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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Round and round we go with AVG.

I became a PAYING AVG customer almost 5 years ago after I became fed up with the performance of Nortons products. I read some of Peter Norton's books in university and considered him a true techie. Lending his name to the AV product created a great brand recognition for me. ...but in the end, the product really sucks. So I move to AVG - who at the time were becomming the techie choice.

But 5 years later it is AVG's turn to start sucking. It is like they aspire to be Norton! :-) Ever since I installed their latest version 9 - which I was required to do by their installer - I have had serious perfomance issues on my machine. The processor is more or less pegged at 40%. Just like the good old Norton days.

I contacted support who responded by:
1. Asking questions which were already answered in the initial ticket.
2. Giving me a list of standard things to try - which had the read the initial ticket should have been obvious that I already tried.

I didn't bother responding. Clearly it was going to be a lot of work on my end spent basically debugging their software.

...but wait, theirs more! Today, I recieved a survey request from AVG. Finally a chance to speak my mind. I filled out the form which was not about AVG products but the quality of support I received. ...to be fair, the support I received wasn't bad, it is just that I know more about what was going on then they did.

Anyway, I filled out the form and hit submit. Then, the final insult:

You gotta be kidding me!! Get it together AVG.


Ahhhh! :-) Funny but NOT so funny.

Thanks for sharing all details. We were also thinking whether ot not to use AVG (professional version). But the answer is clear now! :-)

If wondering, currently we don't have any antivirus installed in our network, except the standard Windows Defender/Security Essentials coming free from Microsoft (and the company is about to reach 2000 days of existence in January :-)). Basically we don't want to decrease the performance of our systems, and because we are in IT fild and have learned a lot in our experience about how things can stay secure by NOT using administrative accounts, even in Vista which is protected by UAC, we are doing just that: until now, no infection (hopefully it won't happen now just because I said it as in Murpy laws ;-)). We have had small issues such as an email attachmen trying to send email through our server after opening by mistake, but the problem stopped as soon as process was stopped: the virus couldn't actually get installed as it didn't have the permission being run from a basic user account.

Maybe some would say this is too risky, but hey, I can even trade 5 days of administrative work after a few years in case of a virus got into the network, plus maybe some work lost, with the virtually indefinite number of days won in performance of our computers during all this time! :-)

I have thought a lot about going the "no anti-virus" route. A lot. I don't even remember the last time my anti-virus found an actual virus. (AVG reports thing like tracking cookies as viruses all the time...but that is just fear-mongering.)

But. When I think about the truely nasty viruses... The ones which force you to reinstall everything or, much worse, give someone access to your machine or data. ...it makes me a bit parenoid. An anti-virus gives me piece of mind.

Security is an onion with many different layers. Any single layer is easilly circumvented. ...but as a whole it makes things difficult for the attacker. For me, anti-virus is a part of that system.

An important point here - I am not actually concerned with anti-virus effectiveness. I don't want "catches 100% of viruses - updates every 2 hours" software. I just want a little piece of mind. Which is why my emphasis as a customer is on performance not effectiveness.

If I were in the market today, I would take a serious look at Avast anti-virus. The trend seems to say that the best anti-virus is the one from the upstart. The company that has written a quick and dirty solution that works 80% of the time. ...as the years pass, they focus on the other 20% which is what gets them into trouble.

Btw: I fixed the performance problems mentioned in the blog post. It was easy. Just shut down all the extra AVG services except, basically, anti-virus and root kit I think. ...few others. The trouble with this solution is that as a paying customer I am now basically running the free version of their software.

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