My previous post cover a snippet of my distrust in Symantec and it’s pursuit for a powerful method of mitigating viruses. Though I do have faith they can do just that, however in terms of protecting my computer a change in preference would be a good change of pace. After a good four your run with many reformats and blunders updates and service problems, I kicked the good old anti-viral friend to the curb.
Enter stage left, Avast! After spending much time looking around for a free alternative and non-pirated version with the aspects of what Symantec use to make me pay for, I landed on this little gem. At the time, it wasn’t so special since it was like any other AV I’ve been trying around. Given, some columnists fear the ill-protected freeware would never overshadow it’s paid brothers and sister. I think Avast can officially prove them wrong. Even from the start, I was hesitant at first considering I was a skeptical young lad. I took a leap of faith into CNET’s repository of system utilities bring back some knowledge I still hold high as a gamer and an avid computer user.
From what I can remember, Symantec was just a small company. One program with a few utilities here and there. Largest of them was their anti-virus product. Back in the day, they guaranteed unlimited updates until your product expires a year later. Until the day, you would receive program updates along with your virus definition files which update almost every week. Wasn’t so bad after the whole worm scare jumped across the evening news. However this Symant-uphoria wouldn’t last long. After my program expired, everything just went haywire. First started with the consistent update reminder, “Please, buy my newer brother version 2009!” Every hour went by it kept nagging me, “Come on, buy version 2009… I can’t protect you without a new look!” Soon, it just gave up and said “Well, fine…virus be damn, opening the flood gates!” And there was the moment, the definition files started to not really protect me at all. Surely, it would do an much as it could. The viruses keep coming out of the woodwork that by the time I decided for a full system wipe, most of my desktop was under quarantine. All the work I had on it, saved as much as I could before I let CCleaner do it’s thing and end this misery. Even that, I had to rewrite the whole drive to ensure everything is gone. Once I reinstalled XP with the little icons I have on my computer; I realized, “here we go again.”
Symantec did do it’s job until it went mafia boss on my computer. Providing a means of boot scanning and speedy computer scans at my whim. But the new contender which stepped up had an added bonus, passive scanning. Huzzah, no need to initial a full system scan when I’m suspicious. Though with minor drawbacks I can live with such as a slow thorough scan, it covers most of my needs before I had a chance to really find out. Prominent features from Avast I really like having around is it’s “shields”. Most particularly it’s P2P, Web and File System shields considering I use all three all the time. Compared to Symantec at the time, would just offer a file system protection service which would always scan files and have the option to ramp up or down the sensitivity of the scan. For the price of nada, Avast can do most of the user required tasks that Symantec use to do such as detecting and executing quarantine instructions. Comes in handy if you’re shouting over TeamSpeak when your computer suddenly alerts you. Speaking of alerts; unlike nostalgic Symantec, Avast allows you to control all auditory alerts with a Game Mode to pretty much shut up everything unless your computer’s going to die from a virus. Symantec had the same rudimentary functions to learn and keep quiet, but that was way to simple to use. As a numbers type of person, it’s comforting to know what my programs are up to especially one which my save my desktop from a computer cataclysm. And not to forget the “cloud” updates which (from my comprehension)updates virus definition files when other users submit virus samples. In a not-so-creepy and helpful way, a lot of anonymous Avastees (Awesome, we’re a clique of people now!) have protected me for all these years compared to the many analysts in an office pumping out updates when paid to do so. Now as one of the world’s best, I can safe to say as an Avast hipster…I used it before it was cool.
Of course many people had different experiences with it. Don’t take my word for it, go ahead and try it. It’s pretty much sold anywhere; from Best Buy to Wal-mart, you’ll find it like a large yellow piece of candy. I’m not necessarily pro-Avast, however I do support free utilities over the paid competitors. With years just downloading all the free software that I need, I never had to really spend a dime.
Back to Yonge-Dundas Square on a later Saturday afternoon. When the employee asked “so, do you use Symantec?”, I gave him the “are you mad?!” look (in emoticons, the closest would be this: o.O). With that very moment, flooded bad memories using Symantec and looking back all this time flip-flopping on AV programs. I simply and proudly answered “No” and a “thanks for the lanyard and free stuff though.”
Thanks Symantec for the free stuff I found!