Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Virus Scanners

I’ll admit something now: I don’t have a virus scanner on my computer. I’ve never been a fan of scanners that run all the time, and the fact that I’ve survived this long without one is probably testament to my carefulness with email attachments, ZoneAlarm and spyware. As for which one to choose, I have three options:

  1. McAfee VirusScan 7.1 – this is available free to all university students and staff. Obviously McAfee is a well-known product but I want something that isn’t going to turn to my computer into a 486, and I know this was a complaint with this program (or at least an old version of it).
  2. AVG – it’s free, and a lot of people rely on it
  3. Some other free program

So… any recommendations? I’m currently in the process of updating the student magazine computers with McAfee 7.1 – one already had it, but the other was stuck on a really old version. Seems alright so far and the computers are much slower than mine.
Note to readers: Always run a virus scanner. Just because I put my computer at an unnecessarily high risk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.


  1. I also never used to use Anti-Virus programs, I was careful and kept everything up to date… Anyway, now I use AntiVir, it updates itself, doesn’t hog resources. It’s never caught anything (I just don’t let myself get viruses), but somehow I feel safer when it’s running.

  2. I too had no virus scanner for a long time simply because they slowed down the computer and well I didn’t know any free version.
    Now I use axast! home edition. It’s free for non commercial use. Simple install, it doesn’t seem te slow down my computer (or any other computer I installed it on). Updates itself. you could say I’m a satisfied user. 🙂
    The only thing that bothers me, are the warnings whenever send or receive mail without a subject.

  3. o, i just noticed i spelled out axast! instead of avast! sorry about that.. I’ll use the preview next time 🙂

  4. mcaffee is crap and still slows down your pc. I loaded norton on mine today (as it happens) and email retrieval is now incredibly slow so i’ve turned off email scanning.
    You could try the Computer Associates firewall/av combo. AVG is ok but i’m not convinced of its realtime scanning….
    I don’t think you really need email scanning unless you have an email*cough*virusladen program that will run javascript and fetch html components off the net for you.

  5. We use Sophos at work. It may be absolutely useless at detecting viruses, but the support is fantastic, and the little icon on the screen keeps users happy.
    The bosses use Norton, even more expensive but it appears to work better. It’s needed partially because whilst I can tell most people off for installing software, I can’t really tell the bosses off.
    The mail server runs clam av, which has detected everything ever thrown at it except one email which sophos went on to detect. As it’s so good I tend to do an smb mount of particular machines every so often, ocaisionaly finding stuff which sophos missed.
    I’ve got sophos running at home, but only because I can use work’s license and I manually do a full scan on anything dodgy. Generally if you’ve got other security in place and you are sensible, my belief is that you will be fine. Besides which, I’ve no important data on this machine and I actually enjoy regularly changing operating systems.

  6. I use Norton… it’s worked so far, with no noticable slow downs. I recommend copying a CD of it from an edition that came with a computer (check around, anyone who owns and HP or Compaq probably has a Norton install CD), which comes with a free year of it’s updates. Cool thing is, when your year runs out, you can just uninstall and reinstall (or maybe it’s reformat, I don’t remember).

  7. I just feed my computer an apple a day and that seems to work.
    I like AVG personally.

  8. McAfee’s enterprise edition is far better then the retail one IMHO.

  9. I’ve made use of Norton Antivirus for years, but with their decision to start using MS-Style activation in 2004 (I’ve got 4 PCs at home to protect and I’m not popping $50 per to upgrade them all) I’ve switched to the Avast Home Edition which seems pretty good for a free virus scanner.