Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Best Antivirus For Netbooks?

Reader Asks My Reco On Antivirus For Their Netbook

Q: Hey TP. I want to say thanx for your website. I just baught my first netbook and I love it. It is windows 7 and is ASUS 1005PE. Can you tell me what antivirus I should get? Thanx.

A: Dear Sir or Ms.,
Congratulations on your new computer. One of the neat things about netbooks – I am frequently told – is how small and portable they are, yet they are big enough to do some “normal computing” on. That’s on the “plus” side.

But on the “minus” side is that this compact portability is achieved by using “modest” components — a “reduced horsepower”, if you will.

Netbooks are not powerhouses, and it pays to use software on them that has a “small footprint” (not demand too much CPU, RAM, etc.). And that is certainly a factor to consider when choosing an antivirus.

Were I to own a netbook, I would install either one of two titles, and!, both are free.
1) If I were to own an older, or really basic (aka “budget”) netbook I would use Panda’s Cloud Antivirus. Or..

2) On a reasonably equipped netbook, I would install Microsoft Security Essentials.
2a.) If Microsoft is not your thing, you might try Avast! 5.0.

I should say, though, that your ASUS has an Intel Atom N450, and very good specs for a netbook, so you could probably run most any Internet security product on it. My list of recommended antivirus products is here, and my Anti-spyware list is here.

PS — WinPatrol is also a great security program for netbooks, and!, I just happen to be having a license giveaway contest (nice segue, eh?) for it this week.


** A Chance To Win A Valuable Prize! **


You say you don’t know about Scotty and WinPatrol? I have recommended it here before, and I’ve used it for so long I can’t remember. I consider WinPatrol one of those essential programs to have around.

To enter my license giveaway drawing, please see: WinPatrol PLUS License Giveaway

Here’s another good review of WinPatrol: WinPatrol Revisited – Powerful HIPS with a Bite

Today’s recommended reading: The flipside: Five things Microsoft is doing right in 2010

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 16, 2010 - Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, hardware, Internet, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, security, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Comments »

  1. Hi Paul,
    I have 3 netbooks and do love the little buggers. I run Panda Cloud on my one Acer, Immunet Cloud on my other Acer (which you can run alongside other antivirus programs they claim on their site which I have tried and had no problems) and I tried both Microsoft Security and Comodo free Antivirus on my MSI Wind. Currently using Comodo.
    All have done well for me. I am always looking for low resource antivirus for my netbooks. I do have 2gb of ram on all 3 netbooks which always helps. I also use PC Tools free firewall on all 3 and Super AntiSpyware on all of them also.

    Comment by Cappydawg | June 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Cappydawg,
      I would say that you are protecting your machines quite effectively.

      I have not yet tried Immunet, and it has been a while since tested Comodo’s AV… thanks to your reminder, I have put them on my testing schedule.

      Folks, I frequently recommend SAS (SUPERAntiSpyware) here. It is a great additional “layer of defense”. It is available here. (It is also one of the few titles I actually reco upgrading to the paid version. Hint: look for the “Lifetime” price.)

      Comment by techpaul | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. What about MBAM Pro, Paul? It can also be run along side your AV…

    Comment by Ranjan | June 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      MalwareBytes Antimalware, especially the Pro version, is an excellent “layer of defense” for any machine. (Available here.) I have the free version on almost all my machines, and once a week use it to run a “passive scan”.

      But it is not an antivirus.. (the title of the article) and, as I mentioned, the netbook referenced can (probably) run most any security product.

      Comment by techpaul | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. I too know that it’s not an AV. That’s why i told ” to use it along side your main AV” as a secondary layer of defence… ;)

    Comment by Ranjan | June 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Yes, I knew that you knew that, and I know from previous exchanges that you are an “advanced user”. However, I have to consider, when writing public replies, the other potential readers — and so I simply wanted to underscore for them that MBAM is not an AV nor a substitute for an AV.

      Were I to have replied to you in private, I would not have told you something you clearly already know, and phrased things differently. I hope you understand. I meant no insult or offense!

      Comment by techpaul | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. I hope you got my email reply, Paul..
    However, in case you didn’t, i didn’t take that as an offense.. Just thought to clear my point..

    Comment by Ranjan | June 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Yes I did receive your kind reply, I just simply hadn’t had a chance to respond yet. I was very glad to see it, and I thank you.

      Your comments and questions are always welcome here!

      Comment by techpaul | June 17, 2010 | Reply

  5. Paul,
    Your welcome and Thanks!

    Comment by Ranjan | June 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. Antivirus software is important and necessary, but don’t forget about the security features that may already be installed in your netbook. The new Office 2010 let’s you use Office File Validation to check your documents for irregularities. Using this feature along with antivirus software will help protect that new netbook!

    Comment by TuneUp | June 21, 2010 | Reply

  7. hi. i have a 2ghz 1gb ddr EeePC netbook and i was wondering what the best antivirus would be for my system. plz rsvp.

    Comment by bloby | November 14, 2010 | Reply

    • bloby,
      Well, I kind of answered that question in the article.. don’t you think?

      Your machine should be able to handle any AV or Internet Security Suite you would like to use. In the article, I state my choices for freebies. I am currently recommending Norton Internet Security 2011 as my choice of ‘for pay’ full suites of protection.

      Comment by techpaul | November 14, 2010 | Reply

  8. You might be interested in the article that Tech News Daily published regarding the Top 5 Best Antivirus Software Programs for 2011

    Comment by teewhizz | January 5, 2011 | Reply

  9. Hi, Paul,
    I need advice on Win7 Home Premium. I bought Asus netbook in US for my mom, who needs all her software in Russian (no English at all). There is no system CD/DVD in the package, so system comes pre-installed. Before I start the computer, is there a way to initiatel Russian win 7 under these conditions? Thanks, Nonna

    Comment by Nonna Otmakhova | December 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Nonna Otmakhova,
      I am not sure how I can answer your question if you really mean “all her software” (each program is its own, independent element: Photoshop being a quite different thing than QuickBooks, for example) but if you are asking how to make Windows 7 be “Russian”, I think all you have to do is tell it to use Russian as the language.
      Or, for a more complete change to Russian, you may have to “Anytime Upgrade” your version to Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, and then download and install a “language pack” (Russian, of course).

      This (Microsoft) page explains: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Install-or-change-a-display-language#

      Comment by techpaul | December 2, 2011 | Reply

  10. Hi bro…. this s danni! need a favour… am using gateway netbook, the problem is from past one month when ever if i plug in AC adopter, the batter meter s not working. at the time of plug in the battery meter raises for 7 seconds.. after it stucks, if i remove from ac adaptor.. after 5 minutes it shows low battery warning. truth is my battery power always in 16%.. even if i put in charge for 8 hours, it shows only 16% of charge… pls assist me!

    Comment by Danni | December 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Danni,
      You are asking me to diagnose a problem that might be software or hardware related, without looking at your machine.. for free. I would need to ask you a series of questions, and/or, better yet, look at your machine.

      If your machine is still new (a year or less [unless you bought an extended service plan]) I would say call Gateway. If it’s older, have a technician look at it.
      (You might also Google your make+model and the word “defect” (or “recall”) to see if your unit is a member of the various devices plagued with bad batteries.)

      Comment by techpaul | December 14, 2011 | Reply

  11. Hi Paul, this is Avva. While I’m comfortable using several programs necessary to my work, I believe I’m completely ignorant when it comes to what one might call “computer essentials”. So forgive me if I’m providing you with unnecessary information. I’m currently using a netbook : ACER, Intel(R) Atom(TM), CPU Z520, 1.33GHz, 0.99GB RAM, Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002, Service Pack 3. It came with McAfee security installed, which made it “crawl” every time it ran for updates or scanning, but I never had any problems. It is due to expire in 5 days and after exploring the links you provided Sir or Ms. “ASUS 1005PE” with, I was wondering the following:

    1) Say I’ve chosen the “titles” to install. What do I do? Do I first uninstall McAfee and then download and install the new stuff? Is it safe? Or do I proceed the other way around?

    2) About the “new stuff”. As I understand it, I’m gonna need :
    a) an Antivirus scan, say “Housecall”,
    b) an antivirus utility, “Avast!” for example and
    c) TWO “anti-spyware applications”. Do “SUPERAntiSpyware” and “Spyware Terminator” cover a sufficiently wide range of targets? If not, please recommend.
    d) I did notice the fort metaphor related to the “Layered Defense”, but to be honest, the part about the “programs–pop-up blockers, antivirus, antispyware, firewalls, and so on” where you recommend “Tucows” still eludes me. I would like to think I can afford to take my time with that part.

    OR

    3) Downloading “Microsoft Security Essentials” or “Avast! 5.0″ would cover my needs. What I’m asking here, is whether these two are more like “complete security packages” including a),b),c) in 2) above.

    I’m already grateful. Any further suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
    Avva

    Comment by Avva | October 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Avva,
      Yes, it can get a bit confusing. Let’s see if I can muddy it up even more .. ha!

      First, there is a difference between an “antivirus”, and a full “Internet security suite” — A “suite” will give you an antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and usually some antispam and “safe surfing” tools as well. “All in one.”
      My current (and most reviewers/editors as well) recommendation for most people is Norton for that (Either Norton Internet Security 2013, or Norton 360).

      For those Uber Geeks, advanced users, or simply people who simply refuse to pay a subscription, one can create their own “suite” (or, “layers”) by choosing to download and install free products, one at a time.
      A firewall: (or use the one built in to Windows)
      An antivirus: either “Microsoft Security Essentials” or “Avast! 5.0″ would be fine, but I prefer Avast! as it has better “active” shields IMHO.
      and a second “passive” scanner, typically an “antispyware”: and either “SUPERAntiSpyware” or “Spyware Terminator” would cover that, though on a netbook I would lean to the SAS.
      And perhaps some antispam program and/or a Safe browsing app.

      The first step would be to download the “setup” – but not “Open” or “Run” (aka “Choose to ‘Save’ the file”) – the antivirus you want to install. Two AVs should not be on the same machine.
      Next, download and install the ‘secondary’ scanner (the antispyware). Launch it, update it, and turn off any “active” shielding.
      Then unplug the machine from the internet (or turn off the WiFi), then remove the McAfee. Reboot. Launch and install the new AV’s setup.exe. Let it go until it prompts you for updating or Internet connectivity.. now plug the Ethernet cable back in, or re-enable the WiFi.

      .. but if you buy the Norton, just put in the disc. It will detect the McAfee and remove it for you.

      Oh, yes, forgot one specific answer: no, neither are quite free replacements for a suite, but yes, they are “more near” (replacements) and are very good “antimalware” tools/protections.

      Comment by techpaul | October 23, 2012 | Reply

  12. Thank you Paul so much for your quick (and comprehensive) reply! I will probably not mess it up! :)
    I will however, let you know how everything went!
    Avva

    Comment by Avva | October 24, 2012 | Reply

  13. Hi there Paul! This is Avva again! I believe I did it. But just to make sure…
    I am now licensed to use Avast (which I downloaded from here “http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download” – the free antivirus) and about SAS: I went here “http://www.superantispyware.com/” and did that : “Download SUPERAntiSpyware FREE Edition”. As I understand it, SAS provides a more complete package of services, for which I am not supposed to register/upgrade, since I’m ok with the basic free “harmful software” protection (and scanning) I currently have (Isn’t this what “passive” means in this context?).
    Am I right?
    You also said “And perhaps some antispam program and/or a Safe browsing app.” . Could you please direct me towards “somewhere”?
    About the firewall, I’m using, like you suggested, “the one built in to Windows”.

    Thank you so much!

    Comment by Avva | October 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Avva,
      Let me start with the SAS. You are mostly right. But SAS “Pro” lets you schedule a scan. (The “lifetime license” offer makes SAS a decent value) otherwise you have to remember to open it and run a scan once a week, or use Task Scheduler to run SAS for you (1/wk is fine). There are many How To’s for scheduling a task online, so I won’t repeat that here.
      And. “passive” means that the “shields” are not on (you will be using Avast!’s shields) — aka “heuristics“.

      “Safe surfing” tools are usually “plug-ins” or “add ons” for your browser (for most people, that’s Internet Explorer). I like Web of Trust, and McAfee’s Site Adviser. But there is also “sandboxing” (see, Tech Paul’s Friend of the Internet Surfer Award – 2010.)

      The antispam tools usually work with your email client (Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird) and I probably would not install one on a netbook.

      Comment by techpaul | October 26, 2012 | Reply

      • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
        Oh! I almost forgot!
        THANK YOU!
        Avva

        Comment by Avva | October 26, 2012 | Reply

        • Avva,
          You’re welcome.

          I’ll leave you with one last item: the best “antivirus” is between your ears. Use good, healthy “paranoid” common sense when online (no, you did not just win a free iPad nor the Netherlands Online Lottery..).

          Comment by techpaul | October 26, 2012 | Reply

          • Yeah,No, I probably didn’t :) “Noted!” Again, all the best techpaul, Paul!

            Comment by Avva | October 26, 2012 | Reply


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