved to be effective so far.

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I would have to agree with kd5, CM & lamchopz that Avast would be my pick. I have used AVG (It has Email protection BTW), AntiVir & of course Avast. I also have NAV Pro, which I don't use because of all the system resources it uses.

 

I would pick Sygate as a firewall over ZA as I find that ZA will build up a lot of registry entries when it checks mail.

 

Anyhow, that's the way I see it. :P

 

Regards,

 

Hawk :beer:

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Ray, I realize from personal experience that you can't very well foist paid antivirus applications on all your customers (most wouldn't appreciate the additional cost on top of the labor/parts it took to repair their computer), and in most cases in order to make your customers happy, it's kind of nice to be able to offer them protection for their computer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Yup, that's why I said this in my original post:

 

"I have been recommending/installing ZoneAlarm (the free version) and the free AVG..."

 

I became concerned when I saw AVG score quite a bit lower than both Avast! and AntiVir. I want to make sure my clients get the most effective software possible, even if it is free.

 

So far it looks like a toss-up between Avast! and AntiVir.

 

Thanks everyone for your comments, I'm going to try out both of those programs to see which is more appropriate for computer newbies. (most of my clients are elderly folks with very little experience)

 

toodles,

RayG

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I like AVG but have recently ran into problems installing the newest version. I switched to Avast and find that it is pretty good. I don't like all the resources that it uses but like the fact that there is no difference in the providers that it uses for its free version when compared to the paid program. I don't think it is easy to use and the scans do take a long time. I thought that it was only the paid version of AVG that provided email protection.

 

It was a technition that recommended AVG and Adaware to me a while ago. I think it is really good that you do this with your clients, especially the elderly who most likely have a tight budget in retirement. Like Jacee said in another topic, the solution is only good if you keep it updated and run the scans.

 

As for additional products that help, I think that CCleaner is an easy to use cleanning program.

 

Also, CounterSpy, which isn't free but is very cheap (free 14 day trial, $19.95 first year, $9.95 each additional year) is a good anti-spyware product. I was undecided until I used it on my mother's machine. It also picks up and removes browser hijackers and trojan downloaders. AVG would never catch these until they were already on the machine and then I would have to run an online scanner to remove them. Sometimes the removal included registry fixes. this is just my opinion.

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hi Ray, that was an interesting link in your first post.I wasnt aware that AVG ranked so low in those comparison tests.Ive been thinking about switching my Anti-Virus to F-Secure lately, maybe now I will. :beer:

Yeah, I had been using AVG for quite awhile, but stumbled upon that page that rated AVG much lower than either Avast! or AntiVir.

 

These are the results as reported on the linked website:

 

1. Kaspersky Personal Pro version 5.0.20 - 99.28%

...

20. AntiVir version 6.30.00.17 - 84.50%

21. Avast version 4.6.623 - 79.65%

...

28. AVG version 7.0.308 - 54.07%

 

Because that particular page had Kaspersky rated as the very best, I downloaded their trial version last week, and had been running it until today. I liked the interface but found the test result screen rather confusing. It lumped EVERYTHING in one big list. Weeding out successful scans from failed virus database downloads made things seem very jumbled. No virus or trojan reported.

 

In any case, I removed Kaspersky today and installed Avast! instead. I found the multiple interfaces annoying, the main interface less than helpful, and the initial scan at boot-up seemed to take forever. I noticed an increase in system resource usage as well. What I found truly frustrating was the inability to setup a scheduled scan. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place or something, but I couldn't find ANYWHERE to set Avast! to scan automatically every morning at 4:00am. No virus or trojan reported after a full scan, but the lack of scheduling was enough to force me to delete the program.

 

Lastly, and most recently, I installed AntiVir. Although the interface is better than that of Avast!, it's still worse than AVG. AVG seems ideal for the older generation because of the HUGE but simple buttons. In any case, I installed AntiVir, updated it, and did a full scan. BINGO!! It immediately found the TR/Drop.Small.NK trojan hiding in a file one of the kids had downloaded. A click of the button deleted it. With a little bit of fiddling around, I was able to set the program to run a scan at 4:00am. When I switched from my administrative to my limited account, AntiVir reported yet another problem - Trojan.PwdStealer was supposedly found in software I had installed ages ago to allow me remote access to my computer. To be fair, it was reported as a Heuristic, so it was only guessing, and a search online revealed that AntiVir seemed to be the only antivirus program reporting this particular error. I'm hoping this is a false-positive.

 

End result?

 

I still have AntiVir on my system, and will probably keep it at least for the next while. I'm not as trusting of AVG anymore because of the 54% test result from that website.

 

Avast! is out the window simply because it consumed too much of my CPU resources and I want a program to run automatically not manually.

 

Any and all comments welcome.

 

RayG

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You should give the NOD32 trial a go. It performs better than that particular comparison says.

 

 

Yes, it does rate about 1% better than the AntiVir program, but I can't find a truly free version of NOD32. I tried looking here, but it mentions a 30 day trial period.

 

edit to add: If it only performs about 1% better than a truly free program, is there any point in spending money on it? Keep in mind, I'm looking for CHEAP solutions for my clients, who, in most cases, are elderly folks with their first computer.

 

RayG

Edited by RayG
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You're jumping to conclusions. You should look at some other anti-virus comparisons and you'll see that NOD performs in the 90% range ;)

 

But if you really want something good and free, I'd go with AntiVir.

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I'm sick of scheduled scanning. I can understand with your customers that it's easier for you to set a time for them to run their AV, but for me it's manual all the way. :P

 

I've downloaded a few free AV's, but so far have only installed Avast! and AVG. I didn't realise there was a free version of Kaspersky available, I might give it a go later. :)

 

Edit: Just realised you said free trial for Kaspersky. Bummer. :rolleyes:

 

with regards

Edited by Champion_Munch
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I'm sick of scheduled scanning. I can understand with your customers that it's easier for you to set a time for them to run their AV, but for me it's manual all the way. :P

 

Yegads, I'd rather poke my eyes out with pointy sticks than sit through a manual scan.

 

Since my systems stay on 24/7, I have them do an automatic scan every morning at 4:00am. That way, my computer can be working while I'm sleeping.

 

:P

 

RayG

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You're jumping to conclusions.

Probably.

 

You should look at some other anti-virus comparisons and you'll see that NOD performs in the 90% range ;)

Using the same test parameters?

 

Granted, I haven't checked EVERY comparison for NOD's results, but that one website has been running tests for awhile now, and of the 91202 virus samples thrown at it, NOD managed to score 85.66%, compared to AntiVir which scored 84.50%.

 

Even over at http://www.av-comparatives.org AntiVir and Avast! again BOTH scored better results than AVG. (NOD scored better, but there's no FREE version that I can find).

 

Kaspersky - 99.6%

NOD - 95.5%

AntiVir - 91%

Avast! - 90%

AVG - 86%

 

But if you really want something good and free, I'd go with AntiVir.

Yup, that's the direction I'm leaning.

 

RayG

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Yegads, I'd rather poke my eyes out with pointy sticks than sit through a manual scan.

 

Since my systems stay on 24/7, I have them do an automatic scan every morning at 4:00am. That way, my computer can be working while I'm sleeping.

 

:P

 

RayG

My parents won't let me leave my computer on (wastes electricity, apparently ;)). And the humming noise 20cm from your head gets annoying after a while when you're trying to get to sleep. :P

 

with regards

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My parents won't let me leave my computer on (wastes electricity, apparently ;)).

Sure it wastes electricity, but think of the time you'd save on bootup each morning. :D

 

And the humming noise 20cm from your head gets annoying after a while when you're trying to get to sleep. :P

Man, I can sleep through just about anything. Years ago I used to pop a cassette tape in of the Eagles, or Billy Joel, or Supertramp, plop on the earphones, and I'd be out by the end of the second song.

 

I also used to sleep in the back of the military truck with my head resting on the teletype machine. Whenever the thing would clatter to life, I'd wake up to handle the messages, and then put my head down to sleep again. :blink:

 

RayG

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What I found out about AntiVir from reading user reviews is that there's no automatic updating and the updates are quite large. So for the average customer who is basically clueless about computers beyond playing games and either email or Instant Messaging, and especially if they're on dialup, AntiVir wouldn't be such a good idea. I'd say if their computer can handle it I'd go with Avast. Just worked on a older gent's computer, it had the processor but not the memory, so I put AVG on it. Tried to talk the old guy into putting more memory in it, and I got the classic, "It does just fine for what I use it for"... :P -kd5-

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See here on how to schedule Avast home

 

Avast scheduling

 

The additional benefit of Avast is that web shield detects and stops most nasties from even getting on your machine, (I won't say all 'cos no av is that good) and as for resources you can run as few or as many proveders as you want. My overhead is 20mb with standard shield, webshield, network shield and internet mail

Edited by essexboy
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One thing to consider is how often the av-program updates it's virus definitions. The "free ones" are good for temporary use, much like a share tire is on a car. You can read  a good article regarding the pros and cons of free antivirus software at: antivirus.about.com

 

- Anthony

I'm sorry but that is complete nonsense. A great deal of people are using these so-called temporary antivirus applications on a more permanent basis and they do very well thankyouverymuch. I'd use some of these free AVs before I even considered installing some of the paid bloatware (Norton/McAfee/etc.) out there.

 

As for your link, everyone has an opinion and that one belongs to Mary Landesman.

 

And that is my own humble opinion based on several years of practical computer experience. I'll never profess to know everything but I know enough not to call the free AVs a temporary solution. -kd5-

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One thing to consider is how often the av-program updates it's virus definitions. The "free ones" are good for temporary use, much like a share tire is on a car. You can read a good article regarding the pros and cons of free antivirus software at: antivirus.about.com

That is not a good reason, what about cosmetic updates? My AV updates when neccessary not on a schedule that looks good..

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Ok, I've encountered a problem with AntiVir that I didn't have with the AVG program.

 

When I attempt to install AntiVir it WILL NOT allow me to install the program in any folder other than C:\Program Files\AVPersonal\r. This is not to my liking as I prefer to run my system from a limited account.

 

I would prefer to install it in the shared document folder as I found the program still attempting to write to the drive this morning 402 minutes AFTER the initial scan had been performed. If I attempt to run a manual scan, AntiVir kicks back these errors:

 

'Cannot write report file!'

'Cannot write summary report!'

 

This is no doubt caused by the program trying to run in the limited account, which does not allow writing to the folder/directory that AntiVir is located in. It will allow me to do a full scan/write report files/write summary reports if I do so from the administrative account, but I seldom use that account. This makes the program rather useless for users running a limited account.

 

Anyone know of a work-around to this problem?

 

RayG

 

Edit to add: I'm beginning to understand why AVG is so popular, it exhibits neither of the shortcomings of Avast! or AntiVir. (even though it's apparently less effective for combating viruses).

Edited by RayG
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