Universal antivirus solution doesn’t exist

I received a deluge of e-mail after my last column about one reader’s success story upgrading the antivirus software package he received through RoadRunner/Time Warner Cable.

Some wrote to let me know that the software download is for Pcs only, not Macs.

Other readers pointed out that they were asked to uninstall other antivirus programs in order to upgrade the Computer Associates Internet Security Suite. That’s not unexpected; you don’t want to layer security software, as running more than one firewall or antivirus tool can cause problems.

Finally, some readers wrote to say that their computers had become excruciatingly slow after the download.

As I have mentioned in past columns, not every antivirus program works for every system, unfortunately. Some work brilliantly, and sometimes they’re bad news. It’s very hard to predict what the result on an individual system will be.

Jeff Crume, a distinguished engineer at IBM, suggests a medical analogy.

The same medicine that reduces migraine symptoms in most patients may only intensify the suffering for a group of others, he said. In some cases, these outcomes are predictable, because of well-known drug interactions or improper dosing, but in many others it remains a mystery why one chemical compound seems to serve as both cure and cause for the same malady.

Unfortunately, the complexity of interactions among the various software components installed on a computer system can produce the same sort of unpredictability, Crume adds.

So please, let me emphasize – in this or any other instance, if you’re happy enough with what you have, there’s no reason to change it.

But if you were one of the unfortunate readers to have trouble with CA, Crume suggests that using the Windows System Restore utility to revert to a previous version of the system before things came crashing down might help. To learn more, visit support.microsoft.com and search for “system restore.

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