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Contemplating switching anti-virus programs (I have MSE)


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#1 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 04:10 PM

A thousand apologies for making a thread on a redundant subject. I realize that there already is ample info on which anti-virus program to employ for service/protection for one's device such as a computer, laptop, etc. I currently have MSE and have had it for a number of years; however, after doing research and (seemingly) learning more about MSE and the general subject of anti-virus programs, I'm considering switching to a paid-for Anti-Virus program such as ESET NOD32 and Kaspersky, or perhaps (free) Avira or avast. Maybe, I really don't know enough about the general subject. Would any bleepin expert be so kind as to offer some specific advice to my choice on perhaps changing anti-virus programs?

 

I've read the "Answers to common security questions..." thread. While the thread is tremendously helpful, there are still questions that remain, especially about specific content. It seems as if uninstalling the current anti-virus program and reinstalling another one could cause (all sorts of) problems. That is something which I do not want to happen as logic would only entail. I just thought that I'd ask some of the experts on here about this topic. Any informed thoughts would be most helpful. Much obliged.
 


Edited by Without_A_Monitor, 05 April 2014 - 04:15 PM.


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#2 Ducktoes

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 04:34 PM

I don't see how uninstalling MSE and installing something else would cause much of a problem.  I use AVG free and Malwarebytes Pro on my home computer and AVG Anti-virus paid and Malwarebytes Pro on my work one, and I think they work so well together.  I never get viruses anymore. You probably could if you tried hard enough, get viruses, I mean, lol, but I have never gotten one since I combined these two anti-virus/ant-malware I think many people have different preferences but these work well for me.


Edited by Ducktoes, 05 April 2014 - 04:36 PM.


#3 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:18 PM

Thanks for the reply, Ducktoes.  Yeah, I wasn't certain that it would cause an issue. I just increased in uncertainty about the potential for it to happen after reading the info in the "Answer to common security questions" thread. There was some info that seemed to indicate that unstalling a current AV and installing another AV can be messy and perhaps even be troublesome.

 

I thought about buying MBAM Pro; however, after doing research, I'd prefer to invest in a paid-for AV and employ free versions of malware removal tools/scanners such as MBAM (free version.) It also seems to be a more secure approach as opposed to having a free AV and a paid-for malware protection program; however, I could most definitely be inaccurate/wrong about that. That's just what I was thinking after doing some reading about this subject.

 

Haha, no, sir. I do not plan on bringing viruses upon my laptop...at least I don't think I would do that.

 

Thank you for your input and suggestions.



#4 quietman7

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 05:22 AM


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.

It is not uncommon for some anti-virus programs to not completely uninstall itself using the usual method of Programs and Features or Add/Remove Programs due to the presence of related services and processes running in the background. Sometimes the uninstall works more effectively if you first stop and disable the program's service or perform the removal in safe mode so there are less processes which can interfere with the uninstallation.

In many cases anti-virus vendors provide clean-up utilities on their web sites to remove remnants left behind after unintalling or for a failed uninstall

My personal choice is ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus if choosing a paid for program as it leaves a small footprint...meaning it is not intrusive and does not utilize a lot of system resources. Kaspersky Anti-Virus is also a good choice if looking for a paid for program.
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#5 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:17 PM

Thanks for the informed and helpful reply as usual, quietman. Do you have any specific recommendations for removing MSE if I were to do so, or do you think that removing it from control panel>uninstall programs would work without that much of a chance of error? I would most likely follow the procedure that you listed for stopping and disabling my currrent AV, then going into safe mode.

 

 

Would you please be so kind as to elaborate on why you, personally, choose ESET NOD32 AV over Kaspersky if it's a different reason (or reasons) than how ESET NOD32 is "not intrusive and does not utilize a lot of system resources. I've read and compared the features for both ESET NOD32 and Kaspersky on their websites, but I am unsure which one I should use if I were to make the switch to paying for an AV program. I've also read some "reviews" about both AV programs; however, I don't know if the people writing them are that informed about the subject at hand, aren't biased, etc. Moreover, you and bleepingcomputer.com personnel evidently are experts on these sort of topics and are most friendly to be willing to advise and guide people who are seeking an expert opinion.

 

I also a few other interrelated questions, but I don't know if I'd be overwhelming you with multiple questions in one post. So, I'll just wait to ask you after you reply if you don't mind.

 

Thanks an awful lot, quietman.



#6 quietman7

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 05:02 PM

How to manually uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials if you cannot uninstall using Add/Remove Programs
Uninstalling Microsoft Security Essentials by Stephen Boots last updated 01/12/2014
Microsoft Security Essentials Removal Tool <- if needed


I have been using ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus for years primary because it has always been light on system resources, protected my system well and they provide great customer support. There is nothing wrong with Kaspersky...although I have never tried it, a lot of our staff have and highly recommended it.
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#7 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 05:39 PM

Much obliged for your continued, insightful opinion and help, quietman. Do you happen to know if Kaspersky is not as light (approximately) on system resources as ESET NOD32 is? With increasing research, I seem to be leaning towards Kaspersky, but I highly value your opinion, which is ESET NOD32. So, I am still unsure for which AV to choose. I am thinking about uninstalling MSE and trying another free AV program before purchasing a paid-for one. Do you think Ad-Aware Free Anti-Virus+ 10.5 is a good choice for a free AV program?

 

 

Both the reviews on pcmag.com and http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ favor Kaspersky over ESET NOD32, but I don't know if those sites (and people reviewing those products) are sources of authority or even well informed on this subject and are impartial, etc.


Edited by Without_A_Monitor, 06 April 2014 - 05:42 PM.


#8 quietman7

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 05:48 PM

Since I have never used Kaspersky I have to rely on my Security Colleague who have...what they say and what I read. So I would say Kaspersky is almost as light as ESET. Both come with trial versions so you can experiment and see what works best for your system. ESET removes easily.

mvps.org is no longer recommending Ad-Aware (or Spybot) due to poor testing results. See here - (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products).

Ad-Aware...have gone into a downhill spiral over the past five years and recently sold the company to Solaria... Majorgeeks stopped listing Ad-Aware as a “pick” some years ago as we watched the quality of the company slip over the years...it can’t stand up to the new generation of anti-spyware applications...

What does the future hold for Ad-Aware?
Lavasoft Controversies

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.

With that said and to be fair, the newer version of Ad-Aware Pro Security 10 has earned Certificates & Awards from AV-Test and did well in Virus Bulletin August 2013 Testing results.


There are several labs which test the effectiveness of major anti-virus programs to include AV-Comparatives.org, Virus Bulletin Comparative Tests, AV-Test.org, NSS Labs Consumer Anti-Malware Products Group Test Report, etc....PCMag is not one of them.These kinds of comparative testing results will vary depending on a variety of factors to include but not limited to who conducted the testing, what they were testing for (type of threats, attack vectors, exploits), what versions of anti-virus software was tested, what type of scanning engine was used, and the ability to clean or repair. There are no universally predefined set of standards or criteria for testing which means each test will yield different results. As such, you need to look for detailed information about how the tests were conducted, the procedures used, and data results.
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#9 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 06:41 PM

So, for example, if I were to want to try them both on my laptop, I could download and install one for its trial period, then uninstall it. Subsequently, I'd download and install the other AV program to also learn and test its functioning on my laptop (in order to evaluate them both and judge which one is more to my preference and/or seemingly better.) Do you not recommend performing such a scenario, or would that be a good idea? It just seems like MSE is quite limited and not that good. Moreover, there seems to be much better AV programs available, including paid-for ones. I am willing to purchase one, but I think that I should critically consider which ones to potentially buy and learn about them before making a decision.

 

Haha, geez. After reading that info about Ad-Aware AV, I am most grateful for you posting that. That AV program would be a most unwise choice. Pcmag.com praised it in its review. So, I was wondering how good it was and if it was (really good) I'd use it....haha, I guess that I won't be anymore.

 

Once again, I really do appreciate your (expert) input and taking the time to reply (informatively.)



#10 quietman7

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 06:42 AM

So, for example, if I were to want to try them both on my laptop, I could download and install one for its trial period, then uninstall it. Subsequently, I'd download and install the other AV program to also learn and test its functioning on my laptop (in order to evaluate them both and judge which one is more to my preference and/or seemingly better.) Do you not recommend performing such a scenario, or would that be a good idea?

Yes. However, I would recommending downloading both trial anti-virus setup files and saving them before removing your existing one. That way you do not have to reconnect to the Internet without protection.

Replacing your Anti-virus - Why should you use Antivirus software?
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#11 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:54 PM

Thank you very much for the advice. Just so I don't screw this up or at least attempt to minimize it, can you please confirm if this is how I should proceed to uninstall MSE? I download the trial verions and specialized tools for removing MSE (in case I need them) while MSE is still running. After that, I should turn off the real-time protection, restart my laptop and go into safe mode. From there, I go to control pannel and and select uninstall MSE...if that method doesn't work, I then proceed to one of the other approaches that you have already posted. Also, after uninstalling MSE, should I install either ESET NOD32 or Kaspersky in safe mode, or should I reboot and return to reboot in regular mode? Based off of the last comment of yours in your last reply, it seemingly indicates to install in safe mode since you address not having to reconnect to the internet without protection. I'm sorry to make you have to repeat yourself if you've already described how to do this. I just am trying to be as careful as possible before I proceed. Much obliged for your continued support.


Edited by Without_A_Monitor, 07 April 2014 - 01:57 PM.


#12 quietman7

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 02:39 PM

.... confirm if this is how I should proceed to uninstall MSE? I download the trial verions and specialized tools for removing MSE (in case I need them) while MSE is still running. After that, I should turn off the real-time protection, restart my laptop and go into safe mode. From there, I go to control pannel and and select uninstall MSE...if that method doesn't work, I then proceed to one of the other approaches that you have already posted.

That's how I have done it with other family member's computers with MSE. I have never had to resort to another method but those other instructions were created for those who do encounter a problem.
 

...after uninstalling MSE, should I install either ESET NOD32 or Kaspersky in safe mode, or should I reboot and return to reboot in regular mode? Based off of the last comment of yours in your last reply, it seemingly indicates to install in safe mode since you address not having to reconnect to the internet without protection

No. The instructions I provided does not mention rebooting in safe mode to install. After uninstalling a previous anti-virus, you reboot normally so you can install the replacement...at which time you may be required to reboot again to complete the process.

Not connecting to the Internet while removing and installing a replacement anti-virus is just an added safety precaution.
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#13 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 03:51 PM

Haha, well, that is somewhat of a relief. My uncertainty of how "smooth" of a process uninstalling MSE could be increased when reading your statements about problems occurring during uninstall as well as where they install (as in the kernel mode.)

 

Alright, sorry about that. I wasn't sure what you meant with your comment about "reconnecting without internet protection." So, I was guessed at what you meant. Evidently, I should have simply just asked you to clarify. Thank you for doing so. Should I disconnect from the internet after rebooting into regular mode and unstalling MSE, then install Kaspersky/ESET NOD 32?

 

Sorry to ask you all these questions.



#14 quietman7

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:46 PM

Since you were uncertain about some of the instructions I provided in the link I referred you to, I reworded it some to ensure more clarity.

Summary of steps to replace an existing anti-virus
  • Before removing your old anti-virus, download and save the setup file for the anti-virus you are going to replace it with.
  • Download any specialized removal tools available from the anti-virus vendor for your current anti-virus in case you need them.
  • Disconnect from the Internet.
  • Uninstall your current anti-virus following vendor's instructions - sometimes uninstalling in safe mode works better.
  • Run the anti-virus vendor's specialized cleanup utility if needed.
  • Reboot normally and install the replacement.
  • Reboot again if prompted to ensure the anti-virus is working properly before reconnecting to the Internet.
  • Connect to the Internet and immediately download the latest definition database updates.

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#15 Without_A_Monitor

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 05:27 PM

A many thanks for all the time that you've spent with guiding me on this task/topic. I sincerely appreciate it, mr. bleepin janitor. I plan to perform this procedure tomorrow. Should I post tomorrow  to let you know it fared?


Edited by Without_A_Monitor, 07 April 2014 - 08:19 PM.





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