As my family’s (and more recently, my girlfriend’s family’s) PC help desk lackey, I’m often asked what antivirus software I use or what I recommend and is free! Well I hate to disappoint, but my virus scanner of choice isn’t free. Although some free efforts do an alright job, its something I feel more comfortable paying for – is a £25 annual subscription worth loosing your online banking details over?
I used to use Norton Antivirus, 2006, 2007, etc… but it gradually became a resource hog to the point where I’d be disabling it just to copy some files. The interface was nice, but that was part of the problem – this lovely interface was eating my CPU cycles and RAM for breakfast. Obviously that isn’t good as this is one of the situations you DO want your “on-access” scanner running. I also became increasingly alienated by the hand-holding approach that Norton was taking – assuming I was too stupid to be able to look after my own computer by popping up a relentless stream of notification bubbles, update this, scanned that, quarantined blah, blah, blah.
My workplace uses McAffee Virus scanner enterprise. I’ve never known any other ligitimate program to be such a pain in the arse. Update dialogs pop up and grab focus while you’re merrily typing away forcing you to click on your original app to go back to it and then it will grab focus again to tell you its finished – stop pestering me! After the update the computer would act like it had just been hit by a tonne of bricks, the performance plummeted and was only corrected by a reboot.
I looked around for a while and tried various others in demo form or free scanners such as AVG Home (which, if you’re looking for a free alternative, I would recommend) but I eventually opted for Eset NOD32 Antivirus which I now run on all of my own computers, my girlfriend’s and my family.
It just does its job. It’s unobtrusive, it’s quick, the interface is nice, intuitive and it’s not a resource fiend! New virus signatures are released daily and install silently, only popping up a little bubble from the system tray to let you know its finished updating. You pay one subscription and when new versions are released you’re invited to download and install them. It hasn’t let a virus onto any of my machines and does a good job of telling you when it notices one approaching.
So, there you have it, for what its worth, NOD32 is the virus scanner I prefer.