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  PC-Net's PC News - March, 2001
Don Watkins

Whack Bad Software

By Don Watkins



March 2001óLast month I promised the third part of the command line tutorial but in the meantime something came up that I just couldnít sit on.

I was referred to an article the other day explaining how to kludge anti-virus software to get it to work right.

My first reaction was pretty negative, I thought it was a bad article and bad advise but on reflection I decided I was wrong.

My Beef (and thatís no foot and mouth)

I think the real problem is one of attitude. Weíve gotten so used to poor software that like some sort of deranged cattle, we wander about, chewing our cud and spend untold hours working around software that doesnít work like it should.

Thatís been the case since Iíve been working with computers and I guess weíve been lulled into a sense that thatís the way things work and we accept it.

Mad Cow

Let me relate my own tribulations with this particular area.

I flirted with a number of anti-virus programs and ended up using Norton Anti-Virus and it worked swell for many years. Several years ago, out of the blue (or so I thought) Quicken literally stopped working. It took forever, if it did at all, to load.

This was December and I admit that I freaked. I couldnít figure it out and without Quicken it just wouldnít be possible to do my taxes. Because I panicked I bypassed normal troubleshooting methods and I ran out and purchased the latest version of Quicken and upgraded. Mind you this is something that I would normally not do before the taxes were put to bed. Murphy and his law had bitten me in the rear  too many times that I knew not to make a change when something critical is on the horizon.

But I was freaked so it was a trip to Office Depot to pay close to full tilt, install andÖsame problem.

I canít recall if it was the passage of time or drinking heavily but finally I reverted back to tried and true troubleshooting and found that it was a Norton AV definition update that had caused the problem.

Toss That Puppy

Out Norton went and in came McAfee, which worked just fine. Yes, I could have probably tweaked Norton or waited it out or just disabled it, but life is short and McAfee worked just fine.

For a whileÖ

I went through several upgrades and eventually it seemed as if I was running my computer as a platform for my AV software. Resources shot down to nothing and it seemed like McAfee was creating a dozen different processes, all running in the background.

Take It To The Woods

So I took that guy out in the country, left it by the side of the road and changed the locks in case it found itís way back home.

I looked around and found a copy of PC-Cilliin 99 on a CD-ROM Iíd received with a motherboard and slammed it in.

Low resource consumption and the entire year I used it never conflicted with another program or caused a problem. 99 was replaced by PC-Cillin 2000 and I was concerned that my version was getting a little moldy, but Iíd already spent so much on AV software that I wasnít willing to spring for the upgrade.

Where I Ended Up

So I gave Computer Associates free Inoculate-It a try.

First let me digress. I have no idea why CA is giving this away but a word about CA.

I know CA from the 70s and my mainframe days. They are no late entry in the software world. I havenít seen any numbers lately but a few years ago they were the answer to the semi-trivia question "what is the largest software company in the world?" The response was almost always Microsoft but CA was the answer. This may not be true today, but theyíre not going away and I doubt if they would compromise their brand by putting out a crummy product.

I think itís a fine product. It doesnít use much in the way of resources, itís easy to use and configure and like PC-Cillin, itís never interfered with anything running on my system. No standing on my head to make it work.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes we kludge because thereís no alternative, but if your AV software is gumming up the works donít spend the rest of your life tweaking it, check out either PC-Cillin or Inoculate-It and toss the stuff that doesnít work.

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