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Panda Experiment Is Over

Posted by on Oct 4, 2008

Well, if you’ve been checking my blog for awhile, you’ll probably remember my two conversations with the Computer Guy. The first one was when I took my computer in; the second one was the day before I went in to pick up my computer. I never talked about the day I picked it up, which then will lead into the topic of this post.

When I went to pick up my computer, for which I had an appointment, I walked in and found that the guy hadn’t quite finished with my computer, even though he wasn’t working on it when I got there either. He had never found any problems with it, but I needed it back so I could get back to work. The last thing he wanted to do was load Panda Internet Security 2008 onto my computer, saying it was the best and strongest antivirus program on the market, and the only one they recommend. So, since he was doing some other stuff, I ended up installing it while he basically watched over me; yeah, like I wouldn’t know how to load antivirus software. Of course there was a problem, mainly in the fact that it took 20 minutes for me to receive an email that he said usually took less than 15 seconds. While he was on the phone with the company, the email finally showed up, which had the username, password, and some long code I needed in order to activate the product. Of course I had to pay for it, and the computer work, but it was installed and I was good to go.

The next night, while I was loading some things back onto my computer while it was connected to the internet, my internet connection locked up on me, which I wrote about on this post, where I’d contacted Time Warner (I have Road Runner) and thought it was their issue. However, the next night the same problem occurred again, only this time I went to test the laptop and learned that the problem wasn’t with Time Warner, but with my computer. I thought maybe there was a hardware issue of some kind, and I did some tests with the Panda software, and things were still messed up. In the end, I had concluded that the problem was Firefox cookies, because I had also been having problems signing onto some websites.

Of course the problem continued, and I started paying attention to my Mailwasher error messages, which kept coming up with all these different socket errors, for which I put out a request for some possible answers. However, I never sit still when it comes to my computer, so I went onto the laptop to try to do some research, and once again came back to Panda as the possible problem. This time, I decided to uninstall Panda, and once I did, I had instant online access once again; wow!

I was irked, but decided to try to load it again, just to make sure. And, of course, I had the same problem within 30 minutes, which was shocking because at least the times beforehand had waited some hours before locking things up. I uninstalled it again, and loaded a different firewall program, but wasn’t sure which antivirus I would load. However, before I got that far, I went onto Twitter and wrote that I had uninstalled Panda because I was having major problems with it.

Turns out there’s a Panda group that monitors Twitter for any messages about Panda, and they somehow saw my message and, the next morning, I had an email direct message from them asking about my problem. I wrote and told them what the problem was, and the following day I received a phone call from someone from Panda, telling me that I needed to upgrade to the 2009 version because they had discovered a problem with the Web Proxy portion of their 2008 product that they’d fixed, and, because I had just purchased the 2008 version, I could upgrade to 2009 for free. Sounded like a great deal to me, so I did that, unloaded Zone Alarm, reloaded Panda, and things seemed to be much better.

But no, it wasn’t done with me. I still had some occasional programs that would stop working, and figured out that sometimes I could only have one program at a time open that accessed the internet; seemed that many of them were still sharing the same port (though my online poker program wasn’t one of them; I wonder why). When I shut down some of them and left only one open, I always got my internet connection back. That was irritating, but not as irritating as the next part.

I use Mailwasher, and because of that I felt I didn’t need my email scanned, because Panda adds this message to each email whether it’s incoming or outgoing; I didn’t need to be an advertiser for them, and I didn’t need to see their messages on my incoming email either. So I turned that part off, and I also decided I didn’t need it scanning my instant messaging program either, which I rarely use right now. Well, once I made those changes, these popup screens started showing up every 3 minutes, telling me I wasn’t being fully protected and asking me if I wanted to load them. I had to keep clicking on “no”, but every once in awhile if I was typing and the window came up, it would just accept my “yes” if I hit the Enter button and, of course, I’d have to go back into the program and get rid of it once again.

This was annoying so I first wrote the Panda people on Twitter about it, and they asked me to send them a copy of the popup. I did that, didn’t hear from them, and wrote again three days later. They asked for it again, I told them I’d already sent it but sent it again. Then I waited another two days. Thursday I got their response. They basically said there were two recommendations; either accept what the warnings told me and allow the program to do its job, or uninstall it. Of all things! Well, tonight (or this morning, since I started doing it around 1:30AM), I decided to uninstall the sucker, and I also left a message on their site, since it pops up asking if you’d comment on their product, and told them how much I hated their intrusive program. Now, if I could have only loaded the firewall or spyware program without the antivirus, I might have stuck with just that, but it seems that if you don’t load the antivirus then you can’t load anything; ugh.

So, I’ve now gone to AVG Free 8.0 for my antivirus, which has a spyware add-on of some kind, and I’ve also gone back to Zone Alarm, which supposedly had the same type of thing, and not loaded either toolbar; like I need more toolbars. I’ve also added Spybot’s program as further protection against spyware. I could have gone back to the CA antivirus program that Time Warner pimps for its subscribers, but it kept messing with me for some reason before I’d taken my computer to the computer guy, which was one reason why I wasn’t depressed in purchasing Panda at the time.

In the long run, I’m thinking I should have known better. I had used AVG a long time ago and loved it, and when the program expired I decided to go with the CA because of Time Warner. Now I’m back with AVG, and I’ve never had a problem with Zone Alarm, and I’m back with that. Panda is very good spyware, as years ago I used their free online scanner to find some viruses that I knew were on my computer, but for some reason couldn’t get rid of, and if I have any problems in the next 11 months I can always install it and run a quick scan, then go back to AVG if need be. For now, Panda isn’t worth the trouble, I’m sorry to say.

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DeBorah Beatty:

I can SOOOOOO relate. I’ve been using AVG for over a year on both my husband’s desktop and my laptop. At least where you are you have a computer guy. The ones we have here are hopeless. One worked at our local Staples where he was fired for adding a backdoor password hack, the other two don’t know the difference between an API key and a house key! I got more help at WordCamp Portland last week than I have in 4 years with local folks. Glad I have blogpals all over the place, too!

DeBorah Beatty┬┤s last blog post..Interesting, this blogging experience

October 4th, 2008 | 4:17 PM

Thanks for visiting, DeBorah. Actually, I have the computer guy less than a mile away, but I also have two Best Buys less than 10 minutes away in two separate directions, so I could always go there. However, after getting burned by Comp USA in the past, I’m hesitant to go to those stores. And I do know other computer repair folks, who are usually fairly steep, but I bet they could get me working good again.

October 4th, 2008 | 4:21 PM