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Posts Tagged ‘Avast’

Yes, I will confess I am not as diligent as I used to be when it comes to the timely installation of Windows 7 Updates — in particular the recurrent KB915597 updates for Windows Defender. [Rightly or wrongly I tend to believe that my fully paid for Avast 4.8 Professional protects me better than Windows Defender.]  For a week or more I had seen that there was a new KB915597 but I didn’t install it till just a few minutes ago.

[In case you are wondering, I do have Windows Update TURNED OFF and have had it turned off since earlier this year. If I am so inclined, couple of times a week, before I turn off this PC around midnight, to go to bed, I will do a manual check to see what updates are pending. That is how I know what is awaiting.]

Today, I had some free time so I decided to install the latest KB915597 but discovered that there were also 5 other updates. 4 were optional. Of these one was a cumulative update for Media Center (KB981078), while the other was a .NET Framework 4 Client Profile (KB982670). I opted to install both of these — just in case.

Two of the optional updates were to do with LEGACY application compatibility. I read the detailed info. I had never even heard of the applications let alone use them so I hid those two.

Then the one important update, not counting the latest KB915597, was for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. I installed it, because I am never sure what applications rely on .NET Framework.

************

Something is up with Windows Defender updates. I did some checking. The frequency of the updates, i.e., KBKB915597, has slowed dramatically. The last update, for Definition Set 1.83.1268.0 was three weeks ago.

Check the Microsoft Malware Protection Center log << here >>. Something doesn’t feel right. I will TRY and keep an eye.

So that is it. I did a RESTART. So far, so good. Did a QUICK SCAN with Windows Defender because Action Center was pleading with me. That was fine too — but I expect that.

All the best. Don’t install the optional legacy compatibility updates IF you do not use those legacy applications. Best to hid them.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Four days after the last KB915597 Windows Defender Update (Definition set 1.79.1918.0) yet another one, this time for Definition set 1.81.0.0. It was sent out on April 19 but I only installed it on April 21.

Then another KB915597, dated April 22, today for Definition Set 1.81.149.0. This Definition Set is so new that it still hasn’t even made it to the ‘Change definition version’ drop down menu.

That is the sixth (6th) KB915597 Windows Defender Updates this month; i.e., April 1, April 5,  April 8, April 14, April 19 and April 22.

You can see the list of threats addressed by this update and others at this Microsoft site … click <here>.

It is sobering to realize that Microsoft, supposedly, created 9 definition sets between April 19 and April 22. They really should just move to daily updates, à la Avast.

I installed both updates. I have restarted and even run a full scan of Windows Defender. So far, so good. So, this is to say that I didn’t have any problems with these two updates.

Hope none of you got too burned by the McAfee goof-up yesterday. If I was mean spirited I could say “serves you right,” but I am not, so I won’t say that. McAfee is the pits. Why anybody would use McAfee, unless THEY are paying YOU to use it, baffles me. I have never used it. I bought my wife a Sony Vaio laptop a few years ago which had it installed. She persevered with it for awhile. She now uses free AVG and we all know that she is safer with that than she ever was with the bloated, out-of-control McAfee.

Good luck. I will try to keep you posted.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Just three days after the last KB915597 Windows Defender Update (Definition set 1.79.1220.0) yet another one: Definition set 1.79.1432.0.

That is 3 KB915597 Windows Defender Updates this month; i.e., April 1, April 5 and April 8.

You can see the list of threats addressed by this update and others at this Microsoft site … click <here>.

For a change we seem to be smack up to-date; i.e., there are no newer definitions listed.

But, have a look at the Definition history. It is sobering.

The April 1 update covered Definition 1.79.953.0.

1.79.1432.0 is 18 definitions hence. That is 18 in a week, 2.5 definition sets a day.

Now to be fair the likes of Avast and AVG send out new definition updates daily, if not more often. So if anything one can accuse Microsoft of being dilatory. But then again does anybody really believe that Windows Defender is an industrial strength antivirus/antimalware product? I hope not.

So, that is the state of play. This was the only update today. We will see a barrage next Tuesday, April 13 … the Sinhalese Old Year Day. New Year, logically, is the NEXT DAY, April 14. Happy New Year.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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No, I have not tried it, as yet, with Windows 7.

But my free trial on my latest XP box expired today. Despite Avast’s conniption in December with its false positives, there was no way I was running a PC with Avast. I like Avast. Yes, there has been a few false positives over the year, the one in December, by far, the worst. But, in general, Avast has been solid and it inspires confidence.

So, I used their instructions and bought a license for $39.95. In the past they would then give me a key and I would copy-and-paste it into an input trench … and Bob, was my uncle.

Not anymore. Part of this was also because they now wanted me to upgrade to 5.0. However, since I didn’t even know there was a 5.0 this was confusing.

Anyway, the installation was NOT GOOD. Avast, you need to revisit the installation.

Yes, it worked. But, it didn’t accept the product key the first time around. Now they SAVE the key in a file they download. I had to double-click on this file to get the key installed.

Then it said my definitions were not updated and my attempt to manually update it … HUNG up Avast! Not good.

But after three restarts of XP I was all set.

They also changed their spinning globe icon. It is now a catchy red-orange.

Also gone is the geeky, 14 year olds would love it interface with the changeable skins. There is now a very professional, grown-up, no-nonsense, WYSIWYG interface. Very nice. I did a deep scan of the PC. Clean. I accepted it to be clean. I had been running Avast 4.8 Professional (free trial) on it from day one. First thing I installed after FireFox.

Bottom line. Installation needs work. New interface rocks.

Good luck.

Anura Guruge

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From the very first day that I started using Windows 7, which was the day after it was generally available [viz., October 23, 2009], FireFox has been my default browser, without exception.

During the last three months I have used IE 8 a very few times and I can safely say that my total exposure to it has been for less than 1/2 hour — TOPS. When I started I think I was at FireFox 3.5.6. Might have had a few hangs with 3.5.6 but on the whole, given the volume and intensity of my use, it wasn’t too bad. Had more problems with 3.5.7. I switched to FireFox 3.6 RC1 on January 11, 2010 (9 days ago). Had some hangs with rc1. RC1 had issues, on Windows 7. Updated to FireFox 3.6 rc2 two days ago. RC2 seems more stable and rugged.

Folks tell me that IE 8, on Windows 7, is faster than FireFox. I don’t but that. FireFox 3.6 seems agile enough.

You may have missed it, but this week, the Government agencies in France, Germany and Australia responsible for ‘cyber security’ recommended that users stop using IE!  Search on ‘Internet Explorer’ on Google NEWS. To be fair, these agencies are talking about IE 6. It has now been confirmed that the much publicized attacks on Google, in China, were realized using a vulnerability in IE 6. Yes, MSFT is going to provide a patch. One of the reasons I stopped using IE, about 4 years ago, was security. FireFox has served me well.

Though Windows 7 has IE 8 rather than IE 6, I really don’t see a valid justification for using any flavor of IE. Yes, I gather there is a TAB PREVIEW capability. Yippity Do Da. I would rather no that my PC is secure than be able to see thumbnails of my tabs. But that is me.

But for today, I will go on record. FireFox 3.6 rc2 [i.e., post January 18, 2010 FireFox] works quite well with Windows 7 and can be used by even power users as a competent, nimble alternative to IE 8.

Thanks. Good Luck.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

P.S. Google, in some overseas countries, is including the free Avast antivirus as a part of its free software PACK. That is a nice plug for Avast, the antivirus I use, despite the devastating ‘false positive’ in December 2009. Avast has also stated that its free antivirus, v5.0, is Windows 7 compatible (though I am willing to bet that Windows 7 Action Center, though supporting Avast, will refuse to acknowledge that it is a Windows 7 ‘approved’ piece of software. Check my Window 7 Bug List. Item #5.

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Had another definition update for Windows Defender today. Second in 3 days, fourth in 10 days and the sixth in 17 days. These definition updates are probably all good … it is just that I am not sure whether Windows Defender is truly ‘industrial strength.’ I have had Avast! Professional 4.8 on my Windows 7 machine from day one. So maybe that is why I feel that Windows Defender is not defending me against anything.

Today I decided I was going to do a bit of checking on the Windows Defender Updates. I wanted to see the THREATS being addressed by these updates. Well, it is not as easy as I would have liked. Further to my gripe on January 3, 2010 as to how the Windows 7 graphical user interface (GUI) sucks when it comes to consistency, you can’t just go to the Windows 7 ‘Updates History’ and click on each update to see a description of that update.

So, intrepid as ever, I visited the Microsoft Web site. Yes, I looked around. I couldn’t find enough technical stuff on Slate. Saw Office 2010. Hhhmmm. I will have to look at that. Saw the compelling section on Microsoft’s ‘Surface.’ The large-scale touch-screen panels that can be used as coffee tables etc. Interesting. Not sure whether that software is integrated with Windows 7.

Finally got to the Windows Defender home page. Then went to the Support Page. Saw the link, on the left, that said “Beyond the Basics.” That looked interesting. I wasn’t exactly your average novice. So I visit this page.

It immediately starts talking about ‘Software Explorer’ and there is even a picture (snapshot below, gratis Windows 7 Snipper) of what ‘Software Explorer’ will tell you. That looked fascinating. I wanted to see that.

So I fired up Windows Defender and started looking for ‘Software Explorer.‘ Couldn’t find it. Looked real hard. Then, I even did a search for ‘Software Explorer’ using the START BUTTON search option. NADA. Not good.

As those that ‘follow’ this blog know, quite well by now, I really am a ‘grumpy old man’ — as is my right given my advanced years. So, I am not amused. I go back to the Microsoft site and do a search, using BING, for ‘Software Explorer.’

I find THIS. Real impressive. “Software Explorer isn’t included in Windows Defender in this version of Windows because it’s not integral to spyware detection and removal.”

Gee, THANKS. And people wonder why I still have major reservations about Microsoft. Do us all a favor. At least update your damn Web site. No wonder I am grumpy.

Thanks. Cheers. (I will confess. I was TOYING at the idea of buying some MSFT shares today. I have never owned MSFT. Yes, over the years I have owned, Apple, IBM, Cisco, Juniper, Yahoo etc. But never MSFT. Well, I will take a rain-check. Maybe buy some more APPL.)

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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Now that I have discovered this “All Items” option in the Control Panel, I am checking them each out whenever I have a few minutes to spare or need a break from proofing my book.

The other night I was playing around with ‘Advanced Tools.’

You too can get to it via Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Performance Information and Tools > Advanced Tools. (Easy as that. << smile >>)

The last option in ‘Advanced Tools’ is ‘Generate a system health report.’

Who, in their right mind, could refuse that?

It spends 60 seconds scanning your system and generates a report. Way to go. I was damn impressed.

My ‘health report’ has a WARNING right up top. Says that the ‘Security Center has not recorded an antivirus product.’

Strange that.  My action center, 99% of the time, says ALL IS FINE. No mention that I need an antivirus product installed.

If anything it tells me that Avast! antivirus reports that it is up to date and virus scanning is one.

I know I have Avast! and that it is running. If I disable Avast! the Action Center goes crazy.

So this, indubitably, is a BUG and a BUG in Windows 7 SECURITY.

After all that talk about how this was going to be the MOST SECURE of Windows you would think they would be able to see if I have an antivirus installed or not.  I am not impressed.

As I have said from the start I am not convinced that Windows 7 was properly tested. We are talking the most basic or basics when it comes to Windows — the mandatory antivirus. Windows 7 Health Report can’t detect my antivirus. Give me a break.

In my long life I was blessed to meet some amazing characters some of whom helped me in various ways. In my long list of mentors, Mike Hafferty, is WAY UP THERE for so many reasons. Mike, changed my life. Mike, was the best salesman I have ever met and I have met and dealt with thousands. Mike was a genius. Mike, wherever you are (and I last heard you were in Singapore), I thank YOU. Mike, as CEO of Case Communications, was the master of the inspirational talks. One of his favorite sayings, at these talks, was: “If you are on a plane and you open up your tray table and find that it had not been properly cleaned it makes you wonder what else in the plane has not been properly taken care of.” << Yes, this was in the early 80s when airlines kind of cared and Mike, like I, spend much of our time on planes. >>

Well this INCORRECT Heal Report reminds me of Mike’s admonition. If Microsoft didn’t take care of this what other things did it overlook.

P.S. MSFT still hasn’t got back to me on the previous BUG I reported to them. I will chronicle the whole saga if and when it gets resolved. I got an email this morning asking for an extension. As if I could say “no.”

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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