Yes, we use AVG and MalwareBytes here at the office. AVG Anti-Virus Free and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Free have always been our go-to free security tools that we use on a daily basis (among several other awesome free and paid tools). For the most part, they have worked with little issue, though maybe some annoyance here and there. But recently, there has been some problems that should be noted, especially for those of you who still have the older AVG (semi pre-2016) or MalwareBytes (pre-3.0).
AVG of course has been bought out by Avast so things are changing. Don’t get me wrong, Avast is a great product as well, but it seems they are greatly changing the way AVG looks and works, almost making it like a clone of Avast. I wouldn’t mind this very much, especially if it continues to work well, but for those of us who liked the ‘old’ interface and knew where all of the settings and tweaks are, well we are now out of luck. The interface has lost most of the flexibility that it had before that I was used to and really, the only thing that somewhat the same is setting up a scheduled scan. I would have thought they would keep AVG a completely separate product for the millions of us who use it and try to keep things the same, but times changes I guess, and you can’t always get what you want. As long as it continues working well and stays free, then I’ll keep my complaints to a minimum.
MalwareBytes, on the other hand, is having more serious problems. Not only is the update to 3.0 drastically different than 2.2 and below, but this version seems to be plagued by a bug that prevents MalwareBytes from even starting up after installation (or upgrading) and later from even being uninstalled correctly. This is regardless if you are using the free or paid version. For those who see the dreaded “Unable to connect the service” error know exactly what I mean. Most of the suggestions given indicate using the MalwareBytes removal tool to completely remove all traces of the program, re-download the latest version (and make sure the download is not corrupt) and re-install, but this doesn’t always work. Don’t get me wrong, when it works it’s still a great product, but I think I will stick with the older version for now, as it still gets signature updates without issue.
I also don’t mind the new interface too much, but I do think it’s a huge annoyance on what must be done to keep the product free. Once installed, MalwareBytes automatically enables the trial version of the premium product instead of letting you choose from the get-go if you want the trail or free. So you have to open MalwareBytes (by the way, it’s already running in the background in the system tray!), go to the Settings area and de-activate the premium trial. Once you do that, then a popup on the bottom right corner of the screen asks you if you are really sure you want to do this and the default option is not ‘yes’. Then, once you close MalwareBytes, it’s not actually closed, it’s still running in the background, in the system tray, even though the free version has none of the premium features that require it running in the background! The only way around this that I’ve seen thus far is to right-click the icon in the system tray, first un-check ‘Start with Windows’ and then click on Exit to fully close it. That’s just entirely too many steps to get the good ‘ol free version of MalwareBytes to where it should have been in the beginning.
Another annoyance (for me anyway) with the latest version of MalwareBytes is the fact that it automatically removes my MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit tool (and Anti-Ransomware for those who have that as well). I realize this tool was/is kind of a beta but it was/is free and worked well enough. The problem comes from the fact that MalwareBytes Anti-Malware 3.x now comes with the tool built-in, which is great, except it only works if you have the premium version. So us free users get stuck with nothing. Fortunately, I can reinstall Anti-Exploit after MBAM has finished installing, but it’s still a bit of a pain to go through the extra effort.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box for now. I just wanted to give anyone who may visit a heads up, including any developers of either product, so they know us IT people like it better when things both work as they should and are more flexible to do what we want. AVG and MalwareBytes are great and still free, which is important, and I hope it stays that way.
Thanks for reading!