Word on a Whim

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Is McAfee a virus?

Feeling a bit flush after receiving an offer of a permanent job, I treated us to a new laptop. The old one had reached the point where you switch it on, put the kettle on, go for a wee, come back and type the password in, go off and make the tea then spend another few minutes answering error messages before it becomes usable to those who know its various quirks.

The new one came with Windows 8, which I disliked from the start owing to its Toytown interface and endless pre-installed shite. I expect to be allowed to choose what to install on a new computer, not to find it cluttered with all sorts of rubbish. Anyway, those were minor grumbles compared with the disappointment of trying to use the thing. It was so very slow, particularly when browsing the internet, and kept saying the page was unavailable or not found when it was a page I’d been on just half a minute ago. The internet speed in our area is not the fastest, so I thought it might be that Windows 8 needs a faster connection – or maybe I’d just gone too cheap on the laptop. (It was “on offer” at £200 instead of £300 but since the offer ended it has been priced at £229). My fella suggested it might run quicker without the McAfee antivirus – a pre-installed evaluation version. McAfee appeared to be a channel for other companies to advertise their products in that when you opened a browser, lots of other pages would start opening up until it all ground to a halt. I was in favour of leaving McAfee on until it asked for a subscription – but by then we were so hacked off with it that it ended up in a cupboard and the old Windows 7 laptop came out of retirement.

So, I started the new job (not in care work!) and they gave me a new Windows 8 laptop … with McAfee pre-installed and assurance that more RAM for it was on order. Using it, or trying to use it, was a déjà vu experience; “Have you seen the email I just sent you with the link on it?” “No, Outlook has frozen again … okay, got it now … but the link keeps timing out.”

A few days (and thousands of updates) later, I found I could no longer adjust the brightness of the screen. The slider went up and down but the screen remained dim. Not unusably dim but dim enough that I could see my own reflection all the time, which was disturbing! I googled and found others had this problem after Windows 8 updates, but I didn’t want to mess about with the graphics drivers and hoped maybe a future update might fix it. I consulted our PC/network guru and asked about the antivirus and he kindly removed McAfee and replaced it with AVG, a free download. Not only did the laptop run loads faster, but I was able to adjust the brightness again the minute McAfee had gone.

Back home, the Windows 8 laptop came out of the cupboard. McAfee was uninstalled and AVG downloaded. Result! A functioning laptop that can browse the Net at a reasonable speed; leaving me happy to have problems resolved, although puzzled and a bit miffed to think they were caused by a product I would have been expected to pay for.


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