Let's start with Anti-Virus. Grisoft delivers a free anti-virus solution with its AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, which is free to home users. I had switched from Symantec's Norton AntiVirus (aka NAV) for these reasons:
- The Annual Virus Definition Subscription Fee. Paying this entitled the user to download virus updates for one year. But if you ever reformat your hard drive within that year (which I did twice) you'd either have to pay the fee again or you'd have to contact customer service to receive a special unlocking code in order to download more updates.
- Sluggish Performance. NAV slowed my system down quite a bit. It was so annoying, I wound up disabling its real time mode of operation and its email scanner. So I used it only for performing manual scans. Even those took a long time.
- No More Support for Windows NT 4.0. The home edition of NAV fails to list NT on it list of system requirements. In fact, just before I switched to AVG Anti-Virus FE, I'd been using the Enterprise Edition of NAV, which apparently even supports DOS. (Sometimes it helps to have a friend in the IT department at work.)
- "LiveUpdate" Blocked by Firewall. Every time I wanted to update the virus definitions, I had to download the entire 5+MB universal virus definitions file and install it manually. That's because the program's internal updater, called "LiveUpdate," failed to make it through my computer's firewall. If only they'd give me a range of IP addresses to open up (aside from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255). But they had too many different servers providing the updates.
Coming next... free firewall discussion.