I've had a few questions about anti-virus software lately.
Some about "expiring AVG", and others about Norton or McAfee
AVG users: The free version is NOT running out. But you need to upgrade to 7.5 of the software.
The regular website 'hides' the free version, but here is the direct link for it: AVG Free AntiVirus
Just download to your desktop (or wherever you download files) and run the setup program.
If you want to buy it, that's fine. It's still half the price of Norton. Get the Pro version here

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Norton or McAfee users: Dump those pigs when you get a chance. They slow down your computer.
You will be amazed at how much quicker the computer runs after removing Norton.
Note that once your remove Norton, you need to install AVG immediately. Do not risk any browsing the web.
Steps
  1. follow link above for AVG free and download software. Do not run yet, but remember where the software is. (desktop or /My Downloads/?)
  2. Go to Control Panel... Add/Remove Programs
  3. Remove Norton AntiVirus
    If it's part of a whole Internet Security package, I would suggest getting rid of it all and use some other software like AVG spyware or firewall stuff. But, I leave that up to you.

    After removing Norton:
  4. Install AVG. (Do not browse the internet or check email until you have AVG installed!)
You should notice some speed difference in startup, and general screen refreshings.
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Why is Norton/McAfee bad?

Well, they are not bad. They are very good, and they are the leaders. However... they get way deep into the system, slowing down everything. Imagine string getting into your propellers. You still move forward but you feel a little sluggish.
Removing Norton sometimes takes 15 minutes and 2 or 3 reboots. That's how entrenched it gets. You also have to remove LiveUpdate, since Norton doesn't always feel it's necessary to remove everything related to Norton when you ask. You're just 'supposed to know' that LiveUpdate is Norton related.
If you are happy with Norton/McAfee, or whatever your current anti-virus protection, that's fine. I'm not saying you're an idiot or anything. Just pointing out the option that some of you had asked about. And, it's free. :) I have the paid version, and the only real difference I notice is that I get updates much quicker. The free version only updates once a day, while the paid version seems to check hourly.
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Anti-virus setup TIP

Email scanning --- don't bother.
  1. most viruses are NOT coming from email. They are coming from websites (Internet Explorer).
    [editors note: As of Jan 2007, there has been a huge increase in email viruses in the last couple weeks marking a shift in attack strategy]
  2. when a virus comes in through email, your software is still going to find the virus when you try to open the email, so you are still protected.
  3. putting those "Scanned by" footers on every email is a real pain, especially when you get an email that's been forwarded/replied to. Extra repeated footers can start to set off spam filters, but that's a completely other lengthy article to be written later.

If you do not have virus protection, or are not updating it (make sure it's on auto-update), then you might as well unplug you computer, slit the brake lines and go for a ride.

Brian