Running Windows without anti-virus software

Discussion in 'Security and Anti-Virus Software' started by micman, Sep 6, 2010.

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  1. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    ***New: Guide posted based on the feedback from this thread and my general experience - http://forum.notebookreview.com/sec...-use-windows-without-anti-virus-security.html ***

    This thread is not for you to step up to your soapbox and tell me how important security software is.

    I'd be interested to hear if anyone is running Windows XP/Vista/7 without any anti-virus or security software installed. I'm coming up on a year now without having anything installed like AVG or MS Security Essentials to prevent viruses. My only defense is the standard Windows Firewall and frequent use of Ccleaner.

    I started this as an experiment, fully expecting to be inundated with loads of nasty viruses and spyware within days or weeks. Now almost a year later I am still virus free, according to a quick scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and an obvious lack of virus symptoms.

    I use both public and private networks, and I would estimate my bandwidth usage of both combined to be roughly 15-20GB per month. In my internet browsing I am cautious about what pages I visit, and I rarely download files from torrent sites or other suspect sources.

    I realize that this can't last forever, but I'm going to keep pushing this experiment as far as I can. Does anyone else have a similar experience with their laptop? My OS is in my sig.

    I hope to get some interesting feedback from this thread. If there is any or enough interest, I might throw together a guide detailing how an internet and computer savvy person can avoid viruses without using security software.

    Please remember that I don't want to hear you telling me how much I am risking by running unprotected Windows. I knew what I was getting into when I started my experiment.
     
  2. Eugene91

    Eugene91 Notebook Consultant

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    -Use SandboxIE
    -Turn on Windows Defender
    -Use a Limited User Account(LUA)

    That should be fine :)
     
  3. arjunned

    arjunned Notebook Deity

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    I've been running my W7 without an AV for quite some. I use all of W7's built-in security features, ie Applocker, DEP, SEHOP & UAC. With of-course weekly or fortnightly scans with Hitman Pro. I use the W7 Firewall Control for the W7 firewall outbound control.
     
  4. flipfire

    flipfire Moderately Boss

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    Safe surfing definitely helps. If you were any other regular internet user, your computer would be in meltdown in no time.

    I manage an office full of computers and even with pricey business security software and WSUS, viruses get caught all the time but in some instances they overpower the AV and hijack windows.

    The problem with running no AV is even though your not seeing tell tale signs, there could be zombieware running stealthy on the background, stealing your information and whatnot.

    You could probably get away with no AV, if you surf wisely and keep windows and software up to date.

    No AV = FAST

    but i wouldnt recommend it.
     
  5. scythie

    scythie I died for your sins.

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    You are probably not using any USB flash drives because as much as I am confident in my "security awareness" when browsing the internet, it is inevitable that when I plug my USB drive, it always catches viruses from wherever I used it before [university terminals, friend's laptop, etc.] and thankfully my AV protects my own system from those viruses that infected my USB drive. After getting whatever files I need from my USB drive, I proceed to reformat it. Goodbye viruses.

    There's this certain peace of mind issue, too. I'd go all paranoid without an AV. Plus, Microsoft Security Essentials is quite the light program.

    Hopefully you can keep us posted on your little experiment and how far you plan to go and all that. Good luck. :)
     
  6. yuyi64

    yuyi64 Notebook Consultant

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    Are the pubic networks you use operated by strip clubs and massage parlors? I hope you're using some kind protection! :D
     
  7. Nankuru

    Nankuru Notebook Evangelist

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    I reckon the three most important steps to avoid viruses are:

    1. Run as a standard non-admin user
    2. Keep windows updated.
    3. Use a good browser like Opera or Firefox.

    I'm not in the least bit surprised if you haven't had any infections if you've done the above - and I think you should be able to click on even the dodgiest links without problems.
     
  8. Matrix Leader7

    Matrix Leader7 Notebook Geek

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    this is just plain risky in today's world
     
  9. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks for the replies!

    I do actually have administrative rights enabled for now, and I am a flash drive user, but there are only a handful of computers I ever plug my flash drives into. One exception would be the once or twice a year I visit a lan party and use one to pass around patches and no cd cracks.

    I never use IE unless I have to, which is usually only when I have to visit Microsoft partner pages or check a web design in IE.

    UAC is turned off, and I don't use Defender either. UAC just drives me up a wall so it's always the first thing to go. DEP is on, but SEHOP and Applocker aren't.

    All that protects me from infection is cautious browsing through Chrome or Firefox with Adblock installed, frequent temporary file deletion, regular Windows updates, and Windows Firewall.

    @flipfire: I agree, running without security should be avoided. In a corporate setting like yours the only way to stop viruses from infecting your computers is to leave them powered down 24/7, but that might cut into your productivity. My favorite things about running no security are the speed of boot times and light memory footprint while using Windows. During general use I don't usually have any more than 50 processes running, and I'd be running fewer if I didn't have Asus hotkey software installed.

    @yuyi64: lol. noted and changed, although I considered leaving it for a good laugh. I'll try to stay away from Pubic Internet Terminals (PIT's) from now on.
     
  10. H.A.L. 9000

    H.A.L. 9000 Occam's Chainsaw

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    I've never used AV as long as I've used Win7. UAC will stop a lot more things than people think, and if you just turn it down a level (not off) it won't bug you either. On my XP netbook, I use clamwin and the Windows Firewall and it has never had a problem either. Also, Safari is my browser of choice. It's sandboxed, so to speak.
     
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