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View Poll Results: Did Avast handle this situation poorly?
Yes 4 33.33%
Yes 3 25.00%
Fuck Avast in its whore mouth 5 41.67%
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Old 17th October 2014, 15:20   #1
iomegajaz
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Avast hits its users over the head, drags them kicking and screaming into the future.

Do me a favour and read this, then tell me if I'm being unreasonable.

Quote:
Avast! Free Antivirus 9.0.2021 Forced Update
In September-October 2014, Avast forced a program update to all global users of its Avast! Free Antivirus program (“AV”), to version 9.0.2021. No explanation was offered to users, and the update was forced to all users irrespective of whether they had set their AV program updates to “Automatic”, “Ask”, or “Manual”. Avast provided no prior warning or explanation to users.

Many users had been using older versions of the program, such as versions 5, 6, 7 and 8, as well as earlier sub-versions of version 9. Users had valid reasons for using older versions, and the forced update potentially exposed those users’ systems to problems such as those resulting from the new verson’s incompatibility with old or non-standard operating systems.

Users in certain areas of the world are restricted in the quantity of data they can download, with fees associated with usage beyond their prescribed limit. Without consulting users, the forced update downloaded version 9.0.2021 potentially pushed some users over their download limits. It is conceivable, therefore, that the forced update resulted in real people, in the real world, incurring actual costs as a direct result of Avast’s forced update.

Users came to the Avast forum to ask why their installed AV had ignored their “Ask” or “Manual” program update setting. Many such users initially thought they must have done something wrong, because it seemed inconceivable that Avast – a company whose flagship product purports to protect users from malicious files and software – would be so immoral to install software onto their computers without notice.

A number of threads popped up from forum members, new and old, seeking information about this most unusual and unheralded phenomenon. They were met with scepticism and ridicule by forum regulars who berated the users for complaining; the regulars stated that their systems were fine, that it is best to always have the latest version of software, that Avast had every right to force the update on the machine of every customer around the world, and that the users had nothing to complain about. Users expected some level of blind devotion from the regulars, but not to that extent.

A forum member named drake127 (“Drake”) identified himself as a member of the Avast team and went on to explain what had happened, and why. Drake stated that Avast was rationalising its AV version update mechanisms, and that going forward, Avast would only support one sub-version of each major version number between version 5 and version 8. To ensure all current users would continue to receive support, Avast saw fit to update all users to the most recent release – version 9.0.2021 – without notifying users beforehand. Drake empathised with users who expressed upset about the forced update.

Forum regulars continued to belittle users who aired their displeasure with the forced update. The regulars insisted that users had no valid reasons for using old versions of AV; any such reasons were dismissed by the regulars as stupid and dangerous in that using old versions would expose those users’ machines to infection – never mind that many users who took issue with the forced update were very experienced system admins and power users, entirely capable of making their own decisions about the best way to protect the systems of themselves and their clients.

The regulars repeatedly posted blanket statements that the forced update was justified, and demanded that the “whiners” shut up and stop complaining. Recognising that the regulars were not in fact members of the Avast team – rather, they were simply devoted fans of Avast – the users refused to yield or concede that the topic had run its course, until Avast acknowledged its wrongdoing. As tends to happen in such situations, tempers frayed and each side started posting personal insults about the other.

Forum staff responded by deleting the newer users’ posts, without notifiying those users of the actions being taken, and without advising the reasons for those actions. At least one of the newer users was banned. Looking at what was posted by each party involved, it is clear that the staff simply sided with the regulars and did away with the newer users’ posts, as that was the easiest option. However on objective reflection, and in reviewing the content of posts made by regulars and newer users, it is clear that the newer users were no more at fault than the regulars.

Instead of accepting user feedback and using it to review their practices and/or improve future versions of AV, Avast – represented by its forum staff – chose instead to ignore the valid and valuable feedback, delete the posts calling them “disruptive”, and treat forum regulars with favouritism over newer users.

Emails have been sent to the board of directors of Avast including the CEO and the VP of Customer Satisfaction, including screenshots of the forum.

In a nutshell – What Happened:
1. Avast force-updated all AV users to version 9.0.2021 in direct contravention of its own implied pledge to respect users’ wishes not to update, with no notification to users.
2. Avast forum regulars berated and belittled users, calling their reasons stupid, and told them to “just update”.
3. Avast forum regulars and newer users butted heads, insulting each other in equal measure.
4. Avast forum staff deleted the newer users’ posts and banned at least one newer user.

In a nutshell – What Should Have Happened:
1. Avast notifies all AV users that after _ days, only versions _____ and _____ will continue to be supported. Users are given the choice to update to a supported version or uninstall AV.
2. Forum regulars welcome new members, acknowledge their concerns, and offer help if possible.
3. Forum staff act objectively and without bias, treating all users equally.
4. Having failed to do step 1, Avast publically acknowledges its wrongdoing and apologises to users.

UPDATE: Forum staff ban user “The More You Know” who had only posted one post – this one. Apparently this thread is worthy of an immediate, unexplained ban.

Keep banning me for no reason, and I will keep registering.
More here: http://hughhh.com/hosted/avast

I have registered at, and have been banned from, the Avast forum about 15-20 times in the past three-or-so hours. Mad props to Tor Browser for making that a possibility, btw.

All I've done each time is register under a new name and copy-pasta the above-linked post. Each time, I've been banned within minutes, sometimes seconds, of having registered.

I plan to move away from Avast, taking with me the dozen or so computer users whose systems I regularly support. I challenge all other Avast Free users to join me in this exodus. As I leave, however, I will continue to spend a few hours each day tormenting the Avast forum mods by registering and reposting this on their forum, however many times I can in a few hours each day.

PEACE OUT, BITCHES.

Just kidding, please respond.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 17th October 2014, 22:47   #2
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Agreed. Trust is their main product. They just sank their own ship.

I only have one windows system running (for legacy gaming), which alternative do you suggest? AVG?

Jesus loves you [yes, you] so much, he even died for you so that you will not need to die, but live forever
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Old 18th October 2014, 11:01   #3
iomegajaz
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I used to use AVG, prior to Avira, and then I moved to Avast. In a recent independent lab test, AVG scored barely better than Avast; and they tested with a non-free version of Avira. Panda Free AV scored the best out of all the AVs tested, including paid versions, so I'll be trying out Panda next.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 18th October 2014, 13:07   #4
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Oh: don't fuck avast! in the mouth. You'll get viruses for sure.

Jesus loves you [yes, you] so much, he even died for you so that you will not need to die, but live forever
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Old 18th October 2014, 13:08   #5
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Have you fixed my computer yet?
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Old 20th October 2014, 09:14   #6
iomegajaz
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My learned colleague, bootsy, really gave the assholes something to think about with his parting shot:

Quote:
Originally Posted by https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=157247.0
Since my posts are pulled by the mods, I don't know why they left my account active. Pulled for daring to point out that a subset of their free labor force here (read devotees like Eddy, Rejzor, bob3160, etc) run around this forum like a bunch of bullies attacking anyone who uses a version of AVAST they don't prefer, or dares to make suggestions on the product. Lisandro is no better, ridiculing users himself, asking if he is "in [sic] Mars" when someone suggests updating without notice was wrong, or using the example of a Commodore 64 (era 1982) as some kind of nexus to people running XP or W7, or perhaps AVAST v7.1474, which is only 2yrs old, not 32yrs. (BTW Eddy uses XP as I'm sure others do.)

I came to this forum with a small boot problem which I worked out with a little help from DavidR, one of the exceptional people on this forum, along with Drake127. It's unfortunate they are the exception. But while I arrived a fan of the AVAST product, one week here turned me off. The forum apparently places free labor over good business (i.e. letting misguided and uninformed devotees attack users with impunity, then banning the victims of the attacks as trolls when they react to those attacks). Don't get me wrong, this isn't about who gets banned... it's about how this forum shows such poor business sense. It's about the unprofessionalism of not doing the simple, business-savvy thing, which is to send a PM to all members letting them know ALL users should be treated with respect, and differences of opinion should be tolerated here, just like they are in society.

And crazily, the regulars who are doing the attacking don't even make sensible, sound arguments. https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=157010.0 Rejzor and company keep insisting no one is hurt by a forced upgrade, saying if a forced upgrade will bog down your machines, so would a manual upgrade... to which all the other bullies [and Lisandro] join in to call users "cry babies" and "wipe your tears" even posting a graphic of a little boy crying. Meanwhile, in the real world of adults we know in a manual upgrade an admin can choose to leave out all but the necessary modules and features (perhaps the File Shield only, for example) if he knows the hardware he's running can't take the overhead. (And here is where the bullies jump in to claim they have XP and 2GB RAM and AVAST 2014 or RC 2015 running beautifully... stopping to throw in more abuse... completely oblivious to the fact that an admin's machines are running OTHER necessary applications for the work they are doing – in some cases custom apps - that might use up much of the limited available resources.)

A machine's primary purpose is not to accommodate an AV, but to churn out work, esp in a corporate environment. The only purpose of the AV is to allow it to fulfill its primary purpose. So when a forced upgrade comes along unannounced and BY DEFAULT EVERY MODULE IS INSTALLED B/C THE UI DOES NOT ALLOW A CUSTOM INSTALL... that is enough to BRICK an entire company's network. And that's to say nothing of a completely re-designed UI which the admin must muddle through, not having had the opportunity to test out the new version ahead of time. A choice s/he likely would have made, had s/he known a forced update was imminent. Or more likely, would have manually updated the network at an opportune time, like when the work force is not there and s/he has time to fine tune it to ensure there will be no loss of productivity... something that could cost that person his or her job.

At least one admin come on this forum to express these exact problems with the forced update, and was attacked and ridiculed for his trouble, quickly leaving as he likely had no time for such nonsense and NON-HELP in this SUPPORT forum. Especially since the bullies turned the thread into a flame war between themselves and AVAST users who preferred older still-supported versions, and notification of end-of-life. And we still have Rezjor, Eddy, Staticguy, and others... again including Lisandro, an actual Team Member… making fun of people for saying the forced update caused serious problems and hardships… all of which could have been easily avoided.

Which leads me to the kicker … the problem is SO EASILY remedied to PLEASE EVERYONE by sending out simple notification or end-of-life notice. But all suggestions of remedies are ignored in favor of attacking "the whiny complainers." Even by an AVAST team member. And that's just layers and layers of stupid no matter how you slice it.

These people clearly don't care about AVAST losing business or taking remedial steps to improve things, nearly as much as they care about being right. And in the upside-down-world of this forum, they are unbelievably supported for that stance. Being directly counter-productive to the AVAST brand in favor of preserving their ego at all costs is business-as-usual here.

FWIW AVAST, the bullies would not bail on you if you sent them a memo telling them to treat ALL users with equal respect and neutrality, even when they disagree. They would do anything to not be banned, because unlike new transient members, the devotees have made participation in this forum part of their identity and the sheer number of posts they have logged under their belts is not something they want to lose. You can tell them to abide by common decency, good business policy (i.e. don't attack AVAST users, it causes us to lose business) and they will abide. If someone continues to be abusive, consider suspending his account for 2 weeks or a month, rather than banning him. You get to keep your free work force, they get to keep their hobby, and people like me don't come here for a simple answer, and end up switching away from AVAST because of how little business savvy and common sense this forum is showing. (Or more likely with most users, they will switch away simply for being attacked, which is also understandable.)

So please delete my account. If I could have done it myself, you would have been spared this final bit of advice, which if the ignorance continues unabated here, will also be ignored. Either way, I have moved on to another AV and have taken my clients with me. I've seen all of the AVAST brand I need to.

Good luck.
Some of the more established Avast forum members have come out from hiding to add their voices to the growing discontent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=157010.30
Again, it isn't right to crash people's computers "for their own protection" and I think the user's have made that abundantly clear. Many people have left already and stated their discontent on their way out the door and more are talking about leaving. The only people defending this policy are the same individuals that stand behind you no matter what decision you make and have made their bias clear to all on many issues (ra ra ra - siss boom ba), but when you have random people coming forward (like me, this issue doesn't even affect me other than the fact that I just dont like it in principle and find it hard to believe it was even put into place) and person after person (newbs) signing up for an account just so they can tell you how awful they think this decision is and to express to you that their computers which were fine yesterday are now junk, then that is a clear representation of there being a problem.
+1

Happy days. We made a difference.

I'm still uninstalling Avast from every PC over which I have influence, and replacing with Panda, because fuck 'em.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 21st October 2014, 04:00   #7
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In breaking news, uninstalling Avast 5 from my Windows 7 laptop BRICKED my laptop.

I was previously considering giving my laptop a clean slate OS reinstall, so while I was initially really pissed off by the BSOD-can't-even-boot-into-Safe-Mode-ness of it all, I'm actually okay with it now as it's confirmed my clean slate course of action.

-zenjaz

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Old 26th October 2014, 02:25   #8
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You never did say if you took care of my computer...
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Old 28th October 2014, 03:40   #9
iomegajaz
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Recommendation to all:

1. Install this: http://acs.pandasoftware.com/Panda20...653/FREEAV.exe
2. Uninstall Avast
3. ...?
4. Profit!



Quote:
Originally Posted by iomegajaz View Post
In breaking news, uninstalling Avast 5 from my Windows 7 laptop BRICKED my laptop.
That was an overstatement – it merely irrevocably BSODed my laptop.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 28th October 2014, 18:39   #10
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(5. go here: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
6. ...?!!
7. freedom!)

I installed Panda on my windows box yesterday, looks allright

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Old 31st October 2014, 16:13   #11
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More Avast (bad) news.

http://www.ghacks.net/2014/10/31/ava...ther-programs/

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Old 31st October 2014, 17:32   #12
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it scanning HTTPS traffic as that article appears to describe is somewhat concerning...
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Old 1st November 2014, 00:23   #13
iomegajaz
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The HTTPS scanning and Avast's response to that issue is another tick in the "fuck off Avast" column. However I'm still dumbfounded as to why the forced update to version 9 wasn't a bigger story that it was. A few grumbles on Avast's own web forum and that was it. Why didn't the tech news sites pick it up AT ALL?? So frustrating.

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Old 1st November 2014, 00:34   #14
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maybe not many people are using it so it didn't have any sort of noticeable impact. who can really say.

from a dev side i can see the benefit of having most users on a specific version, but the practicality of it never tends to happen (however much it's wanted) and this is why i code and don't do management
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Old 1st November 2014, 00:53   #15
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Mandating an update to version X is fine. Typically, this would be done by notifying users and demanding they either update to version X or uninstall. Avast just updated everyone without notice. Users who had set their "program update" setting to "ask" or "manual" were rightly angered by that.

It was heretofore unimaginable that a company whose flagship product purports to protect users from nefarious backdoor software installs would itself engage in such a tactic when it suited its own purposes.

TL;DR: fuck 'em.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 1st November 2014, 00:57   #16
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you'll be glad to know Winamp cannot do that

as having no auto-updater prevents it from happening, however lovely it would have been so all of those damn 2.x installs would not be around and then have people asking for 2.x versions of plug-ins that were created years after 2.x was last released *grumble*
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Old 2nd November 2014, 10:32   #17
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The news about Avast keeps getting worse. Article linked below was published 10-22-2014.

http://www.howtogeek.com/199829/avas...til-this-week/

If you look at this article, be sure to read the last part. Avast is far from the only one, doing stuff like this. As the article says "Personal information and big data have become the standard; because after all: if a product is free, the real product is you."

Winamp has never gone online or reported usage statistics (afaik) unless you explicitly allow it via a GP option and/or online related features supported by third parties. Call me paranoid, but I've been carefully tracking and monitoring (and at times blocking) my computer's internet traffic for the past 3 years. Some stuff you have to let thru, but there is a lot you still can control if you want to.

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Old 16th November 2014, 16:43   #18
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More news about Avast. If anyone is still using it, the only question is why!

http://www.ghacks.net/2014/11/16/lat...refox-add-ons/

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Old 16th November 2014, 16:49   #19
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We had avast installed on a vm of our validated CDS at work. [CDS here stands for Chromatography Data System).

Their update not only broke, but invalidated our entire CDS causing us a few weeks of downtime with no profit coming in the door because we were unable to perform any GxP type testing and had very little R&D work in the door.

Needless to day, the company's stance was to fuck avast in it's whore mouth. After that, we ripped their shitware from everyone of our corporate machines.
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Old 16th November 2014, 17:37   #20
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I use Avast... Is it bad?
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Old 16th November 2014, 22:28   #21
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I suggest that you read this thread from top to bottom, then decide whether Avast is "bad".

Quote:
Originally Posted by fc*uk View Post
We had avast installed on a vm of our validated CDS at work. [CDS here stands for Chromatography Data System).

Their update not only broke, but invalidated our entire CDS causing us a few weeks of downtime with no profit coming in the door because we were unable to perform any GxP type testing and had very little R&D work in the door.

Needless to day, the company's stance was to fuck avast in it's whore mouth. After that, we ripped their shitware from everyone of our corporate machines.
Sorry to hear it affected people with such major, real-world consequences. I still can't believe Avast's force-update wasn't reported in the media AT ALL.

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Old 22nd December 2014, 04:09   #22
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Man, I really should try to stop by the forums more often. I had no idea this was going on. D:

I've been using Avast for years, and now I think it's about time to fuck them in their whore mouths.
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Old 30th December 2014, 17:22   #23
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[joins the party belatedly]

Any company acting like that is basically asking to lose customers. There are perfectly valid reasons not to want software update to be forced (ask any console users running CFW), and if a company decides to do so against your will, it's time to get rid of it.

What I've always found funny about antivirus programs is that in many aspects, they are just as bad as the things they're supposed to protect you from. What I've discovered though is that an antivirus program can have fans. I understand why one would be a fan of such or such artist or sports team, but an antivirus program?!

Anyway, Avast didn't start to suck yesterday; they have a long history of doing so. I got rid of their crappy AV program when I discovered it was what waused BSODs on my otherwise perfectly running PC. I switched to Avira and kept using it until a few days ago when I could no longer tolerate their ad window popping on my screen. So I uninstalled Avira and am now running Panda, which ALSO has ads but ones you can easily deactivate from the settings.

Now, what I do want to know is whether Shyshy's computer has FINALLY been fixed
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Old 30th December 2014, 17:41   #24
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Where's the "all antivirus is snake oil" option?
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Old 1st January 2015, 06:54   #25
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Some snake oils are more equal than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twilightseer View Post
[joins the party belatedly]
Now, what I do want to know is whether Shyshy's computer has FINALLY been fixed
It's running Panda and hasn't had any problems since.

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Old 3rd January 2015, 08:34   #26
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Been running Panda AV for about 10 days now. It's pretty spartan compared to Avast, but it's also quite a bit easier on my system resources as well. Seems ok, but I haven't messed around with it very much. How well does everyone else like it? Does anyone else have suggestions for other free AV programs that I could try out? It's always good to have options.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 09:33   #27
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Panda's cloud-based nature – not downloading definitions each day – leads me to forget that it's running, until something causes a flag to be raised (which doesn't happen often, because I'm careful with what I do online).

I think it's a good idea to download some safe "viruses" (files designer to appear to be viruses) to check whether one's AV catches them. Panda caught all the EICAR variant files, as well as the one I created in Notepad from the raw text.

I haven't given much thought to alternatives; I'll do that if and when Panda goes bad.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 7th July 2016, 18:43   #28
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Avast to acquire AVG for $1.3 billion (http://www.ghacks.net/2016/07/07/ava...r-1-3-billion/).

Another AV app to cross off the list.

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Old 7th July 2016, 20:53   #29
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I have a vaguely fond memory of AVG being the AV of choice for us quasi nerds about 10-15 years ago.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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