Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Antivirus experience

Welcome (back) dear visitor!

I know everyone had problems with computer viruses no matter how cautious he or she might have been. Maybe it was a download over the Internet or it was a friend who brought viruses on a disk but there seems to always be a way to infect our computers. Consequently the software makers decided to develop programs that were meant to detect, disinfect or delete such compromised files, software they called antivirus.

There are a lot of antivirus software available on the internet and I have tried many of this solutions. I used Norton AV, Bitdefender, RAV, Kaspersky and many others that I don't even remember and all of them disappointed me somehow.

The thing that annoyed me the most was the visible drop out in computer performance when the antivirus was active. I had (and still have) a relative fast hard drive and enough RAM (512 Mb back then 1Gb now) but still the computer was moving slower and that is when I did not run a scan. In the case of a system scan I know there is no way to avoid the slowness, but when the antivirus is idled (when he is just watching my active files) I expect better performance from my system.

Trying to find the right solution I had to cycle trough many different programs and contrary to my expectations I failed to find a solution. It was then when a friend of mine, hearing of my problems, told me about the free software he uses. I was reluctant at first and I thought it would be the same as with the other ones. However when I installed it I had the surprise not to notice the downfall in performance I was expecting. I was intrigued.

Considering it was a free software and seeing no performance drop in my system I thought that antivirus was not a very good one. So I put it at a test: I ran a complete system check to see if I had any viruses that I did not know of and that my other antivirus (Norton at that time) did not detect. You can't imagine my consternation when a window announcing I had two Trojans in an archive I never opened appeared on my screen. I was obviously expecting not to find anything and this puzzled me: "maybe the search function is the only one that works correctly' I thought, "maybe the real time detection isn't working at all".

I had no way to get an immediate confirmation for the second presumption except to willingly download a program with a virus. As I did not liked that idea I decided to use the antivirus but to run virus checks on any downloads, and any external devices I connected. For about a month or so I did just like that and as I found no viruses I had doubts about the program again. Until one day when I downloaded something from internet and when my download was finished a pop-up window from the antivirus said the newly downloaded software was infected. I knew then that the system monitoring function works as well as the search function and I had found the solution I was searching for: a reliable antivirus that does not slow the PC.

I confess I use this software for more than a year now and although I recommended it to a lot of people I had yet no complaints. The software is free for personal use because the company that produces it (AVIRA) sees this as a marketing strategy to promote the professional edition which comes with some extra features. Every day it runs an update and new definitions are added to the virus database so I know I have very little chances to infect my computer even with the most recent threats.

During last year I have found solutions similar to this ones, but from my perspective they are not as good as this. Still I would like to mention AVG antivirus as a very good alternative to AVIRA. AVG is free too for personal use so you can try it if you are not satisfied with you current solution.

My preferred antivirus solution is: AVIRA Antivirus. It can download it by visiting www.free-av.com. By selecting a mirror closer to you the transfer can be faster. I also recommend a system check for the first time install.
-Marius-

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