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Where I'm at we're still running a bunch of single-core 2003-era machines with 512Mb RAM. These PCs all have Kaspersky anti-virus software installed, and Kaspersky is killing the performance of the older machines. I know Kaspersky is the problem, because we have a computer lab full of these that also run DeepFreeze, and when I removed Kaspersky from the machines and opted to rely on DeepFreeze alone to protect them it was like I breathed new life into them. Other machines that don't use DeepFreeze are still slow, and an experiment on one of them produced similar results.

Fortunately most of the older machines will be gone in the next year, but I doubt the general situation is likely to improve, as we generally purchase off-lease computers. What we're getting off-lease right now isn't bad ($280 for a Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM and Windows license), but over time we're always gonna be at end of the performance curve.

So I'm wondering about other's experiences running different anti-virus options on older equipment. When our Kaspersky contract is up for renewal, what can I be looking at as alternatives?

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The problem your facing is that newer AV software uses more and more techniques to find viruses; these new/additional techniques are necessary for the new definitions. Older/simpler AV software will not be as effective (or completely ineffective) at finding/preventing viruses. – Chris S Aug 30 '10 at 19:20

Trend Micro Worry Free Business is working really really well for us. We've deployed it to 5-7 year old computers with minimal performance impact. If you don't have a client-server environment, I'd also take a look into McAfee Total Protection for Small Business. It's a hosted option. Again, smallish client with little performance impact.

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Microsoft Security Essentials is a free AV program that combines good protection with a very small performance hit. I've used it on a variety of machines and it works really well.

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Although I would also recommend this for older machines, I'd be a bit careful reading the EULA for MS Security Essentials as it states (and it's advertised as) only being licensed for home and home business use. I believe MS Forefront client security is aimed for business use, but that's not free: – l0c0b0x Aug 30 '10 at 19:15
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! MSE is NOT licensed for commercial use. – Jason Berg Aug 30 '10 at 19:17
Thanks for the correction. Excellent point that I somehow missed in the original question. – Jeff Halley Aug 31 '10 at 2:03

I run AVG at home, and know other who use Avast. I used to rely on, and recommend exclusively, F-PROT.

Don't know about the commercial licensing that it sounds like you need, though.

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I wonder if anyone sells a management tool for AVG, to make deployments and reporting better. Update distribution bandwidth is an issue, too, but a basic caching proxy would take care of that. I'd pay good money for such a tool, as even a $1000 price tag would still be way less than licensing all the individual clients. – Joel Coel Aug 30 '10 at 20:19
F-Prot is an extremely efficient scanning engine, use it on my mail gateway GNU/Linux servers! I also have it on my personal workstation, as it's free for GNU/Linux home users, so I can scan unknown windows files. Also has many different versions, for Windows and etc.. I always recommends F-Prot, for anyone's primary anti-virus, but especially if they are short on computation resources. – TechZilla Feb 17 '13 at 20:39

I'd recommend Avast for your older machines.

I've used it on both single and dual core machines running Windows XP and it doesn't seem to slow the machine down noticeably.

There's a pro version and comprehensive version that offer more features, but the basic free version might be "good enough".

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I've used AVast at home in the past as well. Using Security Essentials right now, but I may look at them for the school here when the time comes. – Joel Coel Aug 30 '10 at 20:02
Have you used the pro version? I specifically don't want a system that pre-empts the existing windows firewall, but I do want a system that includes a management console/dashboard and automated deployment features. – Joel Coel Aug 30 '10 at 20:16
@Joel - sorry, not used the pro version. – ChrisF Aug 31 '10 at 17:36

AVG does in fact have a management console that comes free of charge with their business line of products. I would recommend either their Business Edition or File Server Edition. Version 9 is a sight better than version 8 was and AVG has one of the lowest buy in costs for AV software.

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AVG tears up old hardware. We just got rid of it between performance issues and adware even in the pay version. – Warner Aug 30 '10 at 21:12

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