I had previously installed AVG in Windows Server 2003, but now the installer says that Windows Server 2003 is not supported, while AVG runs perfectly on other Windows Server 2003 machines of mine.

I have only found Clamwin to be a decent free anti-virus for Windows Server 2003, although people widely complain it is horribly slow.

Should normal Windows 2003 Servers even run anti-virus?

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    Q: Should normal Windows 2003 Servers even run anti-virus? A: Yes! – xXhRQ8sD2L7Z May 26 '11 at 23:42
  • I think that's subjective on whether you want your IIS to serve adverts for viagra =) – Smudge May 26 '11 at 23:53

Yes absolutely! There is different perspectives you should keep in mind when choosing and configuring the AV. E.G. guidelines for choosing AV for Windows servers running SQL: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309422

Here you find MS list of AV vendors: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/49500/en-us

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    Make sure you exclude scanning of LDF and MDF files (see the link mentioned above). – jftuga May 26 '11 at 23:57

Simply, YES. Make sure if you are using AVG, it is the paid version. The free one is only for personal use, not business.

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    +1. As you stated, the commercial version of AVG is fully supoorted on W2K3. The free version is not. – joeqwerty May 26 '11 at 23:56
  • Wow, somebody actually down voted this comment. Really? – KCotreau May 27 '11 at 3:24
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    Welcome to the club. Drive-by downvoting is annoying, but I've made my peace with it. I've had downvotes on answers that were over a year old. – joeqwerty May 27 '11 at 15:57
  • I realize there is nothing I can do Joe, but still makes you wonder about some people. – KCotreau May 27 '11 at 16:56
  • I hear you. I've developed a love/hate relationship with the voting system. – joeqwerty May 28 '11 at 1:01

I put microsoft security essentials on mine. It's free. They're just my personal servers though.

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  • Microsoft Security Essentials is available for small businesses with up to 10 PCs. microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials/default.aspx – KCotreau May 26 '11 at 23:49
  • Also Microsoft Security Essentials is not on the supported OS'es. I would not use that in a commercial environment. microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials/SystemRequirements.aspx – KCotreau May 26 '11 at 23:50
  • I did not say it would not run, just not supported. Again, he is also probably running more than 10 users. Virtually all of the free AV packages are for personal use only. Microsoft Essentials is the first one I have seen that you can actually use for business, albeit for a limited number of clients. Basically, if it is for business, you can expect to pay for it 99% of the time. – KCotreau May 27 '11 at 16:55

Maybe. a properly secured 2003 server protected by domain and server isolation, windows firewall and all the other security guidance applicable, not used for web surfing, would be fine. However if you are unclear about the security guidance and hardening or can't implement it for some reason then yes you have no choice but to run AV and anti-malware software.

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If you do a map drive on the server you HAVE to install antivirus software. Been there without antivirus... doesn't look good...

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I take the view that if you don't run real-time antivirus protection on your servers you are simply asking for trouble and it's almost inevitable that sooner or later it will hit. ClamWin does not provide real-time protection.

Regardless of what functions the servers provide, to be useful in any way they must be part of the network. It follows therefore that nasties which take advantage of holes and flaws in the system in order to spread will be able to attack an unprotected server with impunity. That server will then further assist the spread.

From your question I get the impression that you're only after free AV software. If that's true I can only suggest that you place no value on your server or the data it holds. I don't believe there's any business that can't afford or justify the cost of antivirus software. Just one virus outbreak will cost more than the AV software.

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I never run AV on servers. It's not needed if they are properly managed and secured. As long as your admin isn't checking email on it or surfing the web, your server will be fine. Those are the vectors that 99.99% of viruses get in. Most antivirus / AV sales are made on poor admin knowledge and scare tactics. Also, make sure any services exposed to the internet are only as open as they need to be (port 443, 80, etc), and running behind a proper firewall. Run the windows firewall all the time as well, only open ports you need, and dont let non-admins login to the server. I've never had issues. If you must run AV for some reason, then I'd choose Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection - it's the server version of Security Essentials (which is for workstations). But do run MSSE (or other) on workstations - that is a must. Your servers are not going to be the point of entry if properly managed - the workstations will be (the ones where the users click bad email links - oops and navigate to questionable web sites).

Adding: Why are you running Server 2003?...you do know it's 2012 and that's a very old OS. Server 2008 R2 is minimum we run - it's far more secure by default. If you are worried about security - I'd upgrade your OS first.

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