Free antivirus recommendations please!

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Caitlin Black

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So, I've been using Avast for years because it was good, not a CPU hog, and there was a free version. Just tried to update it, and it wouldn't let me choose the free option.

I'm willing to pay a little for antivirus, but I really only need basic protection.

So, what do you recommend? McAffee slowed my conputer down. Never tried any others.

Thanks in advance. :)
 

dpaterso

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Antivirus programs all slow your computer down, usually at the most annoying moments, but that's just how things gotta be if you want that protection.

I use AVG.

-Derek
 

cbenoi1

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Windows Defender Antivirus + Malwarebytes.

-cb
 

DMcCunney

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Thanks, cb. Weirdly, after I restarted my laptop, Avast was working properly... I now have Avast and Avg. :)
Running two kinds of A/V at once is not recommended. They tend to step on each other's toes.

What protection is adequate depends on what you do. I had an epiphany a while back. I had been running Symantec Corporate A/V, courtesy of an employer site license. Unlike its consumer Norton sibling, Symantec Corporate installed with no problems, was light on resources, and would go away without dynamite. But the version I was running reached end of life, A/V signature updates would not occur, and I no longer worked for that employer. A new version would be on my dime. The only things Symantec had ever "caught" had been false positives. I asked myself whether I []needed[/i] to run third party A/V, and concluded I didn't. I dropped it and haven't missed it.

Viruses and malware are infections, and infections have vectors by which the enter the host. Ward the vector, and block the infection.

The principal vector for viruses is email.

Back when Gmail was still invitational beta, a fellow member of a mailing list I'm on worked for Google, and offered Gmail invites. I grabbed one. It profoundly changed how I worked. I had been running MS Outlook, for compatibility with the office, and downloading mail via POP. One of the things I discovered the hard way was that Outlook behaves very strangely when the mailbox.pst file where mail is stored on your system grows over 2GB in size. The symptoms are new mail not being downloaded, and old mail spawning duped like cockroaches.

With Gmail, my mail resides on Google's servers, and I can access it anywhere I have a decent browser and broadband I don't need local copies, and don't lose mail if I have a hardware failure. Gmail labels and filters let me classify mail. Filters apply labels and let me chose what happens to the mail. Most of it is archived, and does not appear in my Inbox. To access it, I select the label from a left hand column, and mail with that label is displayed replacing my Inbox. It works like Folders in Outlook, save the more than one label can be applied to a message and it can appear in more than one "folder". Standard Google search routines can be used, with labels as arbitrary index keys. My Gmail store is a searchable database used in conjunction with other research sources. Gmail also implements viewers for most attachment types, and I can view attachment without them ever reaching my machine. Dodgy attachments are usual virus sources, but since they aren't downloaded, they cease to be a concern. (And Gmail has the best spam filtering I have seen. I no longer care about spam, because I don't see it.)

I don't worry about viruses because I warded the vector.

Malware attacks the browser, with the most popular target being the old Internet Explorer. I dropped IE long ago in favor of Mozilla code that eventually became Firefox. I didn't do it because it was more secure, though it was. I did it because Firefox was more powerful. But it also meant that most malware bounced off. (And on earlier versions of Windows, I created a Power User profile for normal use. Malware requires Administrator privileges to do its dirty work. Power Users can run installed programs, but not install them. If I needed Admin rights to do things, log off the Power User profile and log in with an Administrator account. Windows beginjning with Vista made Power User the default access level, and required jumping through an extra hoop to get Admin rights. I was all in favor, and wished MS had begun that practice with Win2K, which used the NTFS file system with permissions attributes that made it possible to do that.)

I have Malware Bytes free scanner here, and run it occasionally. (I do not run the resident protection product.) It never finds anything. I warded the vector.

I run Win10 Pro these days, with built-in Windows Defender A/V and anti-malware, mostly to keep Windows from complaining I'm not protected. I would not actually miss it were it to go away.

Ultimately, I practice Safe Hex. I am aware the Internet has bad neighborhoods, and behave accordingly. I use Firefox as my browser (though Chrome is similarly secure.) I use web based email and do not download mail. I like Gmail for power, but other web based solutions can work. (I recommend against AOL and Yashoo because those services break mailing lists, but that's another issue.)

I download only from known good sources that scan on their end, and most software I get is open source.

I've been using a variant of my base approach for decades. I have not had a serious virus problem since the MSDOS days, and have never had a malware problem.

My approach won't work for everyone. Some folks have reason to actually download local copies of mail. A late friend ran all up A/V because he downloaded media like British Doctor Who episodes through Usenet binary groups, which are cesspools of infection.

But think about what you do, and where viruses and malware come from, then decide what level of protection you need.

______
Dennis
Who has been in one flavor of IT or another for over 30 years, and has been a corporate systems, network, and telecom admin responsible on part for keeping company machines clean. I have background knowledge I apply to this.
 

aspirit

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My recommendation is Comodo. I haven't noticed it slowly my computers down except during updates.

I question whether Malwarebytes finds anything, ever; anyway, it's meant as a backup to regular anti-malware defense. Avast was a headache when I used it years ago. McAfee's and Norton's free products have cost me replacement hard drives and are no longer allowed on my devices. Windows default options on 10 aren't bad, though I trust the firewall more than the anti-malware.

General advice to whoever reading who wants it: Whatever you use to find and root out malware, make sure to also use a firewall at all times. A firewall is like your body's skin, blocking access to dangerous organisms, while anti-malware is like your body's internal immune system. You don't want two immune systems watching the same area all the time, but you and computers need layered protection. The firewall can be same product package as anti-malware (like on the Windows 10 OP) or can be separate.
 

nighttimer

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Antivirus programs all slow your computer down, usually at the most annoying moments, but that's just how things gotta be if you want that protection.

I use AVG.

-Derek

I've used AVG and Avast. Currently, I use Kaspersky as my primary anti-virus program. Some pros say Windows Defender is all you need, but you have choices and per PC Magazine's 2019 rankings their preferred free programs are Avast and Kaspersky.

If you don't like having a scan running while you're working or playing on the pc, you should use a program that provides the option to set up an automatic scan at a time of your choosing. Like when you're snoozing. See what I did there?

Thanks, cb. Weirdly, after I restarted my laptop, Avast was working properly... I now have Avast and Avg. :)

That's one more anti-virus program than you need. What was said before about how Avast and McAfee slowed down your computer is only doubled by using two programs that are resource hogs slowing down your pc. Try to run them both and then open your Task Manager. You'll see them slap-boxing for supremacy of the CPU.
As they won't play nice together, you might wanna uninstall one of 'em. Oh, and McAfee is hot garbage on a summer day. It stinks. :e2tomato:
 

UchronianSteve

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IMO.....AVG Anti-Virus is really good, if you ask me; I used to use it as my primary software for quite a while, though I haven't had it for about 3 years now(I rarely have that kinda computer trouble, TBH).
 
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Liz_V

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I'll second the recommendation for Comodo. I've used both Avast and AVG in the past, but more recent versions basically turned my laptop into a doorstop. Comodo seems to run reasonably happily on my old machine without slowing it down noticeably.
 
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