Spyware Horror Story: Antispyware bog-down

Your puny memory is no excuse for ditching the antispyware apps--they're essential to your PC's health. However, there are some strong security apps with a Cinderella footprint. Take a look at these RAM-saving security titles.

Spyware Horror Story

Published by Jack; Brisbane, Australia

I run Windows 2000 Professional and ran Ad-Aware SE with great success. Ad-Aware stopped updating this year, so had to then get Ad-Aware 2007. This did not work. It kept seizing up while scanning, so I got rid of it and then downloaded McAfee VirusScan from Download.com. This is when my worries began.

My PC just virtually seized up. Every task took 10 times longer to do. If I wanted to open a window or go onto the Internet, I had to click on the icon and go away for 5 minutes before it would come up. It was sooo frustrating. If I had maybe three programs running, then the machine would tell me that there wasn't enough memory and it would have to expand it. I checked the Task Manager and saw that the program running the most memory was "massrv.exe," which turned out to be McAfee. So, I've had to uninstall it. Even then it didn't want to be removed and it took three goes before it surrendered! Frustration!

Here's what I want to know: Is there any antispyware program around that works with 2KB without seizing up?

Editor's response

2KB, Jack? Two?! I hope you mean MB, for megabytes, because there are very few programs that do anything with fewer than even 20 kilobytes. In fact, in the antivirus category on CNET Download.com, there are precisely seven below 50KB in size.

You'd do better with a 2MB restriction. Zone Alarm Anti-virus and ProcessGuard are both high-rated products sliding in just shy of 2MB, and the new, promising Haute Secure just tops your upper limit at 3.45MB.

But really, this cute little scavenger hunt is beyond the point. Part of responsible PC ownership is investing in enough memory to support strong, smoothly functioning security. Period. Just check out some juicy Spyware Horror back stories to see the consequences.

But I won't leave you in a lurch. CNET Shopper is a great resource for pricing RAM before you buy, and there are certainly a few tricks on Download.com that can help you narrow your search for RAM-conscience apps with elusive Cinderella footprints. Every listings page on Download.com contains a drop-down menu for filtering a search; this includes OS, license (if the app is free or free to try,) and size. The memory requirements are also reproduced in the stats on every product page you open, so there's no excuse for downloading something too gargantuan for your computer to handle and then blaming the app for poor performance.

Using the silze filter on CNET Download.com can save you time finding apps with small footprints.

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