Things to do for your relatives’ computers this Christmas

I wish I’d posted this last week, since many of us see one set of relatives at Thanksgiving and a different set at Christmas (and perhaps New Year’s). Here are things you can do as preventative maintenance for relatives whose computers could use a little help. Read more

Antivirus progress

When Microsoft Security Essentials first came out, it was an improvement in antivirus performance. Now, it’s middle of the pack, according to PC Magazine. That’s great. Vendors are finally taking performance seriously.

What that means is that by replacing MSE with F-Secure Anti-Virus 2013, Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2013), Sophos Anti-Virus 10.2, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6, Norton Antivirus (2013), Avast Free Antivirus 8, or Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013, you can speed up your computer. Considering Norton Antivirus was once bottom-of-the-barrel in the performance arena, I see this as a good thing.

Of the bunch, Avast is the only freebie. Though if your ISP offers one of the others as part of your subscription, or you don’t mind paying for antivirus, the others are an option. But maybe, just maybe, if I replace Microsoft Security Essentials with Avast, Peggy will quit calling me at dinnertime and telling me my computer is slow. But I doubt it. Read more

The best free antivirus

I’ve been re-evaluating free antivirus programs in an effort to find the best free antivirus. I think Microsoft Security Essentials is adequate if you don’t engage in risky behavior, and it doesn’t nag and doesn’t expire, both of which are good things. The best detection in the world is no good to you the day after it expires.

If you want something better, the place to look is AV-Comparative’s most recent test. In that roundup, I see four serious contenders: Bitdefender, Avira, Avast, and AVG. Those are the only four programs available for free that passed all of their tests with at least one star. Read more

New Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft tried to quietly release a new version of Security Essentials yesterday, then everyone started talking about it. The new version 4.0 claims to be faster and catch more viruses. Of course, that’s everything we want in virus scanning–besides being free.

The most recent data I read stated the old MSE was about 93% effective, so there was some room for improvement there. Read more

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