Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Ask Slashdot: Actual Best-in-Show For Free Anti Virus? 515

First time accepted submitter paperclipman writes "I'm on the college student budget and want to make sure that my recent investment in an Acer laptop will last me a good long while. I like to think of myself as a reasonably competent CPU user so I'm no adventurous link-clicker, but I do download some music as a recent SoundCloud devotee. My Kaspersky antivirus will be expiring shortly and I don't particularly care to renew with that steep of a fee — any advice from fellow thrifts?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Actual Best-in-Show For Free Anti Virus?

Comments Filter:
  • Simple (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:40PM (#41441483)

    Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials, free if you have Microsoft Windows XP or higher, and it does work especially for the technical, not too adventerous link clicker. Gives you that extra layer of protection you seem to want for those 'oh shit' moments.

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <>> on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:44PM (#41441577) Homepage
      I can second this, and I should also add that the functionality is built-in to Windows 8 as Windows Defender. Same functionality as MSE, just relabeled. The old Windows Defender is dead.
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nos. ( 179609 ) <> on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:45PM (#41441601) Homepage

      Not only is it a reasonably good anti-malware tool, its the least intrusive one I've ever used, both as far as annoying popups and abusing system resources. My first download on any new Windows install.

      • Not only is it a reasonably good anti-malware tool, its the least intrusive one I've ever used, both as far as annoying popups and abusing system resources. My first download on any new Windows install.

        Yup, I recently switched all my Windows boxes to MSE from AVG, as AVG started giving me fits after the v.11 update.

        Have yet to find a reason to switch again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well then you obviously don't have any mid to large size archives on your disk. MSE chokes and uses tons of CPU ( a known issue, supposedly "has gotten better" , not that you would notice a whole lot... ) on rar / or zip files and sometimes cab files when it scans random files in the background and lands on the archive. I've had it choke off a dual core 3.2Ghz processor so bad I thought I was back on a 486DX again with the program load / wait times.

        That said it SEEMS to do a decent job, either that or I'm

        • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

          by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:49PM (#41444863)
          I'd have to disagree. We used to use it on mammography workstations dealing with sets of 8 80+MB files per study with no problem. The files were regularly compiled into standard ISO's, and again, no issues. The same workstations could also be used to load JPG2000 Animation files (MR and CT scans) which sometimes contained 3-4000 images, and again, no issues (these were not lots of small images, rather several thousand full resolution images in a single file). We honestly had more issues with Nod32, plus it cost more. We ended up moving everyone off of Eset NOD32 over to MSSE because it was free with the windows license and worked just as well. Outside of work, I've regularly had several multi-gb files with no problems (including 10+GB virtual hard disk files).
          • Re:Simple (Score:4, Informative)

            by teh dave ( 1618221 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:59PM (#41444931)

            MSE is not free: it is free for home users. Business may use only up to ten free licenses before they are required to upgrade to Forefront. If you're a business and using more than ten copies of MSE, you're breaching the license agreement.

            Source: the MSE download page []

            • Correct. Since most of our vuatomers had, at most, 4 workstations (they run arounf 100-200k) that's not a huge limited. Though it does sound like they changed their structure, as I said while I still worked there (~3 years ago) the license was that it was free so long as you had a valid Windows seat.
      • Another advantage (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )

        Is that it updates itself via Windows update. So should it fail to get a virus database update internally, Windows update will fix it. If there's a new version, Windows update will get it. Very good for people who just don't want to mind after the program.

        That said, I think there are pay for solutions that are better (NOD32 is what I like) but if you want free, it works great.

      • by 3nails4aFalseProphet ( 248128 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:30PM (#41444707)

        The only thing AV provides is a false sense of security. With AV, you're waiting until AFTER an infection occurs and then HOPING the AV company you've chosen has A) seen the malware before, B) bothered to add a signature to their definitions list, and C) is actually capable of removing the virus.

        Better ideas: Turning on AppLocker & running most of the time as an unprivileged user. Check out OSSEC for use as a File Integrity Monitor and Host-based Intrusion Detection System. Disable unnecessary services, remove unnecessary programs, use an ad-blocker, a "default deny all" firewall policy and get a 3rd party patch manager to keep all your non-MS bits up to date. Secunia PSI is a free patch manager/vuln scanner for home use - there are others.

        For a detailed description of just how bad AV is at protecting systems, check out the following blog post at []

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by snemarch ( 1086057 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:47PM (#41441643)


      I've had MSE detect & clean that one of the other free products (think it might have been Avast?) didn't catch - and MSE is no-nonsense, doesn't get in your way, haven't given me false positives (it does flag stuff like keygens though :)), and isn't too hard on system resources.

      Combine that with FireFox + AdBlockPlus + NoScript + Ghostery + Certificate Patrol and some common sense, and you should be pretty well off.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

        by GIL_Dude ( 850471 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:10PM (#41442831) Homepage
        Add to the items you list EMET - []. This is a free download from Microsoft that allows you to protect processes (such as IE and Java) from well known exploit techniques (such as heap spray, etc.). As an example, it protected against this latest IE zero day "execCommand Use After Free Vulnerability - CVE-2012-4969". We (large enterprise) had no worries at all about that vulnerability since we have EMET deployed and configured. Here's the MS02-063 bulletin - []. If you expand the execCommand node and look at the mitigations you'll see you would have been protected. Often times Adobe Flash bulletins mention that EMET was a mitigation for the plethora of vulnerabilities that Adobe Flash code contains.
        • Ah yes, forgot to list that one in the bunch - EMET is nice indeed! It's not a failsafe security guarantee, but it does add a nice extra bit of security. Do be sure to test configuration before rolling out corporate-wide, as some software is incompatible with some of the mitigations :)

          Oh, and one more (and perhaps obvious) thing: disable Flash, Java and Adobe-PDF in your main browser, as those are the main attack vectors these days. Have a secondary browser/profile for the times you need any of these. Use a

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:50PM (#41441709)

      I can second this. I've taken to using the MSE offering for family that are on Windows. Two simple reasons. I can flat out tell them to ignore any web prompts for 'free virus scans' and whatnot. Ignore any prompts to purchase virus scan 'updates', etc,

      It also removes the irritating ad-ware that Avast and AVG are pushing out lately. They are doing more and more prompts to 'upgrade' which is confusing to older family members. Considering you're a techy this is probably a non-issue, but I do find comfort in the fact that the MS offering isn't likely to quarantine key OS files as Avast and AVG have done multiple times over the last few years.

    • Agreed. MSE is the the only free antivirus worth anything. The rest are being monetized and try to trick you into buying the paid ones, if they don't just plain suck. Also the only one I don't feel is slowing down my computer. Before MSE, I just didn't use any, the AV was worse than the rare virus infection.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 )

        Agreed. MSE is the the only free antivirus worth anything.

        I've always had an issue of trust with MSE ... the reason to run AV software is I don't trust Microsoft to write a secure OS.

        Trusting them to write the AV software has always seemed like quite a leap for me -- if you can spot them, fix the damned OS.

        Granted, I've heard people say really nice things about it. But it has always sounded like asking the security guard who keeps leaving the door unlocked to check if the door is unlocked.

        • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Erioll ( 229536 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:09PM (#41442005)

          Not the same thing IMO. A great amount of malware requires that the user does something. So "download our .exe and ignore the security prompts!" is still a very large section of things, and has nothing to do with a secure OS or not. Programs running as a user has as many rights as a user themselves. That's what most virus software is for: detecting that you're trying to run something that's "bad" but it's not exploiting security holes to do so. It's just running with "full trust" just like any other program on your machine, and behaving badly.

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          Not all malware uses security vulnerabilities to do its thing. And MS security is pretty good these days. Don't let the past blind you to the best free AV for Windows.

          • Don't let the past blind you to the best free AV for Windows.

            It's a long past to get over. :-P

            But I have been seriously considering switching to MSE for quite some time now -- AVG has been really getting more annoying with each release.

            But that doesn't mean that it's easy to say "oh, it's Microsoft, they must know lots about security" since for a lot of years they clearly knew nothing at all about it.

            • It is a long past.
              I really fucking hate MS.
              I manage about 25 XP Pro machines at work. I have them all moved to MSE.
              Easy, fast, works.

        • I don't think that's really a fair analogy. Anti-virus software attempts to detect malicious code and prevent it from doing damage. Yes, some malicious code is executed via zero-day vulnerabilities in operating systems (i.e. security guard left a door unlocked), but a lot of virus infections are caused by unsafe user behavior. Users open/execute unknown email attachments, click malicious links, and willingly install sketchy software that purports to do some useful function for free while doing something
      • Agreed. MSE is the the only free antivirus worth anything. The rest are being monetized and try to trick you into buying the paid ones, if they don't just plain suck. Also the only one I don't feel is slowing down my computer. Before MSE, I just didn't use any, the AV was worse than the rare virus infection.

        I had Avast on one computer a while ago. That was actually quite unobtrusive. That or MSE would be my choice.

    • by thsths ( 31372 )

      Seconded, MSE works just great, without any hassle. The other product that I use is Panda Cloud Antivirus. It does occasionally try to persuade you to buy the full version, but otherwise it just works, and it is lighter on the CPU than MSE. I used to be a bit fan of Avira Antivirus, but it got too annoying, and had too many false positives for comfort.

    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:04PM (#41441931)
      Hate to deviate from the bandwagon, but there is a big downside to MSE. MSE is the program that every piece of malware tries to disguise itself as when they do their "a threat has been found! Click this button to remove it, then restart your computer!" routine to try and install themselves and take over your OS. It's a lot easier to tell the fake warnings from the real warnings when the fake warnings are claiming to be a program you don't even use.
    • I find the free MS product excellent, unobtrusive and very very effective. I have way less issues then anyone I know with norton....
    • It is free and easy to use. It also seems to be easier on the resources than some other tools. However I have had it miss things that other programs found (and they were NOT false positives). I know of other people that have experienced this problem as well. I recently looked through some antivirus comparisons and MSSE really fell short on a few of those tests. If I remember correctly, one of these tests had MSSE fail to detect about 14%. I would look for other software.

      If a person gives their two cents o

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:13PM (#41442855) Journal

      MSE is good IF, and its a BIG IF, you are not going anywhere risky, as it doesn't seem to do as well on drive bys as the others. This isn't really surprising as it started out as Giant AntiSpy before being bought by MSFT, but if he is going anywhere other than school sites I'd be leery if he isn't tech savvy.

      A better choice IMHO and one I've been giving to my customers for a couple of years now is Comodo Antivirus [] as its butt simple, pretty much install and forget, is free, and is VERY good at stopping malware cold. If you want extra protection it asks on install if you wish to use their secure DNS which blacklists malware sites, but its strictly optional. its light on resources, doesn't pop up 40 ads a week trying to sell you crap like Avast has been doing lately, and has a really nice sandboxing feature that is enabled by default but which you can set to be as granular as you like, anything from off to whitelistsing to blacklisting, really nice.

      All in all out of the free AVs I'd rate it "best of show" because not only does it have sane defaults and great sandboxing, but its as simple or as fine grained as you want it to be. With MSE there really isn't any way to change...well anything, with Comodo if you desire you can tweak pretty much everything if you choose, from the behavior of the scanning engine, to the levels of paranoia on the sandboxing (which MSE doesn't do) to who what and when it scans and where it will scan.

    • by jcgam69 ( 994690 )
      I manually scan everything I download and I make sure AV is patched before I do, but MSE completely missed several viruses and trojans in an executable recently, and these were not new viruses. This caused major headaches and many hours of troubleshooting. If you fully trust MSE as your only AV solution then you are unprotected.
    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ritchie70 ( 860516 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:54PM (#41443267) Journal

      My only qualm with MSE: My mother-in-law (and my wife's sister, who lived with the m-i-l) managed to impressively infect a Windows XP system that I had MSE installed on.

      So far as I could tell, something broke Windows updates, which in turn meant that MSE updates didn't flow, and the infestation ran wild... to the point that the computer was unusable.

      In my work experience, it's easy for Windows updates to break or be broken. It was nonfunctional on my work computer for the better part of a year before I reloaded it.

      This experience led me to believe that antivirus should have its own, hardened, secure, simple update path independent of Windows system management technologies.

    • by mozkill ( 58658 )
      Doesn't work on Windows Server however...
  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:40PM (#41441495)
    For a free, Windows antivirus, it is hard to beat. Not the greatest, but it works and updates automatically from windows update.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Keep in mind MSE is only free for organizations for under 10 people...

      • Keep in mind MSE is only free for organizations for under 10 people...

        You should read the license more carefully. It recommends not using it for organizations over about 10 people. It doesn't say you can't use it.
        At least that was the case a couple of years ago when I looked into it.

    • by gagol ( 583737 )
      That is my recommendation too. It gets the job done, dont nag you, and seems to use not much resources. I use it on my windows installations. I never taught I would recommend a microsoft product in my life... but there it is.
  • Blasphemy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Diomedes01 ( 173241 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:40PM (#41441501)

    But if you're running Windows, you could actually do a lot worse than Microsoft Security Essentials...

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:40PM (#41441503)

    One of the primary causes of malware is drive-by intrusion via compromised or unmaintained ad servers. Instead of worrying about free antivirus (which by definition rarely catches real 0-day threats), I'd get an ad blocker, or a utility like the paid version of Malwarebytes which blocks malicious website IPs.

    Block the IPs and what spits out the malware, don't bother playing whack-a-mole against the latest polymorphic stuff.

    As for antivirus, just go with MSE. It usually is in the middle of the pack, is lightweight, and the price is right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by i kan reed ( 749298 )

      Don't want a virus? Do the following:

      1. Remove all adobe products. Flash is ok with flashblock.
      2. Keep firefox or chrome up to date, don't use IE.
      3. Remove java plugin.
      4. Install adblock and noscript.
      5. Have a router, block everything inbound.

      The number of things that can infect you with that setup is about 0.

      • Yeah, that is nice. Problem is usability goes down. I use adblock, but noscript and flashblock gets pretty bothersome after a while - and the one in a billion sites they protect against that adblock doesn't already block seems to be well within the capabilities of my anti-virus.

        The solution is never being perfectly safe, it's being as safe as you can without unduly compromising usability.

    • Also:

      Spybot: []
      Even if you don't use the active registry monitor, you can use it to scrub your registry now and then. And you can 'innoculate' your system with it too by adding read-only junk registry entries for many pieces of spywire, so the spyware itself can't dig their fingers into your machine.

      • by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

        Spybot is a good choice as well.

        Of course, there is always Sandboxie which does help with limiting what access a program has. I don't know how well it can deal with a determined 0-day exploit that has ways of getting Admin rights from a user context, but it does redirect all writes from the filesystem and Registry into a safe location [1].

        [1]: From personal experience, keep the Sandboxie sandbox on a different partition than normal stuff. That way, should something try something malicious or just keep wr

  • by alphax45 ( 675119 ) <> on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:41PM (#41441507)
    I assume your on Windows and that MSE ( is available. Seems to work fine for most and MS seems to have not made it a huge resource hog.
  • My favorite free one (Score:5, Informative)

    by UconnGuy ( 562899 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:41PM (#41441527)
    Avast. Used to use AVG, but Avast seems to work better.
  • Avira or AVG (Score:4, Informative)

    by EvilGrin5000 ( 951851 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:42PM (#41441535)
    I've always found

    AVG Free []
    Avira Free []

    To be good free solutions.
    • I'm losing patience with AVG. It used to be really good.

      Now it wants to inform me when I'm going to do an update and reboot (I'll tell you when you can reboot), and it wants to push me towards the paid version, and it wants to install a bunch of extra crap all the time.

      I'm in the market for a replacement for AVG myself. It has really gone down hill since I started using it in terms of overall experience. It has started to be like the Oracle Java installer where you have to read very carefully to keep all

  • MSE or AVG Free. Both work, and have low cpu utilization. AVG gives you more config options, MSE in my experience is accepted by more VPN setups.
  • I put AVG Free on the wife's computer. Just make sure to turn off (or don't install) that damn safesearch thing they have.
  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:44PM (#41441587)

    As others have stated, MSE does a very good job. It easily outclasses the other freebies, and most of the non-free ones as well. For example, I've seen it clean up machines that got infested while under AVG's watch.

    And it doesn't slow your machine down to a crawl, which is nice.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "...reasonably competent CPU user"

    Using 'CPU' in this incorrect context is a pet peeve.

    But anyway, MSE (as other have said) and AdBlocker and/or NoScript for your browser. Assuming you're using anything other than IE. If you're using IE switch to a better condom!

    • Yeah I was wondering if I am the only one who doesn't know what a exactly a "CPU user" is. The terms CPU and computer are not interchangeable.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:45PM (#41441607) Homepage

    I like to think of myself as a reasonably competent CPU user

    What the hell does that even mean? Do you mean computer?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:47PM (#41441641)
      He's a reasonably competent CPU user, but he needs to learn to use his memory, especially the part remembering all the acronyms out there.
    • by Nimey ( 114278 )

      He's self-taught and doesn't know any real computer nerds who can guide him, but is probably the most computer-savvy person in his family.

      Probably knows enough to run Windows, his games, and a web browser.

  • My son and I (on my Windows partition) have been users of the free version of AVG since 2006. We are both currently running Windows XP, and am glad that AVG continues to support it along with newer flavors of Windows. Free AVG [] is the download site, and it also includes ad blocking and other features.
  • It's free (as in beer) and open-source. It's also very light-weight and works and updates without a hitch.

    • Re:ClamWin (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:52PM (#41441757)

      Unfortunately, also doesn't do any resident background protection, network monitoring or link scanning, which all major antivirus tools do nowadays. The only reason to put ClamWin on a Windows machine if it is running 2000 or earlier, which is about the only current AV that will run on those systems.

  • by amaupin ( 721551 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:47PM (#41441649) Homepage

    First I used Avast, but after a while it began bugging me to to buy the paid version, and slowed down my PC with ill-timed, intensive scans.

    I switched to AVG, but after a while it began bugging me to to buy the paid version, and slowed down my PC with ill-timed, intensive scans.

    Now I use Microsoft Security Essentials, which is surprisingly good. So far.

    Complement with a Spybot Search and Destroy scan every now and then and you're good to go.

  • I used to use AVG, but I found it gradually became slower and slower, and stopped actually catching viruses.

    Microsoft Security Essentials has the downside of being made by Microsoft, but the plus side of being extremely low-footprint and actually catching things. I pair it with the occasional MBAM scan out of paranoia (MBAM is good at finding and removing infections, but terrible at actively stopping them).

    Finally, yeah, throw some AdBlock on there. Almost all the viruses I've caught in the past few years (

  • by Kr1ll1n ( 579971 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:51PM (#41441719)

    Microsoft Security Essentials.

    What I would add, however, is the inclusion of the MVPS hosts file additions. []

    Basically, block 95% of popups and ads with this list of compiles hosts that you can dump into your existing HOSTS file.

  • MSE is great, for the money, and its pretty light weight. I would add Secunia PSI to the list [] It's also free and scans the computer for out of date and vulnerable software. Malwares Favorite place to get in is unpatched software. This includes stuff you installed once and forgot about, stuff that came with your computer that you never use, etc. A totally patched system (including all the forgotten about stuff) is the best way to stay clean in additio
  • It's not what you asked, but it's at least as important:

    Keep good, usable, uninfected backups of anything that's important to you.

    Also, have a means to restore your computer to a known good state and have the ability to re-install applications you want.

  • by adeelarshad82 ( 1482093 ) * on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:53PM (#41441783) Homepage
    while the list could use a refresh, may still be helpful,2817,2388652,00.asp []
  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:57PM (#41441851)

    Try to use a non-admin account for your daily stuff. An escalated admin account when you do need to install stuff is just 2 clicks away (start -> change user)

    I've had my computer-illiterate parents on a non-admin account for 20 years now, they still haven't gotten a virus. And yes, they're still computer-illiterate ^^

  • by discord5 ( 798235 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:05PM (#41441943)

    Have you tried Common Sense 2012? I hear it works well in most sensible cases. Other than that on the cheap : Microsoft Security Essentials. It seems a bit contradictory to let MS handle anti-virus software, but at least it doesn't hog your system as badly as most other products.

    reasonably competent CPU user

    Yes, I know how you feel. I like to think of myself a I/O aficionado. I have a friend who's a memory expert. We know a guy who was pretty much a BIOS guru, but he's not feeling too well lately after hearing about the UEFI thing.

    but I do download some music as a recent SoundCloud devotee

    I hardly know anyone who downloads their music from SoundCloud. Most tracks are either demos (with a link to itunes, amazon, juno or whatever). And the few amateurs that are serious about their music have already joined one of the many netlabels where you can usually download entire albums from their own site or bandcamp.

    Are you by any chance doing market research, trying to infiltrate into the tech crowd while looking young, hip, dynamic and social 2.0 web networking? You're doing a splendid job, I might add. However, please forgive my sarcasm if you're not, your post seems to read like a 55 year old police officer going under cover "buyin' da ganja mon, totally down with da 'erb an' ting".

  • by kjs3 ( 601225 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:21PM (#41442169)
    I recently did an analysis of the major (and many minor) AV players with respect to detection rates and more importantly to time between when a piece of malware is found and when it is identified by each AV product.

    Good News: The free Microsoft AV (MSE) is basically as good as any product we looked at.
    Bad News: All AV sucks to varying degrees. Noone consistently had both good detection and quick enough signature updates. We see AV as a small piece of overlapping defense.

    At least as important:

    - Relentless patching of everything on your box (look at Secuna PSI for home use).
    - Use a non-admin account for daily computing. Consider using throw-away Windows VMs when visiting potentially dangerous territory.
    - Ad/Flash/Script blockers plugins.
    - Disable Java.

    Things like this probably have as much bang-for-buck as AV.

  • Advert/Shill much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by trancemission ( 823050 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:22PM (#41442175)

    This place really has gone down hill - 'first time submitter' wants to know what anti-virus to use. Information given:

    I have a Acer laptop and I use SoundCloud.

    Any hint to operating system? No. We will have to assume Windows then. Which is confirmed by the first post within a couple of minutes [where is the frosty piss post?] :

    'Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials, free if you have Microsoft Windows XP or higher, and it does work especially for the technical, not too adventerous link clicker. Gives you that extra layer of protection you seem to want for those 'oh shit' moments.'

    From an AC and modded 5 Informative.

    News for nerds - stuff that matters. I remember them days well.

    Feel free to join me over at hacker news.

  • by Howard Beale ( 92386 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:22PM (#41442177)
    Clam AntiVirus - []
  • by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:24PM (#41442203)

    Granted it was ten years ago, but when I went to UNCC, there was a small selection of software provided by the school under a shared license for free to students. This included, in my case, norton corporate, which was not intrusive and did an admirable job. Might wanna check around and see if you have similar options available. While the best free AV might be MSE for Windows, you might be able to get a paid AV for free.

  • (Score:5, Informative)

    by JOrgePeixoto ( 853808 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:35PM (#41442339) Journal []

    This tests a lot of antivirus and shows you their detection rate, false-positive rate, etc.

    I myself promote Avira Antivir, which is lightweight, does well on, and is gratis.

    Of course, the best solution is to install Ubuntu; if you choose it, I can give you free support over email.

    And remember: any Windows antivirus (even, to a lesser degree, Ubuntu) will only attenuate the problem. You are _not_ safe just because you have a good antivirus (or run Ubuntu). You _must_ take care: don't go to rogue sites, don't execute untrusted executables, don't use pirated software, etc.

    Good luck.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:44PM (#41442477) Homepage

    "...make sure that my recent investment in an Acer laptop will last me a good long while"

    Huh? Please don't tell me that you're one of those people who think that once a computer gets infected with malware that it has to be thrown out. Wipe the hard drive (or replace it if you want to be super-thorough) and reload the OS, apps, and data. Presto: investment salvaged.

    In fact, you might want to do this from time to time even if your computer doesn't get properly infected, because Windows (and to a lesser extent other OSes) build up performance-sucking cruft over time as you use them. I refurb the "retired" laptops before my employer sells them off, and the people who buy their old ones are often surprised at how fast they run after a clean reinstall of Windows.

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:46PM (#41442505)
    Where is my mycleanpc spam?
  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:16PM (#41442895)

    For my business clients that have to use Windows, I've had good experiences with installing Linux on the machine, then installing Virtualbox, then installing Windows within Virtualbox. When (not if) Windows gets a virus, I have them roll back to the last good snapshot. The virus goes away when the rollback occurs.

    This won't work if you want to play games, of course. But for pure business use, it's been successful.

  • by InsectOverlord ( 1758006 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:38PM (#41443107)

    I don't mean "use Linux", which has already been suggested a number of times, predictably. I mean no antivirus installed whatsoever, and do the following:

    - Before you run any binaries and otherwise infectable files you download, run them through an online antivirus (e.g. ESET).

    - In Explorer, don't generate thumbnails.

    - services.msc and disable everything you don't need

    - Run a firewall. Even a basic one will do.

    - Don't use IE or Outlook.

    That's how I roll, and I know for a fact I haven't had a virus for about a decade. I'm absolutely positive the machine isn't in a botnet or anything of that sort because I regularly monitor my traffic in the router. If I had a virus I almost certainly wouldn't be able to browse to ESET online or any other antivirus site. Finally ESET online also scans the RAM.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.