I’ve been using Computer Associates EZ Armor Virus and Firewall on my home machine for the last 2 years and have been generally happy with the product. This weekend my subscription expired and I decided that there were probably better solutions that did not cost as much or cost anything at all. Additionally, I have installed much better hardware solutions in terms of firewalls on my home network since the time I originally purchased the EZ Armor products, so I was less concerned about the software firewall in light of my hardware solutions and the Windows XP SP2 firewall.
I did some research and found ClamWin, which is an open source antivirus client, so I uninstalled EZ Armor, downloaded and updated ClamWin, and turned the Windows Firewall back on. One of the surprising things that I noticed after uninstalling EZ Armor and installed ClamWin was that Windows Security Center showed me as not having a recognized antivirus program; I was able to fix that by telling the Security Center that there was antivirus installed and that I would monitor it.
Most surprisingly after the change was how much better the computer ran. During the time that I was running EZ Armor, I was having issues downloading files, issues with particular websites that were trying to set cookies, and lots of issues with programs trying to access the LAN or the internet even after I had told the EZ Armor firewall to allow exceptions for various sites and programs. As soon as I removed EZ Armor, I was able to download a 38MB file with no problems and to access sites that had previously been problematic — it is entirely possible that I had misconfigured EZ Armor, but I was using many of the default settings and it became obvious after the it was gone that EZ Armor was negatively impacting my network experiences.
Certainly I am not telling anyone not to purchase EZ Armor, but would also suggest that you keep my experiences in mind when you think about purchasing a firewall and antivirus solution.
The reason you think windows is running so much smoother now is because Clamwin does NOT have an on access scanner.
I.e. where EZ armour would check every file whenever you opened/modified/downloaded it, with Clamwin you have to scan your drive's manually.
I love Clamwin, but on-access scanning is BIG omission, they are however working on it.
With clamwin it is VITAL that you seutp a daily/weekly scanning schedule, otherwise it will never find any viruses.
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