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Windows 7: Windows 7 without Antivirus

31 Jan 2010   #11
Muad Dib

XP Pro & Vista Home Premium (x86); Windows Ultimate 7600 x64 Retail
 
 

Get an antivirus of some kind. Avast has a free version that has a good rep as well.

Ensure that the Windows Firewall is enabled as well.


Practice Safe Computing

Windows 7 without Antivirus-safe-computing-protection.jpg





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31 Jan 2010   #12
jav

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Capella View Post
Does anybody here run windows 7 without an antivirus? I don't go to any really malicious sites and I find that antiviruses are usually more trouble than they are worth.
btw, this is my first post
Actually you can run Windows 7 without AV (maybe only with on-demand scannner for downloads)
But I am not reffeirng to running naked without any protection as you said.

Over time there has been created some security setups without setups:
Most common ones are:

1. Default-deny whitelisting policy based Anti-executebles.
Basically, in this approach you create set of rules which will control what appication, script or executable is allowed to run on the system. Anything except those allowed by rules are denied by default.
Set of rules usually control executabels, scripts, installers and DLLs.
So only the files you allowed would be able to execute meaning if properly configured thee will be no way for the drive by malware, autorun, or any other type of known or unknown (zero day) malware.. Unless user runs it with Administrator priveliges.
In conclusion, This type of security approach is Really VERY powerful but it may require a bit work when first configuring and some restrictions in the future.
Commercial program for this category: Faronics Anti-Executable - Application Whitelisting for Endpoint Security
Windows native feauters: SRP (How to make a disallowed-by-default Software Restriction Policy), AppLocker (Geek of all Trades: AppLocker: IT?s First Security Panacea?)

2. Light Virtualization:
This approach basically virtualises your whole partition (system partion and optionally other partions aswell) from the time you start it's protection. And from this time on it will redirect all changes made to this virtualised partition.
After rebooting your system all changes made to the systen from the time protection enabled will be dropped and no changes will be made to your system.
So basically even if you get infected between the time you enable protection and restart. Every change will be reverted back to the time before enabling protection (supposedy clean system state) after restart of the sysytem.
But this approach has it's drawbacks aswell.
After restart all changes will be deleted including files You saved or changed. So you will not be able to do anything which will stay in the future while you are in protected mode. That's why most develope of this type of softwre now offer exclusion, so you can check which files or folders Should NOT be deleted after restart.
But again, It is like creating holes on you "unbreakable shield"
Commercial products for this category: Shadow defender (Shadow Defender - the easiest PC/laptop security and privacy protection tool), Returnill (Returnil - The Real Security for your home or business - Download RVS now to protect your PC.) , Deep Freeze (Faronics Deep Freeze Windows Editions - ABSOLUTE System Integrity)

3. Fast rollbacks and restores.
This category practically is the same as "virtualisation" but it's different from technical aspect.
This category dosen't virtualise your system but just takes snapshot/snapshots (image/images) of your current system and allow you rapid restoring your system to that state.
So as I said for user there will very little difference, as both of the is kind of drop al changes and reverting system back to some point in the past.
Think about it like Time-Machine.
But there are a few more aspects which are different between virtualisation and rollBacks:
1. In rollbacks your system will not be reverted back after system restart, whereas most virtualisation software will revert your system back after restart.
2. In rollbacks you can't check excluded folders and files, So you will lose all changes unless it's on another partition
And so on...

There are a lot of other categories which will enable you run without AV product like full virtualisation and so on..
But it will take wholes article to write about all categories.

So, as you can see.
Answer for your question is "Yes it's possible to run Windows 7 without AV program and be safe"
But it dosen't mean "yes go on and run naked", it's just "yes, if you can find enough alternative to classic AV programs"

So, Those approach can easily make your use of Windows 7 as safe or even more safer then you run with AntiVirus, Anti-Malware, Firewall and Anti-Trojan products.

But I gave all this information only for informational purposes and to answer your question.

My personal recommendation to you (considering you are average home user and not person too much interested on IT security, (sorry if I am wrong) will be go on with Traditional methods like Anti Virus and Firewalls.
As those setup I mentioned may be too troublesome and confusing to you.

Second question: Have we tried running without AV?
Yes there are a few people who run their system with AV program with use of security approaches I mentioned and some I didn't mention.
But as I have already told, even if you will go with any of this approaches please DO use AV product. (atleast for on demand scan)

I personally use AppLocker (which is from 1 approach above) and fairly sure on it's security, But even then I DO use AV and Firewall Products.

But choice is after you, it's your PC and your system. Just choose whatever makes you more confident on your own security. (it takes different levels of security till people start feeling that it's enough)

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31 Jan 2010   #13
Jacee
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1
 
 

The Internet is not a safe surf zone. Without proactive protection, it's like stepping onto the freeway with your eyes closed

BTW, if you become infected, then you could always contaminate someone else's computer ... don't become a Bot
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31 Jan 2010   #14
smiths22

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

windows without an antivirus?... good joke.
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31 Jan 2010   #15
FZ21Z

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Yep, I also leave my windows open when I go out. Seriously though, as everyone has said, get something at least. A few of the social networking sites have been prone to infecting their users, by malicious users infecting them, and considering the lengths the scammers are going to to get their hands on your details, it's better to be safe than sorry.
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31 Jan 2010   #16
Jaxryley

 
 

No realtime AV here in ages.

Sandboxie, Returnil and Images are way safer without the need for constant updates.

If you feel you need a realtime AV then Avira would be my choice along with Malwarebytes Antimalware.
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31 Jan 2010   #17
IggyAZ

Windows 7 Ultimate (64 bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Capella View Post
But I never gotten a virus or spyware before so I really think the internet's safe enough. Is there anybody at all who tried not running an av at all? What was your experience?
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
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31 Jan 2010   #18
Fumz

7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Capella View Post
But I never gotten a virus or spyware before so I really think the internet's safe enough. Is there anybody at all who tried not running an av at all? What was your experience?
How would you know?
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31 Jan 2010   #19
Capella

Windows 7 64 bit build 7600
 
 

Is this really okay? Microsoft security essentials takes around 50 mb of ram....What is disturbing is that whenever I open an installer, it jumps up drastically to ~20 to 30 and then fall back to zero after a few seconds. It accounts for the cpu "spikes" in the computer.

I thought mse was only suppoes to take around 5 mb of ram?


Attached Images
Windows 7 without Antivirus-fdfa.png 
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31 Jan 2010   #20
Dark Nova Gamer

Windows 7 Ultimate, OS X 10.7, Ubuntu 11.04
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Capella View Post
Is this really okay? Microsoft security essentials takes around 50 mb of ram....What is disturbing is that whenever I open an installer, it jumps up drastically to ~20 to 30 and then fall back to zero after a few seconds. It accounts for the cpu "spikes" in the computer.

I thought mse was only suppoes to take around 5 mb of ram?
I've said this in the past, to others. Whats the point of having RAM if you don't want it to be used? MSE is good and lightweight as others have said. It may use a bit more RAM then you want it to but its a good AV.

You wont notice it there that much really.
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