Antivirus with on/off switches
October 26, 2009 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for some recommendations on antivirus/antimalware software for Windows. Specifically I am looking for an antivirus program that will allow me to selectively turn on/off components as needed.

Some examples ...
  • I may want to play a game where I need as much performance as possible and would like the ability to easily disable the antivirus software.
  • My email service provider already scans incoming email so I don’t need scanning done on my PC.
  • I already have a hardware firewall so I don’t need a software firewall.
That being said I would welcome a product that contained the above features as long as it gave you the ability to disable features as needed. For example, if I took my laptop to a public library it might be very useful to have the software firewall enabled. The key for me is having the ability to disable/enable features as needed so I can save resources when needed. Also of importance is the ability to scan files on demand.

Thank you for any suggestions.
posted by DerekTheGeek to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to take a look at Vipre from Sunbelt Software. They sell the antivirus / antimalware package without a firewall (so, the firewall is sold separately).

You can also configure which providers run, per default, and you can disable providers as needed.

I decided to give it a spin based on reviews which indicated that it was pretty robust and also not too much of a resource hog. I usually work on an Acer 1410, which is a great little netbook/notebook, but I've tried to do everything possible to it to make it even faster than it was out of the box.
posted by syzygy at 9:55 AM on October 26, 2009

Do you want it free, or do you want to pay? The best free option is AVG Free. If you're willing to pay annually, BitDefender is the winner, though I have heard stories of it brutalizing the processor. It does have a game mode that reduces scan activity. Kaspersky is the next best option.

Ratings culled from this Top 10 review site, and from friends in the infosec field. I run Kaspersky at the business I work for and it's great. A friend has used BitDefender at his organization and has told me it is the meanest, most effective AV scanner he has ever seen.

Pretty much all modern AV will let you enable/disable components as needed.
posted by bfranklin at 9:56 AM on October 26, 2009

Damn, sorry to double post, but I just noticed that BitDefender also has a GameSafe product that will reduce load on the game and keep the AV from popping things up at you right as you're lining up that headshot.
posted by bfranklin at 10:00 AM on October 26, 2009

I installed Microsoft Security Essentials a couple of days ago, and it's a lot less obnoxious than I am used to anti-virus programs being. It's also pretty flexible.

It doesn't include a firewall. (Windows already has that.) It doesn't do email scanning. (That, too, is another tool.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:11 AM on October 26, 2009

I had been using Spysweeper with Antivirus for a few years, and finally dropped it a few weeks ago in favor of Microsoft Security Essentials. It works well, and is free! I highly recommend it.
posted by newfers at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2009

Avast can turn off and on certain scanning module as you see fit.
posted by deezil at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2009

NOD32 / ESET Security Suite is the best antivirus program I have ever used. It is stable, very un-bloated, has an excellent detection rate, is reasonably priced, and the firewall is the least intrusive/least annoying I have seen. I built myself a Vista x64 system over a year ago, and have had zero problems. I am so incredibly satisfied with this app.
posted by Jinkeez at 11:08 AM on October 26, 2009

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