opinions on the best (freeware)
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I'd have to say Norton AntiVirus 2005 Beta. :P
Trend Micro housecall free online scanner will detect more trojan viruses than junky nortons. I agree with vitualis that AVG is good to use. I currently use AVG, NORTON'S & TREND MICRO'S HOUSE CALL FREE VIRUS SCANNER. I've learned NORTON'S isn't the best antivirus software, people use it because by industry standards it's the most widely used.
We have a difference of opinion, :P Norton seems to pick up everything and more. Hell, it even classifys key generators as "Hacktool.Keygen.####" :P
Local PC Mag just did a round up of all the major and some of the minor players. Norton's was one of 4 to score 100% detection and irradication. My biggest gripe is that their box for 2004 says it kills spyware, which it doesn't, however as an anti-virus program is top notch. (and the last two 'top 4' consulting firms I worked for used McAfee, FYI)
AVG would be the best free AV program to have on your machine. For Trend to work you have to be online.
Norton isn't free so it kind of gets knocked out by the original criteria...
Most of the big name AV programs are probably okay as long as you keep your definitions up-to-date and you are using the newest version of the scanning engine.
Norton and McAfee both use much more system resources than AVG though and for realtime scanning, AVG is as good as both.
I used to be a McAfee man, but they kept updating the program every 1 to 1.5 years... I thought that getting the newest virus definitions and engine updates was enough... but it wasn't. On my parents computer, they ended up with some sort of trojan that would not be detected by McAfee v6. AVG found it and sorted it out. By that stage, there didn't seem much point in going out and buying VirusScan v8 since there was now a perfectly adequate and FREE AV proggy with auto-updates installed...
Completely agree with vitualis and others regarding Norton and McAfee. An lot of overhead that others like AVG don't seem to need. Most of my service calls lately involve people that "have virus protection" and can't understand how they got infected. Usually the protection is Norton and the it came with their machine. Of course it expires after 90 days (a year in some cases) and there goes the protection.
The auto-update with AVG is very simple and once the product is installed the updates are very "modem friendly". Important since a lot of folks are still on dial-up (sad, but true).
Like the majority above I'd suggest AVG. If the PC is in a
high risk site (like a school) I'd get a pre paid anti virius / trojan
suite like VET.
Regarding McAfee, I had it back around early 2000. One of my system at the time was running Win98SE and was showing erractic behavior w/ several applications. Thinking it was a virus, I ran McAfee (which had the then-most-recent database & scanning engine updates) and it turned up nothing. Wanting a second opinion, I went to one of the online scanners (antivirus.com, I think) and it showed a bunch of files infected w/ the CIH virus. I remember this was pretty nasty one at the time; would go off on a certain date & erase the harddrive (if I remember correctly). Ironically, several of the infected files were exceuteables that were part of McAfee! So I was guessing that CIH disabled it. Moral being that I lost faith in McAfee after that.
Anyhow, I've had AVG running for about 7 months. Always kept upto date & my system is clean!HP: Transfigura! PM: Mr. Potter, what in Merlin's name is that?? *Gestures at white VW bug w/ a "53" on it.* HP: Well, professor, you did say to make a Beetle! PM: Hmmmpft! HP: My muggle cousin was watching "The Love Bug" before I left!