Carl J from Palm Desert, CA asks:
Can you recommend a good virus protection program? I realize Norton and McAfee slow down my computer, but there has to be some real good ones out there that don’t do this.
Good question! First some info on Anti-Virus programs:
An Antivirus program is one of the most essential software applications any computer user must install in his/her system. The Antivirus program helps in keeping your computer safe from unwanted malware, Trojans, spyware, viruses and so on.
If you regularly surf the internet, having a strong Antivirus program is mandatory because whenever you visit different websites or download files, songs, programs – your computer might get infected beyond your knowledge. As a result, you may lose access to Windows and the whole operating system may crash. In the worst case, you may have to completely format your system which will result in loss of important data, files or documents.
Although there are quite a good number of Antivirus programs available for free, most of them consume heavy system resources. A good example is the antivirus program from Norton, which consumes the largest amount of RAM.
When the program runs in the background, Windows and other programs respond very slowly. This is because maximum CPU resource and memory is being consumed by the Antivirus program itself.
So, to your answer, Carl: The fastest and best Antivirus program (in my opinion) is AVG antivirus, which can be downloaded from the official website.
Here are some points worth noting about AVG antivirus:
System requirements: AVG antivirus runs on any Windows operating system – from the age old Windows 98 to the latest, Windows7. The program can run smoothly on 256 MB RAM and on an Intel 300Mhz processor. The disk space consumed is 30MB, which is fairly low when compared to other Antivirus programs.
On the other hand, antivirus programs like Kaspersky, Avast, Norton require at least 512 MB Ram in your system.
Faster System Scans: I have been using Avg antivirus for the last 3 years and all I can say is it’s the fastest Antivirus on the planet. It takes only a few minutes to scan your entire system and you can always exclude some folders from the scan. Since AVG scan is faster than other antivirus scans, it’s obvious that AVG will consume less Windows memory and hence will not affect your Windows speed to that extent.
Quick Booting: Since antivirus programs associate themselves with Windows startup, you might have noticed that Windows boot up slowly after installing the antivirus program. Prior to AVG, I was using Norton which heavily slowed down my computer’s start up time. I had to wait for almost a minute before I can see my desktop.
Such is not the case with AVG, it does not affect Windows startup time to that extent. After making the switch to AVG, my system startup time decreased to 26 seconds. That’s almost a 50% increase!
Website Scanner: AVG now comes with a website scanner which can automatically scan websites and report whether they are safe for visiting or not. McAfee is the most popular browser based scanner till date, but I have again had problems with the McAfee browser extension for Firefox. The extension hogs down Firefox memory which again slows down my browsing experience.
The current version of AVG comes with a website and Link scanner; hence you can scan unknown and suspicious links or URL’s for malware. You don’t have to scan each and every page you visit, just use the option from your browser’s context menu on a page or link you don’t trust.
The update manager of AVG is also very user friendly, you can choose the setting to automatically download and install the latest security fixes at a scheduled time of the day.
The most interesting part is that you can tweak the scan settings to Low, medium or Fast. Thus, if you are working on a document and need to scan something, set the speed to slow and continue working on the document. Your Windows speed will remain unaffected.
Overall, if Antivirus programs slow down your computer and you want a better option, it’s worth giving AVG a try.