More on AVG and Symantec

Interesting article on the Lockergnome blogs: AVG Announces Free One-Year License For Faulty Code.

It would appear that AVG was showing false positive results for genuine Windows files.  I experienced that too with both Windows files and WinAmp Pro, which after one AVG update told me was a virus or trojan.

Worryingly, after I moved to Symantec Norton Anti Virus 2009 it identified a couple of files as containing trojans, that I know I scanned with AVG after downloading and AVG falsely informed me were clean.

So far, I’m having a good experience with Norton Anti Virus 2009.  Good work Team Symantec!

Norton AntiVirus 2009 beta

Last month I got an email from someone who works with Symantec, the company that produces Norton AntiVirus, inviting me to be involved in their beta programme for Norton AntiVirus 2009.

No way! I thought initially. The reason that I moved away from Norton AntiVirus to AVG Free was due to the relatively massive hit on system resources that Norton imposed on my PC system.  It definitely slowed things down.

So I did a bit of reading and was delighted to read that Symantec have

The 2009 releases of Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus were engineered to be fast, and light on system resources.

Reading on:

Norton AntiVirus 2009 provides fast and up-to-the-minute defence against all types of malicious software. It keeps your system protected without slowing it down.

New in 2009!

  • Innovative new architecture dramatically reduces the boot time impact, the scan time, the memory usage as well as the system footprint and the install time
  • Smart Idle Time Scheduler runs quietly in the background to let you work and play without disruption
  • Silent-Mode ensures your games and movies are never interrupted by alerts and security updates

It looks like Symantec have been listening to their users.  I’m going to give the beta a go and see what it’s like. I am very hopeful to be honest; other than the performance hit of previous versions I did like Norton AV.

What will be interesting is to compare the update file sizes compared with AVG Free, which is normally < 200-300 KB, so fabulously lightweight.

Update

Unfortunately … as soon as I tried to download the beta I got this message:

Thank you ... A system error has occurred.
Thank you … A system error has occurred.

Update 2

It took me about an hour but I was able to download the installation file.

Well, technically it wasn’t me.  It was Symantec Technical Support who connected to my PC via Remote Desktop and downloaded it from a different location, which was pretty poor show to be honest.

Tech support were okay — not very chatty, it must be said, and didn’t really keep me informed very well about what they were doing, but we got there in the end. Even if the whole process from looking up their tech support details to finishing the call took about an hour.

What he did was open the download page in my browser, asked me to enter my details, then he clicked the “Continue” button and watched the same error message that I’d got.

The conversation then went like this:

Mr Gareth Saunders: In good technical support tradition it would appear that the fault is at your end. 😉
Tech Support: Please wait

Viewers of BBC Scotland’s Chewin’ the Fat will likely be making some kind of “oooh!” sound while wiggling their fingers underneath their chin at this point!

So now I have the beta downloaded … it’s time for bed.

Seemingly it lasts for 7 days after which you have to install the latest build, I was told.

But from where?! Wasn’t the whole issue to do with the fact that I couldn’t download the latest build?

Mr Gareth Saunders: What else will I require to install it?  Do I require a licence key for this?
Tech Support: you can use it for 7 days and then you can install the latest build
Mr Gareth Saunders: Ok — and will it tell me where I can download the latest build?
Tech Support: You can contact us from the support option from the program and we will do that for you

I hope that part doesn’t involve Remote Desktop because I’m not happy giving control of my PC to software company tech support teams more than once a year!

My earlier feeling of hopefulness about Norton AntiVirus 2009 Beta is slowly draining away, I’m sorry to report.  Perhaps that’s my exhaustion speaking.

XP Tweak Guide and AVG

Nice to see that the excellent TweakGuides Tweaking Companions for Windows XP and Vista by Koroush Ghazi have been updated. Included in the update is advice on installing AVG Free 8.0 (antivirus software).

What’s not included is the switch to ensure that LinkScanner isn’t installed.

Having used AVG for a couple of weeks, I’ve found it to be a good upgrade from AVG Free 7.5, it’s just a shame that there is no longer an option to disable alerts about disabled components.

If I have decided to switch off Resident Shield, for example, I don’t want to see an error icon in the notification area (system tray) saying that one of the components isn’t configured correctly. That was one feature that I really liked about version 7.5 that’s sadly been removed from 8.0.

Upgrading to AVG Free 8.0

Today I upgraded my anti-virus protection to AVG Free 8.0 (from version 7.5).

I upgraded on another computer yesterday, which went well but I discovered that I didn’t really like the LinkScanner component installed.

So I disabled LinkScanner and discovered to my disappointment that the status icon in the notification area showed an error. At least in version 7.5 you could switch off error messages from particular components.

The AVG Free FAQ page, however, provides the answer and this is what I did:

  1. Download AVG Free 8.0
  2. Rename the downloaded file to something simple like avg.exe
  3. Move it to the root of the C: drive
  4. Create a shortcut to avg.exe on the desktop
  5. Edit the shortcut to read: c:avg.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch
  6. Double-click the shortcut to run the installer

Now AVG Free 8.0 will install without the LinkScanner component installed.

Update

I’ve just tested it and this method will also work if you already have AVG Free 8.0 installed with the LinkScanner.  By running the installer again but with the REMOVE_FEATURE switches it will update your installation to remove the LinkScanner component.