Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CNET: McAfee's Big Blunder

CNET has a blog post about McAfee's Big Blunder. Recently, McAfee pushed out a buggy software update. It didn't affect me, as I've long since banished McAfee and Norton from my network. I'm all for keeping my computer safe, but both are far too needy for attention, and demand too much of a performance sacrifice.

I swore off Norton after their Norton Internet Security 2005. I had a copy of NIS 2003. After about 3 weeks, I'd start getting notices that Norton quarantined and deleted my email. I couldn't retrieve it. Then people would start asking me "Did you get my email?" Well, no. I uninstalled and reinstalled NIS 2003 and the same thing happened within 3 weeks. After my 3rd try, I uninstalled it and used the disk as a coaster after it wouldn't sell on Ebay.

I got a laptop for Christmas 2005. I was just getting started at the University of Phoenix and my old P-II 233Mhz Toshiba laptop couldn't keep up. I got a Compaq, which came with a 90 day trial of NIS 2005. It didn't last 2 months. NIS 2005 seemed to have to download updates every 20 minutes, and had to flash a status balloon on my taskbar to notify me of each individual step it was taking. The problem is, I like to hide my taskbar for screen Real Estate, so when an attention needy program like NIS 2005 wants to keep telling me what it's doing, it gets in the way. It also started letting me know way too frequently that my 90 day trial was running out in 89 days, 88 days, etc. Go away, Norton. Nobody likes you.

I tolerated McAfee for a while. I used to get it through Comcast. I believe Comcast switched over to Norton by now. McAfee was a resource hog, especially when I had to get something done. I'd be working on a paper for class and my system ground to a halt. I did what any good Windows user does when a system grinds to a halt: reboot. But, my system took forever to come back up. I couldn't do anything with it. Then, finally, a balloon popped up saying "McAfee finished downloading important updates!" like it was a good thing. Thanks, McAfee, for downloading updates in the middle of the day when there's work to be done. I honor the place where your designers' butts and my foot become one.

Somewhere in the middle of 2007, Comcast notified me that a new version of McAfee was available. I updated all of my computers. Suddenly, they couldn't see each other. In the days when USB sticks and portable hard drives were far too expensive for me, I shared files between my computers across my network. Sometimes I'd work on a paper on my desktop, but take it with me on my laptop to school. Or if we were going to my in-laws' house, I'd take my laptop. If I couldn't get a paper between my computers, I had problems. I spent days trying to figure out why McAfee broke my shared folders, but I couldn't. I finally uninstalled it. No more McAfee.

For now, I use Windows Defender and built-in browser security. I stay away from sites that are likely to have malware. I don't use Limewire, which is like asking malware to come on your computer. 

It's worked for me for several years.

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