Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Goodbye AVG: Hello BitDefender

For many, many years I have used AVG's home version of antivirus. I wrote a blog post a while ago about an unauthorised - and very poorly designed - signature being put on my emails without my knowledge or agreement (here), but since correcting this I have been getting more and more pop-ups, trying to sell me added services, and third party products. I decided it was time to investigate how to turn the pop-ups off.

I went looking for some answers and came across a post by John Smith (2015), a computer tech who recommended - in the past - AVG to his clients. John was being driven spare by all the advertising, and the thread followed a torturous course between John, other frustrated users experiencing the same thing, and a range of AVG online techs. A couple of users posted some fixes, but, as the software has now moved on, basically it boils down to "you can't get there from here". There is no way to turn off the ads. If you have a paid version, you can turn off the pop-ups completely, but if not: you can't. The most you can do is to set all the pop-ups to 1 second in duration (the default is 20 seconds).

The pop-ups are particularly annoying for gamers, as the pop-up takes the focus off the game, so may lose the player points ...or the level itself.

The deal with AVG was that the home users would be supported by the paid, business users, a strategy which I particularly liked. Being bombarded by ads was not what I expected from this company. However, they have recently been bought out by Avast!, and so AVG is probably now a second-string brand whose customers Avast! don't mind alienating. Perhaps AVG home users may start seeing ads for Avast! products.

However, there were some useful tips embedded in John's thread from other users, so I started looking for another free alternative. I initially considered Panda for a while, but Adarsh Verma's and Paul Wagenseil's reviews persuaded me to try BitDefender instead.

Now: a couple of hints for uninstalling AVG. First, suspend the software. Secondly, uninstall it from Programs and Features, then download the AVG remover executeable file from here. Run the exe file after you have uninstalled AVG, then restart your PC. AVG has a nasty habit of leaving things behind, apparently.

I will report on BitDefender's performance once I have tried it for a while. 



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