I received this from Dick Eastman in his EOGN. Be sure to weigh the pro's and con's! - cbh
September 02, 2008
A Free Anti-Virus Program
I have no idea why this information isn't better known. This is one of the best bargains I know of for Windows users, and yet most people have never heard of it.
First of all, every Windows computer needs an anti-virus program running at all times. If you are running a Windows computer right now without up-to-date anti-virus software, your system will become infected with a virus sooner or later. In fact, your PC may be infected right now without your knowledge. Yet there is a free and easy method of avoiding viruses.
This is also a great tool for Macintosh users who use Parallels or VMware Fusion to run Windows programs on the Mac.
If you already have an anti-virus program installed, there are several things you should know:
All anti-virus programs will slow the operation of your computer. This is inevitable. However, some anti-virus programs will slow your computer more than others. Generally speaking, the well-known, more sophisticated programs will slow the computer down more than the simpler ones. The free program I will describe slows a computer less than do most of its competitors.
Almost all commercial anti-virus programs cost money to purchase, and then you find out that the program only works for a year. In fact, every anti-virus program must be updated daily or every few days to make sure it is always prepared for new virus that have recently been found. After twelve months, most commercial anti-virus programs will ask you to pay another $30 to $60 for another year's worth of updates. (Some programs will not ask for two years.) The free program I will describe is free to purchase and never asks for any additional money.
The better-known commercial anti-virus programs seem to suffer from "feature-itis." That is, the software producers keep adding more and more features to make the program do more and more. Common additions include anti-phishing features, anti-spyware, online identity protection, web site authentication, a firewall, anti-rootkit protection, and more. To be sure, some of these features may be very useful, especially for computer novices. Knowledgeable Windows users may find such features unnecessary since most of us can recognize phishing, spyware, and such things without additional software. Whether you deem these "extra features" to be useful or not, each adds bulk to the program, slows the computer down still more, and also probably increases the price. The free program I will describe is simple: it protects against viruses. However, the same software producer offers a free anti-spyware product and a free anti-rootkit product. In addition to the free products, the same company adds an even more sophisticated combination of features for a modest price, although not free.
NOTE: For more information on some of these terms, look at the following:Virus - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirusSpyware - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpywarePhishing - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PhishingRootkit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit
One free program can stop viruses from entering your Windows system. If your computer is already infected, the same program may be able to remove the virus (no program is ever guaranteed to be able to remove ALL viruses). Best of all, the program is available free of charge. The program is:
AVG Free Edition produced by GriSoft
AVG Free Edition is an excellent anti-virus program that stops viruses as well as most of the commercial products. Its effectiveness has been tested and verified by West Coast Labs, ICSA Laboratories and Virus Bulletin. I do not have proper virus testing capabilities, so I cannot test AVG myself. However, I will say that I have been using AVG Free Edition as the anti-virus program on one of my Windows XP systems for several years and have never had a virus on that system, despite the fact that it is exposed to the Internet and many web sites and hundreds of e-mail messages every day.
Obviously, the best thing about AVG Free Edition is its price: free. You can download it right now and start using it immediately. The program updates its anti-virus rules every few days to keep your protection at the maximum level possible.
AVG Free Edition does have several disadvantages, however. You need to be aware of these limitations:
AVG is licensed for private, non-commercial, single home computer use only. You cannot use it on any computer being used at work or at any corporation or for any commercial use whatsoever. It also may not be used in schools, charities, churches, or governmental organizations. AVG sells a commercial version for computers not allowed under the Free Edition license.
You may use AVG Free Edition on a maximum of one computer. If you own two or more computers, you may only use AVG Free Edition on one of them.
There is no tech support available for AVG Free Edition. Full tech support is available only with the commercial version.
Downloading the program and/or the updates may be slower for AVG Free Edition than for the commercial version. This strikes me as a minor limitation.
I am pleased with AVG Free Edition. I also hear good things about the product from others who are using it. In fact, a few months ago I needed to renew the subscription of a commercial anti-virus product I had been using in my other Windows computers. I purchased the computer a year ago and it included a one-year subscription to one of the well-known anti-virus programs. Now the year was up. Since I was already using one copy of AVG Free Edition, I could not use it in my other Windows systems. Instead, I purchased the "high end version" of the AVG free program: AVG Internet Security Home Edition, which is licensed for installation in three separate computers. The total cost to protect all three systems for one year was $54.99. However, I chose the two-year option for $79.99. That works out to $13.33 per computer per year - a bargain when compared to the anti-virus programs I see at the local computer store.
One thing that surprised me is that my Windows computer now runs significantly faster since I replaced the well-known anti-virus program with AVG Internet Security Home Edition.
If you have a single Windows computer that needs anti-virus protection, I'd suggest that you look at AVG Free Edition at http://free.grisoft.com.
If you have more computers to protect or need still more protection for a single computer, I'd then suggest that you look at the company's commercial products. They work well and are cheaper than most competitive products.
Posted by Dick Eastman on September 02, 2008