Saturday, January 7, 2012

Total Defense, Anti-Virus, Etc.

The experience I have with Total Defense and the Total Defense anti-virus product is worth warning others about.  If you're thinking about buying something from Total Defense, read on.

I gave up paid computer consulting a year or so ago when the last company I was working with was sold.   I still do some unpaid consulting, including for a doctor who gives away more medical care than he charges for.  Some years ago I bought, with his money, a Computer Associates (CA) perpetual license for their anti-virus product.  All was well for five years.  Yesterday I uninstalled one license from one of the practice's three computers to move it to a new one.  When I installed it on the new computer, it immediately reported that it was expired!

Well, I'm careful when I spend other people's money, so I had the order number, license keys, etc. all at hand. "This won't be a problem," says I, "I'll just call customer service and they'll tell me how to fix it."

Didn't work. I reached a woman with a barely-understandable Indian accent who pretended not to understand the meaning of "perpetual." When I insisted that they look up the original order using the order number I had right in front of me, I was told that technical support could not do that, but they'd transfer me to customer service. OK. There was an interminable wait, then a man with Yet Another thick Indian accent insisted over and over that I "just have to pay the renewal fee." This man also pretended not to understand "perpetual," even after looking up the order. He also completely ignored my many requests to talk with a supervisor. I finally, after 23 minutes of this, hung up in frustration rather than saying what I thought of this treatment, which, of course, is exactly what they wanted me to do. (Yes, I am tough enough to be polite even in circumstances like this one.)

Bottom line: the people at Total Defense, "a former division of CA" will not help you when things go wrong.

The good news is that Microsoft Security Essentials seems, from all reviews, to be an effective AV product. It has had time to mature. (It was introduced in fall of 2009.) And it's free for home and small business use! It works with 32 bit XP and both 32 and 64 bit Windows 7. 

Bye, Total Defense! See you around!