Is Traditional Anti-Virus Software Really This Bad?

Is Traditional Anti-Virus Software Really This Bad?

A recent study by Imperva (a digital security company from Redwood Shores, CA) has ruffled some feathers within the anti-virus software community.

The initial detection rate of a newly created virus is less than 5%. Although vendors try to update their detection mechanisms, the initial detection rate of new viruses is nearly zero. We believe that the majority of antivirus products on the market can’t keep up with the rate of virus propagation on the Internet.
Imperva Hacker Intelligence Initiative December 2012

The suggestions within this study surely sparked the fiery rebuttal from those inside traditional anti-virus software circles. However, the follow up article from the New York Times -quoted below – provided the accelerant for the a full-on 5 alarm firestorm.

The antivirus industry has a dirty little secret: its products are often not very good at stopping viruses.
Consumers and businesses spend billions of dollars every year on antivirus software. But these programs rarely, if ever, block freshly minted computer viruses, experts say, because the virus creators move too quickly. That is prompting start-ups and other companies to get creative about new approaches to computer security.
Outmaneuvered at Their Own Game, Antivirus Makers Struggle to Adapt–New York Times 12/31/2012

Methodology is Challenged by Guess Who

“Not only is Imperva’s sample size minutely small, but their test has been based upon an utterly flawed methodology,” Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, an anti-virus software maker near Oxford, England, told TechNewsDaily today (Jan. 2).
“This ‘study’ and its conclusions are deeply flawed, wholly unreliable and massively biased,” tweeted Rik Ferguson of Japanese anti-virus firm TrendMicro yesterday, addressing the author of the New York Times piece.
Kaspersky Lab believes it is necessary to draw attention to a significant drawback in Imperva’s testing methodology, which makes it impossible to take these test results seriously,” a representative of the Russian anti-virus software maker told TechNewsDaily.
Study faulting anti-virus effectiveness may itself be flawed– 1/2/2013

Forget about offending the AV industry if you like – no-one else worries about it – but consider whether you want to base your security strategy (at home or at work) on a PR exercise based on statistical misrepresentation and misunderstanding. Don’t look for The One True [probably generic] Solution: look for combinations of solution that give you the best coverage at a price you can afford. I’m thinking primarily about business users here, but the principle applies to home users too: the right free antivirus is a lot better than no protection, but the relatively low outlay for a competent security suite is well worth it for the extra layers of protection.
Imperva, VirusTotal, and whether AV is useful– 1/9/2013

Other experts caution against dismissing the Imperva findings:

The conclusions are consistent with a growing sentiment in IT security that anti-virus, or anti-malware, at best, really doesn’t help much at all,” said Jeremiah Grossman, founder and chief technology officer of White Hat Security in Santa Clara, Calif. “At worst, people who purchase anti-virus products are actually paying billions of dollars annually for their computers to be less secure.
Study faulting anti-virus effectiveness may itself be flawed– 1/2/2013

Other Coverage:

A recent New York Times report suggests antivirus programs are useless because they don’t always detect new threats. But the report is misleading because it overlooks the fact that antivirus software can detect older threats that are just as dangerous as new ones, according to blogger Constantine von Hoffman.
NYT Twists Imperva Antivirus Study into Utter Nonsense– 1/3/2013

AV vendors will surely dislike the results of a survey that declares their products useless. The truth, however, is that most of us still need what they sell.
Better off without AV? Not yet– 11/27/2012

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61 thoughts on “Is Traditional Anti-Virus Software Really This Bad?”

  1. Knowing how to avoid threats, and finding a way to kill infected files manually. It takes more knowledge but is also more effective. On the other hand, even if you cannot do that, there are people who can.

  2. Back in 1993, my colleague Peter Simpson and I created an anti malware package that blocked the actions of viruses. When Windows Concept was released, our system stopped it dead. He later went on to market this as Defuse. The AV companies were quick to kill it with their marketing as it was too effective at blocking zero day attacks. Their systems were sold to companies as an insurance package as they were constantly updated.

  3. For about twelve machines under my care, XP through Win7, Avira Free A/V has kept every one malware-free. (They also all have the Comodo Firewall, Secunia PSI, WinPatrol and Firefox as their primary browser, with NoScript and other security-related add-ons, such as HTTPS-Everywhere and Force-TLS; several also have EMET (The Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit) installed.) All have Adobe Flash Player; a few have Oracle Java (disabled by default and used only on an as-needed basis).

    By default, Avira now updates four times a day; many of the machines are configured to check for updates every hour, and their heuristics are all set to High (though a technical violation of the EULA, it is not difficult to suppress the nag screen pop-up so many find annoying). The only downside experienced is on older machines with single-core non-hyperthreading processors, for which updates drive the CPU usage to 100%.

    1. @AJ North: are you using multiple a/v software? if so i would HIGHLY recomend against that. think about two pitbulls fighting for dominance. it aint good for virus protection and it aint good on resource usage. (McAfee and Norton are heavy as is. if you were running for example MSE and Malwarebytes Anti Malware that is resonable

  4. I’m trying to see how to unsubscribe to posts on this topic, but all I see at the bottom of the page is a link to ‘Manage’ subs. When I click it, I get to a page that simply lets me subscribe to posts, ie nothing to help me stop getting emails.

    The posts have been very interesting and helpful, thanks to all, and I’ve learned a lot. But I have to move on now. All best to all.

    — Brian

  5. Speaking of Microsoft Essentials or MSI-E. I have it installed on 3 computers here 2 with XP and 1 with 7. The one with 7 is my main computer and almost on a daily basis it will fird something that looks suspicious and asks if it’s OK to forward that info to Microsoft for analysis. I have always said YES.
    I have been running MSE for a bit over a year now and I also use Malware Bytes and Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool almost on a monthly basis. Durring that time period between the two extra scans I found and removed 3 viruses. I think that is very impressive for a FREE AV software package.

    For several years I had used McAfee and on average of once every 6 months I had to re-initialize the hard drive and re-install Windows from scratch.

    Another thing with McAfee it would find viruses that didn’t exist. I’ve got a game called Mah Jung Junior from eGames that my wife and I both play on our respective computers. One day McAfee detected a virus in the game, I forgot the name of it, but anyway the virus was discovered in 2010. Now the game is from 2004. In order to play the game I had to turn OFF McAfee and load the game. When I was through playing the game I would turn McAfee back on and it would Immediately delete it as a virus. Got tired of this after a while and DELETED McAfee and installed MSE and NO problems since. There is no noticable CPU usage either since most of the programs used are already on Windows.

    My only complaint with MSE is when it does find a new virus it almost always requires a re-start. A small price to pay for peace of mind.

  6. I think there is a kind of partnership between virus and anti-virus programs. When you get a cure for a virus the same day it was created it looks suspicious, kinda like they created it to show you how good their product is at removing it. I also think that the anti-virus companies share this information with one another. Kinda like a monopoly but using different names. They all seem to find and fix the same viruses at about the same time.

  7. i work in the computer electronics industry i am a tech and having a single a/v is probably the best thing albeit they dont update as often as they should(excluding avast i notice it updates on a rather constant rate.), they still have some use. having mse(microsoft security essentials) is also alot better then having non. personally imperva does have a point. a/v software needs to change how they work and are scripted. most virus’ can be removed either a:safe mode with cmd prompt and a jump drive and malware, spyware, registry and driver scanners

    1. @Henry Peterson: Why is it, that after all these years and billions of dollars, no-one has figured that protecting the registry is the key to stopping unwanted software from running on the PC? A little more development in this area would go a long way to resolving this problem once and for all. Coupled with replacing the pagefile.sys & hiberfil.sys at every shutdown this could eliminate (all?) threats to the computer industry.

      1. @Ken Everett:
        A AV is a small program and it still needs a MS program for example to be run it…So a license is required and that will require for AV companies to pay for it.
        It is all about money.

  8. I, myself, have been in the computer industry for over 30 years. I found that a combination of free AV software and the MVPS hosts file offers very effective protection. I got a virus once using just Kaspersky and it took several days to completely remove the bug.

  9. I wonder where the AV in PCMatic stands in regards to this article? Is Pitstop going to say that the study is flawed etc?

  10. There are many anecdotes and individual observations, which should all be taken with a grain of salt, the same as this post. Microsoft now releases new definitions for their anti-malware solutions approximately every two hours (twice as many as 6 weeks back). Some of the paid-for AV options are not that responsive. I am not saying it is good or bad. It indicates that no one knows the perfect solution. The current best solution to avoid the cyber-criminals infection of choice is uninstall all versions of Oracle and Sun Java and associated files and folders. Follow up with a Java Ra scan and a manual search to remove the remaining junk. The question is not, “What is the best AV solution.” The question is, “How can I avoid being assaulted by cyber-crime.” The middle of last year, it was FrankenMalware. Now it is ransomware – malware that locks the machine with a note from DOJ or the FBI saying you were naughty and owe someone a fine of as much as $ 400. The next one to avoid is the Fake anti-virus malware, you know, it pops up that you have 267 infections on your machine. Uninstall Adobe Reader, Acrobat and Cold Fusion. Keep Adobe Flash and Shockwave Players up to date and finally find a better solution than WinAmp. I have not found a safe coupon software. The recommendation is to take care of yourself. No one else, no matter how much you pay, will do better at it than you – well maybe this old ugly fat-man only because I know a little more about it.

  11. Hi People, Yes computers are just like life, If you take chances and go to places that attract crime then yes, there is a big chance that you will get caught. This is what I see and it is all about the mighty dollar. If you create a program that is 100% safe and functional, that will attract eyes and they will find a fault and somehow create a problem just to tell you an answer at a cost, that is life all around. Back on track to virus programs, no they don’t catch everything regardless who makes it but they do help with existing virus/malware and spyware, the problem is like we all say, they have to create new entry’s and at this rate it is 7 for the decease and 1 for the cure “Not Good” that is the story of reality and cyber life. Again they make a program with back doors just for the reason of the snicky crimes (virus, spyware, malware and PC Function ability)Just like real life crimes happen a believe me they do, so does cyber crime. I also have been caught twice in 11 years with mayor virus’s but as someone mentioned above, I also keep a Snap Shot of my system on another drive which I update every month should I need to reformat and re-install the back-up, I have not had to do this but 2 times and I believe that is good. the big problem that I have seen is that when the kids go online and try something new, they have a tendency to shut off the firewall/virus program just to download or get to a sight, that only covers 20% of the old viruses’. we should be able to luck in the firewall and virus programs with at least a password. Again if you watch where you go, what you do while clearing your tracks you will not fall to the trap, this is life as a person and or a computer.

  12. withouth antivirus or internet security software is just worst… keep at least one antivirus on your computer, mobile and tablet, and you will pretty much not have to bring your computer to be fixed all the time… it’s that simple.
    And also, the latest 2013 versions are pretty good.

  13. Oh, Here’s another good trick. Use a Live demo boot disk to browse the internet. Such as a CD or DVD that can’t be written to. If your system is set up properly, then any viruses contracted will be contained to that session. When you power down, your viruses will be dead.

  14. Zeyad Al-Saleh, if your work is vitally important, have an internet pc and an isolated work pc that never sees an outside disk or connection. When you have a system failure or problem, then restore the system. Step one is to backup your system on day-one of getting it. I mean a complete system backup burned onto single use DVD’s , not just a data backup. If it’s a truly isolated system, you may not ever even have to update the OS. If you have to add any software, do it from vendor disks. You can scan them with another known clean system before using them on your isolated system.

  15. I have a snapshot of my OS and data. Once a month on the first day I reformat my partition with it and trash all my data and previous OS. I run Win XP, SP3 on a desk model PC, and use MSSE as well as Online Armor Firewall. I set second opinions with free MBAM and Hitman Pro free. They run on alternative nights.
    It’s simple, presume you are infected once a month, and reformat from a snap shot. It takes about twenty minutes, and I am up and running again. I never get malware.

    1. @sergieyes: I would be curious how you do this. How do you create the Snapshot of the OS and Data. How do you reformat the partition with it? Given that it takes me 2 hours just to copy my HD data to an external HD (for a backup), I am curious how you accomplish this in 20 minutes. Sounds like an interesting approach.

      As this is the first time I have read/posted here, I would appreciate it if you could cc any response to me at


  16. I have used various anti-virus and spyware programs over the years with mixed results. However, I noted a comment that you shouldn’t rely on just on program to do it all. Having said that, try and use multiple anti-virus programs on your computer and you have gridlock because each one doesn’t want any competition. The symptoms of this are computer crashes and lockups. Even using Microsoft products such as Defender and their others don’t work because of this. Yes, I know I am supposed to disable one program when running the other. However, I shouldn’t have to do that. They should all work seamlessly without having to take what I consider extraordinary steps.

    The one standard I have used now for 10 years is Spybot which is primarily designed to find and remove spyware and adware. I have also used Glary Utilities, but primarily to detect Registry errors as it has never detected any spyware/malware. I currently have Spyware Doctor on one machine, Avira on another, and trial subscription to Kaspersky on a new computer I just purchased.

    I have also used other programs in the past. However, I refuse to use a program that while it will identify a virus, wants me to do the work of removing it. That is why I buy an anti-virus program.

    Finally on observation. When I go to the store where I buy my computer supplies and equipment I notice that the only programs that seem to be for sale now are anti-virus and performance enhancing programs. I want to see programs that help me work more efficiently than having to negotiate a minefield of horrors to just access my computer. This is a complete change from the ways things were before and it scares me, because it sends the message that using a computer today could be hazardous to your health, much like the warnings I hear all the time on TV for prescription medications that include death and suicide. Why would I want to use a product such as this that have these kind of side affects which is analogous to use of anti-virus programs? I am just waiting for the lawyers to figure how they can initiate class-action suits again anti-virus program companies if they were unable to detect a virus that ultimately erased your data or worse destroyed your computer.


  17. 25 years ago I wrote a college paper on computer viruses and how to protect ones computer from them. I could write the same paper today and just change the date on the paper. My paper said this: nothing works against tomorrow’s virus but the AV programs out there do work against yesterday virus which are still alive and well and hunting for your computer. Unless you are really really good at detecting viruses pay for the software protection, run a good firewall and scan your computer often.

    There really isn’t anything new here guys and gals. To me this article is like “oh my goodness I just found out there are computer viruses”. Then I just thought; well there are a lot young people here and may have just discovered this dark-side of internet surfing.

    1. @Ken: Hi Ken. On the money – anything to get attention. In fact, I’d say The Press now does more harm than good; anything for a story (it’s how they make their money).

  18. No antovirus product is perfect. Like some above I have been working as an techie for just over 20 years and have seen infections on a daily basis.

    The difference between paid and unpaid products is vast. Some of the paid products have massive holes like some of the free ones.

    I have a commercial antivirus on my system and scan with 3 free tools once a week. I do not get infected simply because I am careful.

    Ruke of the thumb with both email and internet is if it seems to good to be true then it is dangerous 95% of the time.

  19. I always have the feeling I am paying too much for a virus program. I am active on the net and yet for the last 8 years have never once has my A/V stopped a virus. In fact I haven't HAD a virus. If you think about what you do, what you open and what links you click you are just as safe. The matter of root kit makes some A? V important, a good firewall makes others important. I don't think you can go without but I am getting tired of paying for it. I learned early to never use Norton or McAffee. Simply bloated ineffective products.

    1. Brad, this is a false assumption : "If you think about what you do, what you open and what links you click you are just as safe". As Dan Dawson said above : " I know people who looked up a hamburger recipe on a well known cooking site that was infected and they, along with thousands of others were infected in a few minutes until the webmaster discovered the infection".

      You can DEFINITELY infect your computer with Malware or crippling Trojans even if you THINK you are clicking a safe link.

      I also do tech work, and use the paid version of AVAST! with a combination of that and Malwarebytes on my PC.This is after AVG failed to do the job after using it for five years.
      I install the trial versions of those programs on customer machines that have been infected.

      Personally, I have clicked "legitimate" links (but actually infected) directly from a Google search engine result page and watched AVAST block them in real time. I back up active protection (anti virus only) with regular scans from Malwarebytes.

      Unlike Dan, I don't feel confident that I can just "Keep an eye" on my PC. With one particular Java exploit, attack code installs in memory only.

      I use Firefox with Java disabled because it is constantly exploited.

      1. @Sam Lacey: I agree. To date the combination of AVAST and Malwarebytes has provided the best level of protection because memory, disk and registry are protected.

  20. I love my Linux PC, I don’t care if i get infected as a reinstall of the OS takes minutes. No taking my PC and paying $$$$ to have viruses etc removed. I’m not a Linux nut and have nothing against Window / Apple Users. If your OS makes you happy enjoy! I just glad I don’t live in your world anymore…

  21. last saturday a top notch antivirus locked my computer to uselessness until i uninstalled the darned staff and replaced it with a little despised free one. it cleaned my computer and now the little machine is running like clock work.

    may be there is some truth in this study but not a whole lot of truth. i will still have an antivirus on my little machine even if it means having a less rated and free one.

  22. thenudehamster hits it right on the head. AV companies can NOT stop any virus until they’ve SEEN it. Like how a cop can’t arrest a murderer until after he’s killed someone.

    All the AV applications can do is scan for similarities to older viruses until they see the real thing, and that takes time.
    A very misleading position in the above quotes.

  23. I agree with TheNudeHamster’s post – the first one in this chain. It doesn’t matter what realm is involved, nothing can protect anyone from what is unknown. From what I read on other tech sites, the AV firms are usually quick to issue patches – sometime in hours, other times a couple of days; depending on the sophistication of the threat.

    Most viruses are spread by people who are careless in what they click or open. Example: the Love virus was spread because people opened an e-mail from a stranger who said they loved them. When I get an e-mail from someone I don’t know, it gets marked as SPAM and deleted. If I am really not sure, I click on “View Source” and check it.

    Yes, some viruses do come attached to ads on otherwise safe sites. In the past 10 years I’ve been hit twice by this. The first was caught by my AV and the browser window closed before any damage could be done. The second one hit so fast that nothing could have responded in time. That one caused me to rebuild my HD – another reason to keep important data on a separate HD or partition and do frequent backups.

    Keeping an AV is like having an umbrella handy. It may not do much good in a hurricane, but is quite effective even in a heavy downpour.

  24. Imperva’s report is basically right. Norton Utilities and Norton Antivirus used to be the “Gold Standard” but in recent years, they haven’t kept up. My computer got infected despite my having the Norton software, so I switched to Avast!. I don’t think they are perfect either, so I also run PC Matic and Windows Defender. Even that combination is no guarantee, and I predict we will have a major cyberattack this year. My recommendation: back your stuff up locally on external media like an external hard drive. Cloud backups will not help if there is a major cyberattack.

  25. It’s a long known fact that antivirus programs can’t deal well with unknown viruses. That’s why a firewall is needed, to give our antivirus programmers time to recognize and develop a cure to the new viruses. The lack of common sense will still be the worst fear concerning computer safety.

    1. @Bizman62: A firewall won’t protect against viruses and spyware that exploit vulnerabilities in programs such as an internet browser, that your firewall recognizes as ‘safe’. A firewall CAN keep a trojan backdoor from “phoning home”, by alerting the user to an unknown program trying to send and receive internet packets. Some trojan backdoors try to act like servers; a firewall can block that. But only an AV can protect from getting infected. A firewall is designed to work in tandem with your AV, as a security team. 🙂

  26. So go on, please tell me about Microsoft Security Essentials which I’ve used for a year now after my IT techie guy (who sorts out my pc when it has a problem) told me to dump Norton and install MSE instead. BTW I also have Advanced System Care Pro. In the past I’ve used McAfee and Kaspersky. Right now, I’m happy with MSE but you’re going to tell me (are you?!) that … well, I’ll wait and see. At least it’s free.

  27. I gave Norton's AV away after it screwed up my email and other software some years back. I've been using Zonealarm firewall and antivirus software for probably five years and haven't had a problem. It can't all be good luck.

    1. Zone Alarm's product is another one I've seen on a regular basis. When these infections hit it's another product that failed to protect. What I meant about luck, and this applies to any pc, protected by an av or not, is that you just don't know where or when you'll get hit. Also, I have observed MANY of the paid for subscription products NOT detect a rootkit infection or other types of infection that was present on a system. I have discovered deeply hidden infections on computers that were brought to my shop for reasons OTHER than a virus and the owners AND their AV were completely unaware of it.

    2. Ive been an It Tech and computer hardware and software pro for 12 years now. i too think alot of these so called antiviruses are a joke but some of them are rather effective. In any case its better to have some protection than none at all, but I recommend using two different types of protection. I use a paid version o fKaspersky and a paid version of Malwarebytes. there are a couple others on a rare occasion I use as well, one being ComboFix and the other being Eset. Like I said, most are useless but I say to Dan above; saying to use nothing and save the hard drive space is ridiculous, no offense my friend but not all people are computer smart and most need some sort of help.

    3. Mr Dan Dawson thre's nothing worse than one who can "tell you what you can't do but can't tell you what you can do! I suppose that you tell your customers to not waste their space and $? I came to realize this AV problem a few years back and ended up listening to Fred Langa and some other experts. They use MSE. Soif it's good enough for them, it's good wnough for this "enough knowledge to be dangerous user. So far it is FREE and it works!

  28. I'm a 30 year tech and I can tell you from bitter experience that ALL AV programs are useless. I have to remove viruses and other malware and crap from pc's on almost a daily basis. I've seen them all, pc's protected by paid subscriptions to Norton, Bitdefender, Mcafee, Kaspersky, Vipre just to name a few, and all the free ones, they ALL come into my shop with viruses which are becoming more sophisticated by the week. I don't even waste the space on my drive no to have an av installed. I keep a close eye on my pc and clean it when it does become infected. It used to be that if one ventured into known "dark" areas of the net you were asking for trouble and now you can browse to a well known web publication whose page is infected and you're toast. I know people who looked up a hamburger recipe on a well known cooking site that was infected and they, along with thousands of others were infected in a few minutes until the webmaster discovered the infection. It's simply comes down to the luck of the draw, it won't matter if you have an av installed in these circumstances, you'll get infected. Paying for an av is absolutely insane and in my mind these security companies are no worse than the people who produce the damn viruses.

    1. Dan, I'm a 28 year super-tech, can fix ANY computer problem, and I too can operate without any AV software installed. But it would be reckless of me to think that my customers could operate without any AV protection. Yes, most Av suites are bloated, slow your system down, and have at least a 24 hour delay protecting against a new virus. But something is better than nothing. Also, you can turn on heuristic scanning on most of those products and allow them to figure out some new viruses based on similarities to previously known viruses. Yeah, that takes even longer to run, but it's more protection.

      I have customers, including my own children, that repeatedly got viruses. I removed all AV programs and installed Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Low profile, doesn't slow their systems down, AND NO MORE VIRUSES. You think you have seen infected computers? Let those same people try to go without any AV software and see what happens.

    2. Guy Featherstone I agree, since installing MSE on ALL of our computers, I have had not one issue and prior to this had weekly and sometimes daily infections and this referring to CHILDREN'S computers. The industy says MSE sucks but I have turned everyone I know on to this with Windows Os's and have had no one yet assume a virus or trojan disrupt their pc/laptop just sayin' I for one am a firm believer this being said I also do run a seperate weekly scan with MalwareBytes installed to desktop, and SuperSpybot also installed to desktop and usually find nothing.

      1. @Peter Fuglø: I am 54-years old and used to be a super-tech (34 years in the IT industry) until I was humbled by an exploit that had me burning the midnight oil….. Now I’m just a Tech with a tic…

  29. I would imagine that we should all uninstall our AV protection and open ourselves up to millions of old viruses and malicious code just because of this quack one sided study…

    1. @Click Bang: Yep! AV software DOES help identify and slow down the spread of infections and manage existing infections…just not in the way they advertise. Collecting data by AV programs is the most important part, so cures can be developed. We cant expect a computer program to be more creative than a virus hacker, thats just asking too much. Most viruses are killed in hours or days.. with out AV protection they would continue forever.

  30. This is another of those ‘scares’ that have a grain of truth in them but don’t take account of the real world. Impervia are probably right in their restrictive conclusion that most AV suites can’t detect new viruses as quickly as we might like but it misses the point in the real world: You can’t detect something if you don’t know it exists. Granted, many examples of malware use techniques that current AV can detect because they are a known format, but something innovative will get through for a while until it is identified. However, for all that AV suites do not detect all the new stuff immediately, I’d never be without mine. I don’t know how most viruses work, but my AV does, and that means I’ll be safe from the known stuff; the chance of a new one getting through is reduced simply because I take basic precautions too. Better that than nothing at all.

    1. I have problems with antivirus software when I can run one program, AVG Free 2013, which finds nothing, and then another, SuperAntiSpyware,which identifies 980 issues, including some very nasty items.
      I am also perplexed that every registry cleaner I run comes up with totally different results.

      1. @Rob B: No single registry cleaner can detect all of the errors and redundant entries in Windows Registry. SuperAntispyware (SAS for short) is not an antivirus like AVG; it is anti-spyware program. Even MalwareBytes (MBAM) is not intended to be used alone, but alongside a good Antivirus product. They will tell you this at the MBAM forums, where I learned it. SAS is similar to MBAM, intended not to replace, but to work alongside a good AV. 🙂

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