Last year, I had purchased a one year subscription to Windows Live OneCare. I had tried it for thirty days, liked it and bought the one year subscription. I got it at Circuit City for ten bucks, on sale. The nice thing about it was that it could be installed on three computers. It has a bevy of options and does quite a few things. I could also manage my ‘circle’ from one computer and it let me know how the others were, as far as scans, over all ‘health’, etc. I really liked it, but it had a few things that puzzled me and I did not like. First, I was never really sure when it scanned or the frequency of the scans. I guess that I never could tell was good, that meant it was not obtrusive. On two of the computers, it always worked fine. On my wife’s Vista Basic machine, it started to act up once SP1 was installed. Over several months, the problem got worse and worse until I finally uninstalled it and put AVG free on the machine. That’s been upgraded and does quite a bit of what One Care does. So, last month, my one year subscription ran out. Not wanting to pay fifty bucks to renew the subscription, I uninstalled it and put AVG on the other two computers. I thought I’d wait until I found it cheap again. Don’t get me wrong, Live One Care is certainly a good product and, for most, is worth the fifty dollars. My problem with it is that we should not have to pay ANYTHING for a function that should be inherent to the operating system. The OS should protect itself. I’m willing to pay for the program-even fifty dollars-but to have to pay that every year is ridiculous.
AVG Free is a good anti-virus and has been upgraded to handle a little bit more. It adds-if you let it-a really cool tool bar and plug in to Firefox and Internet Explorer that lets you know the known status of a page, and adds that notification to Google. So, AVG Free works great, what’s the catch? Well, the catch is that you have little control over it. You cannot, for instance, schedule updates and scans more than once a day. Also, it scans all attached storage…which is a major problem for me. I have like six attached drives. AVG Free clocked over 18 hours scanning time and had not finished. What to do. Well, I was going to go back to One Care. But…I found AVG at a local big box warehouse for twenty five bucks. I’ve installed it and set up the updates and scans. So far, the system SEEMS a tad more responsive-which is purely psychological-and I feel a bit better by patronizing Grisoft. Oh, the package contains a two year subscription, so I don’t need to think about this again until 2010.
As for One Care, it is a great product, I just don’t care for the model. Too bad Microsoft could not put it’s functionality into Vista. Can you imagine the outcry THAT would cause? Symantec, I think, blew a gasket over the kernel…they’d go ballistic if Microsoft actually put into the OS what should have already been there. Sigh.