I fired my anti-virus software yesterday.

It was a long time coming, and I’m a little sad about it.  But it was clear that we were not satisfying each others needs.  It needed way more computing resources than I could provide, and I needed something to catch me in the case that I should slip and get an infection, but, otherwise, to stay out of my way.

A while back, I shut off most of its services, because I didn’t need it checking every single email that was coming in (I don’t run attachments on email that are potentially infected, and my mail client’s configuration makes it rather clear where the incoming threats are), nor did I need it checking every web page I loaded for viral content, or doing full system scans daily.  I posted about this on my FB at the time, because it was slogging my system down to the point it was virtually unusable, and turning those services off helped a lot.

Well, yesterday, it installed an update, and I came home to find it nagging me to reboot my machine so it could finish the installation.  Rebooting my system brings a high probability that my wireless card will not turn on, so I avoided this nagging pretty effectively, but soon found that my system was running suspiciously slow (it took 30 minutes to be able to scroll down on a web-page I was trying to read, while I did my best to identify the problem causing this slow-down).  I checked Task Man, and found my antivirus program was running all of those services I had turned off, and, when I shut them down in Task Man, they would automatically restart.

This does not work for me.  My computer belongs to me, not to my anti-virus software.  If I want something turned off, it needs to stay off.  I couldn’t get the user interface to load in less than 20 minutes, so, while it was trying to load that, I selected the “uninstall” option.  It took some time to get it all done, and it took three reboots to get my wireless turned on again, but now it’s gone, and my performance is much higher again.

I don’t recommend uninstalling anti-virus software.  I do recommend learning enough about your computer, your computing habits, and high-risk behaviors that put you at risk.  For me, with my habits, and my awareness of security risks on computers, the anti-virus package I was using wasn’t worth the price, even though it was a free license (as in beer, not as in speech).  As it was, I used anti-virus software for nearly two years on this machine, never once finding a virus or piece of malware running on my computer.  That’s more than I have ever used a program like that, and I still have a pretty comprehensive firewall program running, and a good hardware firewall as well.  I’m not being irresponsible — I’m being realistic.

6 thoughts on “I fired my anti-virus software yesterday.

  1. Hi,

    There are several free (as in no payment required) virus software packages. But anyway, as it’s fair to assume you’re running the unfortunate virus we call Micro$oft Windoze, I recommend that if at all possible you reinstall your windows. A clean install will make your machine boot up in about a quarter of the time it takes now, and then run even faster than that.

    If you want more advice, go ahead and ask.

  2. Velska — Nice to meet you. Thanks for this. It’s nice to have a comment that I need to approve, rather than report as spam. I’ll be checking out your blog as well.

    I don’t have the option of reinstalling Windows — I never got install cds with the machine. It came preinstalled and registered, and that was fine with me. My next install is likely to be Kubuntu, once I get it working with the video driver and the wireless card, but I haven’t got to that yet. I’ve enjoyed the variety of software things I can do under Window, but my heart really belongs to Linux.

    I would consider some kind of performance enhancing software (registry rebuilder, etc.), and would even pay for one that’s not too pricey and safe (although an interface that’s not insulting would be nice). Especially because it’s crashing about daily now.

  3. That was music to my ears and heart. I totally am with Free Software. I run Fedora and Ubuntu, and I like Gnome better than KDE, but that’s a matter of taste, although you’ll find plenty of people who’ll argue endlessly over different desktops’ merits.

    Which video card and wireless do you have?

  4. You didn’t say which antivirus program you were using, but the best known programs that have to be bought are notorious for being resource hogs. Ironically, there are a few free programs that do just as good a job (if not better) than the ones you have to pay for, with comparatively little resource consumption.

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