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Back in the 90s, if you didn’t have Norton Anti-Virus, you probably had an infection on your computer. NAV was an integral part of using and maintaining these amazing new machines. But somewhere in the evolution of computing, Symantec, along with many of the others AV providers, lost their way. They forgot that the primary use for a computer was to be productive, and maybe have some fun. Not to use 70-80% of a PCs resources fighting intrusions. These programs grew bigger and bigger, bringing even the best of XP machines to a crawl at times. And when NAV would force you to upgrade to AV2006 on your vintage 2002 PC that was happily running AV2003 (with updated definitions of course), they forgot that your aging PC might not have the needed horsepower to handle all the new stuff they added (bloated) their application with. Fortunately, PCs have gotten faster and more powerful, because these AV programs have not stopped their forward march, rivaling Microsoft Office in size and installation time. Well, not all AV programs.

In 2008, my laptop became infected by a worm. Not sure what the intent of the infection was, but there were three .DLLs that would run continuously, sapping resources from my machine. I tried all the normal steps. Disconnected from the Internet. Disabled the files and deleted them. Searched through the registry and deleted every reference to the file names. Oh, and I should mention that I was running an updated version of NAV, all while this infection was taking root. Not a peep out the program that I thought always had my back. As soon as I reconnected my machine to the Web though, the files were back and my machine was running sluggish again.

I searched the file names for a solution and ran across a website with a tool called Prevx. They knew what the infection was and claimed that they could scan my machine for free, and rid me of my problem if I purchased their product. Being from Missouri in some previous life, I wasn’t sure if this was real or a scam, created by the same people who put those three files on my laptop. But after another two or three hours of research on Prevx, I decided to give it a try. The download and install took all of 5 minutes. And the initial scan was completed in about 10. There were my 3 nasty .DLLs, highlighted in red. With fire in my eyes, I pulled out my credit card and gave Prevx the $29.99 they requested. Prevx gave me some instructions on how they were going to proceed and off we went. An hour later, my infection was gone and now Prevx and NAV were standing guard over my PC. One of the big features of Prevx was that it could run alongside all the big name AV programs, so you didn’t have to remove one to add another. That single eradication event made me a believer. When my NAV was up for renewal, I didn’t bother. I protected my other machines with Prevx, disabling/removing my NAV. Also used Prevx on several friend’s machines who had become so bogged down running Norton or McAfee, that you had to wait a minute or two for the browser to open. After installing Prevx and disabling their other AV software, the machines came back to life. Simply amazing.

Fast forward to 2012. I picked up up a new Windows 8 desktop PC for home on launch day. And despite Windows Defender doing what it does, I installed my licensed copy of Prevx. It worked, but sort of didn’t, shutting itself off at times. When I contacted CS, I discovered that Prevx did not support Win 8. And to further complicate my life, Prevx had been sold to Webroot. After some back and forth negotiation, and to show their appreciation for my loyalty, I was given a 5 user license of Webroot Plus at no charge. Like Prevx, I knew nothing of this new AV program. But figured if Prevx was endorsing it, couldn’t be that bad.

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The downloadable file is only 700k and it installs in about two minutes. It runs so silently, and uses so few resources, I set the icon to be displayed on my Taskbar, and also have the actual daily scan popup on the screen while it’s running, just to make sure it is still working. Needless to say, everything has been perfect since day one. I am using the licenses on; my home desktop, my notebook, my tablet, my office PC (my company only buys things for free) & my nephew’s PC. Point is, you can use the licenses on any PC or MAC, regardless of who owns them; family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. Scans on my i7 desktop take about 2 minutes, while it might take 6-8 minutes on my office Pentium. In the past year I have gotten about a half dozen Webroot alerts, but nothing else. Peace of mind without slowing down an underpowered machine. What’s not to like about that.

Webroot just gave me a deal to re-up a month early; $59.99 for my 5 User Webroot Plus license, vs. the normal $69.99. That’s $12.00 per machine, or $0.03 per day to protect each machine. When you consider how much pain an infection can cause you, is this something you really need to think about. Windows Defender is good. This is better. If your PC isn’t protected today, or if you are running one of the other bloated AV programs that slows your machine down, you might want to give Webroot a try. The 30 day free trial only requires an email address. No credit card needed. And don’t give me any crap about how you shouldn’t need to pay for anti-virus protection. Do you change the oil in your car occasionally? That’s called maintenance. So is this.

I love some of the stuff displayed on the screen below. 436.6 billion system events scanned since install. SecureAnywhere has used 0.12% of your CPU since installation and 0.090% of disc space. Average scan time is 7.4 minutes (my old office Pentium machine).

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Webroot comes in three flavors; Basic AV, Webroot Plus, with some additional identity and mobile device protection, and Webroot Complete, which adds Cloud storage/backup. It’s also available in several license combinations, starting at $39.99 for 1 User-Basic, up to $79.99 for 5 User-Complete. There are also Webroot products for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Not sure how important or necessary they are though. You can find the boxed product at BestBuy, but otherwise you will likely only find Webroot online.

This link; http://www.webroot.com/us/en/ will take you to the main page where you can learn more about the product. Going unprotected in today’s world is not an option.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the info.
    I was under the impression that Windows 8 was supposed to take care of itself without additional AV protection.
    Am I wrong?

  2. Well, Windows Defender does load automatically be default. So anyone purchasing or upgrading to Windows 8 is protected out of the box. But not every AV program works the same. And although it would be in Microsoft’s best interest to stamp out all malware, worms and viruses, being a free product, not sure what level of resources the team has available to it.

    I have not been able to find out exactly how Webroot works. But Prevx, the now unavailable program I mentioned above, was made up of a bunch of white hat geeks around the world who would sniff out new infections. When they found one, they would collaborate to find a solution and then upload to Prevx, who would then deploy said solution to everyone’s machine completely in the background without you even knowing, often within hours of first detection. Symantec on the other hand would still be gathering initial data, determining risk, developing a solution, and then pushing out a definitions update typically in a weekly batch. That early detection is what made Prevx special. Hopefully Webroot is following a similar model, but I don’t know for sure.

    What I do know though is Windows 8 will only allow you to run one AV program at a time. So, if you install Webroot, or any other product, Windows Defender will be disabled. This is designed to minimize excess resources being committed to the same task. Webroot, along with other products, do some additional things like; identifying unsafe links before you click, prevent programs from changing settings, blocking phishing attacks, encrypting user names, passwords and CC numbers, etc. Most users may do fine with Windows Defender installed, but if you have kids who tend to click on everything, or you are always looking for something for free, your machine may get whacked before long. I like to always take pro-active approach to things like this.

    • Thank You.
      I have McAfee available as part of my cable subscription. I wondered why Windows Defender kept getting disabled.
      I will keep your recommendation in mind.

  3. “Back in the 90s, if you didn’t have Norton Anti-Virus, you probably had an infection on your computer.”

    That or you weren’t surfing porn and downloading files illegally. Never run any AV software myself. You could always do what we used to do in my house to the common room PC. Deep Freeze that bitch and only leave a small thaw space for saving and stream everything to it. Left it open in the living room for people to do their naughty business and it worked great. Also a great public shaming tool.

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