OT Desktop Virus protection

there used to be a “Help with this stupid computer” board, but I can’t find it so thought I’d ask here.

My McAfee protection will be running out. They want $55/year for 1 device, $85/year for up to 10 devices. Per their claims, this subscription protects against virus, malware, access to secure vpn ( which I haven’t used ).

What do people on this board use to protect their computer ?
Anybody use free protection ? I remember when Microsoft offered free protection/monitoring, not sure if it still does.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

It survives!


When MSFT stopped the free AV I moved to Malwarebytes; which I had been using to clean up machines when I was running my IT department.



If you are running Windows, then use the built-in software for AV and malware. It is free, updates 1-2 times daily, and actually works well.

Look under Settings and then Privacy and Security. You will see it. I think it is (was?) called Microsoft Seurity Essentials (that name is one I do not see now) but it may have been renamed. I have used it since 2008 or longer. No problems. Be sure to uninstall all other AV or malware software (conflicts between various programs can be a pain).


I use the windows firewall.

I use Surfshark the VPN.

Not sure if Windows Defender is still included. I need to check.

The big things are report email spam and do not download software you really do not need.

If you get hit bad simply do a factory reset where your data is saved. You then only need to add your applications again.


I use F-Secure that is provided as part of my cable HSD monthly service. It provides firewall and anti-virus protection, is very effective / unobtrusive and is very efficient with CPU and memory.




Thanks I will do similarly this week.

Norton Security Online

Note: Norton Security Online is included with Xfinity Internet and provides protection for up to five devices (PC, Mac, Android, iPad and iPhone). The new Norton Security app for Apple devices is a feature of Norton Security Online.

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In my case, ages ago, the Company provided McAfee, we were treated to never use Norton, but there were times when Norton saved my system… In the end, both ate system cycles, slowed the System (WinNT) so much as to make it near useless… McAfee & Norton put on great shows in those days at our West Coast Computer Faire, s bit of a snake oil sales pitch…

Malwarebytes scans, and go from there… I dumped all Win systems once retired, never looked back… Never an issue since… Just sayin’…



Nothing much beyond making sure not to fall for any of the SPAM/Malware arriving by email. Don’t ever reply to complain or unsubscribe which is what they hope you do giving yourself away and opening up for further intrusions.

Since I have a web hosting service that allows multiple sites I use an old obsolete site to create a new email address any time I’m asked for an email address by someone who I don’t know and trust

captain101, captain102, captain103, … captain999

These addresses just forward their emails to one of my real email addresses. When I get junk at any of these addressees I just deactivate that address. I keep track of the organization that requested the email address in the first place.

I’ve been using Macs since 1985, that’s 38 years. In all that time they have had maybe two or three viruses. Most of the grief one brings on oneself by not being careful with email.

The Captain


I also use Malwarebytes. There is a Free version with limited functionality, but the option to upgrade to Premium version. The Premium version is
$40 - $45 annually


Thank you all for the suggestions !

I still have 11 days till McAfee runs out, then will try out one of the free versions suggested in this thread.

Thanks again !

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I am using Windows Defender. Works fine.


As someone said above, it still exists: Latest Fool Community Help Desk/Help with this STUPID computer! topics - Motley Fool Community

If you are going with free might as well stay with the Microsoft protection already on your system which is Defender today. It used to be Microsoft Security Essentials. The malware today is so bad that its a huge risk if you do any financial things on your home computer. Paid for is almost always better than free. I have used ESET Nod 32 since the late 90’s without any issues.

If you want to take the time, this VB100 website does not take advertising dollars from any company and has been doing antivirus testing for a long time. I have used them in the past on the HWTSC website when people ask about antivirus. Virus Bulletin :: VB100 Certification

hope this helps…doc


I’m no expert but on the advice of @OrmontUS I use the built-in Microsoft Windows Defender, plus Malwarebytes.

Plus every night I run a scan using Superantispyware. It’s amazing how much garbage this picks up. The first time I ran it there were over a thousand ad trackers. Every day it’s usually a dozen or so. These aren’t malware but they are worth getting rid of.



McAfee is the worst. The stock Windows Security works fine. I’ve never had an issue.


Hi Joe. I use M/S Defender, Malwarebytes and CCleaner.

As an aside I usually receive at least one email daily telling me my McAfee protection is about to expire (like today). I do not use McAfee and never have used McAfee.

Good luck with your choice.


“As an aside I usually receive at least one email daily telling me my McAfee protection is about to expire (like today).”

Same here. I really do have McAfee, and it is expiring. There was definitely an attempted phish scam, a very genuine looking email alert supposedly from McAfee stating that it was going to run out immediately ( this was a month ago ). I looked at the pricing on it, and it was totally out of whack with McAfee pricing. I then got an alert stating that the url that the email wanted me to click was “suspicious” ( alert came from Microsoft for some reason ), so definitely did not click on it. But it was a well done scam email.


Well I’m glad I’m not the only one receiving McAfee emails. I am not kidding I receive 1-2 McAfee emails on a daily basis. I use Outlook and click on “Junk” which is supposed to block their domain. Good luck with that. The next email is from a different address.

Sorry you are receiving the McAfee emails.


I tend to not hear anything good about McAfee, but, if it works for you, great.

I used to have a nice scheme going. For several years, Fry’s would put Norton, or Bitdefender, on sale. At the same time, the a/v company was offering a “competitive conquer rebate”, where I would fill out the form, and mail it in with the title page of the owner’s manual, or CD, from the a/v I had been using. Between the sale price, and the competitive rebate, my net cost of the a/v was the sales tax, period, as the rebates entirely offset the selling price.

Of course Fry’s is gone now. Norton was using that rebate scheme to bulk up it’s volume before the company was sold, and Bitdefender was doing the same thing to be competitive. Once Norton was sold, the “free net of rebates”, offers ended.

Another thing about Norton, even after paying their steep price, you can’t activate the s/w until you sign up for automatic renewal. When I first started using Norton, in the late 90s, pattern update subscriptions were free for the life of the product. Then it was $4. Now, iirc, it’s $80/year.

Now, I start looking for sales on a/v s/w months before the current package expires. I learned something. If I buy another package on Bitdefender’s site, the 12 month clock to expiration starts right then, even if it is four months before my existing package expires. I bought a download package, on sale, at Best Buy one year. BB e-mailed a link to me to download the new package. I left that e-mail in my in-box, so it’s expiration clock did not start, until, a few months later, a day before the old package expired. Then I opened the e-mail, clicked the link, the new s/w installed, and I got a full 12 months of use out of it.

On the last go around, Office Depot had a 1 year/5 license package on sale for, iirc, $40. Bought the box containing a card with the key on it. and kept it on the shelf for a few months, until my existing package expired. Punched in the new key number, and I was back in business. Bitdefender has gotten on board with the required sign-up for automatic renewal. So, I sign up for auto-renwal, get the new a/v package going, and immediately cancel the auto-renewal.

As you may have gathered, I have been using Bitdefender for several years. It has snagged some sketchy stuff the moment it tries to get into my computer, from some surprising sources, like the advertising incorporated in legitimate web sites.

A word about “free” security software. From time to time, I have a spare computer to putz around with. Back then, you only got one license with a security package, so I went cheap and used the free Zone Alarm firewall on the putz around machine. One day, I was talking with one of the IT guys at work. He was singing the praises of Zone Alarm. I told him about the time I was putzing around with the machine with Zone Alarm on it, hit one web site, and the file folder and flashlight icon almost immediately popped up on my screen, indicating the site had penetrated ZA in a moment, and was scanning my computer. I pulled the phone cord out of the jack as that was the fastest way to disconnect, and put down “free” software as dangerously ineffective.

As luck would have it, I found a computer in the neighbor’s trash a couple weeks ago. It runs Win 10 perfectly well, so I adopted it. Thought about putting “free” AVG or Avast a/v on it, but, the Bitdefender package had three more licenses available, so the putz around machine got top shelf a/v protection.


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Here’s one fix for getting rid of the McAfee popups: how do I stop a McAfee popup? - Microsoft Community


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