Weekend Open Forum: Do you keep antivirus protection running 24/7?

By on May 27, 2011, 8:30 PM

Having antivirus protection has become a fact of life for most computer users, as it's certainly not uncommon to hear of massive botnets recruiting infected PCs for spamming operations or Trojans that steal or damage your information. But it's also true that with a little experience recognizing the nefarious from innocuous and practicing safe browsing habits one can navigate the web in peace with minimal security in place.

For a while now I've been using my main computer without active antivirus protection and only scan files rarely if I'm suspicious of something. It's not for everyone -- certainly not work environments or anyone likely to fall prey for tricks that a mildly experienced computer user would spot. You might even say it's a bit reckless.

But given our tech-savvy audience we think it's a fair question to ask -- and actually revisit, since we've touched on this topic before: do you keep an antivirus program running on your computer at all times? If so, what do you use? If not, have you had any issues you've had to regret not having active antivirus protection on your machine?

User Comments: 95

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Guest said:

I keep antivirus running 24/7 (MSE 2 atm) and scan for malware using Malwarebytes about once a month. I have not had a virus, trojan, or worm in about a decade's time. I could definitely take your route, but it's a peace-of-mind tactic that I use. Plus you never know when someone who isn't an experience computer user needs to use your computer and you allow them to... it's an extra safeguard when I cannot personally be there monitoring what is happening.

bchen88c said:

i usually leave microsoft security essentials on 24/7 for windows 7. i never get viruses often, but hey, it can happen. i tried norton's security suite by comcast and it made my special applications useless. my school's Sophos AV picked up a lot of viruses lately, and i hear that people have gotten the viruses copied onto their usb flash drives unwillingly, infecting them. other than that, sometimes i use ubuntu linux if i dont feel like dealing with windows

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

No antivirus from me. I even deleted it off parents' PC, and they are noobs. No problems on my PC.

I have downloaded Malwarebytes Antimalware, and ran it once I think (when something didn't seem right), but false alarm. It's on parents' PC for when they do occasionally get malware.

I just hate the in-your-face notifications and warnings that anti virus brings. And then to a lower extent, the resource hogging.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Similar to the user stories above, I've rarely had virus occurrences and not even one critical infection in the last decade or so. In the AVG/Avira days I used to turn off real-time protection because it would impact Windows performance, but nowadays with the latest versions of MSE I just leave it on to scan and auto-update and it's been complete smooth sailing, zero performance impact and zero infections.

negroplasty negroplasty said:

Got MSE running all the time. My rig is fast enough to not worry about the performance impact... for now at least.

tw0rld tw0rld said:

MSE 24/7. Malwarebytes for occasional scans.

Guest said:

same, 1 and a half years now when i decided not to use a resource hog antivirus. no problems whatsoever. that kind of software is for a computer who has many users that cant be monitored.

-malwarebytes antimalware

-comodo fw not windows fw

matrix86 matrix86 said:

MSE running 24/7. Used to have AVG, but it really slowed down my netbook. I was running Windows 7 Ultimate on my netbook, and AVG running as well...majorly slowed it down. Dumped AVG, switched to MSE and running with not any signs of wear. I run Malwarebytes and Superantispyware once a month (overkill? probably...but that's just how I am, lol)

Guest said:

Same here. Plenty of hardware resources to spare. Let it keep itself up to date and scan when I'm not home.

I'm getting pretty tired of AVG needing a reboot after some updates, though.

Basher said:

I keep Avast running 24/7. With today's hardware and the quality of which companies are offering Free version of their paid security suites, I really see no reason why not. The performance impact of a single free antivirus program is almost negligible. I've never had a serious infection and only a few warnings in the past 10 years or so.

That being said, I also run things such as Firefox with Adblock+ and NoScript, which does most of the work keeping things out if I happen to hit an infected site. A modded MVPS HOSTS file and SpyBot immunization (which also adds some HOSTS blocking stuff) also help.

I honestly feel with my level of computer knowledge I could go without it, but have found no reason not to.

treetops treetops said:

I run mine all the time. 10 Years ago on my first computer I had nothing, I did not know I needed anything. A virus or norton, what was left of the 6 month free trial that came with my pc, caused my computer to not be able to delete any old data. My computers storage filled up and eventually would not turn on. I learned my lesson. My brother didn't use anything for 4+ years and never had any serious problems go figure.

Guest said:

Windows 7 seems much more secure, so I dont run it continuously. However, I do a manual scan fairly regularly - with 2 or 3 different AV/spyware products. I dont think I've ever had an actual virus on this build of my PC (~18 months)

Jurassic4096 said:

MSE 24/7. Reviews are always positive, and doesn't affect boot times. I also set it to only scan incoming files.

I used to use Avira + Spywareblaster + malwarebytes.

venomblade said:

Avast Internet Security on 24/7, frequent scans of malwarebytes and spybot s&d

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I have one machine that's dedicated to go anywhere, click on anything, (within reason), internet usage. So yeah, AVG runs constantly, along with the SpyBot tea timer, and NoScript in Firefox. Thus far it's been bulllet proof.

Can you even turn AVG off? Seems like it would be more aggravation and risk than it would be worth.

I rely on this machine to save clean files, that I transfer to other computers, some of which have no security installed, but aren't connected to the web.

I. A modded MVPS HOSTS file and SpyBot immunization (which also adds some HOSTS blocking stuff) also help.

You know, I've been preaching for years the Spybot "immunization" is actually a hosts file. Since if you go to the hosts file, you'll see all the IPs that Spybot puts there. Does anybody listen? Not really.

Cota Cota said:

Nod32 24/7 and didnt even feel a thing, besides the interactive firewall helps a lot. But baaack in the time when i was a noob, i used to disable Norton AV to let my PC breathe a little then i went to PC-cillin wich was the 1st time i could actually update it because it was included in the ISP modem CD.

Punkid said:

im also using MSE an keep it running all the time, i forget i even have an antivirus because it has no performance impact...and i havent had any infection for a really really long time

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

I've got Norton Internet Security running in the BG of my machine with hardly any performance impact, with both its Firewall and Antivirus scoring pretty high in VB100 and Av-Comparative reports.

Its like a condom. I'd rather be safe than sorry and it doesn't cost me much either, sometimes its free, so why not use it?

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:


war59312 said:

I have MSE 2 installed on my computer, but I have real time protection disabled and scan once a week.

I also use MSE 2 on my parents and clients PCs, but with real time protection enabled (unless computer is too old to handle it, then I just setup to scan once a week).

Never have had a virus, spyware, etc. on my own computer. I bet most people here do not. After all everyone reading this blog is a geek.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have been using MSE on this notebook, and my home PC but just don't see any benefit in full scans. Although at work they make us use 'Norton' whatever it is called corporate edition. As all of the computers I use have very decent specs, I haven't bothered with the idea of turning off real time protection.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I have a question.. some of you people are saying you have a good rig, so the resources taken up are minimal.

I myself have an i7 CPU and 6GB RAM... but the crucial factor is the HDD. It's still the most limiting component. And when a scan comes in.. prepare for lag..

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The answer for me is no, I don't run any type of antivirus program 24/7/365! I'm using the Linux distro Ubuntu 10.10! Sure I got an antivirus program, it's called ClamTK, but it will only scan things that come from only Microsoft Windows computers, other than that I don't think I need to worry!

Leeky Leeky said:

In Linux don't bother any more, not much point really if I'm honest. lol.

In Windows, I use MSE, with real-time detection always on, though if I'm honest I am pretty lazy and don't do a full scan very often.

63Jax said:

Nod32 is kind enough with my pc resources so i use it.

Guest said:

nope.... i aint used an AV for over 7 years... i dont search hack sites, i dont go to spam filled sites ... jus i player .. u tube ... e bay, email... jus the usual searches an i have had one or two virus's ... i pretty much reinstal win every year ...

I honestly think if you dont fk with dirty little stupid progs ...

Or use dirty hack sites ...

there is no need for AV ......simples.....

i am a gamer and on my puter 8 hrs a day ....

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Leeky said:

In Linux don't bother any more, not much point really if I'm honest. lol.

Haha, my thought exactly. Since I got Linux up and running I don't use an antivirus any more, it doesn't really matter.

As for Windows, I currently use the latest avast! antivirus on all Internet-connected PC's. And the second-to-latest avast! running on the non-connected. My father really got interested in Panda, and so he installed it on all of his PC's until the BSOD's started showing up, and he was forced to quit.

As for scanning the PC's, I also use the built-in functions of avast!, but Malwarebyte's is a good second from time to time.

When rendering video in video-editing software on the good-old laptop, leaving the AV off is a must, otherwise it simply crashes because it doesn't nearly have enough RAM for both operations. The CPU also has very little cache; it makes it all very painstaking...

Guest said:

I haven't used any anti-virus for atleast 2 years and have absolutely no problems (Windows 7). I really can't understand the need for one if people just don't do stupid things.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Nope. Using a little common sense with opening attachments, plus MSE rocks. Once a week I do scans with 3rd party scanners and clean up whatever crap-ola there is with Ccleaner. Haven't been busted with a virus in over 2 years.

It's been my experience that background anti-virus checkers are insane memory and process hogs. In most cases they are worse than a virus and often interfere with the OS. Forget it...

Guest said:

Yep,running Eset Smart Security 4 scan once a moth and always keep it running during the day.None problem so far..

Superpeter Superpeter said:

I fix a lot of peoples computers that have 100's of viruses & "crud" I've found by the time I'm done and they all say the same thing as most the people on this forum..."I've ran without virus protection for years and never had a problem" lol. ...Yeah, That's actually how a majority of lives are handled. Instead of vigilant protection and upgrading of the protection of the things we hold dear.."I'll just wait until there's a BIG crash/problem(cuz I'm having little problems making it work)" THEN... decide to care and/or hate. It's Bred by laziness so it will never change. Good thing the troublemakers are going after/using their "good" viruses and bugs on the big companies with REAL money and only practicing with the lower community or most of these people would be Fuc**d!!lol Crying and pointing fingers :o) AmD 6core @4mhz with Gskill Ripgaws 2000@ 2014 and a Mushkin 120G SSD 25/7 stable...I don't know what a performance hit is!!! What is this term you speak of?? lol probably most of the same people saying computing doesn't need more that a dual core ATM. lol

Still, Yes.. I have three programs that run together 24/7 and one i scan with once a month. "Scotty watchdog"(free) is the gatekeeper for my system& checks any new program trying to infiltrate; SuperAntispyware bytes(free) is my lieutenant and McAfee total protection (off amazon 15$ a yr) is the Commander in chief for security in my system. I run Malewarebytes(free) once as month. I get tracking cookies and spyware all the time. Viruses maybe once a month. One virus up to a few won't crush your rig or even be noticeable seems to be majority experience.

t3chn0vamp said:

I use ESET Smart Security 24/7 and its pretty good.I do not use any other kind of security software.Is there anything I am missing?

albertjkruger said:

Guest said:

I keep antivirus running 24/7 (MSE 2 atm) and scan for malware using Malwarebytes about once a month. I have not had a virus, trojan, or worm in about a decade's time. I could definitely take your route, but it's a peace-of-mind tactic that I use. Plus you never know when someone who isn't an experience computer user needs to use your computer and you allow them to... it's an extra safeguard when I cannot personally be there monitoring what is happening.


I used to play pirated games - that brought with it a shipload of viruses etc, now the only source of viruses/trojans/worms etc. I encounter are the flash-drive autorun type. And MSE deals with them with ease.

Kralnor said:

I leave MSE on 24/7, but I disable most of the real-time protection options and only let it scan downloads as I have had issues with some games where MSE would go into infinite-lopp like behavior. Excluding the game from MSE did fix the problem, but I don't want to bother with having to add new applications to the exclusion list as I go and I don't really feel that I need the extra protection, as none of my machines have been infected for the last few years.

I do try to perform a full scan each week, just as a good habit.

yowanvista yowanvista said:

I use NIS2011 which I got from my ISP for free

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

MSE all the time 24/7 and no shit in my PC at all ...

pcnthuziast said:

I'm probably in the minority here, but I've used Norton AV for many years and never had a problem with it. As a gamer I'd notice if it was impacting performance and I even did a format without it once and ran benchmarks and games to see if there was a difference. There was none.

Guest said:

You'll love it when you can't even use your resources to do anything because you didn't have anything to protect you when the big ole scary virus raped your defenseless computer. Have fun getting rid of that. Also don't think I'm just some noob trying to start a fight. I'm an A+ Cert Computer Tech. I know how dangerous not having protection running is to a computer. Also, anyone here who is running more than one, Stop it right now. If those programs ever clash they may possibly lock you out of your system permanently. You don't even have to go to an unfamiliar website to catch anything, Facebook and Myspace and full of the things. Run protection, I would suggest AVG. I know it hogs resources but so far it the one that I've noticed protects best for free.

Guest said:

My Anti virus is 95% OFF ..

Guest said:

Lots of people are saying how they don't use AV and have no problems but do they expect malware to shout out "HELLO, VIRUS HERE!" when it's installed itself? It's just going to chunter away in the background mailing out crap & stealing your details.

It seems there's such little performance hit & hardware is always getting more powerful, it seems like hubris not to have any AV software installed at all.

I wonder how much spam is sent out from smug geeks who think they're too clever to be part of a botnet?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Might as well leave it going all the time, it hardly uses any RAM up and the obvious advantages of having it running are worth it.

I aint tried anything else sinse i tried Avast 4.8 Pro.

DSP8000 DSP8000 said:

Main PC Win Boot: Norton IS 2011 24/7 + Win7, Linux Boot: N/A, laptops Avast latest. Used to use MSE even from v1, but recent incident on my brothers PC made me to switch from it. Don't get me wrong, MSE is great and I did lots of beta testing for Micro$oft, but I think Avast custom install with per PC settings has better protection. Of course, common sense IS the best protection.

Guest said:

when disable for games, is good or bad?

i use avast is, but i thinking at new nis or vipre.

nismo91 said:

uses avast for real-time protection, but i need malwarebytes too for ocassional checking. tried MSE and didnt like it.

these days i rarely get infected. most infection came from dirty friends' drives.

Guest said:

No need to have an anti-virus running all the time. Firefox with Adblock Plus, NoScript, and Flashblock is enough. If you know where and what you're downloading you'll be fine.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

I got Avast and Avira running on my Windows XP laptop and desktop respectively. My only paid AV is Webroot Internet Security Essentials which is on my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit desktop. I know it's a bit of an overkill on the Win 7 rig but as long as there is no noticeable performance hit, I guess it's better safe than sorry.

RandyN said:

The only time I disable AV, firewall, etc. is when playing games, otherwise they're running. I'm also behind a NAT firewall/router. Haven't been infected for over 5 years.

dedparrot said:

i have Avast! but keep it disabled, only enabling it when i'm knowingly clicking on suspicious websites.

i see antivirus software becoming less popular since the internet isn't as large as it once was in terms of people frequenting the same handful of websites over and over again. gone are the days where different information was spread out over a lot of different websites and the internet actually felt huge.

i could start a rant about the demise of the vastness the internet once showed, but not in the mood for it right now.

yRaz yRaz said:

I use Avast professional and it runs 24/7. I leave my computer running 24/7 and I have it set to scan at 3AM every morning. The 3AM scan is set thorough and is mostly a reminder I need to get off my computer if I'm up late. If I want to do anything "risky" on the internet I pop in my bootable linux jumpdrive

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