Need new internet security programs
December 17, 2006 12:48 PM   Subscribe

I need advice for buying a new internet security suite (or individual programs).

For the past few years I've been using McAfee Internet Security Suite, buying a new version each year to keep up to date, and getting 12 months of virus updates. However, I've just read some troubling reviews of McAfee Internet Security Suite 2007 and am thinking I might want to go with something else. I've had bad luck with Norton products in the past but will keep an open mind. I like the ease of a suite of products for anti-virus, firewall, anti-spam, etc. but I'm willing to consider separate products. Ease of use wins out over price. Think of this question like, what would you recommend to your mother, and you can't be there to keep it running right all the time. My computer is Windows XP Media Center Edition. And how much trouble will I have uninstalling my current McAfee Security Suite 2006 if I switch to something else?
posted by Joleta to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use V-com. A suite. I find it is great for me.
posted by JayRwv at 12:58 PM on December 17, 2006

I use Windows Defender and Nod32 and, knock on silicone, I am quite happy. Leo Laporte suggests windows onecare for novice users.
posted by busboy789 at 1:03 PM on December 17, 2006

AVG Antivirus is free for personal use, and uses very few system resouces in comparison with the hog that is McAfee.

Windows XP's firewall is adequate for incoming protection

AVG also have an anti-spyware solution. the free version is manual update + scan-only , while the pay product includes auto-update & real-time protection.

I am currently running the above on my PIII 1.6Ghz laptop and am very happy with it.

AVG do have a full security suite with all that you require ($70 for a 2-year sub), but I have never worked with it.

Having fought with Norton, and having McAfee on my work PC (and seeing the 4Ghz CPU sieze up while it thinks about allowing me to open a browser), I can understand why you want to switch
posted by nielm at 1:08 PM on December 17, 2006

I would recommend a Mac.
posted by TheRaven at 1:16 PM on December 17, 2006

Seconding AVG. I have used it for a couple of years after finally giving up on Norton. It is very easy to use. When my 82-year-old Dad got a computer, I got rid of the Norton that came installed on it and put AVG on instead. He had never used a computer before and was pretty baffled by the whole concept. AVG is probably the only thing on his computer that hasn't given him grief. It pretty much looks after itself.
posted by nelvana at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2006

i've used system suite pro by avanquest for several years - now up to v. 7 - and it's almost always been good for me, plus support is responsive.
posted by uspommie at 2:07 PM on December 17, 2006

I would recommend a Mac.

And if you do get one (which is highly unlikely, since you asked for Windows solutions...) be sure to get ClamXav, because even Macs can be susceptible.

Writing this from my MacBook.

Anti-zealotry aside, back when I was using XP, I used the Norton Suite, combined with stuff like Ad-Aware and Spybot. Of course, a lot's probably changed since then, and Norton was pretty slow.
posted by djgh at 2:24 PM on December 17, 2006

I would recommend a Mac.

Thanks, Helpy. `Help me with my Nissan's problems' `Buy a toyota'. Wonderful.

Anyway, AVG antivirus is the way to go, I've had nothing but good experiences with it, although I think that the default setting is a bit much (I don't need to scan daily etc). It also has very good email integration, and keeps itself updated.

If you're not confident with windows firewall, Zonealarm is free for personal use and works very well.

For spyware detection, get Lavasoft's Adaware. I have noticed that no one program seems to get all the spyware, so you might look at various packages. There's plenty of very good freeware about.

In regards to anti spam software, I've had some poor experiences with this. In the end I built a whitelist using filters which gets rid of a lot of my spam, as well as thousands of bounced emails which were the result of someone using my email address as a `from' field. This worked as well as I could have hoped, I still get some spam emails but as I refine the filters it gets to be less and less.
posted by tomble at 3:28 PM on December 17, 2006

Trend Micro's Internet Security package is quite good. We offer it for free to all staff at my workplace for their home workstations and we have never had any complaints. I run it on all my Windows workstations and I have never had any issues.
posted by purephase at 3:34 PM on December 17, 2006

Best answer: I've never been a fan of the security bundles.. having been in tech support, I've seen alot, and Norton Suite was the worst thing ever to troubleshoot/fix.

I recommend the following:
Firefox - Browse with it, and some common sense, and you won't really need the rest..

Avast! - Free antivirus, AVG is also great.

Windows Defender - AntiSpyware, free again, easy to use, used to be GIANT antivirus, and was/is very good.

I used K9 for spam, back when I had a POP account. I liked it. Now I use gmail, haven't seem a spam email in years.

Whenever I came home to my parents house I had to do system maintenance. Then I installed Firefox, deleted IE (as best I could) and saw the spyware/problems go down substantially.

Good Luck!
posted by mattdini at 4:43 PM on December 17, 2006

Anti Virus - AVG
Firewall - Kerio Personal Firewall (reverts to freeware version after the first 30 days of use)
Spyware - Spybot Search and Destroy
General Maintainence - CCleaner
Browser - Opera

These are all installed in folks machines I maintain.
posted by bigmusic at 5:02 PM on December 17, 2006

a suite was asked for - system suite pro includes sygate firewall and trend anti-virus, etc.
posted by uspommie at 9:43 PM on December 17, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good advice. I'll look into AVG for anti-virus. I've downloaded Spybot as well, and was thankful that it found only a few tracking cookies and nothing worse. I already use Firefox. I'll look into Windows Defender too. I still need to think about firewalls. Without the McAfee firewall, I'll need to turn the XP firewall back on and hope that, plus the firewall in the router, do the trick. I really hate troubleshooting firewall problems, so I'm reluctant to make any changes to my setup in that regard (but will have to if I ditch McAfee).
posted by Joleta at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2006

Bullguard ( is a legit AV/spyware/firewall solution. I have used it for 2 years and never had a problem on my system. You can also back data up online as part of your membership.
posted by ro50 at 11:18 AM on December 18, 2006

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