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Tales from the toolroom - AVG free v. the rest

By AlbertLionheart · 63 replies
Mar 16, 2009
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  1. I was brought a laptop on Friday with a non-functioning copy of AVG.
    The av installed was AVG 8.0 plus the Windows XP firewall and the users promised me that they had not ignored any warnings from AVG. The machine was brought to me because the AVG reported the updates were corrupt, and had not been used since the warning that the last download had failed to install.
    I uninstalled AVG using the downloadable uninstall tool from AVG Antivirus and Security Software - Tools download to make sure the registry was clean, made sure there was a recent backup of data files, created a system restore point and then downloaded a fresh copy from AVG Free - Download AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition for Windows XP and Vista and installed it. It refused to install, saying there was an incomplete installation which had to be closed first. No such thing so I chucked my toys out of the pram and installed Avira free edition.
    An initial scan found heaps of various trojans and virus damaged files, which it cleared up without any further problems.
    A quick scan with HiJackThis confirmed the system clear.
    Moral - You sometimes get what you pay for, sometimes not.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    I've lost a bit of faith in AVG. Personally I don't run any AV (If I get paranoid I run eset's online scan), but my mom's system does and since AVG 8 I haven't cared for it much. She's recieving an older computer of mine to replace hers and I put Avast on it, but I fear that may not be much better.

    Perhaps she's better off without AV. She uses Opera as her main browser, is on dial up, and does all email through gmail which has their own server side virus scanning. Hopefully she'll just be booting and running in OS X most of the time anyway (she's getting my old Mini with Leopard and XP installed).
  3. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    I think you are right - horses for courses. On systems where there are kids on line with things like Limewire and Facebook I tell them that they must have decent internet security and never ever to override it!
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,492   +2,293

    Oddly AVG8 and Emachines seem to work for me. I grant that AVG8 can be cantankerous trying to update from 7.5 and reluctant with the updates from time to time. The install needs to be clean or it won't work. Avira is the only installation I can say for certain let a piece of obvious malware into my internet computer, causing a full format reinstall. So, I go with the AVG. My other machines have no AV since I don't have them online, and I scan files before I transfer them. So, retro and primitive be though it may my security stacks up like this: AVG8, Ad Aware (Free), The latest version of Spybot with Tea Timer enabled, and Firefox( 2.020) with "No Script". Hey, the machine may be riddled with bad stuff, but with absolutely no symptoms, ignorance is bliss. Incidentally, it has come to my attention that porn sites have become safer to visit than Face Book! Not from personal experience mind you. BTW, I take all passive files off the OS drive after they are checked and transfer them to a storage drive. No active content is ever allowed to run off a storage HDD.

    My results may be atypical, so all I'm doing is reporting them.

    Yes I'm still using FF2.0. FF3 doesn't support my favorite skins, and I like my vanity browser, much more relaxing to surf with dark comfortable colors
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    I am a firm believer in smart computing is better than wreckless computing under the guise an AV will protect you.
    Now, I do use the built in Windows firewall, and also connect through a router so there is some element of NAT protection, but I don't take any other precautions.
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    SNGX1275, if I may, I run Avast 4.8 free on my second rig and two laptops. Combined with the free SuperAntiSpyware I haven't had an issue. Avast even updates twice a day. The thing with the free SAS however is you have to manually update the definitions.

    Just my 2 cents worth...
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,492   +2,293

    Getting the Most Bang for Your Insult Dollar........

    @ Route44

    I gave my son a Windows computer (XP) after the HDD on his Apple Mini bricked. The XP box had Avast Version something or other. After not visiting him for a couple of months I started toying with the machine, Avast wouldn't update, was disabled and would no longer accept the serial number. So, this can't be anything other than malware. True enough they installed some legitimate software, but not anywhere near enough to explain the 68 running processes, up from 34 I think when I handed it off.

    There is no ulterior motive to this post. I make no judgment on Avast other than to complain that with that copy still registered to me, I don't think I'd be able to get another license key for another 10 months or so.

    The boy's mother is an *****. I sometimes wish I'd have figured that out much sooner, possibly even pre-coitus. I don't know what bearing that has on the primary issue, but the telling made me feel a whole lot better.

    So, this is just another boring late night security anecdote.

    I installed AVG 8 on the machine, after I ran Avast remover, then did a couple of scans to make it look like I cared, and told my son to take the Mac to the shop, then work offline with the XP box.

    I thought I showed remarkable restraint by not simply jacking the Windows disc into the machine, reformatting, then telling him "look a**h***, the next time you screw this thing up like this, take it to the shop".

    My son and his new bride are into "Face Book". Please, if I ever talk about opening an account there, have me put to sleep. I'm probably way too "cranky" to take my show on the road there anyway. But, since there is much higher traffic at that site, it could present me with the opportunity to alienate people en masse, rather than the half dozen or so at a crack that I can here! Hmmm....allow me to cogitate on that for a while.......:rolleyes::haha:;):wave:

    You guys know I'm just kidding, don't you ?
  8. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    Good rant there! Content much understood and sympathised with - especially the FaceBook issue...
  9. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    You guru guys give bad example by going online without AV. If you must do that, at least don’t do it with an admin account. There are also virtual systems, sandboxie, etc, but an AV is much less fuss.

    However, it’s not either or. You can install an AV and still practice safe se…er…I mean safe surfing. If you pick a free utility, you don’t lose anything, moneywise at least.

    And some new info to the expert wolves from a layman (bob)cat. There is a new free version of Avira AntiVir Personal 9 just out, with claimed improved detection. Plus, the free version now also deals with spyware, before you needed the premium version for this.
  10. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    Personally I would never ever access the net without at the least a firewall running! Some try it commando style but I suppose they know what they are doing!
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,492   +2,293

    Does this mean you should always wear underwear while surfing, or is turning the web cam off generally sufficient?
  12. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    captaincranky, I've never had issues with Avast or updating though you do have to have the registration key renewed every 14 months.

    As for Facebook, I hear ya. I have a ton of friends that keep wanting me to sign on to their accounts. The thing is I never knew some of them were my "friends" in the first place and some I don't even know.

    And I promise you some of us will right sure put you to sleep if you ever do join Facebook. It would be an honor. :grinthumb

    As the Three Stooges said, "For duty and humanity!"
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    I don't think its a bad example. Every time I've stated it, on here or in real life I've explained what I do that keeps me safer.

    Virtual boxes are great in theory, and perhaps in practice too, but I've not had a good expierence with one yet. Is there a free one that is simple to set up? I admit I haven't tried in probably a year and a half or two.

    Sure its not either or, I could be smart AND use an AV. I choose not to though because I constantly get nagged either to update, or that it has been updated.. In the case of Avast, the thing spins its dock icon anytime anything is accessed (you can probably turn it off), but the thing scans everything, that HAS to be a performance hit - you've got it using RAM from the start, on top of you or the program you are using to access the files you have the AV also scanning them in real time, and then the processor usage of it actually scanning. That is a 3 fold hit on performance right there. Maybe it isn't much, but it sure as hell is more than if it wasn't running at all.

    Maybe in the future I'll get hit with some really nasty virus, but I've got backups of important data so I could format and restore the backups in an evening. I think an evening of my time is worth the years of AV-hassle free computing I've experienced since I quit running them.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,492   +2,293

    @ Route44
    Nor did I have trouble with Avast until I let the kid use it. Malware damaged the installation, which is when it would no longer accept the product key although, the SN was correct and in date. I renewed the license 2 months previous, so it's active, or rather would be, so I don't know if I could register another copy to a computer I'm actually using in the meantime (.), (!) or (?)

    Just as long as you hold the lethal injection until I have time to piss off and alienate everybody I possibly can. Just a little patience. You've met me, how long could it possibly take? Whatever number you're thinking, divide by two!

    @SNGX1275 PC World Mag has led me to believe that viruses are written for sport, while malware is written for money, and that those type of attacks are becoming more prevalent, while simple viruses are on the decline....Here again (.), (!), or (?)

    This leads me to pose the question, would it be more prudent/ necessary to run an internet computer, with anti-spyware and firewall software, than AV anyway. I like AV software thought, it makes me feel I'm pro-actively responsible. Like I'm in-wince-able!
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    How does the malware get in? If I'm right on how I think it gets in, then smart browsing (not going to shady sounding sites, or exploring their links if you find yourself in one) and using a browser nobody cares about (Opera, Chrome, perhaps Safari) should keep you clean.
  16. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    I have one paramount justification for IS protection (I use Kaspersky) and that it is that quite often I have machines connected to my network that may or may not carry infected files, and I do not want to chance one of them have a nasty capable of migrating across my network.
  17. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,979   +71

    It warms my heart to see a man have a purpose in life right up to the end. :cool:
  18. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    Maybe I could advise the advisors here. :)

    I used to have Kaspersky and it was scanning like mad, right from startup, every time I tried to do anything or even for no apparent reason. And when it wasn’t scanning, it was updating. Looking at its constantly flashing icon was making me dizzy.

    I’ve now switched to the free AntiVir Personal and found true peace. It updates once a day automatically and doesn’t seem to consider scanning of objects accessed as part of its duties. There is no noticeable loss of performance. In fact, this agrees with reports I’ve seen, describing it as particularly light on resources. According to the same reports, it’s the best free AV on detection rates as well.

    You have nothing to lose by trying it, except possibly some malware you may have without knowing it.

    And now I’m off to receive my commission from Avira, its developer. ;)
  19. Spyder_1386

    Spyder_1386 TS Rookie Posts: 498

    I've not had any problems with AVG to be honest. I've been using it for about 2 years now and it's done the job pretty well for me.

    Spyder_1386 :)
  20. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    Hi Spyder
    What would be really interesting would be to see what another AV product would find on your machine - if you ever feel like changing, let us know!
  21. Spyder_1386

    Spyder_1386 TS Rookie Posts: 498

    Hey AlbertLionheart

    I must be honest, my web surfing is extremely limited (due to my own doing) and that's probably why I haven't picked up any major viruses/malware etc. Like they say, prevention is the cure right? But it should be a good test to see whether I do in fact have any lurkers in the background yea. Will let you know once I've tried it out :) ....

    Spyder_1386 :)
  22. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    You need only 1 visit to a dodgy site to pick up a drive-by virus! I know somebody who is an architects agent who picked up a virus from a website selling household doors!
  23. poutchi

    poutchi TS Rookie

    AVG good product but makes pc too slow
  24. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  25. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    About Avira, it keeps catching some little executables, which I know are most certainly NOT viruses (trust me on this one), and gives me the "Ignore, quarantine..." prompt every time I boot up AND whenever I open up Avira and deactivate the Guard, it keeps reactivating every time...its uninstalled now but I do want Avira on, without the annoyances.

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