questionswhat anti-virus do you recommend?

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Microsoft Security Essentials is EXCELLENT and free.

Trend Micro Titanium is also really good but not free. The added features may make it worthwhile, especially if you have kids and want to be able to add age appropriate filters easily.

I wouldn't install a McAfee product on any computer I'm responsible for.

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I work in the IT security industry, and I'd recommend Trend Micro, I use it at home. Also, i'm always wary of Microsoft security products; I recommend buying from a vendor that specializes in security specifically.

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MS Security Essentials, Trend Micro, and AVG are my personal favorites.

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To be honest, nothing out there is going to cover you from every point of attack - and that's including the paid service front. Best option is to find a good combination of programs to create your own virtual anti-virus/anti-malware arsenal. I'll go through a few that are pretty decent from my experience.

- Norton - Before I get lynched, I will be the first to say that I haven't been able to stand Norton for years. It was the biggest resource muncher known to computerdom for years, but as of 2010, it's improved enough that I'd recommend it if it's on sale.
- Microsoft Security Essentials - Microsoft making something that's not only passable, but actually "good" is a rare thing, but it seems that they've actually excelled here. As a free service, this seems to outdo Avast or AVG.
- Malwarebytes - Anti-malware software suites seem to flow in and ebb like a tide. Currently this one seems to be a decent compromise.
- Secunia PSI - Not anti-malware, but advisable for security anyway.

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Oh, and a p.s. for the less computer-savvy, don't run multiple anti-virus programs simultaneously - that's the same as just asking to be kicked in the pants.

And Trend Micro is pretty decent, as others have recommended. But as of now, I won't recommend lavasoft's adaware.

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@arosiriak: Call me stupid but is lavasoft's adaware part of Trend Micro? Or is lavasoft just a brand that you wouldn't recommend?

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@duckcake: No worries - we're all here to help :)

Lavasoft and Trend micro are separate entities. I would recommend Trend micro as their anti-virus software has been solid.

Lavasoft's Ad-Aware is more of an anti-spyware solution, which has been good in the past, but they are IMHO more on the decline of late.

Hopefully that clears it up for you!

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@arosiriak: Thank you very much. :)

Thank you all. I've never heard about Trend Micro until now. And it's good to hear Norton has improved, and that lavasoft sucks. If anyone else has any recommendations or experiences with stuff I'd love to hear it also.

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Avast I actually posted it as a deal. http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/159b5d9b-4200-4140-bda1-5cd9647381b2/-free-antivirus-download-software-for-virus-protection#5
I did like MSE but it requires user intervention and when I tell my mom to NEVER CLICK on anything that is asking to scan her computer it is fake... Microsoft requires you to click on something for more often then Avast.
NOD32 used to be my paid pick... but let my subscription run out and that is that.
Please revisit Avast if you have not experienced it since it went orange.
Nothing wrong with AVG from what my coworkers say either.

IF YOU GET AVAST turn off the voice telling you the virus database has been updated.

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This has been asked before. Read through the stuff here. Why does it always get interesting when I have other things to do?

Fooey.

http://deals.woot.com/questions/details/c2292e8d-5ff6-4f05-8d3d-8ccab5dde1c6/challenge-best-most-reliable-free-antivirus-and-antispyware-software

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I was a fan of Avira, but I definitely agree with @durkzilla for Microsoft Essentials. AVG's free version isn't/wasn't bad either.

As for the bad... McAfee was always a nightmare, especially if you tried to uninstall. Symantec's consumer stuff could be bad, but the corporate editions worked well.

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One more hint, now that I'm thinking about it and remembered:
If you want to uninstall one of your trials of a free anti-virus/anti-malware... or uninstall anything, in general, I highly recommend the use of a dedicated uninstaller like Revo - goodness knows how many ties into the directories the program has made. And yes, McAfee is generally on the bad list for making ridiculous registry entries, along with other grievances.

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I use Trend Micro Titanium, upgraded a couple of years ago from Norton and have been more than happy with the results, less viruses getting through and doesn't slow down my computer as much as Norton did

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Avira. Free, lightweight and one of the best. Only thing you need to deal with is the pop-up ad from them when it updates.

I've had AVG and they just completely bloated as of the 2008 version. I'm sure its good for freeware, but way to much of a resource hog for my taste.

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I suggest and use ESET's NOD32.
http://www.eset.com/

Not free, but worth the price. It is resource friendly, and as good as anything else on definition scanning. What sets it apart, for me, is that it has the BEST heuristics of any product I've EVER used. This has stopped at least 4 viruses for me day-zero (before the vendors get the defs out the door).

AV software is reactive - definitions are written AFTER viruses have gone wild, done damage, and been reported. Heuristic scanning is proactive - it looks for software behavior and applies "quacks like a duck" rules even if it doesn't have defs.

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@dosquatch: I agree I loved NOD32, when I was paying for AV but, with 5 PCs and paying yearly subscriptions had to go free.

Is it as good as it was 4 years ago?

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AVG Free and Spybot Search & Destroy (with TeaTimer enabled) have worked well for me.

Edit: I run them both at the same time (since one is anti-virus and the other anti-malware) with no problems.

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@caffeine_dude: I think it's only been getting better. It's always been resource friendly, but the current version I think is even more so, with no discernable drop in protection.

Edit: I used AVG before this. It's good protection, but it became very resource hungry in more recent years.

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@bsmith1: Spybot got heavy for resources in the last few years, imhop. @dosquatch I may have to try it out again. I remember the biggest complaint it was not user friendly I found it plenty friendly but I was not a typical user.
Trend sees cracks and calls them viruses, kind of a bummer who wants to keep track of old game disks when NOCD keys are easy to use.

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In the biz too, and you're not going to do better than following "arosiriak's" advice!

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"Being in the Biz" my first and foremost my favorite and most successful antivirus has been common sense, barring that I would suggest AVG and Trend, I get mcafee and norton free through licensing agreements and as stated earlier they are getting better (In the sense of using less resources and less annoyances). That or try linux...

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I have been using Norton Internet Security on a half-dozen PC's for the last 4-5 years for virtually free, thanks to Frys rebates. Admittedly, the first 2 or 3 years the product DID slow your system down when scanning, but they continually improve the product every year with things like inactivity sensing, where the computer is only scanned when you're not using it, and Norton Insight, which compares the checksum of files against the internet community (if the checksum is valid, it is virtually impossible for the file to have a virus) and simply skips scanning those files, which is usually about 1/2 to 2/3's of my files. Not that it automatically makes me an expert, but I have been in a PC support environment for a while (okay, fine - MANY years) and have exposure to just about every product out there. Although the free products are useful at times, Norton Internet Security 2011 is infinitely superior, IMHO.

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Since this is a deals site, Concast users can get the Norton Security Suite for "free" with their internet service. I used it and found the 2010 version to be acceptable. Free is kind of a subjective term here, as comcast charges for their service.

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I've always liked AVG; tho this new year's upgrade is a pain in the butt. "We downloaded a new file! Reboot now?!" "We downloaded another file! Reboot again?!" On my wife's WIN7 it could ask for another reboot maybe three or four times in one session. And if you choose to "reboot later" (60 minutes) sometimes that 60 minutes is maybe 5 before another window pops up. AND I'm getting a lot more false positives; especially with PC Tools software. BUT: I still use it.
Using Norton is like having your Mom dress you for snow play- yes you'll feel warm and safe but you're going to be slow at it. Put this on your Mom's PC.
MSE lets more fake virus checkers and popunders thru.
I also still use Spybot, Malwarebytes and Adaware. Just in case.

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Check out the latest AV-Comparatives report (released Dec 2010).
http://www.av-comparatives.org/
Basically they say F-Secure is best at effectiveness, but from a performance standpoint it is in the middle. I personally use Avast and am happy.

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Btw, Norton 2011 is free (after rebate) at Frys this week. No shipping charges either - so this would be a good time to grab a copy of that program for those interested.

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@caffeine_dude: I'm a fan of Avast too. It's nicked things that Norton never found, including bad websites.

As for Microsloth's Security essentials, I just can't bring myself to trust Microsloth to do something secure. If they could, viruses wouldn't have the playground they have with Windows.

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@lm75093: Thank you for that link. It showed that F-secure and Symantec (Norton) TIED at 98.9% effectiveness. Avast was just a hair less effective, and only those 3 and one other got the advanced "+" rating. Looks like a very professional and unbiased comparison test.

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I can not believe no one mentioned spywareblaster. Not a AV but neither is Malwarebytes (which I also recommend). It is a bad site blocker and writes hundreds of websites to your host file so you can not visit the known scam sites. It also dose some tweaking of Firefox and IE to keep you safe. Both available @ download.com

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If you have Windows 7, MSE is one of the best free solutions out there.
If you're willing to pay, Trend Micro, ESET NOD32 are both good.
Personally I use MSE on my 7 machines due to the way it integrates with the operating system (and has no annoying pop-ups). It also reached Advanced+ certification on avcomparatives, so that's damn well good enough for me.

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@stryker4526: The one thing that i am not so sure about MSE anymore is if Microsoft knew how to stop viruses they would have done so in the next release of windows. On the other had the reason I tried MSE is who better to know how to block bad viruses then the software developers who made the system. I then went back to Avast because of this: Since when has Microsoft ever done something right the fist time? I did WinME for a week before going back to 98, and would not recommend Vista to anyone, 7 is a rock star.

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@caffeine_dude: FWIW, MSE is now on version 2 :D

I'm a big fan b/c of your second point, and it's relatively small memory footprint. It's a great thing to recommend to those non-technical friends/family too. Combined with the Windows firewall, it just gets the job done.

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@caffeine_dude: You can't stop viruses. And I know it's "cool" for the kids to hate on "Micro$oft," or whatever you're calling them these days, but why don't you try doing some actual research? MSE consistently ranks above many of the other popular free solutions for antivirus software. It has excellent detection rates for both known viruses and new ones and a low rate of false positives. All around, it's a real winner, and generally the only people I ever see trying to lambast it are people doing so simply because it's from Microsoft, just like you are.

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I use BitDefender at the office and at home. I recommend them because they have great support and they update very often. http://software.mihalysoft.com/store/bitdefender-antivirus-pro-2011/

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Apple Computer's get malware infections.McCaffrey and Norton are themselves like malware. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free suite and works silently in the background. It even does backups.