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My files are safe?

Anti-Virus is good business. There are so many companies fighting to get their anti-virus software on your computer, you might even think that they release viruses just to improve their revenue. But when you search around the web, you can actually find free anti-virus software. AntiVir Personal by Avira is one of the best examples. Its bigger brother was tested by c’t, which actually gave it a pretty good grade and ranked it before other better known software like Kaspersky or Norton. So why pay money if you get something better for free?

Anti-virus software protects your computer from viruses, but is it really that easy to get infected? In Windows XP, I’d say yes. There is nothing easier than getting a virus in XP by just using Internet Explorer. Whenever someone calls me and ask why his or her computer is extremely slow, I’d ask them if they use XP or Vista. If they say XP, I’d tell them they got a virus. Whereas when someone who using Windows Vista ask me that question, I’d say no problem, it’s just Windows installing updates. Vista doesn’t have many improvements, but there is one I find extremely important in this matter: User Account Control (UAC). Windows will always ask you if some application tries to access system files, so it’s very hard for viruses to get into your system because Windows will ask you explicitly whether you want that virus or not. But still, some installers might get infected, so there is still need for anti-virus software.

So what’s better? Something bloated with anti-spyware and prediction of whether some piece of software is good or bad? Or maybe something simple and fast which just checks against a small database? When an average guy installs anti-virus, they do it to prevent loss of data. Who would want their data overwritten by some stupid virus? So they go to the shop and want to best anti-virus software there is and live in their happy world where they think their data is safe… until the day their hard disk dies. And all their data is gone. Hard disks have an unpredictable life time. My Samsung hard disk I just sent yesterday in was produced April 2007 but still broke within one year usage! Luckily it was part of my RAID system. Come to think about it, anti-virus software even increases hard disk usage, making your hard disk break even faster. Under Vista, I’d even say it’s much more probable that your hard disk dies even before you would even get touched by a virus. So in the end, you still lost you data, paid money for nothing and wasted a tremendous amount of time waiting for your anti-virus to check through your files. So how do we solve that problem? Well, we need Backups and a failure tolerant system. And surprise! Windows does offer the backup part via Shadow Copy and a special backup tool, so the only thing needed would be a redundant system. A RAID 1 will do the trick, which might be even cheaper than the Super-Anti-Everything-Software. And it does what no anti-virus software can do: it improves the performance of your computer! Imagine that, your files safe and your computer faster! Wouldn’t that be great? So when you combine fast and simple anti-virus software with backups and redundant systems, you got the solution to keep your data safe.

So where is the simple and fast anti-virus software? Well, I use AntiVir Personal. It’s quite fast, and because it’s free, it has no useless junk like anti-spyware protection or whatever else other companies are promising their software can do better. Avira does it too by the way, with the bigger version, their anti-everything package. Did I mention that Windows Vista already comes with anti-spyware/malware software? It’s called windows Defender and does exact thing other anti-spyware software also do, only for free. So why should I run several different software which do the same thing making my computer even slower? Anyway, like I said before, any simple anti-virus software will keep your data safe. Why not use a free version if there is one available?

But because the software is free, it has a catch. Whenever the updater finishes, a Popup Window jumps out, advertising the paid version of Avira’s anti-virus software. This gets annoying pretty fast, which is also the reason I googled on how to make it disappear. And I found a solution, on Avira’s Support Forum.

One Response to “My files are safe?”

  1. Vlady:

    oh, gosh, i think that more antivirus programs u use, more viruses u have :)