Monday, March 08, 2010

All Roads Lead to Norton

Warning - a rant.


So our main computer is nine years old. It's had just about everything installed on it over time but it still performs rather well today. The interesting thing is that the three most commonly used programs, Firefox, iTunes and Chrome didn't even exist when we bought it. Ditto the commonly visited websites: Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, Remember The Milk and Flickr. It's been on DSL from PacBell, AT&T, Earthlink, Covad, and Verizon. It's now on Comcast, but it doesn't know that since it's always just enjoyed the wireless connection. We've swapped the original monitor for a flatscreen, added a firewire card, a 300MB second hard drive and it's on its second wifi card. Windows XP served it well in the beginning and serves it well to this day. It's even gone from Quicken to Microsoft Money and back to Quicken. (Because Microsoft killed Money.)

Over time, it's also had a series of antivirus programs. We started with Norton. That was fine for the first five years or so. But shortly after moving here, I thought it was time for an upgrade. So I bought the latest and greatest version of Norton. But it wouldn't install. Norton's technical support was no help. Finally, I gave up and put in my request for a refund. They were able to process my credit card for the purchase in seconds, but it took them three months to mail me a refund. Either they're processing a lot of refunds or they're holding on to the money for no good reason.

Next, I tried Windows OneCare. It worked rather well except that it didn't like that I also had Ad-Aware on the computer. I also had Spyware Blaster and Spybot Search & Destroy, but the only one it got mad about was Ad-Aware. Eventually I think it broke Ad-Aware.

I liked OneCare. It was set-it and forget it. Until Microsoft killed it. I swear, if I used Microsoft Excel any more, they'd kill that. I looked around, wondering if I should buy something or try the new Microsoft product. And then I realized... I bet my ISP has a poorly promoted free version of some program. Sure, they want to look like they care about protecting us or themselves. And sure enough, a decent version of McAfee. It installed fine, has worked quietly in the background. Never hogged the CPU, never dragged the computer to a halt, occasionally popping up unobtrusive little notes to let me know it was doing stuff. All was fine and dandy.

Until tonight, for unknown reasons, I checked my Comcast mail and what do I find? Comcast's apparently getting a better deal from Norton so we all have to get rid of McAfee.


So, do I give Norton another try or do I give Microsoft another try? Or do I see if I can enjoy the status quo by converting to a paying McAfee member?