Best Antivirus / Firewall Options?

By risingTide
Aug 6, 2008
  1. Greetings.

    For many years I used Norton Antivirus with complete success. I never had any problems with the software and it always kept my computer clean and secure. About a year and a half ago I moved and signed up with Comcast for my ISP. They offer a free version of McAfee's Security Suite to all their subscribers. Well, I figured why not try it out since it's free? So I switched to McAfee and have had nothing but problems with the software ever since. Although it has kept me free from viruses, it crashes every other time I turn my machine on, has a clumsy interface, is very slow, and sometimes won't even open. I've decided to ditch it and go back to Norton, but I know there are a slew of other free security programs out there these days.

    So, my question is: Is there a free antivirus program that works as well as (and is secure as) Norton? Or a combination of programs that could be used? What's the best option(s)?

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    I use nothing but free software - you have to familiarize your self with a few different programs - but if you have questions with any of these - I use, or have used, all of them

    Firewalls <-Pick one of these
    Zonealarm <-I would recommend this one for you

    Anti-Virus <-Pick one of these
    Avast Free
    Avira Free <- My recommendation

    Anti-Spyware <- I like both of these
    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

    Additional Utilities <-These are both excellent also
    Tutorial for Winpatrol

    Spyware Blaster
    Tutorial for Spyware Blaster

    I almost forgot to post this for you as well

    Remove Mcafee products
    1. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
    3. Select the McAfee SecurityCenter product.
    4. Click Remove and follow the steps provided.
    5. Download the Mcafee removal tool from
    6. Click Save and save the file to your desktop
    7. Make sure all McAfee windows are closed.
    8. Double-click MCPR.exe to run the removal tool. (Vista users need right click and run as administrator)
    9. Restart your computer after receiving the message CleanUp Successful.
  3. risingTide

    risingTide TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101

    Blind Dragon,

    Thanks for the great and detailed info. I have a question about the anti-virus though. I hear and read a lot of talk about AVG...what's the scoop on that? How does it compare to Avast & Avira?

    Also, I've read various things about the freeware options being wonderful, but really not quite as good as the paid options? What merit does this conclusion have?

    Thanks again for your advice!
  4. xxdanielxx

    xxdanielxx TS Rookie Posts: 1,069

    AVG comes with alot more stuff like

    email scanner, security toolbar, spyware scanner and virus scanner the only bad thing about it is that it takes up alot of process
  5. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    I use to recommend AVG 7.5, but I have seen a number of issues with their newest version

    To be perfectly honest I think the free versions work just as good as the paid versions, there will be people on the other side of this debate - I will say that you will be better off with Any of the free options that Norton or Mcafee
  6. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    PCTools Firewall Plus
    Note: freeware and there is support on the pctool forums plus auto updaes for free

    PCTools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus SE
    Note: freeware and there is support on the pctool forums auto updates for free

    Anti-Spyware and Anti-Virus Behavior Layer of Protection
    PCTools Threat Fire 3.5
    Note:freeware and there is support on the pctool forums auto updates for free

    Other tools are:
    RegProt - freeware but protects the registry from Run or Run once threats trying to add themselves to run.

    These are what I now use. What is mention here in this threat are also good but frankly nothing has protected my system from viruses and spyware that the above. There is a standalone Anti-Virus from PC Tools for free that can be setup to remove anything threat to quarantine or remove it. I run that on my server as soon as anything is downloaded and if it has trojan-xxx it will be gone in a sec. AVG, NOD32, FPROT, AVAST none of them have caught what PCTOOL Anti-virus has round on my servers.
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Problem with that report I've seen prior as it doesn't cover everything that is available. Only certain tools. Lots of reviews but most of the CNET, PCMAGS, VNUNET, PCWORLD have bigger budgets to test what's available.

    For PC Tools reviews you have to check here.

    ThreatFire Review

    Spyware Doctor Start Edition is a full commercial product for free

    Firewall Plus Review

    Antivirus Review
  9. risingTide

    risingTide TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101

    Well...I succesfully uninstalled McAfee...although only the download tool did anything. The native Unistall Program did nothing.

    And I successfully installed ZoneAlarm. Only when I restarted after installing it I receive about 20 Windows "Your computer has recovered from a serious error" messages. ZoneAlarm runs okay...but what about those errors?


    Edit: I'm going to post this to a new thread.
  10. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    I have used Zone Alarm since about 2000, and still prefer it above all others... but they have slipped since they were purchased by a Marketing firm.
    We install Comodo on new builds for clients, and find it is OK, but not perfect, as some really weird problems sometimes occur with computers on which Comodo is installed.
    Kerio was superb on Windows XP, but has been only so-so as Sunbelt on Windows VISTA

    Zone Alarm has had some difficult and embarrassing problems with Microsoft updates that actually blocked use for three or four days. No explanation except that both Microsoft and Zone Labs appologized. The errors were not repeated, but nobody forgot what happened, and it has hurt Zone Labs a lot.

    Most of the add on firewalls of the "Name" brands are mostly junk. They cannot keep up with the Windows updates and security software.
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