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new laptop windows 7. need opinions on antivirus programs


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#1 westsyde

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 04:25 AM

Hello, i just bought a new windows 7 computer currently using norton antivirus which was preinstalled. i prefer to use two antivirus programs for extra protection ( one realtime and one secondary) but i do want to completly replace norton. so any opinions on what i should use because i am clueless with all the differant AV programs out their. thank you.

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#2 audioAl

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:52 AM

Have you considered Windows Security Essentials it's free from Microsoft?
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit/Intel e5300 cpu/ASRock G41M-LE mainboard/G max4500 onboard graphics/4gigs OCZ 800Mhz ram/ VIA onboard HD Vinyl audio/Yamaha RX-V465 HT receiver/ Cambridge SoundWorks and Infinity RS1001 speakers

#3 quietman7

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 06:26 AM

You ask a common question for which you will receive varying opinions and recommendations. Please see Choosing an Anti-Virus Program.

After reading that, scroll up to the first topic posting and read Best Practices for Safe Computing - Prevention.
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#4 westsyde

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 09:53 PM

thank you both for your responses i read choosing a antivirus program and i think i will go with avira. i was reading that i shouldnt have more than one AV on my comp. i thought it was ok if only one was running real time. is avira and spy bot s&d compatible together or should i just stick to one program. thank you

#5 frankp316

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 05:10 AM

They would be OK together but most of the folks around here would recommend Malware Bytes and Super Anti Spyware as on demand scanners over Spybot. BTW, there are several online virus scanners that you can use independently of your virus protection.

#6 quietman7

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:42 AM

i was reading that i shouldnt have more than one AV on my comp. i thought it was ok if only one was running real time.

Yes, using more than one anti-virus program is not advisable. Why? The primary concern with doing so is due to conflicts that can arise when they are running in real-time mode simultaneously and issues with Windows resource management. Even if one of them is disabled for use as a stand-alone scanner, it can affect the other and cause conflicts. Anti-virus software components insert themselves into the operating systems core and using more than one can cause instability, crash your computer, slow performance and waste system resources. When actively running in the background while connected to the Internet, they both may try to update their definition databases at the same time. As the programs compete for resources required to download the necessary files this often can result in sluggish system performance or unresponsive behavior.

Each anti-virus may interpret the activity of the other as suspicious behavior and there is a greater chance of them alerting you to a "False Positive". If one finds a virus or a suspicious file and then the other also finds the same, both programs will be competing over exclusive rights on dealing with that virus or suspicious file. Each anti-virus may attempt to remove the offending file and quarantine it at the same time resulting in a resource management issue as to which program gets permission to act first. If one anit-virus finds and quarantines the file before the other one does, then you encounter the problem of both wanting to scan each other's zipped or archived files and each reporting the other's quarantined contents. This can lead to a repetitive cycle of endless alerts that continually warn you that a threat has been found when that is not the case.

Anti-virus scanners use virus definitions to check for malware and these can include a fragment of the virus code which may be recognized by other anti-virus programs as the virus itself. Because of this, many anti-virus vendors encrypt their definitions so that they do not trigger a false alarm when scanned by other security programs. Other vendors do not encrypt their definitions and they can trigger false alarms when detected by the resident anti-virus. Further, dual installation is not always possible because most of the newer anti-virus programs will detect the presence of others and may insist they be removed prior to download and installation of another. If the installation does complete with another anti-virus already installed, you may encounter issues like system freezing, unresponsiveness or similar symptoms while trying to use it.

To avoid these problems, use only one anti-virus solution. Deciding which one to remove is your choice. Be aware that you may lose your subscription to that anti-virus program's virus definitions once you uninstall that software.

Anti-virus vendors recommend that you install and run only one anti-virus program at a timeYou can always supplement your anti-virus by performing an Online Virus Scan.

FYI: mvps.org is no longer recommending Spybot S&D or Ad-Aware due to poor testing results. See here - (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products). Further, most people don't understand how to use Spybot's TeaTimer and that feature can cause more problems than it's worth. TeaTimer monitors changes to certain critical keys in Windows registry but does not indicate if the change is normal or a modification made by a malware infection. The user must have an understanding of the registry and how TeaTimer works in order to make informed decisions to allow or deny the detected changes. If you don't have understanding how a particular security tool works, then you probably should not be using it. Additionally, TeaTimer may conflict with other security tools which do a much better job of protecting your computer and in some cases it will even prevent disinfection of malware by those tools.

As for Ad-Aware, it has even been placed into the Installers Hall of Shame for bundling and pre-checking Google Chrome during the installation. Also read Lavasoft Turning to the Dark Side? written by a former volunteer (now a MVP) who provided support for Ad-Aware but no longer uses the program.

As frankp316 notes, more effective alternatives are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware Free.
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