What’s the best anti-virus suite to protect my computer? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Money

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What’s the best anti-virus suite to protect my computer?

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 8:35 am

Many ions ago, as some will recall, a duet from England called Chad and Jeremy recorded a song called “Yesterday’s Gone.” A section of the lyrics went like this; “that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone…” It was about a lost love between two young people but the words brought to mind something that happens a lot with software and in particular, protective software.

In my opinion, there are many protective software suites that are infinitely more effective in protecting your computer than Norton and McAfee. They are the top selling anti-virus suites because they have a ton of dollars to throw at marketing, not because they have the best product. It is a fact of business, unfortunately, that the guy with the biggest pile of cash dedicated to marketing will be the one who reaches the largest audience and the most people.

At one time, the big two (Norton and McAfee) had good programs that protected you reasonably well but they invested in other companies and technologies to make their existing product more intrusive in your system. The protection they afforded your system was minimal, at best. AVG came along and did a very nice job of protecting the computer for many years until they were bought out by an anti-spyware company who included an anti-spyware component to the anti-virus which, again, slows down your computer without giving you any better protection.

A few years ago Microsoft entered the anti-virus/anti-malware competition with their Security Essentials, which had a great anti-virus component but only passable anti-spyware protection. Our recommendation, at the time, was to run Microsoft Security Essentials along with an anti-spyware program like Malwarebytes or SuperAntiSpyware.

Along the way, as happens in many cases, Microsoft turned its focus to more important issues like releasing another operating system and neglected Security Essentials to the point where now many of the calls we receive from our customers complaining of blue screens, poor performance, and error messages are directly related to Security Essentials. I know I told everyone a few years ago they needed Security Essentials, but as Chad and Jeremy told us, “that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.”

With all the issues relating to Microsoft Security Essentials these days, one of the first things I do when servicing a customer computer is to uninstall Security Essentials, period. Next, I look to see what other protective programs are active on the machine. Malwarebytes is our personal favorite because it keeps out the bad guys without any sacrifice in performance.

With advances in research and development of both these anti-spyware programs and the absence of it in the other programs available, your computer should be safe with either one of these since viruses are now classified as malware and both these programs are designed to keep all types of malware out of your system. Keep in mind that you need to set these programs up to do automatic scans and updates or they are useless. You may need to buy the registered version of these programs to get this automatic protection, but it is well worth the money.

• Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services, based in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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