Discussion in 'Application Software' started by Josh Cell, Feb 23, 2012.
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Precisely the reason why you should always go for a custom install and go over every option that you can check or uncheck.
Not only Avast has this "Install Chrome feature", but Defraggler and CCleaner as well.
When I updated to Avast 7.0.1407 I had to uncheck this too. And there was another selection box cleverly hidden. An option to join the Avast community. Checked by default.
Along with the (sometimes) automatic installation of Chrome, there have been a number of issues/bugs related to Avast 7 (now 7.0.1426).
1. The registration server was causing a variety of problems, although this might now be fixed. And since the product could not be used without having completed the registration process, it was leaving people without a/v protection.
2. There were so many bugs with the first release that a beta, a "bug fix" utility, and another release have all been issued within a 3 week period. Some of the problems encountered by users have been severe enough that they've had to either re-install their OSs or take their computers in to shops to be fixed. Even short of that, the product had to be uninstalled using their own uninstall utility, and then a fresh reinstall had to be done. This occured frequently over the past 3 weeks.
3. The EULA has changed, possibly to accommodate the new "Cloud" features, and some of the privacy terms are vague at best.
4. The update servers have been overloaded and have been causing very inconsistent results the past several weeks. That should straighten out once the majority of users upgrade to the new version.
5. There was an absolute refusal to provide an official link on the Avast page to the previous stable working version -- 6.0.1367.
6. Posters who questioned both the bugs in the current release(s), and/or why v 6.0.1367 was not being made officially available for users who wanted to go back to the previous version were harassed on the Avast forum site.
7. One of the releases had a "bug" that was phoning home even when all of the "Cloud" and/or "Community" features were turned off.
8. People who had Chrome installed without their consent reported that Chrome did not totally uninstall itself when using the Windows Add/Remove utility. A third party uninstaller, like Revo, was necessary.
9. The latest release requires that users, even of the Free version, create an Avast account in order to be able to use the program. This requires a password and a Captcha to complete.
10. Avast uses iYogi as part of their support network. A lot of users have reported problems using that service. Specifically, they would call with a problem and be pushed towards purchasing "Advanced Service" for $160. When they refused, they were disconnected. Even the Avast faithful have voiced opposition to Avast using iYogi as part of the support network, which, for lack of a better term, is a scam outfit at best.
11. Tests have shown that Avast is no longer the best free A/V product when it comes to protecting one's computer(s).
I'd used Avast for several years, but given the current mess, I chose to use something else, at least until they get everything straightened out. As always...your mileage may vary.
I can confirm this. After updating from 6 to Avast 7 (7.0.1407) problems started showing up. The most annoying one was that Windows kept insisting I had no AV installed (and so offered me -through Windows Update- to download and install MSE).
But Avast was running on my machine.
A part of Avast that uses Flash to display information said I needed to install Flash, when clearly Flash was already installed.
More things like this happened, so I decided to completely remove Avast and do a fresh reinstall. That solved all my problems.
Didn't update to Avast 7 on my other computers though. Simply removed the old Avast and installed the new. Just to avoid having to fix problems later.
I haven't given up yet.
Right now I'm going to update from 7.0.1407 to 7.0.1426, and hope for the best. If things do go wrong again however, I too might say goodbye to Avast after several years.
One thing is missing in your list of complaints. If you have a folder that contains many large .exe-files (I place all game-installers in 1 folder), you'll notice the following after selecting it with Windows Explorer:
- Your drive will start spinning wildly,
- You'll probably see that Explorer is "not responding",
- It could take (depending on the amount of data) quite some time for the icons to appear.
Apparantly a new Avast-feature. Fortunately it only does this the first time a folder is selected after installing Avast 7.
I too am thinking of looking elsewhere for an AV. (Thanks to OldAndCranky for that list!) I am personally concerned about the security of AVAST at this point with the cloud features, which I do not want and disabled (maybe futilely so!), and also now the remote assistance module. I use TeamViewer for remote networking, (free for personal use), and keep the program closed unless I am using it. AVAST runs in the background and I have no idea if the remote module is secure or not. It could be vulnerable to hackers, it could have a back door, or it could be buggy for all I know. I don't want remote networking built into my AV, even though I can see how people would think it is a cool feature if they don't know about TeamViewer and don't understand the potential security risks (if any exist, and I would guess there has to be SOME risk to having that module included).
So I am very interested in #11 on your list, OldAndCranky.... and am going to go see what is topping AVAST these days... what are you considering??
Don't laugh, but right now I'm using MSE and the Windows 7 built in firewall. I went to GRC and this combo passed every single test in total stealth mode with flying colors. I run Spywareblaster, Spybot S&D (not in tea timer mode, though) do frequent Malwarebytes & Comodo Cleaning Essentials scans, and everything is clean as a whistle. I also do very regular system image backups (full + differential).
I've been using MSE now for 3+ weeks -- ever since I uninstalled Avast -- without a hitch. I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive at first, switching to MSE. But I'd seen a number of other people switching to MSE, and so far, so good. It just runs politely in the background without any of the nonsense associated with the new Avast. It updates its virus sigs automatically, and will run the usual array of automatic scans that can be scheduled daily, weekly, etc.
I did consider rolling back to the previous stable working version of Avast. But honestly...I lost so much respect for that company after what I saw happen since the new release that I decided to go with MSE instead. Another option was Webroot SecureAnywhare. I had a disk that I'd gotten with a laptop purchase at BestBuy sitting on the shelf, and I'd read some good things about that product, but frankly, I'm still leery of Cloud-based products.
I'm also considering using the free version of Sandboxie, to provide an additional security layer, but I want to read more about it first before installing it (i.e. the FAQs and tutorials on their website). It looks like a great product, but anything that integrates that deeply into the system can cause unexpected problems. I'm not concerned about any back door issues with Sanboxie; just potential conflicts with browsers, other programs, etc. Sandboxie is a very robust program, and as such, I'm treading very lightly. But it has a lot of potential, and a lot of people use it and like it. It'd be a great addition to the security arsenal if/when I ever figure out how to use it correctly. I think most of the problems people run into with Sandboxie are more of the "user error" variety, so I'm trying to familiarize myself as much as possible before installing and running it, to keep any problems to the bare minimum. What impressed me the most about Sandboxie, along with the benefits the program brings, was how well the author of Sandboxie supports and troubleshoots his product. He's helpful and honest in his responses to the issues people have had with his product. I found quite the opposite to be true with regard to Avast. Their forum is inundated with bullies, excuse makers, and shills. And I simply will not tolerate that in any product, especially a security product.
As an update to the automatic Chrome installation issue, a post in a thread at Wilders Security: Wilders Security Forums>Security Products>other anti-virus software, entitled "avast! 7.0 released" (I can't post the link because I don't have enough posts on this forum.) might shed some light on the problem. Look at post #456. It clearly shows 2 different installation screens. 1 has NO options regarding the installation of Chrome, and one has the opt-in check boxes already checked. Another issue is whether or not the "3rd" option (Custom install) is a separate option, or part of the "Compatible Install" option. If, in fact, the "Custom install" option is separate, you can see that it's obviously much smaller than the other two options, and could easily be missed. Kinda sneaky, isn't it?
Good, thorough, balanced post, Zepp. I've found the same sort of "all over the place" reviews as well. That's why, for the time being, I decided to take the route that's causing the least amount of headaches. By the same token, I rely very heavily on daily or every other day system backups (my data is never a problem on my laptop -- it's backed up in several places). So if something goes south, I either hit the Paragon shortcut on my desktop, or pop in the Paragon restore disk if things have REALLY gone south. And in 15 minutes, I'm back in time a day or so. I've been using that approach now going on 10 years, and it's never failed (fortunately, I've never had anything worm its way into the BIOS)
I also use WOT and don't go to any yellow or red sites. I'm also very particular about opening up emails.
Aside from that, I'd rather just use the laptop for fun, and not for endless tweaking of programs that are not behaving well.
I hear that. That's why I stuck Ubuntu on my Mother's computer, so I'd have one less machine to futz over.
Yeah, for me it's Macrium (free) with backups going to an external; and TBird in text mode with Enigma for encryption.
I hear you. I would only caution against the built-in FW and opt for a two-way FW when you have time and are in the mood... something to consider anyway.
Of course it's good advice to go with a 2-way firewall. For many years I used one, and was comfortable with the "learning" process (clicking "yes" endlessly for all the programs I knew/used/trusted), and I knew how to configure it "just so". Then the company went out of business, and no longer supported it. So I gave it a decent burial, and haven't used one since. It might be time to give it another go. Thanks for the "motivation".
Update: I just checked the Win 7 firewall, and there are rules for outbound traffic as well as inbound. It's somewhat limited, but it can be customized/modified to a certain extent.
The other thing is, almost all software firewalls have inherent limitations. My feeling at this point is that with the NAT that's built into the FIOS modem/router and the current software I'm running, along with the backups, and the way I surf and deal with emails and program installations, I've got the best balance of protection and high functionality of my system. But things are always evolving and I'm always open to trying new things to help keep the balance "just right". (For example, I REALLY need to get more familiar/comfortable with Sandboxie. That would definitely give me an added layer of protection.)
Wow, that's great. Had no idea W7 had a 2-way FW. And yes, the NAT provides another layer of protection.
The important thing is that you feel comfortable with your setup. Balancing functionality and ease against threats is certainly a big factor. Plus no software is perfect anyway (FW, AV or otherwise). I always go with 'what feels best' after all the research is said and done... and you feel good about your setup so that's all that matters. If only there was a perfect solution, but there isn't!
As for Symantec AV 2012, I do not like at all that Norton makes every user create a "Norton Account" -- something that should be optional. (I have avoided it so far but if you use the product past the trial date an account is necessary, from what I gather.) I won't be keeping Symantec, but will look further into their free On Demand scanner to see it it's worth incorporating into my monthly ritual of OD AV scans.
Good continued luck with your setup!
(And Avast now requires the creation of an account as well. Just another reason I won't be using that program again.)
which is heavier on the system...MSE or Avast?
I removed Avast 7.xxx from my laptop so I have no idea how heavy or light it is on the system, but on my Win 7 Pro 32 bit laptop, MSE is using zero CPU's and is using around 31,000K memory in idle state. On my desktop, which is still running Avast 6.0.1367, the CPU's are zero, and the memory usage is around 21,000K in idle state. Running a quick scan with MSE, the CPU's were in the 10-15% range, and the memory was around 50,000K. After the scan, the CPU was 0, and the memory was around 34,000K. Running a quick scan on the desktop, the CPU's were in the 15-30% range, and the memory was in the 75,000-80,000K range. After the scan, the CPU returned to 0, and the memory was around 5,000K. So it seems as if MSE uses more memory in idle state, and Avast uses more CPU and memory when scanning.
Don't understand what you mean by that you always had to register avast free as for setting up an account you don't need to.