Windows Defender

Do I need antivirus software?

Windows Defender

Episode 1498

Al from Vista, CA

Al's antivirus software is up for renewal. Does he really have to pay for another year? Leo says no. Windows has its own antivirus called Windows Defender, and it's free. It does a really good job. There's also a possibility that third party antivirus software could make him more vulnerable to hackers, not less. Al will need to download their standalone uninstaller to get rid of that third party app. Then enable Windows Defender and keep it up to date. But he should remember, no antivirus can protect him from himself.

Should I get an all-in-one computer with an i7?

all-in-one PC

Episode 1481

Mark from Akron, OH

Mark wants to know if all-in-one computers are a good deal. Leo says that Apple changed the game with the iMac and now other PC makers offer them to. They're elegant looking, but some are difficult to expand and upgrade. All-in-ones have thermal constraints as well, and some all-in-ones have a throttled processor because of the heat issue. But if he gets one, he should spring for the SSD and at least 8GB of RAM. It'll help his performance dramatically. That's really where performance is needed anyway. Then he should keep his data on a spinning external drive.

Should I update to Windows 10?

Microsoft Windows 10

Episode 1456

Brad from Canada

Brad doesn't want to update to Windows 10, even though he knows it's not that bad of a transition. Does he have to? He keeps hearing of problems. Leo says that it's all about the numbers. When there are hundreds of millions of computers updating, even if .05% of them have problems, that's still thousands of issues and people will post about it. Leo says it's still a great update that's worth doing.

Should I use Norton AntiVirus?

Shield

Episode 1455

Antonio from Chico, CA

Antonio signed up for Google Docs and he's been offered Norton to protect his files. Leo says he hates antivirus, and Norton is one of the worst. Leo recommends staying with Microsoft's Defender and keep it updated. At the end of the day, it's his behavior online that will be the last line of defense. So, here are a few things he can do to protect himself online:

Did an AVS take over my computer?

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avast_Software_logo_2016.svg

Episode 1421

Scott from Denver, CO

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.

Why does Windows 10 keep telling me I'm unprotected?

Windows 10

Episode 1357

Bret from Wood-Ridge, NJ

Bret has Windows 10 and uses Windows Defender, but it keeps telling him he's unprotected -- even if he's just run a scan. Leo says there's a little red flag in the task menu, and if he opens that up, it will tell him what's unprotected. Bret says it's just notifications that keep coming up, and Leo says he can just turn those notifications off. Leo suggests looking at the screen that tells him what's unprotected. If he doesn't have protection updates turned on, he may want to do that. If he wants to be as safe as possible, he should turn all that stuff on.

What's a good antivirus for Windows 7?

Episode 1324

David from Burbank, CA

David is trying to find an antivirus for Windows 7. Leo says that Microsoft's own Security Essentials (or Defender, depending on the version) is sufficient, and it's free. The problem is that viruses are usually coming out so fast (called zero day exploits) that you can get infected before the AntiVirus finds it and removes it. Then the viruses are often attached to a system file and it renders the computer unusable. Even security experts put antivirus low on the list of things to do to prevent infection.

Should I renew Norton AntiVirus?

Episode 1315

Al from California

Al's Norton Anti Virus is up for renewal. Is there an alternative? Leo says absolutely. Norton is actually making systems less secure, according to many security analysts. Windows' own antivirus, Windows Defender works just fine. Leo doesn't even recommend antivirus software anymore because all too often they cause more trouble than they're worth. The best defense is ultimately the user's behavior. Windows Defender is perfectly adequate, and it comes for free with Windows.

Is Webroot a good antivirus?

Episode 1282

Rich from Placerville, CA

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.