best and least expensive firewall-antivirus protection(21 posts)
I'll say what I always say when someone asks what's "the best".
There is no such thing as a universal best . . . there may be a best for the individual and their machine, but that doesn't apply to every machine. What's best for me may be the WORST for you. (For example, I use and like Avast, and also do in Linux because Avast has a Linux version, but apparently it wasn't your cup of tea.)
The reason there's no "universal best" is because machines are like snowflakes and fingerprints . . . no two are the same. Machines have different OS's, different apps, and different configs.
I will never say what's best for me is best for someone else.
It's just a matter of 1) What GUI you're comfortable with, 2) What "plays well" with the other stuff on your system, and 3) What you're criteria are. Nevertheless, all of them may exhibit some problems. Antivirus programs in particular are notoriously cranky.
Places like "AVComparatives" rate antivirus programs on a monthly basis. What is awarded the top position one month may be further down the list the next month, so the "best" often changes. As long as you use mainstream av products, you should be fine. They generally are all within a few percentage points of each other on detection rate. It's like asking someone what the best wine is. It's just a matter of individual taste. There is no "one-size-fits-all" answer.
And if you visit Manufacturer forums, just keep in mind that most people come to those forums to complain about problems they've had, so your information from them is going to be skewed. Very few people visit a forum just to say "Atta' boy".
Will the recommendations here run good on your machine? Probably, but I have no idea. Is it the "best" for you? I have no idea. The features YOU want may not be the same that others value.
As far as firewalls, I used OnLine Armor when I used Windows. (BTW, I used Avira for a while, but it was always cranky with OnLine Armor. The combo of Avast and OnLine Armor worked better together . . . for ME, that is. YMMV.)
Try suggestions, but if it doesn't work for you, experiment with something else 'till you find what YOUR best is.
Highly recommend Comodo Internet Security
Never hear many people mention this here but it's totally free, I've been using it for years and never had any problems with Viruses or Malware.
Also use free editions of SUPERAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
What kind of problems did you have? you say in the past how long ago was that? I've installed many applications in the past and had problems with them, that's why software companies update there products to fix bugs. As I said I've been using it for years without any issues, may have been a few bugs here and there along the way but what Antivirus or Internet Security suite doesn't have these.
I've also used comodo , no problems with it once ya get used to it. very protective of everything ya do . but over all liked the firewall & av. tis what i use (comodo) when my norton runs out & im waiting for a deal on renewing norton. but to each his own ! (lol i think whs & i are the only 2 norton users here )
I have tried several and all have their quirks but Comodo remains my pick to install on my customers computers. It is lighter and more stable now than in the past.
I have never got a computer back with a virus after Comodo was installed on it.
Microsoft Security Essentials, Avira, and AVG have all failed to consistently stop all viruses/malware from machines I've installed them on.
One other comment...
PAID suites can be 'almost' free... I bought Norton ISS (I think maybe 5 years ago, 3 PC Version) ONCE, and since then, it has been FREE or at most $10 (USD) per year.
The 'trick', buy it during the 'Black Friday' sales (US day after Thanksgiving, end of Nov.). Usually costs in the store $40 to $50 (USD) and there are REBATES to cover all but $20 (USD) but in the box is another rebate for previous Norton products or other A/V owners. Send it in and all it costs you is 2 US stamps, loaning someone the cash for about a month. Although some people do have REBATE problems, I've not so far with Norton.
Other A/V companies usually have the same type of deals then too.
Oh, if you subscription has NOT expired yet if you have the product installed, buy the deal anyway and store the license number and use it when your present license expires.
Doing this allow you to explore the 'qualities' of both FREE and FEE products.
NOTE: I have Norton on 1 computer now, new one came with McAfee (and when the 15 months are up it will be switched to Norton which I feel is better), and 2 others I try the free A/V or suites on, and I'll stick with Norton ISS as I've seen none better, but that is really a personal choice.
Ohhh. What a dreadful experienced.... I installed Comodo IS but wasn't sure about those checked options during the setup and then I tried to uninstalled it using Revo Uninstaller and scan then deleted all leftovers of CIS. After the restart, my internet connection all messed up, I try to reinstall but fatal error occurd. Good thing I managed to make a restore point and rollback changes that CIS made. Really bad experienced I had just this day ;(
On what vistamike said about the Comodo firewall standalone working fine, and also a comment on ispalten's post. Mind you, this is just an opinion, but it's based on my own experience (YMMV).
Suites seem to be good at very little while trying to do everything.
A dedicated program seems to do much better at what it is intended for.
Of course, then you're faced with the problem of trying to match it with something that "get's along with it", e.g. when I found that Avira and On Line Armor didn't play well together (ON MY SYSTEM, that is . . . on yours that combo could work just fine), and ended up with the combo of Avast and On Line Armor, which DID play well together.
Now suites sort of solve that problem because everything is coded to work together. BUT, you pay a price for that . . . and I don't mean money (there are a few free suites out there anyway, I think . . . even if the're aren't, I'm NOT talking about money). Actually, there are TWO penalties: 1) The poor performance of some particular module, that I just spoke of, AND 2) Since these things have to be coded so that different modules get along, they are unavoidably BLOATED with code.
Dedicated software OTOH does NOT need to do that. It is coded pretty efficiently, and has very little bloat.
So: Advantage of suite - you are ensured that all components play well together. Disadvantage of suite - bloat AND certain components do not function as well as their standalone brethren.
Advantage of Dedicated Software (AKA Standalone) - more efficient coding/less bloat, better performance, easier to find FREE ones. Disadvantage - may not play well with another standalone, forcing a search for what does.
I can see both sides of the argument, and why someone may choose one over the other. I happened to find ON MY SYSTEM, that suites did not perform as well as Standalones/Dedicated Software, and was willing to search for a match. It may be the opposite on YOUR system. That's why you have to 'speriment . . . see what works best for YOU.
Generally speaking any program can be bloated, you just are not aware of it because they do not run all the time.
Any suite or individual 'protection' program can overload a system. Just because of what they do and how. Some are less intrusive than others. I'd also say ALMOST ANY on today's systems with multi-core CPU's with enough RAM do NOT load down a system, period. I've used McAfee's, CA's, and Norton's ISS's on Intel Core2-Duo's (XP) and i7's (W7) with not even a hint they are running until a dialog box appears. This included the background A/V scans. Yeah, system probably runs a little faster if they were not installed, but that is the price of protection. Some are more of a load than others, but the question IS can you tell. Of course, slower or older system will be seeing the effect more.
BobJam, I don't think there is any proof to your statement, "Advantage of Dedicated Software (AKA Standalone) - more efficient coding/less bloat, better performance, easier to find FREE ones.", and if there is, please post it? I agree with the easier to find free ones, but coding efficient, or less bloat, your implying something was done on purpose to make it that way or they didn't care? Ask yourself how does any 'free' one pay for keeping it up to date with respect to threats? Do all free ones respond and refresh immediately? How is it paid for (yes, some have FEE based versions)? I know many 'free' ones refresh the signature files infrequently or only on booting. Norton does it quite often, every 5 minutes it is checked for I think? Also updates the main programs routinely. All it comes down to is personal choice I guess and 'comfort' with the protection you get and the price. To me the $50 first spent on Norton amortized over the number of years I've gotten free licenses due to sales/promotions is now approaching less than $10/year for 3 systems. Close enough to FREE for me (and getting closer each year).
Besides, cost is not the issue, nor is suite vs. individual components to make up a suite. Suite's come with 'stuff' one might not want, such as Parental Controls or Identity safe's. All loaded on disk but not running, as most suites do not have component install selection. It is about PROTECTION and ease of update and currency (not money but how recent is the protection files). There are sites that test and rate these, but many are run by the producer of one and those results are usually suspect.
You might find these links interesting :
This one should be of specific interest (especially for your 'bloated' statement) :
Security Program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Average of all tested systems (paid version 2012) 63.0 17.3 1,060.9 414 125 347 17,175
Security Program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Average of all tested systems (free version 2012) 69.8 11.7 1,122.3 410 125 345 17,060
That didn't format too well, but it gives one an indication, full results per version on the link.
As for problems after uninstalling, most firewalls can/will cause this are they do NOT repair the 'chains' they hook into when being deleted. Especially the Internet/TCP/IP chain. Same problem you'd run into if you restore the TPC/IP stack to its original version.
As an intro to this, let me say that my remarks are NOT intended to be abrasive or uncivil. I hate smileys, but if I used them, my post here would be plastered with smiles, grins, and winks (text kind), all over. I haven't taken your remarks as abrasive, so I think we are both in the spirit of "lively debate, but civil", as HTG is known for.
And, I DON'T think that we are going off-topic here because the OP asked for recommendations on choosing software. So this debate might offer the OP some chance to form an opinion.
BTW, I'm not directing any comments to Norton . . . I've never tried it (other suites, yes), so I can't speak as knowledgeably about it as you can. I'm just directing my comments to security suites in general. Perhaps Norton is an exception to my opinion.
So, with "lively debate and civility" mode ON, here goes.
If one defines "bloatware" as a product with a lot of unnecessary features and/or "an enhanced user interface" (read GUI), AND if that's the definition you're using, then I disagree with your statement implying (I think, if I'm wrong correct me) that the number of lines of code can make something bloatware.
Using the lure of "new and improved" is a tactic used by marketers to move shrinkwrapped software off the shelves . . . IOW, bells and whistles.
It may take more code to introduce these "new and improved" features or GUI, however simply introducing more lines of code does NOT necessarily make a product bloatware. To me, it really depends on whether the added features in reality are useful (I think you said as much: "Suite's come with 'stuff' one might not want" and I certainly agree), or rather if they're the same old core dressed up in fancy new new clothing . . . the marketing tactic. (And, no, I'm not accusing you of being a shill for suites or otherwise trying to "market" them based on price deals . . . THAT is totally unrelated to issues of bloatware, and I don't see your intention as "marketing" anyway, just trying to help the OP.)
Person A may look at your machine and decide it's full of bloatware simply because the software is full of features that they consider useless, while Person B may disagree. And just because Person B is a more experienced user than Person A does not necessarily mean B is "right". (There is NO right or wrong to an opinion . . . I think the moon is beautiful, you think maybe it's ugly. Can either of us "prove" it? No, because it's an opinion. Support it? Yes. Prove it? No.)
One man's bloatware may be another man's efficiently coded package. As I said, I don't think the number of lines of code is the determining factor for "bloatware". AND, as you said anyway, "ALMOST ANY on today's systems with multi-core CPU's with enough RAM do NOT load down a system". (We agree on that part, though the OP didn't say what his/her system/machine was . . . old or new.)
So, can I "prove" that I think standalones have an advantage in bloat? No, of course not, because it's an opinion. It's an opinion based on how I see suits marketed AND have tried them myself.
As far as what I'm "implying" . . . well, if the marketers have their way (and they often do to the disgust of the developer), yes they do it "on purpose", and they probably ARE rushing the thing out the door bloated because their ad copy AND timing to beat competitors is complete. Do they care? Probably more about their bonuses based on sales more than the end user, though I can't jump into their heads and magically determine motivation. Getting into the head of a marketer is not something I would want to do anyway.
On that first link you provided, I saw this: "On the other hand, suites may have strong features mixed with weaker ones". That seems to confirm my opinion that standalones do their single job better.
On the rest of those links . . . well, you're going to supply links that support your arguments, and I'm going to supply links that support my side. Like I just did above and:
Excerpts: ". . . If you think about it, a large, bloated software package is a set of restraints applied by a sadistic, rubber-clad captor. We know the solution can do anything, but to use it for those few things we want to do we are asked to submit to the master's will and buy not just the application but also new PCs capable of running the software." (A bit dramatic for my tastes, though.)
And, ". . . This is the software equivalent of a street crime: if you want to live, you hand over your money, but what you end up paying for is what you already had in the first place. That's the built-in obsolescence of the old software upgrade model larger developers love so much. And while you don't need to upgrade immediately, you know that you will do so eventually, if only because older solutions compatible with your PC/Mac are no longer available."
And, ". . . just like the PCs we use to drive those bloated, system-taxing suites . . ."
Excerpt: ". . . Many anti-virus software suites are big sources of bloat . . ."
So, what does all that "prove"? Just proves we are both good at using the University of Google to support our positions, NOTHING more. For example, in the Browser wars, you can find plenty of links and studies that say IE is better than Firefox (never mind that most of those studies were funded by MS . . . and you can also find plenty of links and studies that say Firefox is better than IE, funded by . . . guess who . . . Mozilla). I agree with you that ". . . results are usually suspect."
What I'm saying is that ANY Internet sourced review can be cited to support ANY argument. Consequently, I form my own opinion from my experience, NOT information I find on the Internet. I'm not saying that citing Internet information is dishonest or otherwise fraudulent. Indeed, I use some Internet information to form an opinion, but when personal experience trumps it, I trust myself above the Internet.
Now that last link you cited, CNet . . . surely you're not suggesting CNet is the final word on suites? Your not suggesting that "Editors Choice awards" are, are you? That's like having the Fox guard the Chickens.
But at the end of the day, is it about PROTECTION (as you suggested)? Yes, I agree that it is. It's just that I believe that better protection is provided by standalones rather than suites. I think we pretty much agree on everything except standalones versus suites.
Let me close by once more saying that my tone is not meant to be abrasive or uncivil . . . just a lively debate.
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