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Help me choose an antivirus? Symantec vs. Avast


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#1 ADHDqueen

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 12:26 PM

Hello.

The wonderful people of bleepingcomputer helped me indentify that I had zeroaccess virus, and transferred me to another person who so patiently walked me through cleaning it out of my computer.

I have come to the step in the process where I have to choose an antivirus, and I need a little help.

I had been using Symantec Endpoint Protection.  I got it from my school. It was offered free to all students. My major was Information Systems. Our IT teacher talked up the Symantec offered to us on blackboard as top-of-the-line.  He explained to us that it was offered to students by the school as a protection to the school’s website. The school invested in Symantec in hopes that the students would download it, and keep their computers free and clean of viruses so that they would not transmit viruses to the school’s website when they logged onto blackboard.  He told us that the Symantec software offered on blackboard was not just your regular average free software with limitations, but it was the exact same as the version you have to purchase at $50 or more.  He also gave us a tip as IT students, that it is a lifetime copy, and we could download it onto a USB drive and keep it, of course keeping up with the updates.

So I kept it, and downloaded it to my pc, my husband’s laptop, and his work pc (he was also a student and had free access to this antivirus.) I also downloaded it to my dad’s laptop, because he is computer illiterate (but he tries so hard, though), and I take care of all of his computer-fix needs, and he needs all the help he can get.

 

However, once I found I had zeroaccess on my home pc, I became a bit concerned.  While Symantec works great on the laptop and my dad’s and husband’s computers, it always seems to come up disabled on the pc that ended up infected. When I found I had zeroaccess, I went to see where in the world Symantec was during all this, and it seems that it was completely offline.  Now, this infected pc is one that my children (ages 8 and 5) often mess around with, and try to play games on. I don’t know if Symantec asked for an update, and they just disabled it, or whether it tried to warn them about a bad game, and they turned it off, or if it just turned itself off.   I also do not know whether or not zeroaccess was on my computer long before I ever installed Symantec. I had those little underlined words for quite a while before I learned that they were a problem.

 

So at this point, I’m unsure about using Symantec on this computer again, although I’m not sure if I should be, since it still works great on the other computers which, perhaps coincidentally, are computers that my children don’t have much access to.

I’m wondering if the free Avast version is better than this version of Symantec.  I really like the looks of the paid version of Avast, but I’m a cheapskate by nature. I’m unsure about paying for Avast if what I have in Symantec is just as good and capable.

 

In case it matters, I have already decided to get the paid version of MalwareBytes, since I’ve heard nothing but great things about it, it protects from malware in real-time, and it can protect 3 different computers.   But I’d like to know other opinions and advice on whether I should stick with the student-offer symantec from school that I already have, or go with free avast.

If someone could please help me with this decision, I’d much appreciate it! 


Edited by ADHDqueen, 28 March 2014 - 12:30 PM.


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#2 ITGeekGirl

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 12:47 PM

Personally I use Avast. Not only is it free, but when I install it on other computers I can set a password so they can't disable it when it interferes in their nefarious web surfing and downloading. I've been debating upgrading to the paid version. For the past year I've only had the free version and I can tell you it's kept my system clean.



#3 ADHDqueen

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 12:51 PM

Ah, I like the sound of Password Protected. hmmm, that's a serous plus for avast.



#4 GB2064

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 01:18 PM

There is a wealth of information at this link.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/407147/answers-to-common-security-questions-best-practices/?p=2316629



#5 quietman7

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 03:27 PM


Although Norton (Symantec) is as good as any other well known anti-virus program, it requires numerous services and running processes that consume system resources and often results in complaints of high CPU usage. Anti-virus software components insert themselves deep into the operating systems core where they install kernel mode drivers that load at boot-up and create files/folders/registry entries in various locations.

I have read from other users that Norton has made improvements in newer versions of their software so they are not as resource heavy as past versions...while others still say differently. However, Symantec products can be difficult to remove and remnants are often left behind which require the use of a special removal tool, otherwise you may encounter problems installing a replacement anti-virus. To be fair, other vendors are also using removal tools for the same reason. Those issues plus the cost factor are the primary reason many folks look for a free alternative. Further, IMO, Norton is better utilized in an Enterprise system environment protecting many client computers.
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#6 ADHDqueen

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 06:56 PM

Ok thanks so much, I think I'm going to give Avast a try.  I probably have to look into the removal tool for Symantec first, though.



#7 quietman7

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 07:04 PM

Norton Removal Tool Bleeping Computer Download
Norton Removal Tool MajorGeeks Download

Norton Removal Tool (Windows all versions) to uninstall your Norton product
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#8 GB2064

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 10:26 PM

A few years ago I uninstalled Norton System Works from my machine, what a process, and even after using Norton's Tool, I would still occasionally find remnants on my computer.



#9 ADHDqueen

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 11:28 PM

 thanks so much, Global Moderator.  Looks like I have more work to do on my computer.



#10 Union_Thug

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:22 AM

FWIW another vote for Avast! here. I recommend downloading the installer from Avast! , NOT from CNET... (direct d/l links listed below - free version is first link listed)

FileHippo or MajorGeeks OK also IMO

 

Download locations: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=147778.0
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_pro_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_internet_security_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_premier_antivirus_setup.exe


avast! cleaner:
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avastclear.exe

 

They also have a terrific user forum here.

 

When installing be careful to (#2) uncheck Google Chrome & Toolbar (unless you want them) and to (#1) choose "custom installation":

 

1_avast.png

 

Next Choose (check or uncheck) the "extra's" you want to include w/ Avast... (I choose a bare bones install w/ just file & web shields and the ability to create a rescue disk... YMMV!!!)

 

2_Avast.png
 

Hope this helps!

 

Edit to add: To whom it may concern, I do not suggest installing Avast! on a virtual machine... it slowed down both guest & host to a very slow crawl.

 

2nd edit:  clarify google instrux.


Edited by Union_Thug, 29 March 2014 - 08:57 AM.


#11 Scoop8

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 08:48 AM

I'm running Norton 360 (Ver 2013) along with MBAM Pro (1.75) with no high CPU usage issues.  My CPU usage averages around 2-4% unless I'm watching a morning news show (streaming while surfing).  Then it's about 15-17% .  CPU is an Intel i5-650 with 16 Gb Corsair RAM .

 

I switched to Norton in Dec '12.  So far, no intrusion issues getting past its defenses.  I'm not a PC gamer so system resource usage isn't usually something that I an concerned with, being a basic PC user, 'net, Outlook, etc.

 

Norton is my 3rd AV product since joining the home 'net PC scene about 10 years ago.  So far, I'd grade it an "A" but I like to keep my jury out for about 2-3 years before evaluating a possible AV changeover.



#12 quietman7

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 10:47 AM

thanks so much, Global Moderator.  Looks like I have more work to do on my computer.

You're welcome on behalf of the Bleeping Computer community.
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