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Virus Protection And Its Downfalls


Virus Protection And Its Downfalls

by Oliver Schmid 

Over the last few month I noticed that my laptop (Dell Latitude D820 with 1GB RAM running XP Professional SP3) was getting slower and slower.  I deleted old apps I did not need anymore, ran CCLeaner to get rid of leftovers and to clean up the registry. I performed Virus scans, which did not come up with anything, performed Malware and Spamware scans as well as a Root-Kit Scan. Malware and Spamware came up with a few tracking cookies that were not quiet kosher, which I subsequently deleted. Then I defragmented  my hard disk using a program called ‘Defraggler‘, even an analysis came back that no defragmentation was required.

All this did not help. My system still was slow like hell and even seem to hang for an extended period of time. I had been monitoring the running processes for a while to see what has been using up my resources like memory and CPU and I can say that 99% of the time it was a McAfee process.

Another thing I had observed was that my laptop was getting very hot underneath.  I had installed a program called “I8kfanGUI”, which allows to monitor CPU temperature and manually or semi-manually operate the internal fans to cool the CPU down more frequently. Before I installed this program I had CPU temps of 69° C and higher. With “I8kFanGUI” I was able to bring it down to around 60° C.

When I realized that McAfee was putting such a load on my system, I uninstalled it and guess what … my system was just flying. No performance problems AND !!!   …. no hot CPU anymore. My CPU temp was always around 50°C.

Since I had successfully identified McAfee as the culprit I decided to stay away from it,  especially since I was due for a renewal anyway and decided to go with AVG Internet Security. I downloaded the free 30 day trial to test it and what a surprise … I was having the same problems and symptoms I had with McAfee.  I played around with the settings enabled and disabled various features, but it made no difference.

I may try some other virus protection later, but I fear that it will lead to the same result.

I don’t want to be without any protection at all, especially since my Internet connection is a broadband-cable connection (Time Warner Cable) and a scan of my external IP address range revealed a whole bunch of other computers I am sharing the bandwidth and the backbone with. In a matter of fact I was able to connect successfully to an unprotected home networks printer. I have behind my cable modem a Linksys switch on which I have all available security and blocking features turned on and enabled but this will not prevent viruses and spam/malware from coming through.

I was thinking of installing a proxy server and have Virus and Spy/Malware protection running on here. I hope this will make a difference and take the load of my laptop, but then again what am I going to do when I take my laptop somewhere else. Guess I am screwed for now and live with a slow and hot system.

If anybody has any other ideas or suggestion I would appreciate it if they could leave a comment on it.

Oliver Schmid
Update 08. Sept. 2010
I uninstalled AVG since it was as bad if not even worse than McAfee. 
Now I have since about 1 week VIPRE running as Firewall, Spyware Protection and Email Scans and I have not seen any performance related issue

What Virus Protection do you use?

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