What Free Antivirus I Recommend

What Anti-virus do we use in our computer repair shop?

Computer Virus Removal

I’m often asked what free anti-virus I recommend.

Unfortunately no one anti-virus can remove all viruses. In our Calgary computer repair shop we use many different ones and each finds different infections. Some that we use are AVG, Avira, Avast, Kaspersky, Dr. Web Cure-it, E-set online and off, among others. If we relied on only one, we wouldn’t be able to do an adequate job of fixing computers. So it rankles when an anti-virus company wants to be the only one used by people. It’s not realistic and would mean that a lot more computers would have to be reformatted to get cleaned.

If you’re asking which one I think you should keep resident on your computer, I like both Avira and AVG best. Both are really good at catching viruses. Google (search on Google for) either one and find the result that includes “download.cnet.com” in its address. I recommend both Avira and AVG. Of course, I don’t mean both at once. I mean choose one of the two.

I used to prefer AVG over Avira until AVG stopped working with Combofix of Bleeping Computers. I loved AVG and put it on every computer in close proximity. I liked AVG better because of its easier user interface. Being “easier” meant more effective, because people were able to use it more effectively. Now I prefer Avira since you don’t have to uninstall it to run Combofix, which is, unfortunately, the only solution sometimes to an infected computer.

By the way, whoever the creator of Combofix is, whoever sUBS is, he ought to receive knighthood or hero-hood for the amount of computers he saves on a daily or even an hourly basis, and for which he does not even receive payment. He really makes a huge difference in people’s lives without much recognition or money. I respect him enormously and hope he lives a long time because we will be all be sunk without him.

Only people who are experienced techs should use Combofix, however. Very, very occasionally it will cause a computer to stop booting and if this happens and you don’t know how to undo the changes it makes, you may have to reinstall Windows.

Both AVG and Avira ought to take note, their new default of having scheduled scans disabled upon install is dangerous. Many people think they are protected when they are not. If you have Avira or AVG make sure they’re scanning on a daily basis.

If you have a virus and live in Calgary, come to our Virus Removal Lab and will be able to help you out without losing your data or programs or even changing your computer except to speed it up. We would love to see you.

PS. We enjoy all kinds of people and computers and viruses…and aren’t judgmental.

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Free, Easy Way to Avoid Viruses

With five thousand new viruses and malware being created everyday, no one anti-virus can catch them all.  So it’s a good idea to use more than one.

You can always have more than one anti-spyware, but having more than one anti-virus may cause problems since they’ll conflict with each other.  I recommend using online scanners to supplement your regular anti-virus instead.

Eset Online Scanner is both excellent and free.

This is a picture of the Eset interface showing 14 infected files.  Calgary Computer Repair recommends eset online scanner.

Find More Viruses with Eset Online Scanner

Click here to download Eset. It will take you to Ducktoes Calgary Computer Repair’s Spyware and Virus Removal page.

Also see Ducktoes’s page on how to prevent viruses.

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Be Careful when Downloading AVG from Google

I like AVG…no bones about it. And I recommend it to my clients because it’s easy to use and it’s reliable and now with version 9.0 it’s also faster again. On the comparative tests at Virus.gr, AVG Free removed 97% of the viruses. I have clients–with teenage sons— who used to hire me every six months to clean their computers of malware, I convinced them to try AVG and voila, two years later, and they still haven’t needed me to clean viruses again. I know, amazing!! And so much easier on the budget than computer repair bills.

If a client calls and asks me how to get AVG for their computer, I tell them to search for AVG on Google, but this week a client named Anna accidentally downloaded a virus from Google instead. Among all the legitimate links for AVG in her Google search results, she managed to click on a link that lead to Antivirus 2010, a rogue anti-virus which I remove several times a week from other clients’ computers.

Here’s where she clicked:

Don't download this one!

Don't download this one!

All the rest of the links are good. Look for http://avg.com or http://free.avg.com. Or you can use the one I use from CNET’s download.com: http://download.cnet.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239_4-10320142.html Since it’s Cnet, you know it’s safe. Just scroll down further in the Google search results for AVG.

Be careful out there, it’s a wild web!!

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We Miss Free AVG 7.5!

Ms. Ducktoes, like most other computer techs, has always loved AVG by Grisoft. Grisoft has given free anti-virus to home users and, unlike most other free anti-virus applications, AVG Free included an automated update and scan that was reliable, efficient, and effective. AVG was too good to be true. Or to last. Other techs and I happily uninstalled scores of the bloated Norton and McCaffee programs and switched our clients to the free AVG. Our clients, now with much faster computers, were ecstatic. Yet on May 31, AVG 7.5 breathed its last breaths. We all had to switch to 8.0.

But the new AVG 8 has a few kinks. One, it doesn’t update or run automatically, at least not reliably, and, two, seems to be trying to be all things to all people and uses up too many resources. It’s going the way of Norton. I don’t blame Grisoft. They see Norton–a fat lazy slob of an anti-virus program–getting most of the business, cornering the market, and so they abandon their market niche of small but effective to go after the big bucks. In their shoes, I might do the same. Free don’t pay the bills, honey.

Also malware is getting bad–the spyware especially. Some really pernicious bugs are being downloaded from e-mail, so adding anti-spyware and an e-mail scanner might be considered a good idea. Yet still, a little education about e-mail and a separate anti-spyware, AVG’s anti-spy is not the best, and you’ll have to have another one anyway. I recommend Spyware Doctor, e-mail me to buy it) makes more sense than the toll AVG takes on speed. However, I do understand where they’re coming from.

Yet, even though I sympathize with Grisoft, many clients are calling me to fix their AVG. Somewhere in the updating process from 7.5 to 8.0, the clients get lost. The free version is hard to find, and they are worried it doesn’t give them enough protection. So I install it for them. But even so, it doesn’t seem to work well. My husband, who is conscientious computer user in that he habitually updates and runs all his anti-virus and anti-spyware, doesn’t have a problem. He just runs AVG manually. But many of my clients can’t seem to manage it. In fact, I’ve gotten several new clients from the switch to AVG 8.0.

Also the new AVG uses up a lot of resources. On my teenage son’s computer, the AVG processes use up more than 100,030 . That’s more than any other running process. AVG’s become a resource hog, just like Norton or McCaffee. On newer, more powerful computers, this may be fine, but on a lot of older, slower computers, it’s too much. So now I find myself uninstalling AVG and looking around for something else.

What I wish for is a free AVG that was like the old one, just anti-virus with a scheduler and automatic updater. But in the meantime I’m researching.

But use AVG 8.0 if you can. AVG’s not a problem for newer, larger computers, and it’s too risky to go without protection for the sake of speed.

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