Some years ago because I was so fried with the way my paid Norton Security subscription was dragging my computer along (perceptible slowdowns when it was scanning), I decided to go to free anti-virus and anti-malware tools. I tried Microsoft Security Essentials and I liked it, but around June 2015, it developed a bug (a full scan would hang, about 3/4 of the way through and never recovered). I couldn't trust it, I was run off my feet, and Microsoft showed no sign of fixing it. I looked around, including in this forum, and finally decided on BitDefender Free, which I installed on my laptop and desktop, both running Windows 7 64 bit. (They both still are; I chose not to upgrade to Win10.)
In October 2016, MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit (for which I had a paid premium subscription) simply vanished from both computers, and when I tried to fix it, it kept telling me my license and ID were incorrect (they weren't). All I could get was a 2 week free trial, now gone. They fixed the desktop for me once, but the error recurred. By December I didn't have a good response from Malwarebytes support and they began to urge me to install MalwareBytes 3.0, which had just come out. (I'm guessing they dumped AntiExploit because they planned to put it in v.3) The desktop is my primary box and I'm terribly suspicious of things that just came out, so I installed it on the laptop, and had several nasty rounds with a corrupted installer and instructions that I had to put Malwarebytes 3 on the "exclusion list" for BitDefender. The Free edition, of course, has no "exclusion list" capabilities. MB3 is finally working, except that every couple of weeks it comes up with real-time protection turned off and I have to reboot the laptop to make it turn on. Someday I'll take that up with them. Since I couldn't use it with BitDefender, I uninstalled it on the laptop and installed Avast Anti-Virus Free, which seemed to work but flooded me with upgrade requests.
BitDefender on the desktop has recently given me "stopped working" messages after I log into the desktop from the laptop using GoToMyPC. Today I found that BitDefender Free had released a 2017 upgrade. I installed it on the desktop and so far it seems to have fixed the "stopped working" problem, so I decided to try to install it on the laptop.
It told me there was an incompatible program and asked if it should uninstall MalwareBytes 3. I told it no, and right now the laptop is running on Windows Defender. I didn't get this error on the desktop, which currently runs Malwarebytes 2.x, so BitDefender's problems seem only to be with MB3.0.
I'm tired of this. I'd like to run the same security tools on all 3 of my systems (I also have a Win10 laptop running old BitDefender Free that I only use for travel).
Did Microsoft ever fix the hang in the full scan in Microsoft Essentials? I could go back to that. Or I could try Avira or Panda. Is there a better malware alternative to MalwareBytes? If I go to a paid product, will it eat my system again? Recommendations appreciated.