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To Do or Not To Do: Antivirus Software

One of my smart decisions just caught up with me. Last year about this time, I found a great deal during my discussion on antivirus software with the guys at Geek Squad.

These days you don’t dare operate a computer and spend any time at all online without having antivirus software installed. But how in the world can a normal mom like me or you decide how and what to use?

One of my smart decisions just caught up with me. Last year about this time, I found a great deal during my discussion on antivirus software with the guys at Geek Squad. That is the name of the computer technicians at Best Buy, who we got to know really well during the death of my two computers last year.

But — let the buyer beware of great deals, for they can certainly have a catch. So, what was my great deal? The Geek Squad said I could save money by purchasing antivirus software with three licenses — so three of our computers would all be covered, and it would cost much less than three individual licenses. Anytime I can save money I’m on it, so I purchased the software, installed it on three computers, and off we went on our merry way.

Well, actually — not so merry. It turned out no one really liked the software much. It slowed down our computers to a crawl during scanning and tech support was almost none-existent. But being a thrifty wife I said we would just have to suffer through the year until our subscriptions expired.

Fast forward — one year later — now I suddenly have three computers with antivirus software expiring in eight days. YIKES! Actually I’ve known about this for a month or more, but trying to find software that takes care of viruses, spyware, malware, trojans, and a myriad of other unwanted things but doesn’t use all your CPU, is easy to install and manage, doesn’t conflict with any of the programs you use, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is not a simple task.

In fact, I’ve given most of the last week to it. I started on the least used computer — which I thought was extremely wise. We talked to friends, checked out PC World’s latest review, prayed, cried out to the Lord, and went to work. It seems that purchasing a three license product is still the much less expensive way to go, so now I’m walking into that little plan with my eyes wide open. But we have five computers, so I decided to use free software on the computer we use least and use the three subscriptions on other computers. I know that still leaves one, but I have four months to make that decision.

First, let me share the wise words of my dear, sweet, husband, “Sometimes free is too much!”

This certainly was the case with my carefully chosen “free” antivirus software that I installed on Wednesday — let me make that clear — I worked on installing it from 10:30 AM until 5:30 PM on Wednesday. At 5:30 the only thing I had accomplished was to have restored the computer to the condition it was when I started at 10:30 AM — still without antivirus software installed.

The old saying, “Whatever can go wrong, will.” certainly held true that day. My free antivirus wiped out my child protection software, which meant I could not access the internet, which meant I had to uninstall that software so I could go online and figure out how to get rid of the “free” antivirus software and reinstall my child protection software… well, you get the idea.

I was gone most of yesterday, so now I’m down to six days before I have three unprotected computers.

So, you ask, what have I learned and what am I going to do for antivirus software?

I thought you would never ask!

For myself and all my computer illiterate friends out there, my conclusions are:

— Pray. Perhaps I should pray every morning before I even touch a computer.
— Seek council from those wiser than yourself — Geek Squad, PC World, computer geek friends, etc.
— Listen for the Lord’s little prompts as you seek what He would have you do. I’ve had to make this a practice since the beginning. I was terrified of our first computer, but my husband said that if we were going to homeschool I had to teach our children how to use one. I can remember in the beginning, laying my head on my desk and just crying out to the Lord for wisdom. Perhaps I’ve gotten a little too sure of my “abilities” and found myself relying more on my few little bits of knowledge than on His wisdom.
— Set aside time to work on projects like installing antivirus on three computers. Put it on your calendar to start praying about several weeks before you actually need to do it. If you have small children, ask your husband if he could give you a little uninterrupted time to do what needs to be done. Or, if he knows computers better than you, perhaps you could take the children somewhere and give him a little uninterrupted time to work on it.
— Check to see if the software you are considering has a free trial download that you can try out before you purchase it. This is what I’ve done now. At least we’ll be aware of the flaws if we chose this program. Plus we have antivirus software for another month, which takes a little pressure off me.
— Call, email, or go online to check out tech support before you buy. Having good tech support is extremely important for those of us who don’t have all the skills of a geek. I did an online chat this morning to see what the known conflicts were with the program we are considering using. It gave me a feel for what is available and also helped me not spend another day restoring a computer.
— Back up everything you value before you install any new program — but especially antivirus software.
— Similar, but still necessary, do a restore point before you install any new program — but especially antivirus software.

Well, my friends, I’m on to computer number two, which is my personal desktop. I’m busy backing things up before I download that free trial version.

Finding Joy in the Journey,

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Phyllis Sather
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  • Jennifer
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    Hi- I had all of those kinds of problems with anti-virus software until we switched to Macs. It won’t help you now, but I am very happy with our MacBooks and never have to worry about protective software. Just something to check out when you are ready to purchase a new computer. Thanks for a great entry, though, which I’m sure will be very helpful for the many PC users.

    • Phyllis
      Posted August 17, 2009 at 7:31 PM

      I’m a former Mac owner! Loved them too. My husband thought if we were going to homeschool we would need to teach our children how to use PCs so we have some of both.

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