June 1, 2007
Dear CNET members,
Happy June folks! Before we dig into this week's topic, I want to introduce you to a new forum feature our engineer Dan developed especially for you. It's called the forum real-time activity page. This feature page allows you to view all incoming messages posted to the CNET forums in real time--so sit back, relax, and leave this page open, and it will automatically update right before your eyes! This page is still in its beta stages, and we would love you to check it out and give us your feedback. We hope you enjoy it!
Now, let's tackle Jasmine's question regarding free vs. paid security apps. This past week we received a great deal of helpful opinions, recommendations, and personal experiences to answer the question whether free security software will do as good of a job as paid software. And while I have to agree with you, Jasmine, that in most circumstances nothing is free in life, there is an exception when it comes to free security utilities. Personally, I use all free security programs on my PCs, and they have faired well over many years. However, there are always pros and cons to each, which are pointed out in many members' posts--ranging from limited support to additional features. So read through all the answers--there really are no right or wrong ones, as it is a matter of choice for what works for each individual. There are a couple of things I would like to point out, though. If you decide you want to go the freeware route, I advise you to do your homework on those free products. Read reviews on them, get other people's opinions, and get them from trustworthy sites/sources (such as CNET Download.com), because while there are many trustworthy free security software applications available, there's also an equal number of rogue and dishonest software programs, which cause harm to your computer. And if homework is not your thing, go with paid versions. They pretty much all work but go with well-known companies. And as CNET member joshman5 simply put it, "If you are comfortable doing a little work on your computer, I think the free services can be a great way to go. If you are someone who just wants things to work, and you don't want to think about it too much, then it may be worth paying for the convenience factor, if nothing else."
I hope this week's topic discussion proves to be helpful for many of you sitting on the fence about going free or not. As always, our members have outdone themselves by sharing their experiences and recommendations. I picked a few great answers to kick it off. And, if you have any additional advice to offer, join us in the forums to share. Thanks for your contributions!
Member Question of the Week
My paid security suite is up for renewal soon, and I'm not
too sure as to whether I should renew it or not--because I
hear about the many free antivirus, spyware, and firewall
programs available out there. Is what I'm paying for going to
do a better job of protecting my PC? I'm hesitant to believe
that free software will do as good of job as a paid one or am
I wrong for this belief? After all, I've always been taught
that nothing is free. Please help me, as I really want to
know the facts about paid versus free security programs? What
benefits do I gain or lose by going free? How do these types
of freely distributed security program companies make their
money anyway? There has to be a catch and I would like an
answer. Any help in demystifying this will help me
tremendously with my decision in the next security software I
pay for or receive for free. I love this newsletter, and the
people who are always so helpful. Thank you!
Vote for the most helpful answer
Which answer below would you consider the most helpful? Click on the title to see the answer by the member. To vote, click on the button next to the answer to weigh in on the decision.
Here are the selected submissions grouped in one post.
Answer by 4Denise (Read submission)
(Note: these answers selected below are not listed in any particular order,
so please read the answer before casting your vote. Thanks!)
Answer by Acaykath (Read submission)
Answer by jcbowen (Read submission)
Answer by Watzman (Read submission)
Answer by bwh48 (Read submission)
For the member whose answer was voted the
most helpful by our community, we will send
this member some cool CNET branded gear.
Previous week's Q&AThe votes are in! Below is the answer voted most helpful by our community to last week's question.
My question is: When you send your computer off to a local or
even big brand store to be upgraded, how do you know the
items you chose (like new graphics cards, RAM, motherboards,
etc...) were installed, instead of an inferior product? Also,
how can you tell that your existing hardware is still the
original and not swapped out by cheaper or different
hardware, once it is returned from the shop for
repair/upgrade? Is there something that I can do to make
sure I don't get ripped off?
For the most part, you can't ensure the correct components are present just by looking inside the case since so many different makes and models look alike. In addition, not all components have labels on them with the proper identification. Thus, the best approach is to take an inventory using a program such as Everest, which is freeware. It will analyze your PC, recording almost every component installed, along with the make, model, specs, and serial number, if applicable. Specifically, it will take care of the motherboard, processor, RAM, optical drives, hard drives, disk drives, graphics, and sounds cards, and networking adapters. It will also note your keyboard, mouse, and monitor, just in case you're packing them up as well...
Congratulations to the winner!
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
More from the forums
Have fun and enjoy!
Check out next week's question:
Alright, so I've been trying to become involved in the high-definition era for a few years now. As far as I'm concerned, picking the right cables can be controversial. Whenever you go buy a new HDTV or an accessory component, the salesmen always ask if you have the appropriate connections. Then they always ask if you have "the best" connections that will provide the optimal picture and sound. So is there? Is a $15 cable going to provide equivalent performance to a $100 cable of the same type? And does this question have a different answer for analog and digital cables? I'd love to get the facts straight once and for all. Thanks!
We feature a new question every Friday, and if you have the answer for our member, you can submit it above. If your submission is picked by our members as the most helpful answer, you'll receive some cool CNET branded gear.
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