Antivirus for server OS at home?
March 11, 2007 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Is there a decent antivirus for MS server operating systems that doesn't cost a breathtaking amount?

One of my home machines was getting very crufty. I rebuilt it dual-boot--Ubuntu on one side and, on a wild hare, an old copy of Win 2000 server on the other. I figured I'd build a tiny mini-domain for the home network. When I reached the point of doing the security setup I discovered that the free AV I have been using won't run on 2000 server. They all see "server," assume I'm a business, and insist on a different (and not free) version. AVG Free won't run; AOL's free antivirus (by Kaspersky, and reputedly pretty good) won't run. Kaspersky's own lower-price home edition no support 2K or 2K3 server. Don't even mention Symantec or Macafee, I'm not Scrooge McDuck. I'm presently using ClamWin but the scheduled scans don't seem to be running; I have to fire off the scans manually. Are there any other affordable/effective choices?
posted by jfuller to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Try NOD32. It installed on my Win2K SBS machine without complaint.
posted by kindall at 6:00 PM on March 11, 2007

Same problem here. I used a CA Antivirus free one year trial (on my Server 2k3 Standard install), but when that expired....

Oh man, I'm about to get flamed, arent I? (deep breath)

So you know how most viruses and trojans are unleashed on a machine by the idiot sitting in front of it? Well, I never sit in front of my server, and all it does is serve files.

It's behind my router's hardware firewall, and with the stateful packet inspection going on there and the worm protection there as well...

Well, I've been running like this for something like two years now. I use RDP for administration, but I do *NOTHING* anywhere near consumerish on the box. No web browsing, no running executables, no, no, no, no.

And I've been fine. Maybe this approach will work for you?

(Cringing, waiting for flames.)
posted by SlyBevel at 7:02 PM on March 11, 2007

One more thing for future searchers looking for the answer to this in Server 2k3.

There's a utility called the Server 2003 to XP Conversion Pack.

There's an old version of it kicking around on the web out there that will do everything the current version does, but it will also change the OS ID in the reg from Server 2003 to XP, Build xxxx.

And this will make software think that you're no longer running a server OS.

But...It was ruled to be a pirate tool, so they removed that feature.

And I haven't tested any of this, so the "at-your-own-risk" type warnings apply.
posted by SlyBevel at 7:10 PM on March 11, 2007

Another good tool for Windows server machines is ProcessGuard, which will alert you if something you're not expecting to run starts to run and lets you stop it. You can use its basic functionality for free.
posted by kindall at 7:48 PM on March 11, 2007

Symantec Antivirus Corporate server edition.
posted by PowerCat at 7:53 PM on March 11, 2007

PowerCat, the OP is looking for something free.

Let's try reading the question first!
posted by SlyBevel at 7:59 PM on March 11, 2007

Avast. Free, excellent interface, install it al all of my (and my family's) machines1. It's actaully commercial software, but, as their site says,
Our company offers the Home Edition free of charge, since, in our
opinion, it is possible to avoid global virus spreading by efficient prevention; however, many users are not able to or do not want to pay for antivirus software

[1]Until I became enlightened like SlyBevel. Everyone else still uses it, but I've been anti-virus free on two machines for about a year with no problems.
posted by niles at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. Alas, the Avast site warns "This product cannot be installed on a server operating system (Windows NT/2000/2003 Server families)." NOD32 (Home and Home Office edition) does appear to be willing to install on servers, if I'm reading their site correctly. $39/year is within reach, I may give those guys a try.

> So you know how most viruses and trojans are unleashed on a machine by the idiot
> sitting in front of it? Well, I never sit in front of my server, and all it does is serve files.

I actually think you've got a point for real rack-mount servers behind a real firewall (or two of 'em with a DMZ in between, and a proxy server relaying web requests, and all that pro-style stuff.) However, the machine I'm talking about is not in a pro server environment. Though it's the domain controller for our little 3-seat domain it's also just another home PC where kids might sit down and randomly click links they found on myspace. I definitely feel the need for AV on it (along with Zonealarm and AdAware and Spybot and HijackThis.)

Thanks again, all!
posted by jfuller at 8:46 PM on March 11, 2007

You're absolutely right. While it's not necessarily a pro-specific solution, it only works if the server is dedicated to a purpose and does nothing else.

If there are kids clicking around on the machine, you need AV software, no question.

$40/yr is a good deal though, and if you're sure it will run on a server you should take it.

And please! Let us know if $40 worth of Avast does in fact run on a server OS. Inquiring minds want to know!
posted by SlyBevel at 8:55 PM on March 11, 2007

Don't write off the non-free versions of AVG; yes, they want at least US$84 for the network edition, but that's for a two-year licence for two computers. For three computers, they want $106 for two years, which still isn't bad. The network edition also gives you central administration and a little proxy server for local updates, which is probably overkill for a three-seat network but hey, if you're paying for it you may as well use it.

I chose AVG network edition for one of the schools I work in, mainly because other vendors couldn't beat AVG's prices, and I've been very happy with it (it found some viruses that our previous AV had missed, and the central admin stuff works nicely).
posted by flabdablet at 9:53 PM on March 11, 2007

Response by poster: P.S., I wrote:

> I definitely feel the need for AV on it (along with Zonealarm and AdAware and Spybot and HijackThis.)

Doesn't pertain to the original question but I'd just like to offer a hat tip to all these outfits for their long-term good work, with an extra gold star to Zonealarm and AdAware--these both have for-money versions but did not insist that I install one of them just because I'm running a server OS.
posted by jfuller at 9:39 AM on March 12, 2007

« Older neurostatus?   |   Stop Dreamweavers Contributions to Contribute Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.