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Best FREE Anti-Virus to use as a combo w/free MBAM?

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I have a three-year old HP Desktop with Windows XP Professional 2002 Edition w/SP3, and I installed Norton's free antivirus program, which I plan to use in combination with MBAM's free product.

Is there anything else I need to install besides the free MBAM product, or would I be better off with the paid product from MBAM?


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I have a three-year old HP Desktop with Windows XP Professional 2002 Edition w/SP3, and I installed Norton's free antivirus program, which I plan to use in combination with MBAM's free product.

Is there anything else I need to install besides the free MBAM product, or would I be better off with the paid product from MBAM?


Hi -

Many do not like Norton free version due to its history so we use many A/Virus programs here - You may get other peoples versions as it is a personal choice -

I use Microsoft Security Essentials as an Antivirus - Free and very light -

As long as you have any decent A/V that is updated on a regular basis and you update Malwarebytes every few days you should be OK -

The paid version of Malwarebytes has many extras to protect you, and keep you updated so this is preferred (US $24.95 Lifetime License) for private use-

Details listed here http://www.malwarebytes.org/

Thank You -

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  • 4 weeks later...

So if I drop the Norton 2010 A/V (not the entire security suite) and install Microsoft Security Essentials instead, will that and the free version of MBAM be sufficient?

Also, I've noticed that some posters utilize programs such as Super AntiSpyware, Spybot S&D and/or PCTools on top of MSE & MBAM--is that a good idea, or overkill?

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Hi -

If you drop the Norton program you may as well clean it out fully - (Your choice) -

So if I drop the Norton 2010 A/V (not the entire security suite)

Just make sure you have any antivirus that you find easy to use and will protect you -

It is not always good to keep half of one program and then add another on top of it - Use what you prefer as you will get 20 responses as to what to use -

Thank You -

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Norton Internet Security isn't very modular so "dropping" just the antivirus component and still having NIS play nicely with Microsoft Security Essentials would likely create too many issues. I'd recommend that if you do switch antivirus softwares that you also switch your firewall as well to something that is designed to be used as a standalone product, not integrated with a built-in antivirus.

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Norton's 2010 Internet Security Suite was ranked first in recent comparison tests which Maximum PC, PC World & Consumer Reports have published in very recent issues (they all tested 8 or 9 free all-inclusive security suites), and all three of them reported that Norton's reputation as a 'bloated resource hog' has been eliminated thanks to their 2010 version.

I thought I'd try their stand-alone A/V (90-day-free trial) to see if they have indeed cured the 'bloat' issue, and they definitely have.

The last time I tried Comodo's free stand alone firewall (thanks to rave reviews from PC World) I couldn't get online, apparently because their firewall blocks traffic in both directions, while Microsoft's firewall does not, which was a major liability in the opinion of the folks at PC World.

Thanks to all of you for all of your replies and assistance; I'll keep you posted on which product and/or products I decide to go with.

I'm very well aware that Avast & AVG have excellent free A/V products, although's Avast's security suite ranked near the bottom in all three of those comparison tests.

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@ Marv1988,

I wouldn't recommend Comodo anything, personally. Or AVG, for that matter. I used to use AVG but I don't like it any longer and I no longer recommend it to anyone.

If I were using a FREE antivirus, I would go with Avira or MSE, personally.

However with XP I would go with Avira if also using Malwarebytes paid as Avira and Mbam get along like a dream. MSE and Mbam paid together on XP can have conflicts, although those can be remedied with exclusions:


Let me know if you have any questions! :)

For your reference:

The following are my recommendations for antivirus protection along with links to downloads for them (free trials for those that require a purchase so you can try them before deciding):

Note: If you decide to use one of the trial versions of one of the paid antiviruses then you will either need to purchase it or uninstall it completely and install a replacement antivirus before the trial expires so that your PC is not left unprotected.

MSE Downloads:

Definitions Installers:

Note: if installing the definitions in Windows Vista or Windows 7 you MUST right click the definitions installer and select Run as administrator and click Continue at the User Account Control prompt.

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Well, now it's MY turn. Sigh.

Read my long. sordid saga and weep:

My 6-month old Dell XPS 8100 has been rock stable. Then...

Received the 2010 version updates for my OEM McAfee SC today (major version "upgrade" with new GUI, etc). Upgrade resulted in BLACK SCREEN upon restart (could only boot into SAFE MODE). Total McAfee uninstall/cleanup, MBAM uninstall/cleanup and SAS uninstall/cleanup, along with a rollback to point created manually just before starting the update process restored the computer to 100% fine and able to reboot normally just fine. Tried again with a clean d/l and install of McAfee 2010 from my online account -- looked to be fine, working fine, computer fine. Just for grins I then tried another routine shut down and reboot before reinstalling MBAM and SAS (never got to this). Same problem -- only could boot into safe mode (not even safe w/networking). Another complete McAfee uninstall/cleanup and the computer is back to fine again -- works fine, boots fine.

But, now I have no AV installed. :-(

I do have Win Def and Win FW enabled for the moment, and I have reinstalled MBAM Pro (though I know I will have to uninstall again when I add my AV) -- a scan with def version 4412 just run was fine.

So, I have the system offline for now, for safety's sake.

Needless to say, McAfee TS is hopelessly clueless & worthless -- they have had issues with instability, corruption and crashes with their 2010 versions and Win7/64, and they remain unresolved.

I don't expect to try a third time, since I don't want to corrupt my OS or damage my HDD.

So, I need a new, MBAM-friendly security suite.

I prefer an integrated suite with mainly FW and AV (I don't really need Anti-Spam, and don't need Parental Controls).

I'm looking at NIS 2010 (had used old Norton for years in the past -- new version is much improved; less learning curve) and KIS 2011 (powerful, configurable, but only forums for tech support).

Don't mind paying, if it works.

And it MUST work with MBAM Pro!

My main fear right now is having another bout of black-screen, unbootable computer after installing anything, even though I have repeatedly shown in the past several hours that as long as I uninstall McAfee 2010 from my system, it works perfectly...

Advice much appreciated!



PS Maybe I should move this to a new thread (mods, please feel free to do so: "NIS 2010 versus KIS 2011 with MBAM Pro")....????

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Hi daledoc1,

I'm pretty much a computer ignoramus so I realise I shouldn't really be trying to give an advanced member any advice!

However, I noticed that in your post you mentioned that you were running Windows Defender, am I to presume that you have

the "realtime protection" box unchecked?

The only reason I bring this up is that until recently, I was running MSE,MBAM (protection disabled) and Superantispyware but

because there seemed to be some conflict going on, I replaced MSE with Avast. I guess that when I uninstalled MSE, Defender

was automatically re-enabled and I consequently had another conflict because the realtime protection box was still


Anyway, I am now running Avast5,MBAM Pro(protection enabled),SuperAntispyware and Windows(Vista)Firewall and

touchwood, everything's running fine. Incidentally, I did try Avira Antivir Personal for a short while but I, like many others,

experienced many updating problems and the Avast forums seemed to be more helpful than Avira's.

Cheers, Brian67

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I purchased my KAV in the box at a retail store & I was happy to find that they had one for just 1 machine (this does not appear to be available online), which is all I need it for currently. I plan to purchase it in the box again when I need to renew my license :( It was only $40.

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I have a three-year old HP Desktop with Windows XP Professional 2002 Edition w/SP3, and I installed Norton's free antivirus program, which I plan to use in combination with MBAM's free product.

Is there anything else I need to install besides the free MBAM product, or would I be better off with the paid product from MBAM?


Hello Marv,

I run a small computer repair store and for the last 2 years have been installing Malwarebytes with many different free anti-viruses and it works with all of them.

We don't know the spec of your computer, (cpu speed & memory) but it is best to put this info in your post so people have a better idea of how much your system can handle.

Norton over the years is getting better all the time (using less resources) but I am not a fan of their software and have actually never paid for a anti-virus.

I repair about a 100 systems a month and I can tell you that 60% or more that come in are running Norton, 30% McAfee and Kaspersky, the other 10% are a mixture of free anti-virus companies.

By the numbers in my area the free anti-virus companies are doing better. I personally run Avast with Malwarebytes.

If you really are looking for more protection look into running Sandboxie when you browse.


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Avira runs pretty light Marv1998, since you have such a low amount of RAM I'd try Avira first. MSE is pretty light too I think.

From the Avira manual:

Minimum of 192 MB of RAM on XP (found on page 8 of the below PDF file)


From the MSE site:

For Windows XP, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 500 MHz or higher, and 256 MB RAM or higher.

So you could try MSE but it might not run well since your RAM is under the minimum for MSE :D

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My computer is an HP Pavillion a1000y, with Windows XP (Microsoft Professional Edition 2002 with the SP3 Pack) & IE 8.

Intel Celeron CPU 2.80 GHz. with 248 MB of RAM.

I hope you don't mind (you didn't ask about this) but I have a recommendation to help your computer run faster in general.

Your computer only has 248MB of RAM (which is probably a 256MB stick of RAM with 8MB being reserved for the onboard video), and Windows XP uses 290MB when it's running (and that's without drivers and other programs). If you were to upgrade to at least 512MB then your computer would be considerably faster (I can explain the reason behind this if you would like).

These days the type of RAM that your computer takes (good old PC3200 DDR) is pretty inexpensive, and 512MB is usually around $25 (USD). It's also really easy to install. I highly recommend an upgrade to 512MB to speed up your computer, as long as the $25 is within your price range. :D

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Hi -

Just remember to Fully remove any other A/V program if you do decide to change -

Never leave half of one progran installed and try to put another over the top -

Plus I must agree with GT500 on adding RAM on a 248 MB is one of the best starts -

Thank You -

EDIT - A quick search found this item -

Max Supported RAM 2 GB

My XP desktop has 1 GB and only 3/4 is available for usage , due to the items that GT500 listed -

So yours must be dragging its feet a bit -

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You're welcome Marv :) I hope that Avira serves you well! I don't use it myself (if Kaspersky didn't exist I would be using Avira most likely) but I've had a few friends install it, and its installed on a Vista machine that I look after, and it works quite nicely on that computer and my friends computers.

To clean up some disk space, I would run CCleaner as well as as ATF Cleaner (both are temp file cleaners):

(Please read entirely prior to running the cleaners)

Download CCleaner from here to clean temp files from your computer.

  • Double click on the ccsetup file to start the installation of the program.
  • Select your language and click OK, then click Next.
  • Read the license agreement and click I Agree.
  • Click Next to use the default install location. Click Install then click Finish to complete installation.
  • Double click the CCleaner shortcut on the desktop to start the program.
  • On the "Windows" tab, under "Internet Explorer," uncheck "Cookies" if you do not want them deleted. (If deleted, you will likely need to reenter your passwords at all sites where a cookie is used to recognize you when you visit).
  • If you use either the Firefox or Mozilla browsers, the box to uncheck for "Cookies" is on the Applications tab, under Firefox/Mozilla.
  • Click on the "Options" icon at the left side of the window, then click on "Advanced."
    deselect "Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 24 hours."
  • Click on the "Cleaner" icon on the left side of the window, then click Run Cleaner to run the program.
  • Caution: It is not recommended that you use the "Registry" feature unless you are very familiar with the registry as it has been known to find legitimate items for removal, which can cause issues with other programs.
  • After CCleaner has completed its process, click Exit.

Additionally, BEFORE running CCleaner for the first time, check the Windows portion (first tab) to uncheck anything you do not wish to have cleared. For example, you may not wish to have your Recycle Bin cleared, windows log file, chkdsk file fragments, etc... (in case you want to reference anything in the future, in that case you wouldn't want these items wiped).

Then, click on the "Applications" tab and uncheck anything you may not want cleared there as well (for example, your AV). I accidentally cleared my AVG logs the first time I ran it, whups! Not all AV's will show up here, however, it does not hurt to check. I don't think that Avira does but make sure first if you don't want scan etc... records cleared.


Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune (just click the red link).

Please see this link here on how to use it:


Again, if you don't wish to have your Recycle Bin emptied, make sure to uncheck that before you clear everything :)

Also definitely look into what GT500 has said above :D

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Thanks to all of you for your very gracious and thoroughly detailed and downright thoroughly educational reponses.

Since spending $25.00 for a RAM upgrade (as well as $120.00 for Windows 7 in the very near future) is much more tolerable than $500.00 for a new HP Desktop, all I can say is thanks again.

I'd never even heard of 'virtual memory' until those notices started popping up on my computer.

So just to summarize; the free MBAM program alongside MSE is fine (those two do 'play nice'), as opposed to MSE and the paid version of MBAM, correct?

I've been warned on both this board and the answers.microsoft.com board that scanning your registry is a no-no, but CCCleaner won't harm my computer--can someone explain the difference between CCCleaner and the rest of the tons of registry cleaners out there which makes them dangerous to use?

Finally, ould a third security-oriented program such as SpybotS&D, SpywareBlaster, SuperAntiSpyware or PCTools used in conjunction with MSE & MBAM (freebie) be a recommended strategy to utilize?

Thanks again to all of you!

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Hi Marv,

You're welcome!

If you just use the directions that I gave you for CCleaner, it will not touch your registry at all. Just do NOT use the registry portion of CCleaner at all (you have to click on a different button for that, by default its on the temp cleaner file screen), and you'll be fine.

I am a little short on time at the moment so I'll answer what I can of your remaining questions later today, if someone doesn't beat me to it :D

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