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I must admit that I am a cheapo. I almost always use open source or freeware, and rarely go for shareware or payware. And when it comes to freeware anti-virus, I usually choose among AVG Anti-Virus Free, Avira AntiVir or Avast. Usually, I have both AVG and Avira between Windows OSes (in different partitions) and across different computers. I use both on one computer because if one antivirus miss out a certain virus, there is at least a chance that the other won’t. I rarely use Avast as its gui is heavier and it’s more resource hungry than the other two.

For those payware apologists who want to argue that paid ones work better, note that 2 of the biggest Antiviruses – N**ton and Syman*** are hated by lots of IT people, including yours truly, for hogging resources on our computers. They were good back in 1998 but a couple of years back, lots of IT people find that removing them from Vista machines helped make Vista usable.

Just recently, I’d discovered that AVG has been doing a lot of unnecessary read/write in my computer.

Refer to the pic. As you can see, from the columns marked I/O Reads and I/O Writes, the numbers are unusually high. High enough to cause constant activity (ie grinding) for my hard disk; which is why I decided that the best solution for now is to uninstall it and wait for a new version or at least a way to shut down avgchsvx.exe.

Avgchsvx.exe is AVG’s Cache Server Process and as far as I know (after checking online), it is not necessary at all to catch viruses. It is supposed to be used to help speed up the AVG virus scanning but since it is a new addition in AVG ver 9, you can think of it as a BETA addition being tested out on the unsuspecting masses.

Which is why I decided to remove AVG from my Windows partition for the time being. So for now, for my main OS, I’ll be using Avira.

By the way, I have nothing against AVG, it has been my primary antivirus for sometime now and I am just waiting for it to solve this problem before putting it back on my primary OS.

Avira's highest read/write io

And this brings me to the reason why Avira was not in my main OS – I REALLY HATE that once-a-day ad! If that and its splash screen are the reasons why you don’t use it too, here’s how to get rid of them:

To disable the once-a-day pop-up surprise:
For Windows XP Pro, Vista Business/Ultimate/Enterprise and Windows 7:
-Go to Start > Control Panel > Administrative tools > Local security policy.
-Right click “Software Restriction Policies”, choose “New Software Restriction Policies.”
(Skip if there are sub folders in “Software Restriction Policies” already).
-Right-click “Additional Rules” > “New Path Rule …”.
-Click “Browse” and find “C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic\” (or wherever you have it installed), and select avnotify.exe.
-Set the security level to “Disallowed” > “Apply” > “Ok”.
(I do not have space for other Windows versions, search Google for “disable Avira ad + [your Windows version]” if yours is not covered here, esp if you are using Home or Starter editions)

To disable the splash screen:
-Open Regedit* and navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run].
-In the right pane double-click avgnt and add /ns at the end of the path (ex. /min /ns).
(This was /nosplash prior to version 9).
*Regedit is Microsoft’s Registry Editor and just running this thing means that your computer will not be supported by Microsoft in the event of booting problems or whatever. If you have not heard of it and have to ask how to run it ;), I suggest that you get someone more knowledgeable to help you – like your 13 year old – for example. 😀

ClamWin (Windows version of ClamAV)
While we’re still on the subject of antiviruses, you may also want to try out:
-I liked it for its portability. I have it on USB and also synchronized across the internet (between work and home) as it does not need to be installed; the only antivirus I know which have this characteristic.
-I also use it (ClamAV) in Linux servers to prevent Windows clients computers from getting infected.
-It’s scanning is probably not as good as the rest but it is open source (FREE!); and though it used to lack (a usable) on-access scanner, it has one now, developed for it by a third party. Check it out here, it’s called Clam Sentinel.