An Antivirus Update

I’ve written in the past about how I’m trying to find the right Anti-virus solution. To recap where we were to day:

  • I was originally running SAV (Symantec Antivirus Corporate) from work, but it had stopped doing updates right.
  • When work upgraded to Symantec Endpoint Protection, I tried that. After a few weeks, the proactive protection stopped working, and being an enterprise product, I couldn’t update it. Product uninstalled.
  • Based on the recommendation of PCWorld, I tried G-Data Internet Security. I was in a 30-day trial period.

During the trial, I decided I didn’t like G-Data. The full scans, while complete, took almost 6 hours to complete. I couldn’t enable the internet protection mode, because it significantly slowed down my accesses, and the proactive file scanning slowed down my normal accesses. So, I decided to go with Norton, based again on the strength of PC World recommendations, comments about improvements in speed, and some personal recommendations.

I purchased the 5-user license of Norton Anti-Virus from Best Buy, and attempted to install it this morning. I say attempted, because whenever Norton got to the point of starting services, my entire system would freeze. No mouse. No disk activity. No response to the keyboard. Rebooting the system in normal mode worked fine until it attempted to start the firewall or the AV… then we would get the freeze again. The only way to recover the system was a hard reboot into Safe Mode and uninstalling the product. I called Symantec help, and they felt the problem was that I had too little memory and was running Zonealarm for my firewall. I should upgrade to the Norton Firewall. I decided instead to return the product to Best Buy.

At this point, I saw two options: Go with the best of the free antivirus solutions out there, or go with the Zonealarm suite, which presumably wouldn’t interfere with the firewall. Based again on the latest issue of PC World, I decided to go with the free Avira Antivir Personal. It was a small download (unlike the gigantic G-Data), and installed cleanly without even a reboot. It updated quickly without problems. Right now, it is doing a full scan without significant impact on load — it has been running for 45 minutes, and is just about 15% complete. This is significantly better than G-Data did, which didn’t reach 15% until 3 or so hours in. [ETA: Avira completed its full scan in just under 2 hours.] Supposedly there are some pop-ups from this that get annoying. We’ll see. So far, it seems to be doing good.