Which anti-virus?

  derbomber 08:02 13 Jan 2005

I've had my new PC for a month and have now taken the decision to connect to broadband (i haven't bothered with dial-up). I need advice as to which anti-virus software to use, do I pay and buy Norton 2005 or do I download AVG? Also is the firewall supplied with windows xp better than the one that can be dowloaded from zone alarm?
Any help and advice would be appreciated.

  Jeffers22 08:31 13 Jan 2005

AVG is first rate and does not overly burden your PC. Norton is bloated and intrusive and in my experience not quite as effective while giving you a performance hit. XP firewall (SP2) is better than the original, but only offers inbound protection ZA offers outbound protection as well but it takes a bit of learning to get the best out of it and have it at it's most effective and useful. I would advise a router with a built in firewall as being an overall better bet, but again it is only inbound protection so much is then up to you being careful.

  Andsome 08:34 13 Jan 2005

You will get as many suggestions as there are programs on offer. We all have our favourites. Personally I use Norton System Works 2003, and Norton Personal Firewall 2003. I think about the only point of agreement will be that the Windows Firewall, although better than absolutely nothing, is probably the worst option of the lot. In the end, the choice will be yours.

  Stuartli 09:23 13 Jan 2005

I've used AVG in its various (free) forms for several years and have always been perfectly satisfied with its effectiveness; just ensure it is updated regularly (usually daily at present!)

Exactly the same goes for ZoneAlarm (free) - when configuring it, if you install the utility, it's wise to Enable manual rather than automatic update checks.

Updates are well spaced out over the course of a year and there will be ample notification on these forums if there is a new version.

As Jeffers22 points out, Windows XP's firewall is not quite as effective overall, although better than nothing for those disinclined to become involved with such trivial matters as online security...:-)

  Michendi 09:37 13 Jan 2005

1. The first decision is whether to purchase or use freeware. Base your decision on the importance of your PC and the data. If your PC and its data is essential to your work/lifestyle then purchasing AV/Firewall protection is a good idea.
2. Second decision is whether to use separate AV and Firewall software or an integrated product. There is less chance of conflict with an integrated product.
3. Personal comments on some products. (All Freeware can be downloaded from click here):

a) AVG. Freeware. AV only. Reliable but very slow. Virus database not updated as quickly as some other vendors.
b) Avast. Freeware. AV only. Excellent product. Can be "overprotective" and identify harmless files as malware.
c) ZoneAlarm. Freeware. Firewall only. Best of the free choices. Easy to use. Very secure.

d) Norton. Purchase. AV & Firewall. Bloated, over-the-top product. Commercial product that has never been properly "downsized" for personal use. Symantec missed a couple of viruses in 2004 and wrongly identified a critical worm. Not my first choice.
e) Trend Micro Internet Security. Purchase. AV & Firewall. Excellent product. Stable. Daily updates. Clear distinction between commercial "heavy-duty" products and personal / small network product. Includes AV, Firewall, Damage recovery, URL and Spam filters, data protection. Highly recommended.
f) ZoneAlarm. Purchase. AV & Firewall. Very good product. Firewall excellent. AV good. Intuitive to use. Recommended.

  Belatucadrus 10:53 13 Jan 2005

Another thing to remember is that in the case of avast and AVG, the term Freeware is a bit misleading. They are both sound commercial products, fully supported by the supplier that offer a free license for non profit home users only. Everbody else gets to pay. They are not the unsupported offerings of gifted amateurs, so you can have confidence in them.

( The term 'fully supported' refers to product development. Technical support to users of free version varies, Alwil do, Grisoft don't. )

  Gongoozler 11:15 13 Jan 2005

I have always considered AVAST and AVG both to be excellent products, but the latest version of AVG has been causing a lot of problems with errors due to email scanning. For example click here

  Fjellman 12:45 13 Jan 2005

I have used ESET NOD32 for about 5 years now and have found it to be excellent. It works inconspicuously in the background and has caught more virus' in the wild than the more well known bloatware, and the annual licence is reasonable. It's a corporate favourite in America.
Try this for the UK site.

click here

  JayDay 13:19 13 Jan 2005

Whatever you decide don't pay for AntiVirus software. There is no need. Try AVG and Avast and see what suits you best.

I agree with Gongoozler and have found problems with AVG7. I use Avast with no problems.

Try both and make your own mind up.

  Andsome 08:39 15 Jan 2005

As I said you would, you have loads of conflicting advice. It's make your mind up time.

  Mandy265 12:04 15 Jan 2005

Try click here it has a small footprint, does not miss a virus and does not hog your system.

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