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All the news that’s fit to print

It has been a most unusual week. I installed two apps on my computer, namely:

  • Avira’s AntiVir Premium ($13 USD) a great antivirus app, only spoilt by its ugly scanning interface (yes, I know—I should get a life, thank you, Miss Miller) It has saved my skin more than once though.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials—Final version (free) is just the opposite of the above app. It has a simple interface (and also a nice-looking scanning bar—take that, Avira!!) However, after installing and uninstalling and reinstalling this for 2 or 3 times, I said goodbye to it, deleted the installer and booted it completely out of my system. Reasons below.

So why did I ditch Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)? Because it’s buggy, that’s why (and shame on the big M since this is touted as a Final version). After installing it, my floppy disk drive would activate periodically, even though I excluded it from the MSE scanner settings. Uninstalled MSE, and no more phantom access in my floppy drive. I change my mind and said oh what the heck, let’s give it another try. The same weirdness happens again—now this is definitely MSE’s fault.

Not only that, when I tried to update MSE’s definition files, the update would stall halfway through. And now my Internet was acting up! Windows Update also stalled—mein gott, what’s happening? Called my ISP and they said no, there were no anomalies in the cosmos, no breaks or tears in the Internet zone. I decide to give it a day or two and see whether it’d clear up by itself. Of course it’s like asking cancer to go find another body.

Day 3 and I am definitely getting very annoyed. MSE and Windows Update both stall, some Internet websites have to be reloaded two or three times, including Google’s homepage. Now there is the likelihood I have a Klingon Bird of Prey in my system, invisibly cloaked. And that dang MSE is still accessing my floppy drive every now and then—UGH UGH! OK, I am blasting it out of orbit. I go to Vista’s Programs and Features, locate MSE and then say an eloquent farewell to it (well actually I told it to get lost and gave it one swift kick in the tush). Rebooted my computer for good measure, Windows Update activated itself and—it went straight through without stalling! Not only that, all my favorite websites load, and all sections report that things are back to normal.

So how ironic is this, eh? Microsoft’s own MSE screwing up Windows Update—and I thought I had a mean trojan or something in my ship (oops, sorry—system) I scoured some sites for MSE and found that I wasn’t alone; many other users were having trouble with it but I was the only one with the phantom activation of my floppy drive. It was also interesting to hear many people saying that the beta version of MSE was better than the Final one.

My advice—don’t install MSE for now, until they clear up all the bugs.

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