A few years ago, I was not impressed by the free anti-virus programs that were available. At the time free programs like AVG left a lot to be desired. I had preferred to stick to the big boys like Norton and McAfee. Well, times have changed. Now that I own both a laptop and a desktop PC, I am not about to pay twice to keep them both protected.
A year ago, I figured my laptop was more at risk than my desktop machine, so I bought Norton AV 2006 and installed it on there. It is a fine application and it has done a great job of protecting me during the past year. It is a solid, reliable protector. A few annoyances ate away at my nerves, though. The worst of them, it would complain when I have my Windows Automatic Updates setting set to notify only. Personally, I don’t want it set to fully automatic. Norton complained by telling me that items needed my attention. Another annoyance was Norton going through a quick scan of hot areas on the drive upon every boot of the system. It would take two minutes after seeing the desktop on boot before Norton gave the okay that it was running properly. While this is an added level of protection for the paranoid, I could not find a way to turn it off. A month ago, I started receiving warnings that my subscription was about to expire and that I’d need to pay $20 to renew the virus signature updates for another year. I did not want to do this.
After viewing the processes running on my machine in the Windows Task Manager, I was stunned at the number of programs running to prop up Norton. I looked them all up online and their maker is Symantec. Keep in mind that I only have the standalone Anti-Virus, not the full-blown Internet Security Suite. It should not take six or so processes to fulfill my anti-virus programs needs. I know the program runs background updates and another client to protect the Norton core files, but all told it is just sucking too much life out of the computer.
AVG has come a long way. It doesn’t use as many system resources to function as Norton does. For some odd reason, in AVG, you can set the scheduler to check the drive for viruses every day, but there is no other option for the frequency. It is every day or not at all. To that, I say not at all. I will do it when I feel like it.
After you install the free AVG, click the system tray icon and go to the AVG Control Center. From there, click the Email Scanner line and choose Properties. In the properties window, click Configure. In this window, uncheck the boxes to Certify Mail. The certification is a little attachment to your messages saying the message is virus-free. It is really annoying. Turn it off!
You can find the free AVG AntiVirus here: free.grisoft.com.