It’s a fact that Windows users must have an antivirus program.  No big surprise here.  Sure, if you NEVER exhibit behavior that might subject you to virus activity, you might be able to get away without a program, but let us all get real. What is that behavior?

In the spirit of keeping it real, the reality is that only fools venture into cyberspace without an antivirus and overall anti-malware safety net.  Further, it is my concerted view that I am done, finished and not satisfied with freeware for this purpose.

Get over the fact that such software is a necessity on Windows computers. I’m as sorry as the next person that the need exists, but this, as with so many other things in life, is beyond our capability to control on our own.  For the record, as a Mac-preferred computer user, sure, I know that viruses are not an issue on Macs, that is, today they are not present and never have been a concern, yet I still recommend that Mac users pay for this “insurance” on their computers.  Whenever it is that day comes when crazy people with too much time on their hands unleash for Macs what they have been doing to the Windows world, I will already be protected.  I use and recommend ONLY Intego VirusBarrier X5 for Macs.

So, the question remains, what do I use and recommend for Windows computers?  After trying so very many of them, I come back to the one that has consistently been a favorite over the past few years and the one I recently re-installed – ESET NOD32.  It feels great to be back with THE winner!

If you want to stop now, please, be my guest. You already have the answer to the burning question as to which antivirus program to use on your Windows computer. This is likely all you need to know.  However, please also feel free to read more!

Like most of you, I want an antivirus program that does its work in the background and bothers me not!  I don’t want windows popping up asking me if this or that is OK.  How would I know?  Isn’t that why I am paying YOU?  If you ask, then you are assuming that I know to allow or disallow something.  I’m not that smart AND I have no interest in learning and making such decisions.  It ruins my enjoyment of the computing experience.  So, antivirus software, you know who you are, just leave me alone and do your job.  I play around on my computer and you protect me from myself and from outsiders who would do me harm through my computer. OK?  Ah, if only it was that easy!

And that leads me back to my old friend NOD32.  This software is the only one that consistently operates as I wish, as easily as I want, in the background, for the most part, and not bothering me with things about which I know nothing and can potentially do me harm by answering a query incorrectly.

As important as working in the background is not slowing me down, not making it apparent there is something going on that is not allowing me to work or play on the computer at full speed. Here, too, ESET NOD32 Antivirus  shines.  I notice NO ill effects from its presence, even on an aging Windows laptop running Windows XP.  Speed appears to be just about the same with or without NOD32 installed.  However, I feel much better for its presence and I know I am protected from viruses AND from spyware.  On my speedy Mac Pro running Windows, I just cannot detect it’s even there.

Downloading and installing proves absolutely painless.  Go to their Website at www.eset.com and choose the free trial of ESET NOD32 Antivirus from the link on that page.  You might as well get the benefit of 30 free days of use, right? I know you will like it.

On the next page presented when you click for the free trial, you will see choices to click.  You’ll also see the admonition to uninstall current antivirus software before installing NOD32, but after downloading the software. They also present a link that helps users find the proper uninstallers for several of the other major players in the field.  Be sure to do just that, then restart.

Clicking the free trial link gets users to a page where information is entered for the final step, which is to email a link for downloading the product.

Notice, too, that there is a link for their other consumer program called ESET Smart Security 4.  I prefer their “regular” version of Antivirus 4, thank you.  More on this in a moment.

So, now we are up to downloading, installing and using NOD32 Antivirus.  As you will see, it’s easy and painless, exactly why I like it so much.

When it comes to purchasing the software, you will note several plans are available, from one user, one year for $40 to four users for two years for $144, and everything in between.

Why don’t I recommend their Smart Security product?  This product is more robust in its offering, adding firewall protection and email antispam protection.  I don’t feel the need for the firewall as I am behind the firewall provided by my router, a piece of hardware that most of you have.  Away from home base, I can always turn on the Windows Firewall manually. As for antispam, I do not need it because I am behind a product owned by Google called Postini, their own antispam protection for those of us using it commercially and for all basic users of Gmail.  In addition, depending upon how it is you get and use email, you, too, may already be afforded this protection.  For example, if you use Web-based email, such as from AOL, Yahoo, Gmail and so on, they do the heavy lifting on their end, stopping much of the spam.  In short, this protection is not one that many of us need and it may not even work with what you currently use for your email.  I cannot provide a definitive statement for you because there are too many variables.

In my experience, ESET Smart Security presented me with choices I do not want to have to deal with.  Choosing their “learning mode” in which the software learns over time can mitigate many of these intrusions.  Geeks and tweaks may do just fine with this process, but I submit that most consumers just do not want to be bothered.  Sure, it learns from patterns, asking if the user wants the same answer applied each time the same “issue” or question occurs. This can become tedious and I just don’t want to have to work that hard at playing.  Don’t you feel the same?  Please let me know if you differ.  With their Smart Security product, I found that I was also unable to send email.  Another setting to find and correct. I was not interested in more to learn and adjust. I uninstalled that version and installed their tried-and-true ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 trial version and all was right with the world.  At the end of the 30 free days, I entered my code from purchasing the product.

I can tell you that their Smart Security product is just fine for those who want to spend the extra time with it.  It’s just not my choice.

That’s about it, folks. I say stop fooling around with this stuff, trying this one and that one, free or not. How much do you value your time?  Unless you are gleeful about your current antivirus software, go with the one I know absolutely will do the job and not bother you.  Go with ESET NOD32, the best antivirus program you’ve never heard of!

For those who want to know more, here’s more.  NOD32 protects users email, incoming and outgoing.  NOD32 also protects against viruses that are new and may not have been caught.  That is, the software looks for certain common irregularities in files that could portend problems and isolates the files to prevent spreading malware and to prevent the file from potentially damaging the user’s computer.

Computer users at home and in offices are generally behind a hardware firewall.  That is, there is (or should be) a router between the computer and the Internet. The router is a device that generally prevents intrusion from the outside that could allow nasty incoming malware, exclusive of what would come via email.  In other words, users behind the firewall provided by a router do not need to routinely use the Windows firewall or any other.  Travelers who venture outside and may expose themselves to incoming nasties can always go into their Windows settings to enable the Windows firewall and then disable it when back at a friendly location where there is protection behind a router.

The above is what I do.  In no way is this to be construed as the absolute best advice for YOU.  No one can make an absolute statement as to what YOU should do because, well, your situation is different from others and mine.  What I can say is that were I you, I would ask others in whom you have trust and confidence for a general consensus.  These others must know your setup, the way you get online and the way you do your email.  With that knowledge and opinion in hand, I would take a stand.  Finally, if still not certain, I would get my info succinctly at hand.  I’d write down how it is I connect to the Internet – either directly through a wired modem with or without a router, or if I am wireless via a router.  I’d write down how and where I user the Internet – I am online only at home or at home and away from home, providing info about both.  When away from home, are you using Wi-Fi at hot spots and/or at an office or at a friend’s home, perhaps also in hotels?  Once I had gathered and documented all this info, I’d make one call, for example, to ESET at 1-866-343-ESET (3738).  Be prepared to spend some time on hold.  Then, when the nice ESET person comes to the phone, ask your succinct question about which version of their product is best for you, least intrusive and ideal for your circumstance.  The alternative is to just go with their good ‘ol NOD32 Antivirus product.

Is there anything not to like in the program?  I have just one personal issue.  By default, every incoming email on my Windows PC that is protected by NOD32 has added to the bottom that the email has been scanned and is safe along with the mention of ESET NOD32.  This is what is added:

__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 4152 (20090612) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com

 

I like the product just fine, but I am not interested in appending each and every email I get and send out with the information above.  It’s not that just one of these messages appears.  If you are going back and forth with comments in emails, every time one comes in it shows it is checked, adding one more message as above to the string at the bottom of that back-and-forth email.  Well, I think that’s just too much.   I know I am protected and I don’t need to clutter my email with more than the drivel I write therein!  So, I went into the settings and disabled this notification with instructions found here: http://kb.eset.com/esetkb/index?page=content&id=SOLN2105.  Now, it’s perfect!

If and when I find something better, cheaper, faster than NOD32, I will gladly use it and recommend it to you. As it stands, NOD32 works and is an award-winning solution, so why try and reinvent the wheel?  The only way I would change is for something proven as good and effective, which NOD32 has been shown to be as good as can be, and for something that has even less impact on day-to-day computing.  I don’t notice any degradation in performance now, so how would I see an improvement with another product?  The final criterion is that this ethereal, mythical better Windows antivirus would have to be significantly less expensive, even free. It could happen!

So, until I find something better than NOD32, I have better things to do than to worry about Windows viruses and other malware.  Don’t you?  I am proud to be protected by ESET NOD32!  Try it, please, FREE for 30 days and I know you will agree, then purchase the software and be better for the experience.

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