Joe wants to know how effective antivirus software is. Leo says it can work, but it really does give users a false sense of security. Zero Day exploits can still nail people within 24 hours of discovery. They can also expose people to more flaws. That doesn't mean Joe shouldn't have one, though, but Leo recommends not buying anything third party. He should stick with Microsoft's own Defender that comes with Windows 10. Ultimately, though, his online behavior is his last, best line of defense.
Intel has announced that the fix for the Spectre exploit can actually cause blue screens of death (BSOD) and crash your system unless you make sure everything is updated first — especially third-party antivirus. Leo says this is why it makes more sense to use Windows Defender and not use a third party app. They really do more harm than good.
Dean installed Norton but he's having trouble with it. Leo says that Windows 10 has Defender built in and it's probably running. Antivirus software won't work well when there's more than one antivirus installed. So Dean should remove the Norton one with the Norton Remove tool. If he has trouble using the removal tool, he should run in Safe Mode with Networking. That will prevent additional drivers from loading and should make it easier to remove it. He should also make sure he uses the right removal tool. Norton has several different ones depending on the utility it is.
Avast has installed something called "Grime Fighter" and it's taken over Scott's computer. What can he do? Leo says this is why he's not in favor of using third party antivirus software anymore. They give you a false sense of security and it can open up additional vulnerabilities. Leo suspects that Grime Fighter is not from Avast, but instead is pretending to be. At this point, the only thing you can really do is back up your data, format your hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source. And if you must have an AVS, use Microsoft's own Windows Defender.
Hal bought a new HP and recently it's been running very slow. Leo says that if Hal is running third party security software, then it's likely that his antivirus is causing the slow down. Leo advises getting rid of it. Windows' own Microsoft Defender security software is good enough. He'll also find that he may have to download their uninstaller to do it.
Rich wants to know if Webroot is a good antivirus utility. Leo says that Webroot is good, and they're a sponsor. They offer additional protections because they're cloud based. But he really doesn't need it. Windows has its own antivirus called Defender that's quite good. Also, the state of malware is such that most occur as 'zero day exploits' which an antivirus can't catch. But Webroot will protect him for the most part. He should remember that his number one defense is his online behavior.
Rick upgraded to Windows 10 and now he can't install his AVG antivirus software. It keeps telling him there's another installation in progress. Rebooting doesn't help. Leo says that it sounds like the Windows installation program may have gotten corrupted. He can fix it by resetting the MSI Exec file. HowtoGeek.com has an article on how to do this.
John is trying to run Windows Defender and it's been turned off in Windows 8.1. How can he turn it on? Leo suspects that since John is running Malware Bytes as well, that it is blocking Defender from being turned on. Leo says first, you don't want to run two different antivirus software. Often they see each other as a virus and frankly, they fight each other. So make sure you only run one. Also, Microsoft's own AVS is adequate to do the job. The real key to defend your computer is to modify your behavior.
Kirk downloaded a Java upgrade and now all his shortcuts go to an exe file. Leo suspects that Kirk got nailed by malware.There are plenty of security flaws in Java but it may also be that Kirk was doing something at the same time and he got malware. Either way, Kirk has malware, and the only way to be sure that he's gotten rid of it, is to backup his data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source.
James has a Sony Vaio with Windows 8 and wants to know if he needs antivirus software. Leo says no. Windows 8 has its own security and antivirus, called Microsoft Defender (or Security Essentials for older Windows programs) that works really well. He can turn up the security in Internet Explorer, but Leo recommends using Google Chrome which is far more secure. Leo also recommends turning on automatic updates. James should also be using a router rather than directly connecting to the modem. But all the security in the world cannot protect the user from their own behavior.