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*~*~*~* PLEASE excuse the long intro, but I want to get an IMPORTANT message to all computer users in the of this FREE ANTI VIRUS program that is available to all in the UK, which I have to say from experience does a very efficient and effective job of protecting our system from nasty little computer cretins (viruses).*~*~*~* SKIP pass the intro if you wish, but if you are not sure of the damage a VIRUS or HACKER can do to your system then I would advise you to read all if want to know how vulnerable your computer really is! *~*~*~*
After the last few weeks we have had it's a wonder that we haven't smashed this computer to tiny pieces and gave up on the internet totally. It all started a few weeks ago when we downloaded KaZaA (a free download program, which we have now removed all traces of from our system) and become quite heavy users of the program, we would search for anything interesting, you name it, and I wouldn't be surprised if you came back with a result almost every search. We would do a search for anything really, then we would queue our downloads, and leave the machine unattended to get on with anything that needed to be done round the house or outside.
Perhaps a little stupid in the way that we have left our system open to all sorts of virus's and hackers that the descent users have had the misfortune of encountering at some stage. No worries we thought, we have the highly recommended famous 'Norton Anti Virus', we made it a high priority to do a virus scan at least once a week, made sure everything was enabled allowing round the clock protection for our system, and made sure that every update available for our 'Norton Anti Virus' was current and up to date by utilising not only the live updates but also the intelligent updates as well, thinking that would be enough.
Well unfortunately not even Norton did what I thought it was meant to do and that was protect our system, personally I thought it was fool proof, we never imagined for one instance that we would lose everything important to us, precious pictures that held special memories for us and all our children, but it happened. I know this may sound a bit wet to some, but the majority on heart will know where I am coming from, all those quirky pictures that we take, then pass on to our children, to pass on to their children, keeping the meaning of family alive, those once in a life snap shots, expressions and memories to look back on, you know the ones I mean, irreplaceable and very, very special. It is only lucky for us that we still hold some pictures that have been taken using our regular film loaded camera, losing all our digitally taken photos instead. Digital cameras are a wonderful creation, but if your computers fails for any reason, requiring a full format and a re-installation of your computers operating system and you didn't even think to save them to CD or floppy, like we did then they are lost forever.
Everything was fine with our computer one minute, then the next it kept restarting randomly but apart from that the systems performance was not negotiated in any way. That was until about two weeks later when our system failed miserably, having one of its temperamental fits of restarting, only this time it didn't restart in just refused to go any further than informing us that NTLDR was missing and requested the boot disk. We are not sure of the damaged caused but our system didn't want to recover using the boot disk, no matter how hard we tried. Eventually after trying everything we could to get our computer to recover we ended out needing to do a complete full format and re-install Windows XP all over again. Resulting in a loss of important documents, music files, home made video clips of our children, photos of our children and probably, a bit of every type of downloadable file available with the most hurtful loss being the photos.
The second time, still using Norton, still keeping up to date with updates, still doing regular scans (twice daily) and making sure everything auto i.e. live updates, email scanning enabled, and auto protect, was being utilised to its full capabilities. Hmm!! Capabilities, who am I trying to kid? We lost everything just a week prior to this; whilst our Norton was supposed to be protecting our system (don't you just hate Monday's?) a nice little virus had got into our system, undetected in any virus scans we did, or by Norton's auto protect shield. This little virus was quite a remarkable little b*****d, not happy like the last one with just messing with our boot record, this little s**t wanted to mess with every single program or file on our system, not just happy with exe files like most, messed everything up completely instead, nothing on our system would run without searching for a file to run it, but if that wasn't bad enough every search made to run any programs came up with missing file! Thinking to ourselves it would be ok, just do a Windows recovery, that should restore everything back to normal, but no even after a restore the programs still wouldn't run without this missing file it was looking for. This time round we were able to do a quick format without the loss of all the important programs, files, pictures etc we moved to D drive (partitioned) due to the losses a week prior. It got us so spooked the last time that we made sure we moved everything important, just in case, taking no chances of history repeating it's self.
After those two incidents we started to question the reliability of Norton Anti Virus programs and started to do quite a bit of research in regards to virus damage and what programs were available, then from various sources and forms, myself and perhaps many more found that there was a FREE anti virus program available that is capable of not only detecting a vast amounts of virus's going, but also the latest out break of the more recent and extremely damaging virus's about.
I wasn't really going to bother with it, well since Norton's scan left dangerous virus's un-noticed what chance in hell would a free program have? Then I thought to myself, if not backing up my important stuff in the past was stupid enough then not trying a program that's free to everyone in the UK (for all other European counties there is a fully functional 30 day trial version) with a computer who can access the internet would be an ever bigger stupid occurrence then any I have done before. So it was inevitable, a visit to the highly published link http://www.grisoft.com was in order, where I can obtain myself a free download of this much talked about program called AVG.
So What Is AVG? And Where You Can Download It For FREE -------------------------------------------------------------------
Who Are Grisoft? -------------------
Grisoft are an American based company that have been established for 4 years as a holding company but have focused on the developing of anti virus programs for over 10 years, and in 1991 saw the first ever release of AVG. They have undoubtedly had a huge success with the developed and launched anti virus software AVG that also handles heuristics whilst the program is running. So much so that they boast their AVG software available is an effective, simple and reliable program, which over the years has been developed and perfected by some of the best computer security experts in Europe.
About The AVG Software: ----------------------------
The software was first developed in 1991, and over the 11 years of its development has had numerous amount of changes, added functions, features and a huge database of virus definitions that has grown enormously that is compatible with MS/DOS, Windows 95/98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and Windows NT server 4.0. Unfortunately it will not be compatible with user who uses WebTV or Macintosh systems.
The program has also been tested and independently certified by ICSA (International Computer Security Association) an independent testing laboratory on a regular basis for the functionality and for 100% detection rate.
Scanning With AVG: ----------------------
With AVG like many other anti virus programs you can scan in a few ways to suit your preferences:
*Complete Test: A complete test will allow AVG to scan the entire hard drive/s in your system, it is very simple to use that even a computer software idiot like me can manage to get right.
*Custom Test: This will allow you to scan as little or as much of your system, files, folders etc, this is not as straightforward as the complete test but all the same is very easy to perform however.
*Media Test: With the media test you can scan all types of external media, such as floppy disk, CD ROM's, optical disk, external hard drives or any other external forms of media that's not installed on your system.
*Shell Extension: If you only want to scan just a few selected items at a time, you can by highlighting your items, right clicking and selecting 'Scan with AVG', a small version will then open up and begin to scan your file/s, whilst scanning if a virus is found it will alert you, and once completed all scanning it will tell you to run AVG to heal virus.
Scanning functions: ----------------------
*Scheduled Complete Test:
A nice scanning function of AVG is to be able to enable and customise scheduled scanning to suit. If enabled the virus scanning program will then automatically perform a complete test on the time set every 24 hours provided your computer is switch on at the set time.
Having the resident shield enabled allows your computer to be protected from any virus that may find its way onto your system, whether it's though visiting sites, emails or downloaded programs or files, what it does is basically checks all programs you use without your knowledge, in the same way that it checks downloads before allowing it on your system, and if a programs or file, etc are found to be suspicious or a virus it will prevent it from being used until virus is safely removed or healed.
With email being the main channel for the circulation of virus's it is only natural to want to be able to protect from dodgy emails with the useful aid of the email scanner, which if desired can be disabled if necessary, but I would personally recommend keeping it enabled and protecting your computer that bit extra. Having the email scanner enabled allows AVG to scan all incoming and out going mail provided you use either Outlook express email client, Exchange clients or Eudora email client, and if you wish it can also certify that incoming or outgoing email messages are virus free, with a special certification signature that can be customised to any certification signature desired.
What Virus's Can AVG Detect? ----------------------------------
Because AVG has been developed by using revolutionary technologies, over 10 years of experience with the knowledge of computer security, its detection rate in my opinion must be that of record. With AVG being able to scan all types of files, drives and media types, but not only that with it's built in heuristics analysis it is able to search for any unknown virus's around by analysing data for any in proper code, instructions or methods, which is usually the characteristics of a virus, known or unknown, making it a pretty effective program. So far we have found it to be 100% effective, but there is always a chance of a virus or some sort being able to bypass you anti virus program, so it wouldn't do any harm in using another anti virus program along side of this one.
What happens when a virus is detected? ---------------------------------------------
Unlike our former virus scanner that didn't detect all viruses that was on our system and those that it did were unable to be repaired but instead were quarantined. With AVG there is no need to worry if the program, etc can be fixed, 98% of viruses that it has detected on our machine have been healed with no fuss what so ever, the 2% that were unable to be healed were moved to the virus vault for safe storage, but of that 2% all were incorrect code like bad Java Scripts found in out temporary internet folder, nothing of importance, that could be safely deleted, quickly, simply and effectively.
Test Results: --------------
For your information and reference you can view all results of any test that have been done, whether it's by a manual scan or by the scheduled scan. The test results will list, date tested, time tested, test name (manual, scheduled, custom or media) and test results, i.e. infection or non infection. From the test result you can explore further which will give you the file name infected along with its directory path, type of virus found, and whether it's been healed or not.
The AVG Virus Vault: -----------------------
The purpose of the virus vault is to safely move infected files that are unable to be healed; the file is then encrypted so that the virus can not spread across your system and stored there for a period of time until it is automatically deleted from your system. On the rare occasion that a file has been infected and stored to the virus vault that happens to be of great importance then you can utilise the option to restore the file.
Virus Directory and Database: ---------------------------------
The AVG software has a huge database of all known viruses and perhaps even some unknown or less heard about ones. Incorporated in the program there is a directory for reference purposes of many viruses, all kind with all sort of weird and wonderful names, that you can build your knowledge with as it gives all sorts of information, i.e. types of files, data, applications it effects, what sort of thing the virus is designed to do, which I have to say is all very interesting. There will be many unlisted viruses in the database because they have focused on the more widespread or viruses that exhibit unusual behaviour or techniques. Which I must stress doesn't mean because it's not listed that AVG can't detect it because AVG can.
Back Up/Rescue Disk: ------------------------
There is an option with AVG to create a rescue disk for your own peace of mind, the rescue disk with make a copy of all important areas of your operating system (Windows) and will store them along with the AVG SOS program on a floppy disk.
Updating Your AVG Software: --------------------------------
Updates for your program can be set to check for updates to the virus definitions, any new features and modifications for the program. Updates are released on a monthly basis and are FREE to download. The updates can be done using the auto update feature, triggered off manually or by going to the download page. Despite them being released on a monthly basis, I have found that in the last 3 weeks ours has updated no less than twice. It is important to update your program to keep it current of any threatening viruses or program changes.
So far this program has never let us down; it has proved to us its reliability and efficiency. Compared to anti virus products out on the market that you have to pay for, and to Norton that we used to use and thought was a good program until it proved unreliable, this one shines above the rest and further more it won't cost you a penny. You may find that because AVG is on auto protect and running in the background it may slow your computers performance down a bit, I have to say personally we don't notice, apart from when the program is doing a manual or scheduled scan, but that’s not to say it won't, after all everyone’s computer is different in many way.
The bottom line is, there are so many viruses about, many that have the intelligence to get past some anti virus programs and remain undetected while it causes damage to your system and if not backed up will result in a loss of anything that is important and unsaved. So be wise and protect all your drives today, go to http://www.grisoft.com for your FREE anti virus program, and keep all your memories safely stores in your computer. Also for your added protection you could try installing a firewall program, one that has be highly recommended to me is Zone Alarm Firewall, it is a free program available from http://www.zonelabs.com provided it is for non-business purposes.
Thank you for reading, apologies if this opinion seemed to be a bit long winded but I wanted to get across the dangers of an unprotected computer and the losses caused by viruses and hackers. I hope this has been a helpful and easily understandable review.
Great opinion!! We have AVG too and are also very pleased with it.
CrAzY-BoNe 25.05.2003 12:53
I had Kazaa, it also really damaged our comp, so we uninstalled it and installed Kazaa Lite, our pc is now running smoother. We r still opened to virus's but we normaly use virscan about once a week. i recommond kazaa lite. tell me if you want to swpa and ill give u url 4 kazaa lite. brilliant op, and i use avg aswell :)