Friday, February 3, 2012

Hitting the button

The panic button, that is. Since December, I've been nervous about my computer. My McAfee subscription ran out and I couldn't afford an update. So I added what I considered a patch with the AVG Free software. I know lots of people who've praised it, but after the incident last year with the malicious attack on my computer, I still live in fear that I'll click on the wrong thing and launch some insidious, hideous, nightmare-inducing attack that will leave my computer a zombie with a fried hard drive.

After about a thousand "reminders," McAfee played on my practical side and sent an email offering a renewal at half price. Wanting to breathe a little easier, I took them up on it.

Wow, what a nightmare. Six times, I tried to install the software but couldn't. The AVG Free apparently blocked it.

So I did what any desperate person does - went to the McAfee tech, and ended up in an online chat for about 40 minutes. The tech took control of my computer, went through all the steps I went through... with the same result. 

His advice, before closing out our chat session with a hearty goodbye? Contact an AVG tech to find out how to uninstall the free software.

So I went to the AVG site and clicked on Tech Support, got a phone number and ticket number, and dialed. Waited 20 minutes online for someone to pick up.

Meanwhile, my computer went wonky, I couldn't get into Firefox at all, so yes, I panicked.I bought the full AVG software. It downloaded and installed fine. After two tries, I have assurances that McAfee will refund my money.

My husband always jokes that computers will be the downfall of the world. I'm beginning to think he's right - with one adjustment. It's not computers, it's the programmers. The software companies trying to compete with one another, who lock users out of their own computers to manipulate them to do what they want. I'm tired of my computer being attacked by both hackers and antivirus software (and, btw, I'm not convinced they're not one in the same).

So my computer is once again safe. I think. For now.

Any advice on how not to get trapped in this monkey-in-the-middle nonsense?


Logan said...

Yes- install Microsoft Security Essentials- it's freely available on the Microsoft website and works seamlessly.

Anne Gallagher said...

Don't feel bad about the AVG, my cousin had to come and rescue me from its clutches when it wouldn't let me download any of my regular sites. It felt they were "tainted".

I think the anti-spyware is worse than the spies themselves sometimes.

Miranda Hardy said...

Yikes! I can't imagine. It would have driven me crazy trying to figure it out. I have a hard time with my daughters laptop at home.

Maria Zannini said...

It's a nightmare. Short of migrating to an Apple system, you'll always come across these power struggles between software companies.

We have both and Apple is the only one that has NEVER had an issue with security--in my experience.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Anti-spyware is a %$#@#. (Insert your own word there!) Especially the free ones. They do tend to take control of your computer. Only thing I can say is to research any program before downloading. Know what might happen if you open Pandora's Box!

Cate Masters said...

Thanks guys. I'm actually finding the AVG helps my computer run faster, so that's a definite plus. I was tired of waiting so long for it just to boot up every morning.

Marva Dasef said...

I'll stand up for AVG. We've been running it on four computers for several years. Yes, I have a multi-user license.

Abortive attempts to use Norton sent me to Free AVG, which I liked fine and had no problems. I decided with a home network, something more robust was in order. AVG Pro has worked great for us.

There are OFTEN conflicts between multiple virus programs, no matter which ones. They see each other as bad mojo. That's where the problems are. One virus checker at a time.

Oh, and we all use SuperAntiSpyware (free) to rid our systems of all those sneak cookies and such. It was installed by our computer guy when I had to replace my hard drive (physical, not viral problems). Given that incident, I'd also highly recommend an external hard drive for backups.

Cate Masters said...

During my computer crisis last year, I took note that the techs used FREE software to debug my computer - SuperAntiSpyware and Malware Bytes. You can bet I hurried to those sites and downloaded my own soon after!

Shelley Munro said...

Yikes. I've just got rid of Mcafee and used AVG. both drove me nuts - McAfee with it's regular emails since I cancelled and AVG made my computer run slow. Luckily I managed to get rid of both and have loaded another free one which seems okay. Touch wood.

I hope you get everything sorted out.

Cate Masters said...

So frustrating, isn't it, Shelley? And such a waste of time. Grrr! :)