General discussion


McAfee or Symantec?

By Erik Eckel Contributor ·
Following the corruption of my Windows XP Media Center 2005 system's registry, I was forced to utilize Sony's recovery wizard process, which essentially returned my system to the same state it was in when I removed it from the box upon receiving it last year.

After buying the PC, I purchased Norton Anti Virus 2004. So, my newly recovered system was without antivirus protection. I reinstalled my Norton AV 2004, which still has four months left on the subscription I purchased last year, but now it's refusing to update. I'm tired of troubleshooting it. Norton's support site provides only lame recommendations for fixing the error (Subscription Service cannot update: Reinstall software and reboot to see if that eliminates the issue, or something similar). Which brings me to my question.

Which antivirus protection software works best on home/small office systems? Should I switch to McAfee (I can get it free with rebates from CompUSA), or should I invest another hour or two trying to fix my existing Norton software?

I'm just glad I don't need AV software on my Mac...


Read more about my system failure here:

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Darn good question

by Zen37 In reply to McAfee or Symantec?

I really like this issue, looking forward to the responses. I have the same issues with spyware removal programs. If anyone have recommendations about those aswell, i would like to hear them.

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RE: Darn good question

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to Darn good question

I'm not sure if they're the best, but I typically run both Microsoft AntiSpyware (which is in beta, of course) and Spybot S&amp. Working together, they appear to catch most spyware instances.

I know several sources that also speak favorably of Sunbelt Software's CounterSpy and LavaSoft's Ad-Aware, too. They're worth checking out as well.


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No matter the anti-virus I'd complement it with SafeSystem

by Van Morris In reply to Darn good question

I've used McAfee for more than 7 years and I'm happy with it. However, since I knew about SafeSystem (which highly recommend) I've used this tool for complementing my other security programs because it protects my system regardless the kind of (known or unknown) virus, spyware or malicious code is trying to infect my computer. In fact, it simply doesn't allow any program to be installed or copied to my system while I'm surfing the Web, reading my emails or working with my computer. Sincerely, this gives me a lot of piece of mind because my system is always protected no matter if my anti-virus and anti-spyware are updated or not. Don't forget that perhaps they are updated but they just don't recognize the virus or spyware which is trying to get into my computer.

I found SafeSystem at:
Also, you can see a good PR about this program at:

IMPORTANT: I want to clarify that I don't have any direct or indirect relation with the company that owns the product I'm suggesting, so my posts shouldn't be considered SPAM.

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Anti-virus software

by Neil Higgins In reply to McAfee or Symantec?

I used to use Norton Internet Security Suite 2004,until my license expired.I did not renew.Firstly,Norton has been "hacked" so many times on the web,it's past a joke.Since Symantic took over Norton,in my opinion,the service has gone downhill.I empathise with you,that the support site can be hit and miss.When I uninstalled Norton from my home pc,it was a nightmare to get rid of everything from the registry,even to the point of editing myself.I now use my isp's full quota of security apps.,which include a firewall,anti-virus,spyware,adware,pop-up blocker,and privacy manager.But this is because I subscribe to a UK cable company.Personally,go with McAfee,it's not that bad,and has reasonable reviews.If you want to read some comments,albeit briefly,see this link site (not McAfee's own):

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Couple of points

by JamesRL In reply to McAfee or Symantec?

I wouldn't suggest that McAfee is perfect. But overall I have seen fewer issues with it than Norton.

And while the Mac has fewer issues, its not because its immune - its just not been the target of virus writers, because of the well known MS vulnerabilties, and might I suggest MS hubris attracts a few attacks too.

I experienced my first Mac virus (a trojan) at noon on April 1, 1987. It took over the screen of every Mac it had infected (accidentally distributed with Aldus Freehand) and displayed a "world message of peace" graphic. Unfortunately this program didn't exit gracefully and we had to reboot. I lost an hour's work (stupid me wasn't used to saving every 5 minutes like I do now) on a project I was charging an hourly rate on.

I was involved in the anti-virus fight at a major corporation in the 90s with tens of thousands of Macs. There were viruses that came through - the Word Macro viruses were hard to get rid of. We used Norton Anti Virus on the Macs - it was a great tool.



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RE: Couple of points

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to Couple of points

That's an important point: Macs aren't immune; it's just hardly any hacker's are taking the time to target Macs. The same is true with spyware efforts.

Is that why my 1.5 GHz Mac seems as fast as my 3.4 GHz Sony? Apart from the obvious architecture design differences, is the Sony dedicating so many processor cycles and memory resources to Microsoft AntiSpyware, Norton AV 2004, and Spybot S&amp on my Windows system that the Mac needn't run?


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Apples and Oranges

by JamesRL In reply to RE: Couple of points

The architecture differences are major. Power PC chips have always been better at certain functions than Pentiums that are even 50% faster, mostly math functions(which includes graphics). Not sure if you are running OS X, but the kernel is more efficient.

But you have hit the nail on the head. I find Norton in particular to be a pig. I spent good money on Norton Systemworks a few years ago only to dump it because of the overhead it required. I think Spybot and the Tea Time app it runs on startup isn't too draining.

I find it useful to look at running processes from time to time just to see whats going on. Trimming ones you no longer need can help improve your speed.


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Hate Tea Timer

by Dr Dij In reply to Apples and Oranges

I installed it then tried installing a program. It stopped registry changes (which I wanted) and pop-up box was so garbled I could not select allow.

Had to un-install spybot then re-install it with this option off. Too bad, looks like a good option.

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I put Tea Timer on my box

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Hate Tea Timer

and it works fine. Spybot S&amp and GriSofts AVG both work fine for me. Both my latest purchases had Norton on them, not any more, not keen on Hostageware.

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My antivirus software: Linux

by lordshipmayhem In reply to Apples and Oranges

I dual-boot my PC, keeping XP isolated from the internet completely.

I only boot into WinXP when I do income taxes (one reason I don't e-file).

Some day, we'll see Linux tax prep software for Canada, and then I can dump the Windows sector completely.

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