New Antivirus Recommendation

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 17 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

I’m getting rid of Microsoft Windows Defender and Command Antivirus today. Why? Performance. CodingHorror has the scoop:


And nothing cripples your PC’s performance quite like anti-virus software. This isn’t terribly surprising if you consider what anti-virus software has to do: examine every single byte of data that passes through your computer for evidence of malicious activity. But who needs theory when we have Oli at The PC Spy. Oli conducted a remarkably thorough investigation of the real world performance impact of security software on the PC. The results are truly eye-opening:

Percent slower
Boot CPU Disk
Norton Internet Security 2006 46% 20% 2369%
McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8 7% 20% 2246%
Norton Internet Security 2007 45% 8% 1515%
Trend Micro PC-cillin AV 2006 2% 0% 1288%
ZoneAlarm ISS 16% 0% 992%
Norton Antivirus 2002 11% 8% 658%
Windows Live OneCare 11% 8% 512%
Webroot Spy Sweeper 6% 8% 369%
Nod32 v2.5 7% 8% 177%
avast! 4.7 Home 4% 8% 115%
Windows Defender 5% 8% 54%
Panda Antivirus 2007 20% 4% 15%
AVG 7.1 Free 15% 0% 19%

Holy crap. Norton and McAfee both increase disk access times by 20x! That’s over 0.16 seconds instead of 8 milliseconds! Fortunately, I have run either of those programs for at least two years. I have been using Command Antivirus since our schools offers it for free, but the update process sucks beyond belief. I’ve also been running Windows Defender, but found that it’s probably doing more harm then good with it’s 50% increase in access times. I’m now installing with AVG Free Edition on my Tablet and I will be running that exclusively, I recommend the same now.