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View Full Version : Computers, viruses, computerese and consipracies



ishmael
09-22-2009, 05:51 PM
I run a free virus scanner of good repute. I figure I don't have much in the way of secrets on the computer, so if I can get it for free why not?


I've been having problems with the box... of unknown origin, so I go to the log in screen of the anti-virus company, looking for a button that says "scan computer." Is there one? Hell no, it's mostly an advertisement for their products. That's okay, they have to sell stuff to make a living, but how about being honest about it? Like saying something to the affect, "We'll scan your computer once a day for free, but don't look for any special privilege." And the stuff that was there made not a whit of sense to this computer challenged.

Computer program companies would do well to hire someone(s) who can write in plain, understandable, language.

Bruce Hooke
09-22-2009, 06:21 PM
Most companies that make anti-virus software do not offer the ability to scan your computer once. It is simply not a "product" they sell. You have to buy a one-year subscription.

One place that does offer a virus scan online is Kaspersky: http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner . Their virus scan is very detailed and better yet it is free.

That said, it does rather bug me how downright deceptive Norton is in their marketing of some of their software packages. I looked through one list of features and if you understand the tech lingo they used it was clear the list was about three times as long as it should have been, mostly due to the same feature being described in multiple ways to make it look like the software has more features.

High C
09-22-2009, 06:25 PM
Often times the online scans don't work because the computer is running so poorly because it is infested with...wait for it...viruses!

To do a thorough job requires running a virus scan while Windows is NOT running. No, it's not easy for the layman to do, but that's what it takes to do it right.

Bruce Taylor
09-22-2009, 06:36 PM
I run a free virus scanner of good repute..

What's it called?

ishmael
09-22-2009, 07:35 PM
"What's it called?"

AVG. Tell ya, if I had something important going on I wouldn't trust it to free AVG.

ron ll
09-22-2009, 07:38 PM
I've been pretty happy with this one.

http://www.malwarebytes.org/

Gonzalo
09-22-2009, 08:13 PM
I use the free version of Avast! anti-virus. My local computer store recommends it, uses it in their own shop, and they install it automatically unless you ask them not to. The thing I like about it is that it will block any site that has been reported to be infected with malware, gives you a link to explain why, and gives you an option to over ride the blockage.

The home version is free, but they make you register. The registration needs to be renewed every quarter, and they make a pitch for you to upgrade to the pro version ($39.95) at that time. It is a trivial inconvenience.

The resident scanner updates automatically, usually daily, but you have to do the full scan manually with the free version. When the resident scanner detects anything, it makes horrible noises to alert you, but that is easy to turn off.

I've been very happy with it, and have had no problems. You do have to be careful, because when you do the full scan it will report the definitions files of Spybot Search and Destroy as potential infections. You just have to ignore that. I use both Spybot and Avast!, and haven't had a problem since, but I use the resident scanners of both. I also do a manual scan every week or so with both. With Avast! you can select which folders you want it to scan. That way you don't have to scan folders that haven't changed since the last time, like maybe your music files or photo files which otherwise take a long time to scan.

Before I started using the resident version of both, I used to occasionally turn up malware when I did the manual scan. Since then, I have not turned up anything. The resident version of Spybot is called Tea Timer, and will alert you if any program wants to make a change to the registry. You just have to be alert, so if you aren't trying to install a program, just say no to all the requests to approve registry changes. Sometimes you'll visit an infected site, and Tea Timer will warn you that a registry change is requested; just say no, and you will probably be safe.

Uncle Duke
09-22-2009, 08:20 PM
Ish:

I go to the log in screen of the anti-virus company, looking for a button that says "scan computer." Is there one? Hell no, it's mostly an advertisement for their products. That's okay, they have to sell stuff to make a living, but how about being honest about it? Like saying something to the affect, "We'll scan your computer once a day for free, but don't look for any special privilege."You "run" Avg? It's a good product (especially if you allow it to get all the automatic updates, etc). Very good.
But if you are going to the AVG web site in order to run it then... dang.
That is NOT how it works. If you have set it up correctly (which is the default setting!), then it runs locally, automatically, and also updates itself locally. In that situation ALL of your objections go away.
So.. what is it that you are not doing?
And... are you running any "anti-spyware" software (which is DIFFERENT than anti-virus software)?
Or.... what?

And - maybe you could say what problems your computer is having instead of just being vague and needy? ;)

Bruce Hooke
09-22-2009, 08:20 PM
"What's it called?"

AVG. Tell ya, if I had something important going on I wouldn't trust it to free AVG.

From what I've heard, AVG has quite a good reputation so I see no reason not to trust it as much as most of the similar competitors.

Uncle Duke
09-22-2009, 08:28 PM
From what I've heard, AVG has quite a good reputation so I see no reason not to trust it as much as most of the similar competitors.
I'd concur - we have 3 computers here at home, online most of the time, running AVG with no problems at all. Good product, good results if used as 4 out of 5 doctors recommend. :D

Tom Galyen
09-22-2009, 08:41 PM
I just use an Apple computer! :) :) :) :)

Bruce Taylor
09-22-2009, 09:08 PM
As Duke says, AVG Free Edition 8.5 is a pretty reliable program, and you shouldn't have to visit a website to run a scan (does AVG even have an web-based scanner?).

If it's properly installed and running, you should see its icon in the system tray (that little row of very small icons at the right hand side of the toolbar at the bottom of your screen. The icon should look something like this: http://sibelius.com/helpcenter/images/avg_icon.jpg

To run a scan, double click on the system tray icon, select "computer scanner" and then click on "Scan whole computer."

Incidentally, what website have you been going to? Many sites that claim to offer "antivirus" protection are themselves points of entry for infection. AVG isn't one of them, but it's possible that some unscrupulous outfit has spoofed their site in order to lure the little fishies.

Shang
09-22-2009, 09:16 PM
I recently purchased a "Directory-cleaner" program, only to discover that what they had sold me for $30 was a "trial version," which only alerts me to hazards but doesn't actually eliminate them. But they didn't say that in their advertising, nor in the description of the product.
Am I P.O.ed at them...? Yep.
Will I ever purchase anything else from them...? Nope.
Does that company give a rat's hindquarters...? Naugh, they've already banked my thirty bucks.

ishmael
09-22-2009, 09:43 PM
Don't know what is going on, and maybe I'm running things wrong. I'm a computer idiot. I don't want to be asked a lot of non sequiters, and be bombarded by meaningless questions. I want to press a button and have it work. No mass, nothing to worry about.

I will have to pay for that, seems to me.

BrianW
09-22-2009, 09:52 PM
I will have to pay for that, seems to me.

Karma again Ish. Give them the gas tank, and maybe your computer will work better. :)

But yes... if ya don't wanna work on it yourself, a cash layout is in your future.

shamus
09-22-2009, 10:29 PM
I used AVG free for years and had so few problems that I decided it was about time I paid them. I happily give them their $60Au per year.

elf
09-22-2009, 10:39 PM
Don't know what is going on, and maybe I'm running things wrong. I'm a computer idiot. I don't want to be asked a lot of non sequiters, and be bombarded by meaningless questions. I want to press a button and have it work. No mass, nothing to worry about.

I will have to pay for that, seems to me.

Yup. Just get a Mac and you won't have to worry about any of these problems. You don't even need to get a new one.

Michael Beckman
09-22-2009, 10:46 PM
Or, install Ubuntu on your current computer. It works as well as a Mac for a lot cheaper. And you don't even have to sell your soul to the devil.

ishmael
09-22-2009, 11:09 PM
I think there's an age difference here. I'm quite new to this. Not at all sure I want to catch up.

What is important? I'm still back in the time when running a boat, knowing the throttle, thinking on how the sails were going to affect this landing, was important. I didn't learn it as well as many did, but I was pretty good.

Some suppose the computer game is as valuable. I tend to disagree, and I wish, sometimes, that kids could learn how to run a Lyman Islander, fast, into the shallows and come to a perfect landing at the dock.

Lake memories. Something lost and something gained? To coin Ms. Mitchell.

Bruce Hooke
09-22-2009, 11:14 PM
In my experience viruses are actually one of the less common causes of problems with computers. Most likely it is a software problem you are running into and unfortunately you will probably have to get a "techie" to look at it, just as you probably would if it was your car that we were talking about.

However, if you want to cross-check whether AVG is working properly Kaspersky's online virus scanning system does do a pretty good job. http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner

Yes, computers are annoying, but I am sure 80 years ago the old guys were complaining about having to get some young kid to fix their automobile. However, they still choose to have an automobile, just as you clearly still choose to have a computer...

Uncle Duke
09-23-2009, 06:18 AM
Ish, for heaven's sake either run a scan or stop complaining. Clear instructions in post #13. You don't need the paid version, the free one is fine.
Just run it. During the several hours it will run, you will have time to ruminate on your memories of a pastoral paradise.

michigangeorge
09-23-2009, 09:25 AM
As yet another lost soul in computorland I listened to and purchased AVG from my local computor repair store. It brought my system down to such a slow speed as be unusable even with high speed cable. Another $50 down the drain :-(

Uncle Duke
09-23-2009, 10:05 AM
As yet another lost soul in computorland I listened to and purchased AVG from my local computor repair store. It brought my system down to such a slow speed as be unusable even with high speed cable. Another $50 down the drain :-(
If you bought their big package ("Internet Security" - the only one which is $49.99), then you are also running their chat/IM monitor, firewall, spyware monitor, 'identity protection' monitor, 'poison link' monitor, rootkit protection, download scanning, etc. That level of "protection" essentially means that any time that anything is happening, some process is examining it before allowing it.

You probably don't need all of that running all the time. In fact, you might have been better served by just getting and running their anti-virus stuff, which has a very small memory footprint and doesn't get in the way at all. Try turning off some of those other features using their "System Tools" (part of that same package) and get your performance back to where you need it.

brad9798
09-23-2009, 10:06 AM
My AVG is local and runs every night ... in the middle of the night ... I wake up to a nice, concise report every morning.

It updates itself ... fixes whatever strange things it finds, etc.

Never had a problem with it. :confused:

SMARTINSEN
09-23-2009, 10:07 AM
As yet another lost soul in computorland I listened to and purchased AVG from my local computor repair store. It brought my system down to such a slow speed as be unusable even with high speed cable. Another $50 down the drain :-(
This is interesting, and the opposite of my experience with AVG. I switched from Norton, precisely because it was a big time system hog. Bloatware.

AVG runs unobtrusively, scanning every day at noon. I have had no trouble in the time that I have been running it, knock on wood.

Uncle Duke
09-23-2009, 11:08 AM
This is interesting, and the opposite of my experience with AVG. I switched from Norton, precisely because it was a big time system hog. Bloatware.

AVG runs unobtrusively, scanning every day at noon. I have had no trouble in the time that I have been running it, knock on wood.

We dumped Norton and went to AVG for exactly the same reason. Also no problems.
I suspect the problem which michigangeorge is having has to do with all the other stuff which gets automatically installed when you get their "big" package (IM monitors, download monitors, identity protection monitors, etc.) - not the actual anti-virus component.

High C
09-23-2009, 11:08 AM
Yep, there is a huge difference between the free version of AVG, and the complete "Internet Security" pay version. The resource demands of the "complete" version are great, much like Norton or any other of the infamous resource hogs out there.

There's no getting around the reality that ALL "complete" security software suites use more of your computer's capability than do the simpler anti-virus only versions of these programs.

As far as I am concerned, the complete suites are as bad as the problems they try to prevent. ALL of them.

Bruce Hooke
09-23-2009, 11:17 AM
My AVG is local and runs every night ... in the middle of the night ... I wake up to a nice, concise report every morning.

Scanning every night seems a bit extreme and leaving your computer on every night is using up a not inconsequential amount of electricity.

Kaa
09-23-2009, 11:34 AM
...and leaving your computer on every night is using up a not inconsequential amount of electricity.

There is a VERY longstanding debate between those who switch off their computers for the night and those who leave them on.

It's older than even the PC against Mac feud! :D

Kaa

Bruce Hooke
09-23-2009, 11:46 AM
There is a VERY longstanding debate between those who switch off their computers for the night and those who leave them on.

It's older than even the PC against Mac feud! :D

Kaa

Yes, I know, and given that there seems to be no clear consensus on which is better in terms of prolonging the life of the computer's components, given that we know a computer that is on uses more electricity than a computer that is off, and given that it should be obvious that saving electricity is both good for the pocketbook and good for the environment, it seems like an easy choice to me. Sure, leave the computer on when you need to have something run overnight, but don't just leave it on every night.

michigangeorge
09-24-2009, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the hints re: AVG fellas. I'll re-install and try to get it on anti-virus only :-)

Chris Coose
09-24-2009, 07:27 AM
I had a nasty one crash through AVG and the wonks at the fix-it store installed Avast free. I think once I need to re-up I'm going to buy the pay-for edition.

Uncle Duke
09-24-2009, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the hints re: AVG fellas. I'll re-install and try to get it on anti-virus only :-)
You should be able to simply turn off everything except the anti-virus stuff. It might still try to update the other stuff, and/or give you "warnings" that they are not running, but in the short term this would get you back to better performance.

High C
09-24-2009, 11:21 AM
You should be able to simply turn off everything except the anti-virus stuff. It might still try to update the other stuff, and/or give you "warnings" that they are not running, but in the short term this would get you back to better performance.

Good advice. One of the more disruptive features of the current AVG, even the free version, is the feature that analyzes all the hyperlinks on a search results page and gives you a thumbs up, or not, for each hit. This displays a green circular arrow while it works, holding up your page until it's done. They call this the Linkscanner, and it can be turned off in the options settings.