back to article Bummed-out users give anti-virus bloatware the boot

One in four users turned off their anti-virus protection in response to performance problems after they installed security software, according to a survey by security software firm Avira. The poll of users of the German anti-virus outfit, which like AVG and Avast offers free security software to consumers, also found that more …


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  1. Tom Kelsall


    It's becoming almost impossible to find AV/AM software which isn't bloated. I'm using AVAST at the moment which is nice and invisible (once you turn off the "I've updated" voices). I used to swear by AVG but that went real nasty, performance wise. Before that (a long time before) it was Norton - and we all know that that was the first performance killer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      AVG is a goner

      Too true.

      Used to use AVG myself. In fact, when someone in the family inevitably bought a peeceewurld laptop, my first job would be removing Symantec/Norton and installing AVG.

      However, ever since AVG started causing my old Toshiba "Centrino" laptop to emulate Vista performance in XP, I used Avast as an alternative and found it to be much less bloated.

      The "Avast Virus Database has been updated!" sound makes it sound like a computer out of 24, or one of those mission-critical systems :)

      1. Chris007


        Recently replaced AVG with Avast on all the family and friend computers I look after - much improved performance, certainly on the older boxes.

    2. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Consider Eset

      You should try Eset NOD32. It isn't bloated at all. And it is very good on malware and worms. It does have a problem cleaning viruses, although it has no problem detecting viruses. NOD32 also doesn't detect rootkits. Despite those problems, it has been my experience with all malware and worms that if NOD32 doesn't stop it right away, it will remove them within two days when the definitions update. The nice thing about NOD32 is the on-access scan is as good as the on-demand scan, which really means you never need to schedule an antivirus scan.

      1. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

        Re ESET

        I'm puzzled why one person has chosen to downvote this post. I agree, Nod is brilliant. If someone has had a problem, please share it with us.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Not surprised...

    every time my pc stops responding I look at the anti-virus and usually find it's updating. Some of the fingers should be pointing at corporate IT departments if they're anything like ours - every desktop (500+) attempts to update itself between 14:00 and 15:00. Network is swamped and no-one can do anything!

    1. Ebaneezer Wanktrollop


      'no-one can do anything' - if your IT dept. was up to the job they'd bang linux on an old server and use it as a caching server. However, with 500+ seats your AV client should be network aware and be updating locally from a master LAN server and not t' tinterweb.

      1. Nuffnuff


        Scratching my head about why the downvotes on the above - is it because it mentioned Linux or am I missing something?



  3. James Le Cuirot

    Users are too trusting...

    ...of the shit that comes bundled with their machines. I have seen McAfee cripple machines to a crawl but people like my parents are so stuck in their ways, they sooner buy a new machine than switch anti-virus software. I really despair at this widespread false belief that computers get slower with age. Even after telling my Dad repeatedly that McAfee does more harm than good, he still not only uses it but gives them money for the "privilege" !

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Yup, too trusing

      Sadly I have seen this sort of behaviour as well.

      Currently Tux is my answer as its harder to subvert and much less of a target. Sometimes I contemplate taking away admin rights, as even a hypothetical 'perfect' system is only as secure as the fool, er family/friend, who is able to make system-wide changes.

      Much as I dislike Google's power-grab of the net, there is a lot to be said for ChromeOS for users who just want web/email and light wordprocessing as you don't get the option of local store/changes.

      1. Doug Glass

        Naaawwww .....

        ... not too trusting, just ignorant. Most I know install a program and never tweak it in any way. They simply have no concept of tailoring a product to their needs. They think the box is like a hammer and works only one way. Can you imagine that ... so stupid and backward that they actually expect the machine to operate as depicted on TV and on various forums they may mistakenly visit.

        They also are so boorish as to never clean and dust, defrag or scan for spyware. Such dolts, they think the things actually are simple and all you have to do is keep it plugged into the wall socket like a radio.

        But then, they do know the location of every computer mechanic and fixit shop within a 10 mile radius so they don't worry. "Taking my kid to ball practice; I'll be back in two hours to get it. Thanks for the help. Yeah, it's not working right. See ya."

    2. Pypes

      Slower with age

      A mate of mine had his PC die a few years ago, so I rummaged around through his assorted piles of crap and found a decade old pentium running windows 95. From switching it on to running office was literally about 10 seconds. The thing was like shit off a stick compared to what we put up with now, and as far as my mate was concerned he had a brand new PC.

  4. Filippo

    only now they notice?

    AV software that causes more damage than the average virus gets rejected by users. Who'd have thought?

  5. Gav
    Thumb Up

    It's all true

    I'm on my third anti-virus software this year. First one was way too much hassle to install, maintain and update. Second one attempted to police too much, whined continually about being the free version and I should upgrade, and was a resource hog.

    Latest one is Microsoft Security Essentials. Early days yet, but it could be that finally Microsoft have got an anti-virus package worth using.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Just a Guess

      Was the second either AVG or Zonealarm?

      I've always found Clamwin to be more than adequate, although configuring on-access scanning can be a pain at times

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...I have a bad feeling about Microsoft AV. I really don't like the way IE has its tendrils embedded in deep my system, so I don't use it. I'm wary of MS's own AV offering just in case it becomes ubiquitous (like IE used to be), and hence very popular with security software disabling/hijacking malware writers. With its tendrils potentially penetrating the inner sanctum of my OS, I'd be happier with a third party- probably just paranoia, but it doesn't feel right.

    3. TeeCee Gold badge
      Gates Halo

      Re: It's all true

      Seconded / thirded / whatever.

      I'd like to think that the advent of MSE would be a massive boot up the backside of the A/V vendors to slim down their bloatware, improve efficiency and eliminate the upgrade nagging on the free versions.

      However, it looks like they are going for "Plan B": Cry foul, moan about anticompetitive practices and sue MS for daring to park its tanks on their lawn. Bastards and they deserve to fail.

      Note to the incumbant market leaders: MSE is actually taking your market share by the simple expedient of being a damned sight better at what it does than your shit is.

      1. JimC

        > MSE is taking your market share

        By using a whole lot of undocumented hidden and ultra fast API calls which give it performance no competitor can match...

        Well I don't know that's the case, but lets face it it wouldn't be the first time...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: JimC

          From what I read - can't seem to find the article now - part of the reason MSE has been doing so well in the AV testing is that it's able to hook deeper into the OS and is more difficult to disable.

          Disclaimer: this is not a "dey took our jobs" post. Proprietary protocols and APIs in Windows has been a gripe of mine or years (ref: Samba and AD)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How did you forget to mention WindowsUpdate?

        Or hasn't the check been credited to your account yet?

    4. IsJustabloke


      I installed MSE on my old lappy which runs XP, is a bit long in the tooth but runs pretty well for the use I put it to, IE a bit of web serving and the occassional torrent.

      I found that MSE increased the boot time of this machine from a sprightly 2 minutes to an amusing 45 mins.... yes you read that right!

      Currently using Avast free on it and all is well in the world.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    I tried turning of my AV once.....

    ...and I never had a problem.

    @@@ buy meds - send credit card details - girls @@@

  7. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Another vote for MSE

    After finally giving up on AVG after many years due to excessive bloat (the 2011 Free version involved an enormous additional download) I switched to MSE, and am quite happy so far (this is of course only a solution if you have a valid Windows install).

    Of course, when I must use Windows I surf from a limited user account and never use IE or OE, which helps a lot to start with.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: valid Windows install

      I thought MS made security enhancements available regardless of "Genuine Advantage" status, as a part of their anti-malware initiative, but strangely this doesn't appear to be the case with Security Essentials.

  8. C Yates

    They discover this NOW!?

    Anyone would think they NEVER have to use a machine with an AV installed!

    We have Kasp installed at our place and it does exactly what it says on the tin... while at the same time making the machine run like an utter dog.

    Like the article says, most people end up disabling it, which has been the reason for the last four outbreaks...


    1. KarlTh

      Very badly run corporate network...

      ...where it's possible for users to turn off the AV. Are some of you idiots out there _still_ giving users local admin?

      1. Tom 35


        In some companies (like the last one I worked for) IT don't get much choice, "VIPs" demand and get local admin, and write access to stuff they don't need write access to...

        The three outbreaks we had came from the President (2), and the VP, who's full write access to everything caused the loss of that days work for a lot of people when all their data was deleted and I had to restore from the overnight backup.

        1. Doug Glass

          So? What's Your Point?

          You got paid. That's your job. If you don't like your job, leave. If you're going to take their money, do your job, make your eight hours (or whatever) and then go home to your real life. Of course if your real life IS your job, weeeellllll, you have a far larger problem than stupid company officers.

      2. Jan Buys


        ... users just need local admin rights. Most of them in software development or validation. You just need an AV that cannot be turned off without a master password known to the IT dept only.

        For personal home usage I had no problems paying for an AV, being ESET NOD32, which comes out of tests as thrustworthy and is blazingly fast.

        Mine's the one with the money those friendly people at ESET gave me in.

        1. Joe Montana

          Admin rights..

          If you have admin rights it doesn't matter that theres a "master password", that just means you cant go into the av program frontend and turn it off...

          You can still disable it manually, even if you just boot from a livecd and delete the binaries.

      3. C Yates

        RE KarlTH

        It's like Tom 35 says, we don't have any choice - management demand that level of access.

        Plus much of our infrastructure is old and we cannot afford to replace it in the current climate, so whilst the likes of the AV is new the hardware it runs on could use an update.

        It comes down to the age-old battle between security and usability.

        Are you one of the "idiots" who puts that much crap into builds that NOBODY can use it?

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          "management demand that level of access"

          Can't you tweak their profile using policy manager or somesuch to allow them to do what they think they should do without being admin-level access?

          It is my experience that management (especially the more clueless higher uppers) ask for the moon on a stick because they think they can. The P and VP probably want full access because "it is their company" without entirely understanding what this means (and, as demonstrated, the exact reasons why they shouldn't have that access). It'll be a delicate juggling act between restricting their access while permitting what they think they want to do.

          And remember, as the IT guy, not only are you treading on eggshells with them, the rest of the company will be pointing their fingers at you the next time they screw up and a restore from backup nukes a day's work. <sigh>

        2. KarlTh

          @C Yates

          No. Why do you imagine I am?

          The solution with "need admin access" people is two accounts. FredBloggs and FBAdmin. FBAdmin is either a local account on the box or a domain account that is a member of no groups beyond Domain Users and a group called "Local Access Only" which has deny privs on all shared libraries, printers etc.

          Fred therefore _has_ to use the FredBloggs domain user account to access network resources. He can use FBAdmin, possibly via runas, when he needs to do admin-y things. He cannot claim he doesn't have full control of his box because he does, just not when wearing his network user hat. You will of course need to use Group Policy to control the local admin group so that FBAdmin can't add FredBloggs to the local admins group...

          You justify this by saying it's not about not trusting him to run his own computer, but _protecting_ him against zero-day malware attacks.

          Developers running as local admin all the time are a menace - it's this practice which is responsible for half their crap not working properly for limited users once they release it. Definitely should have the FredBloggs/FBAdmin setup. If it doesn't run as FredBloggs you haven't got it working yet.

  9. Ball boy

    AV gets bloated? Join the club!

    All software does, doesn't it? In general the motivation to upgrade to the new version of anything is driven by new features rather than cleaning-up and enhancing the raw performance of the existing version - cf. Office, every print-driver I've ever seen, WiFi helper apps (50Mb+ for the drivers for mine? Come on..)

    Perhaps the best way to reduce the need for complex AV is to reduce the chances of the bad guys to get in and do something. Of course, this means we should consider a more secure environment - but we all know that every time Windows gets more security conscious, users bypass the model because it's a pain to live with!

    You pays your money and you takes your choice. Yes, I'm frustrated with my AV dragging my machine down - but no more than Office et al for doing the same!

    Imagine: a s/w industry that releases new versions with the promise that 'nothing added but we've removed all that legacy code that made it run like a pig'. Good luck selling it 'cause very few consumers will 'upgrade' without seeing new features they (mostly) don't need.

    1. Anonymous Coward



      Imagine: a s/w industry that releases new versions with the promise that 'nothing added but we've removed all that legacy code that made it run like a pig'. Good luck selling it 'cause very few consumers will 'upgrade' without seeing new features they (mostly) don't need.


      and thats exactly what Apple did with Snow Leopard over Leopard. Admittedly their was "much" behind the scenes work stuff like Grand Central, but it wasn't a major UI overhaul like the previous point release versions, it did however remove a lot of legacy code.

      Noe i just wish they'd finish the job and get iTunes into better shape.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Printer Drivers and Office

      Installed a Printer Driver for a certain brand recently (rhymes with Pewlett Hackard), the install of the printer driver took longer than the install of Windows 7 or Mint Linux!

      It also consumed a good few hundred MB!

      Also, the difference in space between the usable Office XP and the latest Ribbony nonsense!

      I remember the day an office 4.3 install seemed almost apologetic for hitting the 100MB complete install mark!

      1. Stu Wilson
        Gates Horns


        i dont remember which version it was, but MS Office went from being on 3 or 4 floppies per product to being on 100+ for the full suite.

        My memory says it must have been around the time of Win95.

      2. LDS Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        HP printer bloatware

        I had to call HP support to find out how to install the driver without all the associated bloatware - it was disguised as a link on the installer screen. Why can't we return to those nice setups which asked what you wanted to install, with a "minimum install" option? Why should I install applications to print school papers when I have no children around? Why should I install lame image editing software when I have professional one?

    3. Joe Montana


      People often complain about the fact that linux has very little *official* software/drivers, and most stuff is written by third parties...

      A lot of the vendor supplied drivers ship with all kinds of garbage as you point out, printer drivers, wifi helper apps etc... The official clients for things like aim are typically bloated, plastered with ads and never support more than one network etc.

      On linux you usually get much better, cleaner software and especially drivers, drivers that will do what they're supposed to and not installed whole heaps of unrelated crap.

  10. .thalamus

    Highest Performing Packages

    In my opinion, the highest performing free AV is Ariva. Any of the other free offerings, including MSE, will bog your system down. Avira also consistently has one of the best detection rates.

    The highest performing paid AV I think is either Avira Premium and Norton AntiVirus (not Norton Internet Security). Symantec have really reduced the footprint and increased the performance of their client with the 2010/2011 offerings.

    However, Avira Premium is cheaper and tends to consistently score higher than Norton on AV Comparatives tests.

    1. Kevil


      How much have they paid you to post that?

      1. Steven Raith

        How much was he paid? Probably nothing.

        Try checking out various different industry AV tests, and see where Avira Personal Edition comes in those tests. In most of them, it's normally damned near the top in terms of raw detection/removal/lack of false positives.

        On top of that it's straightforward, fairly light and fast, and nags you *once* a day about the full version.

        I used to use it all the time before I switched to Linux, and I used to keep tabs on the AV comparison tables back then quite regularly.

        Not everything is the cause of fanboys and shills, you pleb - some products are actually just rather good.

        Steven R

        1. Andrew Smith
          Thumb Up

          Avira ain't too shabby

          Another thumbs up for Avira, it's a default install on my own machines if they dropped the nagging about the full version I'd be installing it everywhere but MSE is just too easy. And I'll be Avira recommending it next time I'm involved with a corporate purchasing policy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's a bus company, isn't it?

    3. Keris

      Isn't that a bus company?

      "In my opinion, the highest performing free AV is Ariva"

      If you use a bus[1] company for your Audio/Visual needs it's really fast. On a big six-wheeler, scarlet-painted, London transport, diesel-engined, 97-horsepower omnibus...

      [1] As long as you don't get a SIGBUS error, of course...

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        On a big six-wheeler, scarlet-painted, London transport, diesel-engined, 97-horsepower omnibus...

        Hold very tight please! ting! ting!

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      High performing?

      I recently discovered a malware on my system. Some sort of dormant IRC controlled trojan that had spread to, like, three programs in the unknown time it was on my system. Avast didn't notice it. My FTP host did.

      I chucked the file to and of the 40-or-so products that eyeballed the file, only THREE recognised it.

      I have given my system a once over with ClamAV (which is intolerably slow) and then back to Avast.

      There's more to life than scanning speed.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @heyrick: You Have Understood Only Half Of The Story

        ..what you should have realized is that Virus Scanners are very much like a Bank Without Locks on the Doors and Safes with a company of Security people checking every person against a bible of criminals. If a new criminal shows up or if one of them has a new haircolor, they are stuffed.

        That's why banks use locks. And Unix. Like Linux or MacOS X. And they don't run as Admin if they ever use Windows.

  11. Stu Wilson

    I haven't ran AntiVirus for over 5 years

    of course, I don't run Windows either.

    /mines the one with the hackers guide to OSX in the pocket

    1. Herbert Meyer

      penguins don't catch cold either

      But I have to:

      1) Have a copy of clamav on linux to check and scrub any files I give to or get from windows victims.

      2) Same on bootable linux usb for scrubbing infected windows systems

      3) MSE on the dual booted systems that I run windows on for my own purposes

      I share the general tech consensus that MSE is as good as anything, better than most, but any monoculture is dangerous. But windows itself is a monoculture.

      MSE is a damn sight better than the 90's MS Anti-Virus product.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        MSAV nostalgia

        Ah yes the old MSAV. Used on the old 3.11 / Dos 6.22 machine to scan floppy disk games from "untrustworthy" friends.

        Never got updated, but did manage to find the occasional baddie! :)

        Came in 2 flavours - vanilla Dos and a Win16 executable.

    2. Wibble

      Me too

      Run windows in a VM. Never use it for browsing. Why bother using AV?

      It's a standard risk assessment. Probability x Consequences. If you don't have kids, don't use Microsoft, don't surf dodgy sites, distrust all attachments, ensure you've regular backups, have the skill to deal with the consequences and have fallbacks... the risk is low enough to consider acceptable.

      All depends upon your numptie quotient.

  12. Peter Clarke 1

    Useless pile of s**t

    Judging from a current radio advert seems that at least one other developer (Trend Titanium?) has done the same research.

    Being able to turn it off would be nice but fairly sure you can't with McAffee or AVG. Being able to completely uninstall it without leaving bits behind would be even better

    1. Russell Preece

      Being able to completely uninstall

      I always found it highly amusing that McAfee, Symantec and AVG (maybe others) have had to write an application specifically designed to remove their products from your system, although half the time even these don't do the job properly.

      Surely instead of admitting failure by writing these it would be better to have an uninstallation process that works?

      (Yes I realise that there are probably other reasons for these apps to exist, but still...)

  13. Barry Tabrah
    Thumb Up

    The weakest chain in the link

    Oh the number of times I've spent hours cleaning a computer only to have the user turn off the antivirus so that they could view that video they found on the internet.

  14. Steve Evans


    Sometimes it's not the anti-virus that is to be blamed. Earlier this year my brother complained that his Lenovo laptop, which has been working perfectly well, was unusable on his wifi network.

    Sure enough, I tried it, and cabled LAN was fine, but as soon as wifi was started up, it connected to the LAN, but the machine just bogged down. AVG antivirus was taking all the CPU. Removed AVG, the machine worked fine on the wifi. Tried AVAST, same thing happened, wifi caused the machine to bog down.

    So I decided to have a look at exactly what the antivirus was doing using some of the sysinternals (now microsoft) process explorer tools. I found both AV packages were really interested in one html file... It turns out that from the day my brother got his laptop, all his wifi activity was being logged to the debug file (not the raw packet data, but still pretty detailed, and very frequently updated), which Lenovo had decided to give a .html file extension. Any change to that was getting the attention of the AV and forcing it to scan the file. Initially this wasn't an issue as the file was small. By the time I got to investigate, the file was 5meg!

    I added the file to the AV exclude list, and weeeee, back up to speed again! A bit of digging found the switch to turn off the wifi debug log in the Lenovo access connections package and I deleted the file.

    His machine had been bought new, so why it was set to log by default is beyond me. Why they chose to give the log file a .html extension is also beyond me, as it was raw text.

    For my own machines I use a variety - I believe that a mixture is a good thing, if one package misses something bad, and it starts to spread on the network, hopefully one of the other packages will spot it and alert me to its presence. I can then do something about it.

    I also add quite a few excludes to the file list, preventing the scanning of source code and txt files.

    1. George of the Jungle
      Thumb Up

      File name?

      I think I've seen the same sort of behaviour on my wife's machine. What was the name of the debug file? (I guess I could figure it out but I hate debugging Windows machines.)

    2. Jan Buys


      ... I am a bit of a noob, but why would any software just decide the file type based on a file name extension? No doubting your story, but I would really like to know. Obviously storing raw data in a .htm(l) file should not fool any AV or any other security software just by its extentionsion. That's just opening the gates to malware anyway. Sending out a .jp(e)g without the receiver knowing what is really inside it while it tries to find wholes in let's say Irfanview or so, is potentially lethal.

      BTW: forgive me my ways of using the English language... I am not a native user of the language and still have to reinstall my spell check on my browser.

      1. M Gale

        Re: File name extensions

        Why does software rely on filename extensions?

        Partly legacy, partly laziness, partly Microsoft (which I suppose would be legacy AND laziness), and partly because it's easier to grep the filename for everything after the last full-stop, than poke around in the file data looking for magic bits and metadata.

        Linux and other Unix-like things tend to (but not always) rely on metadata and magic bit sequences within the file, and won't be fooled (in many cases at least) by renaming a file extension. You certainly can't make a file executable just by calling it "something.exe" (this is what setting the executable bit is for), and I've had VLC for Linux and Movie Player both work nicely with movie files that have no extension.

        Windows? Not so much.

    3. Gritzwally Philbin

      File Name?

      Oh, Steve I could kiss you!.. and buy you a drink!!

      I've been fighting with my mother-in-law's laptop for the last three weeks trying to suss this VERY issue out and I know scant little of Windows, being a Mac fangurl..

      Yes, please, if you can give the filename.



  15. eJ2095

    I Agree

    Bloody Norton and Mcaffe Hogs the system (PC world pre installed crap)

    I have advised countless people to remove and stick on Hate to say it but Microsoft security essentials.

    Doesn't seem to kill the system as much..

    And yes i rem when AVG was quick but then turned into a hog as well....

    1. Jan Buys


      are the times that Norton (Symantec now) was such a respectable name? I cling on to my Windows Commander, now called Total Commander. Best shareware softie I ever had.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Where are the times

        Norton was good when it belonged to Peter Norton, I guess it started to slip when he sold it to Symantec in 1990. Most of the staff stayed on at the time, but I imagine the culture diluted and staff depleted over time.

  16. Bill Cumming

    there's always...

    ClamAV it's now got a windows GUI port..

    It's probably less a resource hog than AVG or other free AV's

    Thumb Up

    Why I don't have a real-time scanning AV

    I have used aVast, which I thought was pretty good compared to other bloatware (Norton). I have been told that NOD32 is the fastest and one of the best providers of protection. I boot into WXP for one computer game, and spend the rest of my time using either an Android 'phone at home and Linux on the notebook for work. There is little reason for me to have an AV.

    Instead of shelling out more money I removed aVast and installed Clam. Its an open source on-demand scanner. The game I play on WXP is now far faster, & WXP completes the log in far quicker than afore. I am pleased because I cannot afford to buy a new notebook for home.

    1. Jan Buys

      For me...

      NOD32 still works fine. Fast and it even tells you before the windows automatic updates start that your system needs one or more fixes.

      Like it.

      Leave my jacket there, buster!

  18. Silver
    Thumb Down

    Not surprising

    If I copy files from my NAS to my home PC I can achieve a measly 270Kbps. Turning off MSE can increase that to 700Kbps.

    I find that MSE to be the best of the bunch but can't help thinking that the real-time scanning shouldn't occur during heavy file transfers otherwise it just makes everything crawl. One day, hopefully the virus scanner vendors will work that out too.

  19. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Instant speed boost

    It's amazing just how fast a PC can be with all the crud removed. At home I have a little 150MHz laptop (192MB ram - max'd out) running W98SE. It's not connected to the internet and is simply rock-solid. It runs some software that supports my weather station and just works - year in, year out.

    The best thing about it is that it boots up from cold to running and accepting weather station data in under 15 seconds. The next best thing is its miniscule power consumption. With the screen blanked, it's too low to register reliably on my Mains Power memter.

  20. Ged T

    It's completely understandable...

    ...that people are beginning to see the AV vendor's products for what they really are - Overly bloated and overly expensive, too.

    "Streamlining packages poses a tricky software design challenge at a time where the number of malware strains churned out by the bad guys is skyrocketing, forcing the use of more finely-tuned heuristics and behaviour-blocking technologies."

    Not really! Just stop the AV vendor's marketing department from "adding in the 'Customer Experience'" and the scaremongering, threat-levelling messaging that goes with these time-limited packages - "Renew Now before Armageddon besets your computer..."

    To this end, I've spent a little time and some money looking at alternatives, this year, having got so sick and tired of having to resolve performance as well as functional issues (Why is 64-bit Windows 7such a f*cking surprise to the 'usual suspect' AV vendors?) - There are plenty alternatives out there from the mainstream, malware/virus-anti-market mafia merchants that have, so far, stitched us all up through the "(pre-)installed with your new PC" vendor deals...

    When it comes to putting up with those vendors, I hope many, like me will tell them "Armageddon out o' here..."

  21. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    Hardly a shock. It is intercepting EVERY read, reading an ENTIRE file, comparing it against known checksums (which can take ages to produce a single checksum once from even a small file), and then trying to apply "heuristics" to see if it's doing dodgy stuff - BEFORE it will let you or Windows access any file whatsoever.

    Of course it's a resource hog - you only have to look at the path. And the more viruses, the more heuristics, the more opening of files, etc. the greater the time it takes. That's *before* you get into badly-written AV, AV updates that use synchronous DNS lookups, on-the-hour updates and complete disk scans etc.etc.etc.

    An AV is there to save you from your own stupidity. If you execute a rogue file, chances are it will DISABLE your AV before your AV even knows that virus exists. I've certainly never seen an AV "stop" a virus in it's tracks on anything but the most perfectly managed setup (and home PC's are nowhere near that category - nor are *most* business setups!).

    If you need a program to not only intercept every disk read / write that you do, but to scan every byte of every disk each day, and to update itself hourly, just to stop you RUNNING PROGRAMS YOU SHOULDN'T then you better put up with the performance drag of such a task.

    Or you could just learn to keep your *important* software up-to-date (e.g. browser), use secure browsers, not execute things that try to download without your permission, not have a PC that's open to the world (i.e. use a firewall which *doesn't* impact your PC's network access anywhere near as much as you think it might because it only sees IP/Port numbers most of the time and acts on only the initial packet of the connection - mine is an advanced software one and stores a cached list of authorised programs so once a program is authorised, you don't even NOTICE that it's going through a firewall), and not install every piece of junk that ever appears.

    16 years. 16 bloody years without a single antivirus program running and the only virus I've ever had was from a very-reputable magazine coverdisk when I was a kid (on a copy of Sin!). Zero damage, immediate detection (by myself), immediate cleanse and removal. Just stop double-clicking on things and using ancient versions of IE to browse the Internet. Follow the rules and no anti-virus is even CLOSE to being practical or useful. That's held from DOS through to my current setup (XP SP2!), none of which had any "explicit" protection that's supposed to save you from rogue programs (unlike Vista, 7, etc. which STILL are targeted by viruses every day!)

    In the schools whose IT I've managed, we load the machines with AV because performance isn't an issue and certain regulators like the reassurance but it's still yet to detect a single GENUINE virus (plenty of false-positives) on 150 machines for 450 kids (in my current school) and thousands of desktops / tens of thousands of kids (overall in the last 10 years) before it actually gets shut down - we call it the "canary" effect... when the AV stops calling home to the central server, that probably means it's been transparently and completely disabled by some virus that slipped straight past it. That's about its only real use.

    Currently on a 5-year-old XP image at the moment (which has been transferred between 3 actual computers in its life). No AV in it's entire life (but has ZoneAlarm Free edition from the first second to let me go online to get updates, decent browers, etc. safely). Autoplay is off. Never had a virus. Passes all virus scan checks. Show no suspicious activity whatsoever. Worst that happens is I get a dodgy email that *might* be genuine - I have to download it (safe, because my browser isn't stupid), then re-upload it to something like VirusTotal's online scanning service to determine if it's genuine. Happens about once a month or so when someone else's AV goes potty and thinks genuine files are viruses and I have to prove they aren't and / or when someone sends me something that I just don't trust (because they are stupid and probably *do* have a virus).

    Stop buying this junk. Stop installing it. Stop supporting this industry that will never "end" while people are making broken operating systems and browsers. Instead, use your brain and don't execute anything you can't verify, and don't use incredibly pathetic programs to go on the net with.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


      I was just like you, right upto the point some bastard booby trapped a decent website with the ramnit virus.

      It cheerfully attatched itself to every html I have, then went on the tie itself to every .exe file I loaded.

      Ended up saving what data I could and re-formatting the windows partion, praise be to having a windows/linux dual boot PC.

      Upon examining an infected HTML file, it was quite something to see just how a simple VB script could be used to own the WHOLE F**KING SYSTEM.

      We would'nt need so much AV products if IE had been sandboxed from the start of its life instead of tied into the OS so tightly any flaw/exploit in IE can trash your PC.

      Anyways.... Linux for surfing/emailing/work and windows for games only now

  22. Ad Fundum


    I used the IObit PCS software - until last week.

    With the lastest update, it installed the Yahoo! toolbar and changed your search engine, regardless of what you selected during installation. Then rather than the two programmes that it used to be, it suddenly turned into half a dozen programmes for all sorts of crap that I never had the chance to say I didn't want.

    Even for free software, I was very disappointed that it had suddenly bloated in this way.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moved to MSE myself.

    Used to use AVG, but agree it's too bloated.

    Clamwin supports server versions of Windows, unlike MSE.

    To those without AV - is obscurity or ignorance really a valid excuse?

    I wonder how feasible building online scanning into a router would be? At the end of the day, it's external crap that causes the problem.

    1. Spartacus

      DPI at the router.

      Nice idea could work, but what speed processor are you willing to pay for?

      L - A - T - E - N - C - Y

      1. Jan Buys


        ... new to routers. Most slow data transfer in the world and I am not even mentioning that USB 2 is faster. But then again... a NAS from Lacie sounds like something French.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'm on a crappy ADSL connection. I'd be able to run in-line scanning on a Sinclair Spectrum and it wouldn't make any difference.

        I dream of suffering from only latency....

  24. Katz
    Dead Vulture

    Such a true report!

    Whilst I don't run a large network, I do work from home at my home studio and I found various anti-virus software slowed my studio machine down unbearably. Professional audio creation requires a speedy efficient machine. I gave up with the likes of AVG et al, switched to MSE, which although seems to cause a tiny slowdown, i.e any virus checker seems to increase latency and reduce the amount of tracks I can work with. MSE minimises the impact of system performance, but what I tend to do is shut it down and disconnect from the internet for most of the week to reduce the chance of infection. I'll run a full scan weekly and occasionally apply updates etc after temporarily re-enabling wifi. Other than that I just try to make sure I use the machine for only what it's intended for, music and keep browsing and other 'stuff' to be done on my laptop. It seems to work well anyway. But I'm really glad to see the point of inefficient bloated AV crap software highlighted here.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Real men surf the web bareback anyway.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I agree with the majority of comments.

    It's hardly a surprise -- just exhibit a bit of common sense and you will be fine without an AV package. I've been running vanilla for over two years now on a Windows system and have been fine. I run a free online on-demand virus scan once a week and ensure my software is patched and up-to-date. But then, I'm careful with what I do online -- I'm savvy enough to know that if someone's offering me a link to their holiday pictures over MSN Messenger then it's probably worth investigating a little before I proceed.

    The problem is the amount of garbage that's packaged with the AV applications now -- it's all marketing horse shit. You can't buy a simple AV package now. You have to buy an anti-virus, a spam filter, a web content filter, a firewall, identify protection -- the list grows with each release. Sure, the internet is a dangerous place but these packages should not give people free licence to do whatever they please. You've all got seatbelts in your car but that doesn't mean you speed the wrong way down a one-way street at 120MPH.

  27. Jacqui


    Sugate personall firewall.

    Not AV/AM but still one of the best things to install.

  28. Loki 1

    AV? What AV?

    Don't use any AV for many years. The only time i got infected was when my wife stupidly opened an attachment from a spam email. She promised not to do it again.

    NoScript, careful browsing and use habits, behind firewall and NAT... fairly safe.

  29. VulcanV5

    Ah, Iobit. . .

    "Then rather than the two programmes that it used to be, it suddenly turned into half a dozen programmes for all sorts of crap that I never had the chance to say I didn't want. . ."

    So Iobit's now nicking stuff from six other software developers instead of just one?


  30. David Lawrence

    Isn't a strong firewall more important?

    OK I admit I use the Microsoft freebie, but I am now of the opinion that a strong firewall is more important. A good one detects any program trying to either access the internet or install something behind the scenes, and I feel this is the key to keeping my PC clean. I don't download anything unless I am 100% certain of its credentials and I never open attachments in unsolicited emails. I wouldn't fall for any phishing attempt as it's too easy to spot them (broken Engrish, poor grammar, dodgy links). If something attempts a 'drive-by download' when I am online, the firewall normally saves the day. Also it is (hopefully) protecting me from the hackers too.

    ...Or am I being dangerously naive?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      slightly naive

      There are many ways to get data out to the net, some of which you have already authorised...

      its all well and good stopping any program making its own connection but computers are not always that simple...

  31. squilookle
    Thumb Down


    I have been using Avira for years now and have always been happy with it, except for the nag screen that comes up when updating, but thats just a minor annoyance.

    I got rid of Norton 5 years ago because it annoyed me and I resented paying for it, but MacAfee is the absolute worst. The computer I have now came with it pre installed, and while uninstalling it it cried fowl. If I continued with the unistallation, my computer would be *AT RISK* from all the nasty people that are out to harm it!

    My main concern here is that computer users who don't know what they are doing might be scared out of uninstalling by this type of message. I understand MacAfee don't want you to uninstall, they need you to use their product, but I feel if the product were any good, they could sell it to you on its strengths, rather than trying to scare you out of ditching it. Fowl tactic, I have no time for them.

  32. ViagraFalls

    More support for MSSE

    Add another one to the list of those who have dumped AVG and now rely solely on MS's Security Essentials. Well, a mix of common sense, and MS SE as a safety net.

    I've also done the same for the people who asked me to secure and speed up their systems, and all machines showed a drastic increase in performance.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    All I'll say is...

    NOD32 FTW.

  34. Inachu

    In my opionion.

    the ones who get infected the most?

    Gullible clickers hwo click on anything in their email.

    Company Purchasers who don't care where their components come from just as long as it is cheap and bottom dollar thus increasing the odds that the website has third party infections/cross site scripting backdoor.

    Sport websites and gun enthusists websites and sometimes local home town newspapers that just went online.

    Of course porn sites and hate sites.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Just test on low end systems

    AV companies should test on low end (or old) systems. I guess they test on newly installed newish pcs.

    When I were a lad (which is a few years ago now) we tested our dumb terminal software on low baud rates to ensure it was efficient for dialup customers, and many years later when I ran a web design company we always tested stuff on 56k dialup to make sure it ran ok and were not reliant on a broadband connection.

    So just test on an outdated pc or a low end system. If it runs on that it should run on anything.

  36. Inachu


    You guys do know the latest version of Norton Antivirus no longer has any bloat yes?

    It surprised me as well. Quite shocked to tell the truth.

  37. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Not just AV that freezes a system...

    Not just AV that freezes a system...

    Windows Update does that as well, but due to the slightly "interesting" way that CPU usage is registered your PC will be running at an utter crawl but will happily inform you that it's only using 15% CPU usage.

    Other than that there's the (still) pathetic optical drive access in a wintel PC that causes a system to stop while reading, or attempting to read a disc.

    Back onto the AV problem - wasn't there an article from MS at some point regarding the caused behind BSODs? No 1 was AV software, No 2 was device drivers. Most AV writers like to make sure they don't crash the system or even use too much CPU otherwise a user will start to get suspicious.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bye Bye Zone Alarm

    Been using it for years, and have been paying for a two-machine licence too. Our ancient laptop has been grinding to a halt. Zone Alarm using half of its 256Mb memory.

    I've moved to Linux, the laptop is now using MSE. It'll never exactly zing, but at least it moves again.

    Subscription written off.

    I don't mind updates and reminders to update. I do mind a security product that makes my house walls so thick there is no longer any room to live in it.

    Never thought I'd be up-voting MS, but, on this one, I think they have hit the target. +another-one for MSE!

    1. Jan Buys

      I for one...

      ... am quite happy with ZA. But 256 MB?????? Are you running Windows 1.0 on it?

      1. Stu Wilson

        someone has forgotten something

        you can run visturd on 256mb, it just doesn't run very well. XP will love you for anything over 128Mb

        I remember running windows 95 on 4Mb RAM, and it ran very well indeed.

  39. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    This year's best...

    Anti-virus software.

    I know this will necessarily be windows biased (LOL) but come on, El Reg, do the story !!!

    I'm _deadly_ serious.

    Make it an interesting in-depth article. Or heck, it's probably quite a deep area, why not do a series of articles on it. Perhaps not just the review windows AV programs but an overview of windows and its security issues.

    Save it for early 2011 as I guess it's probably too late to hack something up and yet do justice to the subject.

    I'd say I would be most interested as I'll be the first to say I have significant gaps of knowledge in this area. Currently I'm not even sure what the biggest threat out in the wild is against windows systems.

    Just an idea

  40. El Pollito
    Gates Horns

    Get a Mac ...

    ... problem solved!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Just did

      I'd switched to Linux a while back, the wife is now a Mac user since I bought her one yesterday.

    2. C Yates

      Points for trolling =)

      So shameless :D

  41. Chika

    Yes! At last!

    I've been saying this for years! When I look at the kit they stick on high street purchased computers or the stuff that gets punted at the great unwashed year on year, I'm horrified by the amount of resources taken up as each company adds little bits here and little bits there. A straight anti-virus system is hard enough to find - I use the basic Kaspersky package yet even they insist on trying to punt me their latest and fattest, even to the point of devoting a whole "page" of their interface to what is essentially an advert for the damn thing! What I really want is something that sits in the background, chewing as little of my resources as possible and only making its presence felt when something is actually happening!

    Having said that, it's becoming painfully obvious to me that I often leave my Windows 7 machine off during the week in favour of my custom build openSUSE system or, very occasionally, my RISC OS system. Both can be set up with anti-virus packages that do that very thing and don't bloat out every time I boot up. (Mind you, I can't remember when I last heard of a RISC OS virus!)

  42. Ilsa Loving

    Scare mongering...

    Lets see, we have products that slows everything down to a crawl, is of dubious security benefit and tries to justify their existence using scare mongering...

    Sounds like the TSA has a new market to exploit.

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Richard Jukes

    Real men ride the internet bareback!

    I think the above poster was quite correct and very aptly put it. I dont use AV. I hate AV. Funnily enough since I stopped using AV I have never had a virus detected.

    Possibly because I do not have a program to detect it anymore, but quite frankly I dont open dodgy links or visit dodgy sites, I use my card details all the time and have never been defrauded either. In the words of Shakespear - Its a mucha ado about nothing.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    "Anti Virus" is a SCAM

    I think that the so called anti-virus vendors make these viruses, And then make people pay money.


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Don't Forget RuGOV and USGOV

      The first condone botnet criminals and the second exploit botnets for Signals Intelligence.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    I think "Moderators" always delete my posts anyway...

    What? Are you SCARED that I mat say something that exposes the whole crappy game??

  47. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    "Streamlining packages poses a tricky software design challenge"

    When an AV products forces the install of the .NET framework and visual C++, and insist that IE8 be installed, I can't help but think that at least part of the bloat can be very, very easily cut. And I wouldn't call that a "tricky software design challenge" either, just "software design 101".

    Yes Trend Micro, I'm looking your way. Apparently we got a high-volume arrangement with them. High volume of crap I would say. Well at least we're not stuck with Symantec anymore so that's still a step forward.

    The shiny reporting tools might be trimmed down a bit too, or at least made optional at install time. Nice graphs are nice but mean nothing to the average user and raw logs are often more useful to admins, so the shiny tools are really only needed on management machines (to make management types feel that they got the whole package).

    1. Wallyb132

      Since when?

      Since when does Trend Micro require .net c++ and IE8? if they do, its news to me, I've been using trend for years and never know it required any of that, especially the ie8 part. Without bothering to do any research (because i'm lazy) i'm going to call bullshit on that...

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        I don't know since when

        The Titanium thingamajig I just installed on a bunch'o boxen DID install visual C++ and the .NET framework. It kept complaining that it didn't find a compatible version of IE and that I should expect the machines to slow to a crawl until I installed IE8. I don't know if the warning is justified but I wasn't going to take the chance and risk a dozen angry users knocking on my door asking why their new machine is slower than the old one. Hop, a dozen more IE8 installs that MS can claim even though none of my users actually use it.

        I don't know since when, but I suspect since quite a while, and you never noticed because, like 99% of the population, you never paid attention to what you put on your machines.

        I don't know about the MacOS version.

        BTW I like the casual way you write "Without bothering to do any research (because i'm lazy) i'm going to call bullshit on that.". Without bothering to do any research I think you're a purple slug from Alpha Centauri hired by a joint venture between the NASA, the CIA, Trend Micro and Microsoft to bring doom onto the Human race by the blissful propagation of lazily designed software.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Google: Symantec Sucks

    After the living nightmare that was NIS, I switched to AVG Free. It was very good, but it started to be just a bit annoying. So switched to MS-SE. MS-SE seems to be fine... far.

    One key point would be for the AV vendors to give their moronic brain-donor sw coders lower-end PCs and dial-up Internet connections. When management gives the moronic coders ultra-high-end PC and super-fast Internet, then they have no idea how bloated the resultant SW is. The problem and solution are perfectly obvious.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Same could apply to all development

      Amazing how many people develop bloatware. Almost everything seems to require GB of code and TB's of data...

      Mr Gates apparently once said that 640k was enough for anyone. People scoff at that. Yet if we look at the bloated rubbish we run I think he may well have been entirely right.

      Just because you CAN have GB's of memory doesn't mean you SHOULD have it or NEED it.

      Even so called 'embedded software' is written in ways that consume more memory than I had hard disk space on my first PC. Often that memory is squandered in multiple copies and pretty 'API's" between the functional components.

      Recently I looked at a trivial function in a piece of someone elses code (mine is probably not much better before you start - I too am getting lazy) - the code called through at least 20 layers of function calls before doing one useful instruction. All of that stack, all of that code, all of that wasted time... a function call requires registers to be pushed onto stacks, often data copies, jumps and returns... several instructions... repeat that 20 times, then call the function in a loop and you have your expensive processor running around in circles like a headless chicken - very fast in the circles I grant you - but still not achieving as much as a well written program would in a fraction of the instructions and a fraction of the space.

      A few years ago I did an interesting experiment (can't repeat now as the machinery has all been recycled)...

      286 6 mhz (with turbo!!!!) 640k machine, booted to dos, run win3, open a word document and type

      486 at 40mhz running win3.1

      pentium at a couple of ghz running win nt

      pentium at more than 10 times the speed running winxp

      which got to the word document first? yes you've guessed the oldest one... so from switch on to working usefully requires the slowest and oldest machine. Wish I could try the same with windows7, I suspect it will win as long as its only on standby, but no better from a cold start.

      and don't tell me linux is better - it isn't, frankly I can die of old age before it works at all...

  49. Anonymous Coward

    It all sucks

    I used PCTools Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus for years. But I've recently had to remove it from all of my machines due to performance hogging. The company isn't very helpful in dealing with the issue.

    I've temporarily switched to McAfee, which I get for free, but that sucks too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      try mse

      you might be surprised.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which... why I use Clamwin - the most unobtrusive AV I have ever used.

  51. costa

    is comodo better?

    i tried comodo internet security on old slow computers and so far they work just fine, its free even for commercial use and the firewall is quite good, i think avast, avg and avira dose not stand near it, and one more good thing there is no adds in it.

  52. Spender

    No AV for 5 years

    That's right. I haven't run any AV for over 5 years on my Windows machines. A good hardware firewall and diligent browsing has kept me away from the bad stuff. AntiVirus IS the virus as far as I am concerned.

  53. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Never used AV

    Never been infected.

    Never will use AV.

    AV isn't the fix. If you keep crashing your car into walls, you don't need better seat belts, you need to learn how to drive.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Don't Your Dare ! kill this nice business and put RBN and their intelligence minders out of work ! And Kaspersky, of course.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I went through a whole bunch of antivirus and firewalls, including Avira, before giving up. Performance was a big problem in itself, but a bigger problem was that there was always some big achilles heel that wasted a lot of additional time. In Avira, I think, it was that I couldn't recursively exclude all nested folders - only files in particular folders - so I couldn't exclude my complete (and continuously changing) build folder in one go, so potentially hundreds of unit test programs would need me to continuously click "OK" to allow them to run per build.

    Solution - disabled the ethernet driver in Windows, so there is no internet connection. Dual booting OpenSUSE 11.3 Linux instead.

    Performance improvement in Windows from removing all the security software is an order of magnitude (maybe more) for some things. I can reboot from Windows to Linux or visa versa in less than 20 seconds.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Go Team OS X!

    We laugh at your trials and tribulations (cue evil laugh)

    One day you will have a real OS that instead of the swiss cheese of security Windows is.

    1. vincent himpe

      OsX ...

      please come back when you actually have applications that run on it.

  56. M Gale

    Holy crap

    Has anybody ever seen as many little red ones in a comment section before?

    I think someone's playing silly fuckers. Moderatrix, can you confirm? No need to break the data protection act with a username, just a "yes and I've got the little scrote in my dungeon as we speak" would be nice.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      was just about to post this myself..

      seems we have a muppet on the loose, time for the ban hammer methinks.

      and cue the dv's.

  57. Stuart Duel
    Jobs Halo

    Get a Mac...

    ...and install only trusted software from reputable sites, and stop worrying about malware. In the 10 years I've been using Mac OS X, I've run various anti-virus/Malware programs including ClamXAV and Sophos amongst others and have only ever found the occasional piece of completely harmless (to me) Windows malware.

    So to put this another way, in a decade of use, the number of Mac targeting nasties I've found on the machines I look after totals a big fat ZERO.

    1. vincent himpe

      wow !

      where i find these applications for this fabled OsX system ? I too would love to have a 'trusted system that doesn't lock up and has no problems with viruses'.

      Here's what i use daily : Altium Designer , Cadence, Mentor , Quartus , Xilinx ISE , Various compilers from IAR, Keil and ARM, Labwindows and a bunch of other highly specialised productivity software.

      Of course , Mac's don't get viruses , the same way they don't get any real applications either.... nobodoy writes them.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Vincent: Use WMWare

        and isolate each application in an own VM instance. Or group applications into VM instances. Then you can Go Unix and enjoy the command line. EDA people used to be Unixers, sad to hear you are now on Windows with cmd.exe.

        1. vincent himpe


          I have a hand built (Intel mobo+cpu , Quadro 4000 graphics and enterprise class drives) win7 plain vanilla (as opposed to machines you buy that come with a ton of junk preinstalled) with all these apps on it, runs perfectly fine. No command lines needed. Then again , i don't install junk on it and nobody touches it but me. I have a clone of the harddisk after the initial install and verify. Both drives sit in SATA hot plug trays with the cloned drive powered down. If my boot drive will ever crap out i will hotplug drive 2 and do a restore of my drive.( i already tried it. Works flawlessly, windows 7 has a tool to create the drive and the boot-cd to do such a restore. you kan even make a boot usb key.) And i have the clone image on a flashdrive as well. so if hotplug drive craps out i can still recover. The clone drive holds my 'golden install'.

          My data lives on a separate drive in my box that is synched daily to a corporate filer.That machine is backed up on daily and weekly cycles (on and off site). So no worries there either.

          And yes i run NIS2011 on the box. Never notice it kicking in.

          as far as 'enjoying the command line'. its's nearly 2011... time to leave the fossils in the stone age. Command lines are so last century ... On a different note : i really don't care about what OS i use. I switch frequently between boxes running Solaris , Red Hat and Windows. All i care about is the APPLICATIONS. That is what i work with. The OS is just a tool to run them. ( and yes i have hot images of my -nix boxes too. I simply don't want to spend hours reconfiguring them when they go down due to software or hardware problems. re-image from the clone and tops 20 minutes later i am up and running and in full productive mode.

          Storage is cheap. Think about it. A 2 terabyte drive is 80 bucks. and that will hold MANY 'golden installs'. you can easily make a golden snapshot of all machines in your posession. If it gets corrupted : restore and off you go. of course you need the discipline to -snapshot- prior to a mayor update or software install. After the install and verification that all is right : update the snapshot. done. Takes 15 minutes tops. Time well spent.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            @vincent: Command Line

            So you have a directory full of html files. About 1GB. You want to quickly send all files containing the strings "business plan" and "current feedback amplifier" but not "project mercury" to somebody else in the internet. How do you do this with a clickety-click GUI ? Go through all files manually ??

            I'll enlighten you why the command line is still the most modern tool, even in the age to dumbed-down-GUIs:

            $ find /path/to/html -name "*html"|xargs -n1000 grep -l "business plan"|grep -l "current feedback amplifier"|grep -vl "project mercury" |xargs -n 1000|tar -crf allTheNeededHtmlFiles.tar|xargs -n1 gzip -9

            As you seem to be an EDA guy, why don't you use these niiicccee schematic entry tools, but VHDL instead ? Maybe because ASCII grammars are quite a bit more expressive than clickety-click GUIs ?

  58. vincent himpe

    Why are so many people dissing norton ?

    I see lot's of people complaining about Norton being bloatware and resource hogging.

    My impression is that it may have been a resource hog up till 2007. Especially NIS2009 was a big speed up and the NIS2010 and NIS2011 are very fast and non-intrusive.

    I have about 12 boxes running with NIS2011 now ( and up till a few weeks ago they were all on NIS2010) and have had

    - zero false positives

    - zero critical files deleted ( like the mcafee and avast and other misery that falsely identifies core modules and cripples the system beyond repair. )

    - nice popup when intrusion is detected on the network

    - scans usb connected drives upon plugin

    - ZERO problems.

    I had 1 machine that had trouble installing NIS2010 and that was because an outdated DLL refused to be uninstalled. I went to the norton help website and 2 minutes later got a phone call form symantec. They talked me through loading an application from their wite that allows them to do a remote login on the machine, The Symantech tech connected , replaced the dll, signed off rebooted and it installed just fine. I call that service ! And btw , i am not even a corporate customer, just an average joe-schmoe who happens to have a few 'puters.

    Besides you can get Norton for cheap. 3- user licences can be had for the tax (after mail in rebates ) from outlets like Fry's or Tigerdirect. Norton has deals where, if you buy a piece of qualifying hardware you get 50$ mail in rebate. ( Buy an internal harddisk and you qualify )

    can't beat that ...

    just my 2 cents. bts i'm not affiliated with Symantec and i'm not a corporate user. just a happy customer running NIS.

    1. screaminfakah


      I have used Norton Internet Security for 4 years without 1 infection and I do tread in areas where all of the websites try to pown you. I love Norton because they acquired Sygate Firewall and built it into there software. It is just kick ass. Anyone who says any different is completely full of shit.

      Anywayt, You sir have to be affiliated with Norton to be sucking them off as seen in you comments.

  59. Captain Thyratron

    Well, look at what the things are trying to do.

    The task of antivirus software is, and always has been, a nearly insurmountable one. This is software that must:

    1. Catch the mistakes of stupid users

    2. Catch the mistakes of Microsoft and, worse yet, Windows application developers--many of which mistakes are vital to the functioning of all manner of expensive, terrible applications that organizations the world around have decreed essential to their survival and, therefore, indispensible.

    That's even harder than writing a fully-featured web browser that isn't a slow, bloated, bug-ridden, gluttonous cow of a program.

  60. Big-nosed Pengie


    What are these "viruses" you talk about?

    1. NoMoreWar

      MS Security Essentials seems to work for me

      Perhaps they fully disclose their APIs to themselves : )

  61. Alan Brown Silver badge


    My father's PC kept getting reinfested because his darling stepchildren (age 18 and 25) kept disabling the AV software, claiming it interfered with gaming performance - and that was in the 1990s.

    Why on earth they didn't just buy their own damned PCs is a matter of speculation.

    1. Captain DaFt
      Thumb Up

      I once had a similar problem

      But this little gem soon put an end to it. It's amazing how fast someone will get a computer of their own when the "house" computer won't run their crap!

      Won't Run :

      A harmless program worthy of the BOFH himself, except I don't believe the word "harmless" is in his vocabulary!

  62. This post has been deleted by its author

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    ..has been my choice for the last 2 years. On my Windows 7 laptop it has blocked several sites which were dangerous and generally does not slow down my computer. I was having a problem with it a few months ago where it was making my computer hang on start up until it had decided that protection was enabled but this seems to have disappeared by now. On my Windows 7 netbook I have Avira because I refuse to pay Kaspersky twice the cost to download Kaspersky than it was to buy it from Play and the netbook doesn't have a DVD drive. Why it was so much more expensive to download than get on DVD was beyond me. Avira seems to be pretty good, my netbook actually starts up faster than my dual core laptop. It runs pretty well on my girlfriend's Vista laptop (which only has 1GB RAM) too and for some reason neither of us get the adverts asking us to upgrade to the paid version, no idea why.

  64. dom0410

    Sophos too

    Forgot to mention that I also have Sophos on an old Pentium 4 XP machine. It seems to not impact too much apart from when it updates which sometimes makes the computer slow to a crawl. However it is an older version of Sophos as her employer is yet to distribute a newer version for staff to use at home.

  65. Framitz

    Tried and supported many

    I've supported McAfee, Symantec, Trend, and NOD32 in the enterprise.

    The enterprise versions are not as bloated as the consumer versions, but still impact performance at times. NOD32 is the fastest, but the enterprise management console is GARBAGE.

    McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator produces excellent and useful reports where the rest are barely useful. But McAfee takes tuning exclusions and settings to keep it from hogging the system.

    Trend seems slow in updating definitions, we were bitten more than once while using that garbage and it took them days to release new defs. Trend was so bad that on three occasions I had to donate McAfee licenses to get the systems cleaned.

    Currently supporting Symantec AV in a large enterprise and it is decent because we have so many layers of defense that hardly anything malicious would get through even it it was disabled.

    Tried all the AV solutions I support at home as well.

    Three out of four of my home systems are running MS Security Essentials and I am impressed. The first scan detected some minor things that I was unaware of and took them out with no problems.

    The fourth computer runs Linux and of course is never a problem.

  66. Syntax Error

    AV Causes Damage

    How does AV software cause damage ?

    No one should ever run a windows PC on the internet without AV.

  67. Anonymous Coward


    Do people recommend MSE,

    Microsoft gave windows enough Security holes, so is it wise to believe in an Anti-Virus from them

    1. screaminfakah
      Thumb Down


      At least try it before you rip it up troll. It is dominating because it is a simple GUI with every feature you free-tards want except a bloated interface with windows.

      People who doubt windows are the same ones on Ubuntu forums with dumb ass questions on how to do something very easy..

      Free-Tards suck

  68. screaminfakah
    Thumb Up

    Perfect statement

    "Streamlining packages poses a tricky software design challenge at a time where the number of malware strains churned out by the bad guys is skyrocketing, forcing the use of more finely-tuned heuristics and behaviour-blocking technologies. ®"

  69. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Mcaffee is as bad as a virus

    Can't switch the mess off, even when I tell it to shove off it keeps going off checking for updates, prompting me and wasting about 2.5 days everytime I open my machine with annoying popups and all sorts of other stuff.

    This really makes the anti-virus worse than the virus itself.

    It surely isn't that difficult to do something better? Perhaps a little more effort on tracking down the idiots that create the malware along with locking them up for a few years on conviction.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Dave 15: USGov And Other State Criminals Are Behind Botnets

      Not so long ago there was a report here that USGov was paying a "contractor" to "take over" botnets and use them to Gather Intelligence.

      In the days of SSL/TLS and GPG, that's a new promising way to perform SIGINT. Do you seriously think the government will go after the bad, bad Botnet Criminals ? They are themselves botnet criminals, effectively.

      The Botnet Fix has a name - Linux.

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