I would say 80% of all computer problems are caused by either viruses, or anti-virus software.
Today I could not print. Jobs would go to the print queue and fail. I could access the printer, my drivers were the latest and previously worked, and the printer would work for others, it just wouldn’t work for me. After some thought there was only one conclusion: McAfee. Sure enough, in all of its wisdom it had seen fit to firewall explorer and a few other normal Windows processes.
I cannot overstate my contempt for McAfee, Norton, and pretty much all other anti-virus software. They can take a brand new machine and immediately age it a few years by cutting its speed dramatically. If you are foolish enough to install one of them on an older machine there is a good chance it will be rendered unusable (not from impatience either, we are talking 5 minute boot times and another 5 minutes to get to the Google homepage). They guarantee nearly all of the detrimental effects of having a virus, and people voluntarily put them on their computers, even paying exorbitant amounts of money for them. I would say without hesitation that this medicine is, if not worse, at least as bad as the disease.
That isn’t to say anti-virus programs don’t have their place, but it is a sad lonely place that shouldn’t be anywhere near your day to day computing.
Mmmmm, any advice then?
Plan A: Security updates, security updates, security updates. You should be running the latest version of all major software (Windows, Office, Firefox, Flash, Acrobat, etc) and keep it updated. Also don’t click on strange web ads or strange e-mails. I also like to run Trend Micro Housecall every now and again, nothing to install and it is free!
Plan B: Get a Mac.
Plan C: Get Linux.