I'm done with McAfee VirusScan

November 14, 2007

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Check this shit out (Fig. 1). McAfee tells you how vulnerable you are with handy red thermometers that might as well say "You suck" so that you go out and buy more of their increasingly annoying products.

For years and years and years, I've been a loyal customer of McAfee for their virus protection and security software. Lots of people swear by Norton, but I've never been one of their customers; just didn't happen that way. There's a saying in retail that if you can get a customer early in their buying days, you can have them for life because they'll practice brand loyalty. I happen to believe that's true, because if you're comfortable with something, why bother changing?

The answer to that question is actually pretty obvious: You change if the product drives you away. Like McAfee freaking VirusScan.

Over the past couple years, VirusScan has gone from a solid security suite to one of the most annoying Windows applications on the planet. It didn't get there overnight (or maybe it did and I've just been dulled by the prolonged pain). During my past few years of using it, it's been a gradual progression of building frustration to the point of boiling rage.

Somewhere along the way, McAfee lost sight of something: Its users' appreciation for it helping thwart possible security threats (the .0004-percent-chance-possible threats, that is) is far, far, FAR outweighed by the BOILING CUMULATIVE RAGE created by the fact that McAfee is such an annoying pain in the ass.

Basically, my problems, Mr. McAfee, are these:

1. You bug me with too much piddly shit too often.

2. You don't give me enough options to tell you to leave me the fuck alone.

3. Pop-up spam.

McAfee goes to great lengths to protect you from yourself. After all, you're your own worst enemy when you get out on "the Google" and surf "the Internets." You've never accidentally downloaded a virus in your life, but McAfee doesn't trust you to do anything. McAfee is the overprotective mom who says not to cross the street because, you know, you might get hit by that hypothetical runaway bus coming down the cul-de-sac in the lazy residential neighborhood.

It's bad enough that McAfee warns you about every tiny little registry change — even if it's made by what should be a trusted application. And clicking "Remember this action" doesn't seem to do jack. Unless it's just remembering that it's okay to change that one registry setting that allows Internet Explorer to install the ActiveX whatever-the-hell in this particular situation that will NEVER ARISE AGAIN. Thanks for remembering THAT, McAfee!

But mainly it's that it's become a hog. Always with the downloading of the updates the second I log on. Always with the automatic virus scans that start when THEY feel like, which cannot be scheduled or overridden. (Sure, you can cancel them when they start, but only after they start, at which point your four-year-old computer has slowed to a crawl.) Always with the notifications that I should BUY MORE McAFEE PRODUCTS THAT I DON'T WANT. Enough already. Shut up! If this thing could do half of what it does quieter and faster — in short, doing its job invisibly rather than drawing attention to itself — that would be a start.

But McAfee does too many things on its terms and does them too slowly. I've had it. The only regret I have is that I didn't do this many months ago, rather than waiting for my subscription to expire. Windows Live OneCare, which is my replacement, is like the most user-friendly anti-virus software ever made, in comparison.

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22 comments on this post

    Thanks for the recommendation of OneCare, I'll take a look. I had McAfee many moons ago briefly as a free trial, and we never agreed on anything so went our separate ways. No I use the inbuilt Vista 'stuff' (Which I tolerate. You just have to get your head around it), and my router to block just about everything except what I tell it to let through. I still stand by my conviction the anti-virus companies write bucket-loads of viruses (Virui?) just to keep people needing their product. Mission Impossible 2 was just a parable of the exploits of anti-virus companies. Or something.

    I got Onecare myself about 3 months ago. It's a fairly unobtrusive and simple program. Unfortunately a little too simple on my end. In addition to my own PC I installed it on a relatives PC (with one of the extra licenses), which promptly was infected with several viruses without so much as a twinge from Onecare's active portion in memory. Subsequent scan attempts detected it, only to fail to remove it. After attempting to restore the backup using its limited restore utility I was at the point of smashing the CD into dust. So I've switched to BitDefender, which appears to do its primary job much more reliably.

    Why not switch to a free antivirus? Like Avast! or AVG? They are both rated very high on all the review sites, they are not resource / memory hogs like norton, they are simple to use, and they provide excellent protection. I've been using Avast! Home Edition now for almost a year and I never once had an issue with it. It has lots of options to customize it. This includes the option to 'silence' the only notice you get, which is when the program has been updated. Basically, a sliding box appears on the bottom right hand corner of the screen saying the virus database has been updated, and then a voice tells you that it has been updated. It can get annoying, hence, the option to silence the voice. I like to keep the sliding box option. It disappears in like 2 seconds.

    I'd recommend AntiVir as a free AV solution (I have it installed on the few Windows machines that I have to support), except that they do a few annoying things too. For instance, every time they update their signatures, they pop up some huge dialog asking if you want to buy the full version. (Now in their defense, I am using the free download version. But it's still annoying, and if it's that kind of annoyance that you want to get rid of, then I can't really recommend them.) Never used Avast! or AVG, though. Perhaps they're better at that (it sounds like Avast! is, at least).

    Get a Mac. I've had one since the first one in 1984, and I've NEVER had a virus!

    Onecare is one of the most incomplete AV software solutions on the market! Don't fool yourself with cheap or free AV, when you get annoying pop up's on your machine or something worse then you'll kick yourself. I started that way and my machine turned into a mess until it was not working! Now I pay for product and i'm happy to be warned rather than end up with a slow machine that doesn't work because it's full of programs I never installed.

    I had McAfee when I first got a computer, and I never used it again. Not to mention, they sponsor the stadium where the Raiders play, which should tell you that they're all a bunch of scumbags. I use AVG, which is free and seems to do an okay job.

    Just to clarify: I am not necessarily "recommending" OneCare. I honestly have not thoroughly investigated it based on quantitative tests by the reviews that do such things. It seems competent, but that's just based on a few months experience of it on my laptop. Mainly, it doesn't bug me like McAfee, which is what I can report right now.

    Avast is ranked 12th and AVG ranked 8th out of the top 17 anti viruses, according to http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ BitDefender is ranked #1 on many sites.

    I've used Norton suite for a couple of years. NIS2006 gave good protection, but was pretty obtrusive in terms of resource usage and of often asking questions (though it did learn after a while). But NIS2007 I really like, I don't often notice a performance hit, and it almost never asks me anything, while the protection seems just as good. I don't mind paying if I get the goods. Just my experience, no firestorm of anti-Norton comments required, thanks...

    I know Jammer, I wasn't implying you were actually 'recommending' OneCare in any legal sense (e.g. I'm not going to sue you when I get infected) ;) "Get a Mac. I’ve had one since the first one in 1984, and I’ve NEVER had a virus!" I've had PCs for almost 20 years, and never had a virus, worm, or trojan. So... The more popular Macs become, the more trojans and viruses will get written. Recommending that people get Macs will only put your Mac at risk in the long run.

    "The more popular Macs become, the more trojans and viruses will get written. Recommending that people get Macs will only put your Mac at risk in the long run." Good. I hate smug Mac users like Eric.

    For the BEST in free protection, check out Comodo.....I've used both their AV suite & Firewall and both have surpassed my expectations so much so that I've switched from Norton. Also for AV......AVG Free Edition is a stellar choice too :)

    I always say "I'd rather have a virus than Norton installed" - and I ditched McAfee back in the days too. Use Kaspersky if you really need to protect something.

    Back in the day, virus scanners used to just run when you asked them to scan for viruses -- and the rest of the time they did nothing. Now they turn your computer into a fortress and prompt you constantly. To be honest, I'm not sure that the cure isn't worse than the potential disease, especially since my computer never got infected. Then again, it's possible that having that fortress is what kept my computer uninfected all these years, so who knows.

    I had a similar experience with Norton Internet Security. It just kept getting bigger and wanting more and more stuff bought and installed. Then I switched to Vista, and NIS2007 ran like an absolute dog. With six months to go on my NIS subscription, I installed OnceCare, and all of a suddem my computer felt like the tar had been removed. One of the better offerings from MS, and certainly one program I will have no problem subscribing to.

    Guys, get NOD32. It's one of the best anti-virus out there. There's even a new suite called Smart Security, complete with anit-spam and firewall. And the best thing is: it won't make your PC crawl. I have quite a few PC-s at home, the oldest one being a P2-Celeron clocked at 458 with 256 megs of RAM. NOD is running on that PC flawlessly, using only 23 megs of RAM at startup. And it has a cool scheduler too. Check out www.av-comparatives.org

    Windows Live OneCare has really bad detection rates. Something like 80-85% last time I checked. The latest Norton is almost nice to use (oops!) but Kaspersky, NOD32, and BitDefender are all great.

    Gettin' a mac is often recommended by happy owners ;) But it seems that PC's are more attacked because they dominate on the world market of personal computers. Hence the number of viruses to exploit Windows vulnerabilities. BTW, sometimes antivirus tests display as winners the companies I'be never heard of. One of such is MKS from Poland, and another - G-Data. The latter seems to be with German interface only ;) But I'm a bit too conservative to try out every AV out there.

    I found this site slowly, getting really annoyed with McAfee's sudden decision to install an update of Virus Scan. Man I feel the pain of that original post!!!! Ten years I've had McAfee, but only two months more! They won't see me for dust when my subscription ends this time. I really appreciate the other suggestions...very helpful for those of us who's frustration has led to enough desire and in the end enough impetus to determine to take the course of action and walk away from McAfee. I just can't figure something out...why the hell don't they work to improve things?? I've not had a virus on my computer but many's the time I've suspected I might have had one...only to find that McAfee was the course of my computer running so damn slow

    I completely agree with you about McAfee. I have used McAfee for many many years. I just liked how clean it was and the simplicity of using it. I used to use both the firewall and virus protection but stopped using the firewall piece once Microsoft seemed to get their own firewall working fairly well. Last year, I purchased a 3-user pack for just good old Virus Scan. Loaded on the three machines that existed here at the time, no issues. That protection expires in a few days, so I wanted to see what they had to offer as far as covering multiple-machines (I'm now down to 2, mine and my dad's.) So, I felt the $29 price-tag to renew the subscription wasn't too bad, basically 19.95 for the first machine and then $10 for the second. But when I get to the point in the checkout procedure where I have to login, it shoves that back down to one computer, saying there is only one computer registered to that email address. It refuses to let me purchase for two machines. Time to get something new, because I hate that crap.

    I searched for "why is mcafee such a pain" & this 7 yr old thread came up. I can say from experience that McAfee is even worse now. If you are an online gamer avoid McAfee like the plague, the only thing that ruins my game enjoyment is McAfee`s stupid "vulnerability scanner", usually it crashes my game & sometimes i even have to reboot to sort it out (modern top of range windows8 computer). It gives all the jargon of "runs smoothly in background" but its the only thing that interferes with my enjoyment on computer. Changing it from "auto" to "manual" updating is useless as it sets itself back to "auto" when updating.
    McAfee also sometimes loads its own search engine on updates & switches me from google chrome to its own automatically. I thought a security thing like McAfee was supposed to be there to stop anyone doing this to me without my permission not be the one who does it!!!!
    I am switching to something else this week but its really cheesed me off because here in Britain i pay BT (British Telecom) a premium rate for the fastest broadband & it includes McAfee in package. To get trouble free online gaming with the fastest broadband in country i have to pay for security twice or put up with McAfee being the only thing doing my nut in.

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