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I tried Microsoft's free solution MSE but it has a few annoying features and seems limited in some of it's configuration options. One feature makes online gaming a real pain but attempt to disable it and it acts as though all real time protection is off.
I had a licence for Symantec but it isn't compatible and the upgrade would be too costly as the original was a one time only price on a corporate package.
At the moment I'm giving ESET NOD32 V5 a try which seems reasonably priced with both single licence and packs available for a competitive price on Amazon. £13 or £29.99 for triple pack for a year is well within my budget.
So far I like it and settings are clear and easy to tweak with a useful optional gamer mode that can be manually set or automatically activated/deactivated when using full screen applications like games. It seems to have a fairly good reputation but before I hit my wallet I was wondering if anyone had any opinions especially if they have tried the security pack with firewall. Windows own is OK but rather clumsy and basic.
For many years I was quite happy with the free ones available until last year when I got a nasty that I didn't know about until it had done some damage! So I went with the, recommended, "Kaspersky Internet Security" at £19 for a single user. Provides everything from firewall to real-time scanning, anti-spam/phishing, anti-hijacking, anti-malware etc. Easy to set up, keeps itself automatically updated regularly and provides a report every Friday. I'm very happy with it and would recommend a look.
I used to use it many years ago as it was good with removing the more stubborn viruses.
Well it's blotted it's copybook already. It's currently stuck (for hours) trying to scan one file which I've since deleted and it's still stuck and won't even let me stop the scan or shut down the bloody av. Not a good start.
I'd go for Avast, the free version does pretty much everything the paid for version does but it updates less frequently.
TazUK, Avast (free version) was what I was using last year and for a number of years previous but it let in a nasty that stopped my PC from booting - even in safe mode? I put the question mark because the engineer had my PC on test for almost a full week after removing the virus and it performed faultlessly. As it has to this day. Was it the virus or coincidence? In the absence of any other fault we had to draw conclusions, so Avast went in favour of Kasperski.
TazUK, Avast (free version) was what I was using last year and for a number of years previous but it let in a nasty that stopped my PC from booting - even in safe mode?
I've had to remove viruses from PC's running AVG, McAfee, Symantec and others so I don't think any of them are 100% full proof
What I like about Avast is that it can do a scan before Windows is fully booted, which I don't think any of the others can do. It's also handy to be able to run things in sandbox mode if you're not sure how safe they are. This is sometimes necessary when testing out freeshare/shareware programs.
You can't really rely on any single solution but a resident and online scan are the best most of us can do.
Other than that tools like Adblockerplus for malicious adverts and Noscript help a lot. The best defence IMHO is a nasty suspicious nature.
I agree on the pre boot scan of avast - unfortunately it's the only thing I like about it
I've seen it ignore viruses and malware and the update notification really irritates
I also use kaspersky and love it - for pre boot I've now used the MS boot cd (can find a link if you want). Have seen it save the day a few times and given that it is truly pre-boot, as opposed to just pre-kernel, it can even remove root kits...
Apart from one early glitch it's been good enough to warrant the purchase of a three machine pack from Amazon but I must say the trial goes into a truly annoying nag mode half way through the period.