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What's Your Favorite Free (or cheap) Antivirus?

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There is a horrible virus on our family computer that we can't get rid of. It's called XP Internet Security and it says that it's an antivirus program, but it's actually a virus itself. Unless you "register" (AKA, pay money), it won't let you on the internet, run your real antivirus, or do anything else, all in the name of "protection."

I'm not computer savvy, so I asked my dad to take care of it. Instead of manually removing it the way I expected him to, he went out and bought Norton's antivirus (and when he ran it, it didn't catch the virus). Personally, I don't really like Norton, but now he wants to install it on every computer in the house, including the laptop that I'm using right now.

On the computer that got infected, we have the free version of Avast! antivirus. On my laptop, there are two different antivirus programs, and they work very well, at least for me. My dad, however, says that although they've been protecting this laptop for about 2 years (and under my sister's less-than-cautious care), it's only a matter of time before this computer gets infected, too.

So, I want a second opinion. What are the best (i.e., keeps malware at bay while being user-friendly to a fault) free/cheap antivirus programs you guys know of? Is Norton one of them?

I'm sorry if I sound irritable, but I don't like computers very much. I just want to be able to use them without having to play doctor. If I had my way, my ideal computer would probably just have internet access and some way to save reports and pictures.
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I use AVG free, it works pretty well.

I don't think there is a 'best', they all do the same thing. There's only 'works' and 'doesn't work'.
 

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I got the same virus. I just reinstalled windows. Takes like an hour, and I have everything backed up on my external hard drive, so it's not even a hassle for me anymore.

I use AVG, Malwarebytes Anti-malware, and Spybot search and destroy. I still manage to get viruses pretty often, and if none of those programs catch it, I just go straight to a reinstall.

I think there's a program called spyware doctor that you can get on the net for ~$30-40 that can get rid of XP Internet Security 2010. I think it can run on like 3 or 5 computers too...maybe your dad would go for that?
 

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Might want to remind your dad that he only paid for one license of Norton, and it probably is illegal for him to install that same copy on multiple machines ;)

AVG is pretty good, I'd recommend it. I'd also recommend using a browser other than IE6/IE7 ...
 

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You can also now get a free 6 month copy of norton I believe through facebook.

I used to use hijack this on my PC but you need to know what you're doing...

Now I'm on a Mac. Cheaper alternative would be to switch to linux based OS...

-Andrew
 

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After re-reading OP's post it occurred to me that i had this along with one other like it on my HP mini, it got so bad now it won't boot at all, I get to the 'hit f12 for BIOS' or whatever screen and it re-boots.

It doesn't have a CD/DVD drive either so I haven't quite figured out how to re-install yet. I have a copy of the win-7 professional upgrade, but I've already used it on my main PC, so I don't know if I can use it on the Mini. I'm NOT going to buy another copy.

Hmmm
 

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AVG for me as well. Simple to use, but hard to turn off. Sometimes it interferes with torrents for me. Other than that, you can't beat it.

Oh, and i occasionally run Malwarebytes... also free.
 

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I use avast on my PC and Laptop. avast is pretty good without all the false positives seem in a P2P/torrent environment.

AVG is ok, and I have used it for a while back in the day.

I will NEVER use a symantec product EVER. THEY are always obtrusive/intrusive/HEAVY. I prefer to control my computers. -norton is a syumantec product!

IMO -Aaron

EDIT -Malwarebytes is on my PC's but hardly use it. I also use Ashampoo win optimizer, and ccleaner to keep running in tip-top shape.
 
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