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Do you absolutely need Anti-Virus (even on Windows)?

© December 2008 Anthony Lawrence

Forget about OS X and Linux. I'm talking Windows here. Obviously the Internet is saturated (as in dripping) with Windows malware and virii. I couldn't possibly be suggesting that any sane person would run without A/V software installed, could I?

Well, no.. except..

Suppose it's me. I don't use Windows, but say that I did. I'd be running Firefox, obviously. I'd have the NoScript plugin at the very least. I don't browse porn sites. When people send me email with "You gotta see this!" attachments, I don't gotta and I don't open them or even download them. Even on OS X, I just delete that stuff. I don't "gotta" see it.

When they send me website links, I might follow through, but it depends. If it's some supposedly hilarious thing that everybody is talking about, well, probably not. Even on my Mac, I'm less likely to visit anything like that. I'll never open or visit any electronic "greeting card" either. Thanks for thinking of me, I'm sure it was really cute, I didn't open it.

So would I really need A/V software? I don't know - I'd probably install it, but sheesh: anti-virus slows everything down to a crawl.. I'd hate running it. I'm really not sure what I'd do if I were stuck running Windows (you know, after Microsoft gets Congress to pass a law making everything else illegal). I guess I'd be a good little boy and run A/V, but..

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Do you absolutely need Anti-Virus (even on Windows)?


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Sat Dec 27 18:23:31 2008: 4986   BrettLegree

My work machine is running XP (yay) and it has the scourge of McAfee on it (double yay), so not much I can do there.

I have one XP machine on my network right now (but perhaps not for long - I don't need it anymore now that my workplace has *finally* upgraded the VPN) - I have Clamwin installed on it, which is fully manual, so it only runs when I ask it to run. Once in a while if I'm bored I check for viruses, and I've never found anything.

Then again, I run Firefox and don't go to nefarious sites or open weird stuff from my email.

I think if you're smart (and back up stuff) you can do pretty well without it.

Sat Dec 27 21:08:27 2008: 4989   KirkM

Hi Tony,

I've been running Windows (and MS DOS before Windows) as my main OS just about forever it seems although I've worked with Linux now and then. Currently I'm running XP SP3 which I faithfully keep updated. And as to the question as to whether use an anti-virus/malware program on Windows I have to say, absolutely! But there's no reason for the security to slow down your system nor do you have to pay for that dubious privilege either.

The point is that I find it singularly ironic that the "paid for" Internet Security suites such as McAffee, Norton and others are the massively bloated pieces of software that not only slow down your performance but end up invading your OS like a mongol horde rather than working in harmony with it.

I've been running two pieces of software that make up my "Internet security suite" that provide equal if not greater protection than the ones you have to pay for and any hit on performance is negligible. Plus both are well known and free of charge.

Unfortunately, as long as Windows holds the majority of the market the OS is going to remain the biggest target (no dig here, simply a statement). And as long as people are...well...people (Windows' or any OS' weakest point) the Windows OS will always need to have protection installed.

My two cents.

Sun Dec 28 01:23:48 2008: 4990   TonyLawrence

Ayup.. I'm sure you are right.


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