AfterDawn: Tech news

Single Avast Pro license used by 744,651 pirates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 06 Dec 2010 22:22 User comments (43)

Single Avast Pro license used by 744,651 pirates Avast, the company behind the anti-virus software Avast Pro, had a very interesting story to tell this week, in regards to piracy of the company's flagship AV suite.
The company noticed that a license meant for a 14-PC business had made its way online, and was being shared via warez sites.

Instead of killing the license, however, the company let it be, calling the situation an "experiment."

Over the course of 18 months, that single license was used on 744,651 different PCs in 200 countries. Even the Vatican City, with under 900 residents, had two pirates using the license.

Avast says that anyone using that license will now be hit with nagware asking them to buy a real license, or switch to the free version of Avast. If they do neither, the software will stop working.

A Pro license costs $35.

Tags: Avast piracy
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43 user comments

16.12.2010 22:32

Now that's what I call trolling.

26.12.2010 22:43

"Even the Vatican City, with under 900 residents, had two pirates using the license."

LoL!



36.12.2010 23:25

Just waiting for the nagware to start.

46.12.2010 23:29

sounds good. its sad to see poracy, esp one for antivirus'




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56.12.2010 23:42

"Even the Vatican City, with under 900 residents, had two pirates using the license."

The pope is a pirate!


67.12.2010 3:23

Screw Avast; their software is crap anyway. If you don't want the better, yet cheaper alternatives, then just use AVG for free.



77.12.2010 5:17

You mean the AVG that crashes windows 7? Avast is much better and is free as well. It's just that many idiots want to pirate the pro version, because being pro, it must be better.

87.12.2010 7:44

unless the pro version has an added feature like a real time scanner i dont see much point in upgrading.tryed AVG not only was it hard to remove it seemed to slow my computer and didnt pick up the virus i had.


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

97.12.2010 10:54

Never cared much for Avast. I've used Comodo for years and it's been great. It's also free.

107.12.2010 11:53

Microsoft Security Essentials FTW.

117.12.2010 13:10

Originally posted by munx:
Microsoft Security Essentials FTW.

Mac FTW.

127.12.2010 13:14

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Screw Avast; their software is crap anyway. If you don't want the better, yet cheaper alternatives, then just use AVG for free.
Avg? Sir, surely you troll.

137.12.2010 13:17

i use it.

147.12.2010 13:52

Originally posted by ddp:
i use it.
(Assuming we are talking about AVG) Me too on several systems. The one thing I would never pirate is antivirus...begging for trouble doing that!


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

157.12.2010 14:21

yes on avg. have it on most of my customers & friends.

167.12.2010 17:13

Isn't Avast a pirate word anyway Avast ye landlubbers :P

177.12.2010 18:49

arrrrrrrrrr.. damn navy.. get off my sea!!

I quit with avast and avg a while back.. both became resource hogs and didn't seem to work properly any more.. as with everything after a while these things just seem to turn into bloatware..

http://www.freerav.com/

I install that now.. and after 6 months none of the installations have come back with any nasties.. seems good.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Dec 2010 @ 18:51



ARR! Them pesky Navy! Get out of my sea!
irc://irc.villageirc.net/afterdawn http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/

187.12.2010 20:29

Originally posted by KSib:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Screw Avast; their software is crap anyway. If you don't want the better, yet cheaper alternatives, then just use AVG for free.
Avg? Sir, surely you troll.
He'd be a troll if he said he got a mac to avoid viruses.

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197.12.2010 22:52

ITT: Epic Trollage :P

I agree with the poster about Microsoft Security Essentials, believe it or not, and with that I find Superantispyware to be a good free pair.



"Its as if McGruff the Crime Dog snuck into our basement, enlisted an army of cellar rats to eat up all of our cheese, and then burned the house down when we finally locked him out instead of just knocking on the front door to tell us the window was open." ~Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback

207.12.2010 23:58

All of those are trash. Microsoft security essentials might as well have no firewall at all...that is why I am forced to use Comodo Firewall. As for AV, MalWareBytes is what I use to fix systems that have M$ security essentials and massive viral infections. Heck, Microsoft and Eset both recommend MalWareBytes to fix certain viruses that have taken down their own antivirus software...that is the most powerful recommendation you could give.



218.12.2010 3:42

i use microsoft security essentials,malware bytes and super antispyware.Had adaware but since there latest update it doesnt even work.occasionally run a pandascan if i suspect i have a virus and none of the virus scanners are picking it up.


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

228.12.2010 8:04

I've used Avast for years. Keep trying others, but keep coming back. Avast consistently does well with non-biased websites like AVTest and AVComparatives. And since some people were mentioning Comodo -- they don't even allow their product to be tested by these sites, because it fails miserably, with the creators claiming the sites don't test their product properly. *yeah, right*

I also like Microsoft Security Essentials, but I do agree that it's important to also run Malwarebytes Free version every several weeks to clean up missed malware samples. All of these antivirus products -- paid or free -- have good quarters and bad quarters for protection. Avast consistently does well, while Microsoft did awesome, but had a somewhat lackluster quarter recently.

We've owned Kaspersky in this house, and it was good, but had issues from time-to-time. The firewall was not compatible with my wife's banking software.

I tried a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security last month, and deleted it. The reason was that Norton didn't catch viruses on my USB key unless I specifically told it to scan the key. It's autoscanner would miss the hidden .exe file the autorun virus pointed to. We have a plague of USB viruses at my university, and Norton was a big fail here. Sad, because I almost considered buying Norton.

Back to Avast for now. The only time Avast ever let me down was 2 or 3 years ago when the first fake antivirus malware hit the web (nothing caught it, initially). It runs very smoothly.

As for AVG -- it's said to be good, but they tend to remove the anti-rootkit funtion in the free version. That's scary. Also, as mentioned elsewhere, it's crashing Win7 64-bit often, causing some to have to reinstall entirely!

238.12.2010 13:50

Originally posted by Baccusboy:
I've used Avast for years. Keep trying others, but keep coming back. Avast consistently does well with non-biased websites like AVTest and AVComparatives. And since some people were mentioning Comodo -- they don't even allow their product to be tested by these sites, because it fails miserably, with the creators claiming the sites don't test their product properly. *yeah, right*

I also like Microsoft Security Essentials, but I do agree that it's important to also run Malwarebytes Free version every several weeks to clean up missed malware samples. All of these antivirus products -- paid or free -- have good quarters and bad quarters for protection. Avast consistently does well, while Microsoft did awesome, but had a somewhat lackluster quarter recently.

We've owned Kaspersky in this house, and it was good, but had issues from time-to-time. The firewall was not compatible with my wife's banking software.

I tried a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security last month, and deleted it. The reason was that Norton didn't catch viruses on my USB key unless I specifically told it to scan the key. It's autoscanner would miss the hidden .exe file the autorun virus pointed to. We have a plague of USB viruses at my university, and Norton was a big fail here. Sad, because I almost considered buying Norton.

Back to Avast for now. The only time Avast ever let me down was 2 or 3 years ago when the first fake antivirus malware hit the web (nothing caught it, initially). It runs very smoothly.

As for AVG -- it's said to be good, but they tend to remove the anti-rootkit funtion in the free version. That's scary. Also, as mentioned elsewhere, it's crashing Win7 64-bit often, causing some to have to reinstall entirely!
Excellent post, and yes Avast does score *decently* high, but this un-biased opinion says Avira is the best: http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/dyn/wholedynamic2010.pdf

I cannot back that up, as I currently use AVG 10.

248.12.2010 16:42

I got a pain Eset NOD32 and never really had a issue with it yet. but funny story tho

258.12.2010 17:45

Originally posted by DVDBack23:

Excellent post, and yes Avast does score *decently* high, but this un-biased opinion says Avira is the best: http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/dyn/wholedynamic2010.pdf

I cannot back that up, as I currently use AVG 10.
What that doesn't tell you is that the free version of Avira includes an annoying nag screen that constantly asks you to purchase it. For that reason, I avoid Avira. It's paid version is very expensive, IMHO, but yes, excellent protection.

There are other measures of performance, too -- like how many "false positives" they have, and how they affect your system. For example, I tested GDATA, which always has top ratings because it uses 2 scan engines. It slowed my system (Core I5) to a crawl, and actually digested some Windows files! Many antivirus programs actually can cause more harm than good. In all truth, while experimenting with many top brands, I've done more damage just using some different companies than I have had virus troubles. You can often see news stories, like where McAfee's update earlier this year ended up killing everyone's Windows. Many people had to rebuild because it flagged an important system file as a virus and deleted it!

I find Avast or Microsoft (MSE) to be the best balance in terms of performance and usability. MSE tends to perform best on Windows 7 (for me), while Avast does well just about everywhere.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Dec 2010 @ 17:50

2610.12.2010 5:07

Or you could just be smart about your computer usage and not have any system-hogging stuff running (at least 'resident shield'-wise)!

2710.12.2010 16:38

Originally posted by H0bbes:
ITT: Epic Trollage :P

I agree with the poster about Microsoft Security Essentials, believe it or not, and with that I find Superantispyware to be a good free pair.


There's nothing quite like a good free pair.

2810.12.2010 18:37

Originally posted by bogwart16:
There's nothing quite like a good free pair.
I'm quite hungry and would love a free pear right now...

2910.12.2010 18:46

-AVG 8.5 [custom because i removed all the startup and resident sheild. i use it just for scanning although i havent needed to use it in many months. so it is using 0 resources all the time on my machine. but yeah i rarely use it because i have Comodo.]

-SUPERAntiSpyware [this is really really good]

-UnHackMe 5.0 [removes impossible rootkits very good]

-hijackthis [you still need it on XP machines at least]

-Spybot Advanced mode [you still need it...these days]

-COMODO FIREWALL [last version of 3.14 the new versions have things like ''sandbox'' and shit im not interested in]

just my opinion of what i use on my windows xpsp2 pro machine aka my main rig.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Dec 2010 @ 18:48

3010.12.2010 19:52

Originally posted by Baccusboy:
Originally posted by DVDBack23:

Excellent post, and yes Avast does score *decently* high, but this un-biased opinion says Avira is the best: http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/dyn/wholedynamic2010.pdf

I cannot back that up, as I currently use AVG 10.
What that doesn't tell you is that the free version of Avira includes an annoying nag screen that constantly asks you to purchase it. For that reason, I avoid Avira. It's paid version is very expensive, IMHO, but yes, excellent protection.


I got ta disagree with ya. I use Avira free and NEVER get any nags. I paid for premium for a long time but can't afford it anymore (cheap bastard). It's also not very expensive if compared to any big name av program. Avira premium is $26yr and a 3yr license is only $52, as opposed to Norton-$40yr, Mcafee-$65+yr, nod32-$40yr an $60 for 2yrs, panda-$40yr, avg- $35yr an $60 2yrs, avast-35+yr and a free version of course. Got ta say from personal exp that Comodo firewalls suck.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Dec 2010 @ 19:54

3110.12.2010 20:13

I worked in the AV industry for a number of years, then the antimalware/spyware field as it grew, and have a somewhat insider take on things. Many companies have released updates that have killed user installs, Kaspersky MacAfee(blechhh..choke, choke), AVG, Norton, to list a couple. AVG used to be pure garbage, and that was when almost every self-proclaimed "geek" swore by it..LOL. They did pick up their game tho and produced a decent product around 06-07 on. Avira gets top A++ grades these days but they've had issues with shoddy updates and internal hackers too, but not lately. About the only one I can think off-hand that hasn't had these problems (yet?) is Eset NOD32. They've constantly recieved VB100 awards (most and most consecutive VB100's) and rank a solid 1st, 2nd, or razor-close 3rd in almost all reputable non-sponsored test labs. Some labs are actually PAID by AV companies to do certain tests, do you think they're gonna bite the hand that feeds them? VirusBulletin is still my 1st choice to trust, the oldest and arguably still the best. After 10 years of reverse engineering new, unknown variants for many AV companies, and seeing how their scan engines work internally, NOD32 is still my choice. Actually MS is coming along well with MSE, but Avira is my next recommended product after NOD.
Personally, I wouldn't use Eset's firewall, I was on the inside Beta team and the first few versions were lacking, but being improved all the time. Although, I haven't researched their latest version so it could be on track by now.
I find Comodo (firewall ONLY!) with almost all HIPS turned off, is about the best pure firewall out there. If you're good at security, a top packet sniffer is about all you need, but their whitelist/blacklist makes life allot easier for every user. Plus their free version IS the Pro version, no paid mode and a watered down free version, you get the full deal there. I use the Defence+ in Training mode just to see how it's doing.
In it's default state, Comodo does rule the FW world, although training it can be daunting for some users, and full HIPS gives many people popup-alert-itis, a nasty thing that may cause intestinal growths or sweaty eyelids.

I've always laughed when people say things like "So-n-so product is great, I've used it for 5 years and never get infected...". Hmm, well if you've got a crap so-n-so product, and it never tells you that you have a problem (b-cause it's crap), you could STILL be infected up to yer I-Balls and you'd never know it, would you...;). There is absolutely NO WAY for most (not all) users to make that statement with any real confidence, and I've seen it a zillion times if I seen it twice, that many who say that, are truly hiding a nasty or 3.

Honestly, no single scanner ever built will catch everything, not 1...nada! Even the best can be compromised, and have been. What you want is a product with a blend of the most wildlist catches, top scores with ZERO false positives. Any false positive from an AV scanner should disqualify it from use, period.<(that's a period folks), B-cause if that 1 falseP happens to be an important file, it could hose your system or an app.
Again, I just find that over the last decade + 1/2, Eset has been head & shoulders (not the shampoo either) above the other companies in this regard, and their heuristics engine is widely regarded as being the one all others strive to emulate. Remember tho, AV scanners are Not good at, or designed for some things, like user clicked/installed malware. Remember AV2009 or any other scam AV? Or those "you need to install this CODEC" scams on your d-loaded Pr0n file? Since they were essentially "user installed", even the best AV's didn't flag them so MBAM came to the rescue there. Love MBAM!

But it all boils down usually to User habits. Users are the ones who compromise their systems most in the end (Ouch, that could hurt eh), by not learning and following good security habits, or just being unlucky someday (ask Mez..HI Mez! and a few others here I've pointed the right direction).
It's a nasty world out there, complex blended threats & rootkits..etc, the bad guys are now professional coders & no longer the skript kiddies of old days, and you need to research your chosen products.

Ok, no pooh-poohing, or "Blow it out yer arse Chappy" please...these are simply my observations & opinions, and yes I DO have an arse so I also get to have an opinion. Experience in the field has given me some insights, and working with some of the dang smartest people in the industry has helped too, but the best thing y'all can do is RESEARCH 4 yourselves (or just trust me cause I know everything...)Ha!
;)
Where's the free Pears at, my fingers hurt & my ears are burning

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Dec 2010 @ 20:15

3210.12.2010 20:25

Originally posted by linbegone:
Originally posted by Baccusboy:
Originally posted by DVDBack23:

Excellent post, and yes Avast does score *decently* high, but this un-biased opinion says Avira is the best: http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/dyn/wholedynamic2010.pdf

I cannot back that up, as I currently use AVG 10.
What that doesn't tell you is that the free version of Avira includes an annoying nag screen that constantly asks you to purchase it. For that reason, I avoid Avira. It's paid version is very expensive, IMHO, but yes, excellent protection.


I got ta disagree with ya. I use Avira free and NEVER get any nags. I paid for premium for a long time but can't afford it anymore (cheap bastard). It's also not very expensive if compared to any big name av program. Avira premium is $26yr and a 3yr license is only $52, as opposed to Norton-$40yr, Mcafee-$65+yr, nod32-$40yr an $60 for 2yrs, panda-$40yr, avg- $35yr an $60 2yrs, avast-35+yr and a free version of course. Got ta say from personal exp that Comodo firewalls suck.
Wow.. you're right.. Avira did drop their prices. I hadn't seen that. The big problem (at least up until this change, which must have taken place in the past year) was that their prices used to be in Euro. This was especially prohibitively expensive for many non-European buyers.

I haven't played with Avira for at least 6 months. I'll have to give it a try. As for the nag screen issue, perhaps they've dropped that too? If they have, then that's a very good thing. Worth a try for sure. Unfortunately, according to Avira's site, the Free version does not include driveby protection, and apparently heuristic protection (Antivirproactiv is disabled). I'm not sure I'd be so trusting of that. After all, they DO have to give you a reason to purchase their paid version.

Otherwise, I still find MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) to be a great free product -- especially for basic users who aren't the types to go surfing in and looking at lots of potentially nasty sites. Another nice thing about MSE is that you don't have to renew free memberships -- it just stays on your machine. That's really great if you have a family member (like grandma) who doesn't know how to handle such a basic issue as a license renewal. By the way, I just switched my wife's computer over to MSE because it does allow for faster surfing. I just run Malwarebytes about every month or so. Usually don't find much.

Yup, VirusBulletin is a great site too... couldn't remember that 3rd one when I was posting above.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Dec 2010 @ 20:40

3311.12.2010 4:12

Hello.I ,m new to site.I enjoy the discussions.I hope to learn more.

3411.12.2010 6:03

I've used AVG for years but it's got bigger and slower over time. And for a while now it wants to index everything, even my 1 Terabyte external backup drive, after every move I make.

Went to AVAST and it slowed my laptop something fierce.
Changed to Avira on the laptop, and survived a year of that nag screen.

I bought a netbook which had McAffee on it - the machine ran like it was wading through honey so I chucked McAffee.

Then found MS Essentials, and combined it with Immunet, one of the newish cloud-based systems. The two of them run in tandem on the netbook so I'm thinking of making the same change to laptop and desktop as well.

It's a bit of a balancing act between scanning everything just to be on the safe side, and having a working environment that runs at a usable speed.

3511.12.2010 7:40

I am giving the 1 month trial of Avira a run starting today. So far so good, but I tested it on the EICAR test virus file, and it doesn't find the test virus when sent over https (it does block http right away). It finds it after it sits on my machine and I do a scan, though. Norton had the same issue. Avast and MSE jump on most of the downloads immediately (actually, Windows Defender will jump on the https versions, if kept running, but Avira requests you turn it off).

Am waiting to infect my usb key at my university again. I'm curious to see how well Avira recognizes and removes USB key viruses automatically. Shockingly, Norton missed the autorun virus we have troubles with unless I commanded it to scan the key (and all key scanning attributes were running, too -- I made sure). I was perturbed by that, because they get credit for catching the virus if it moves on your computer, but it doesn't stop the propagating the virus.

3611.12.2010 13:38

It was threads like these that brought me to AfterDawn in the first place, back in the day. Excellent discussion and info and a lot of food for thought for when my AVG Pro license expires in April.


3711.12.2010 14:41

Originally posted by DVDBack23:
It was threads like these that brought me to AfterDawn in the first place, back in the day. Excellent discussion and info and a lot of food for thought for when my AVG Pro license expires in April.
It's discussions like this that push some users to get into really understanding this underworld, and learn how to fight it. It's how I got started way back in 96, on a board for programmers where we started dissecting little DOS bombs, and I ran into some people who were starting small AV companies. They were too small to have paid analyzers, so they farmed out work to some people who wanted to learn, and taught us how to use the tools to analyze, and write detection schemes.
Norton was King of AV then, but some of these little groups grew into todays' biggest names in AV. It was wild how fast things evolved from then on, and we spent many a weekend & long nights trying to keep up with evolving threats. I spent many a night shift at the Firehall doing this stuff when not out on a scene.

These are all things the Mac people never get into, but they should. Many of them still blindly believe that none of this matters to them, that they're "immune" to such things...but they're wrong. In time there will be enough Macs out there for the bad guys to take an interest in them, and at that point all those "immune" Mac users will find themselves very far behind the curve as they try to catch up with security. Us PC folk will be laughing @ them then, but still have our own battles to fight.

3811.12.2010 22:23

Also giving Online Armour firewall a try, but it's starting to annoy me because of all the pop-ups. I turned those off, but it also blocks many ActiveX programs in websites. You are prompted if you want to run them or not. I'm sure this feature can be toggled as well.

Comodo is a great firewall. Might go back to that. Their antivirus bombs, though. Hasn't passed the VB100 yet on Virusbulletin.

3915.12.2010 8:19

Well, I started experiencing big slow-downs, so I uninstalled Online Armour. The slowdowns didn't stop, so I uninstalled Avira. I went back to Microsoft Security Essentials. Suddenly, the internet is fast once again. I have no idea why the slow-downs were going on after several days with the Avira Premium trial. I also had one very odd shutdown. I am running Windows 7.

Could just be a one-off, but I'm happy to be surfing fast again with MSE. Surfing with it makes the internet snappy again.

4020.12.2010 0:59

Originally posted by ChappyTTV:

These are all things the Mac people never get into, but they should. Many of them still blindly believe that none of this matters to them, that they're "immune" to such things...but they're wrong. In time there will be enough Macs out there for the bad guys to take an interest in them, and at that point all those "immune" Mac users will find themselves very far behind the curve as they try to catch up with security. Us PC folk will be laughing @ them then, but still have our own battles to fight.

Mac Antivirus software is free, so still, they probably won't care either way if that does happen.

4120.12.2010 15:48

Originally posted by shortybob:
Originally posted by ChappyTTV:

These are all things the Mac people never get into, but they should. Many of them still blindly believe that none of this matters to them, that they're "immune" to such things...but they're wrong. In time there will be enough Macs out there for the bad guys to take an interest in them, and at that point all those "immune" Mac users will find themselves very far behind the curve as they try to catch up with security. Us PC folk will be laughing @ them then, but still have our own battles to fight.

Mac Antivirus software is free, so still, they probably won't care either way if that does happen.
Hi shortybob

That's true only until they start getting hammered to the point that PC's are, or even were in the mid 90's, and then the capitalist mentality comes into play as more companies pop up into the Mac AV world...most likely scenario.

Still, they're behind the curve as far as research dollars, engineers...etc, and they'll have some catch up to do quickly, which means that there will be a massive spike in Mac virus activity for years to come. Not only that, to change the "immune" mentality of millions of long time Mac users is going to take time, so they're still looking at a nasty surprise.

I just think that they've set themselves up for a big fall as their market share increases steadily. Currently, every Mac owner I know is still in a state of denial, or just have no clue when it comes to basic protections, and that's pervasive enough amongst them to the point it will soon become more attractive to the bad guys.
I also see that some Mac users are aware that this is just around the corner for them, and they are taking it allot more seriously, but they're the minority still.

It's gonna be interesting to watch how the Mac community responds as a whole when the onslaught builds. I can envision them in the same boat we PC users were in the mid/late 90's, early 00's as the level of new variants and complexity of attack vectors increase daily. But we already had a large base of skilled people who were willing & skilled enough to join & fight it...does the Mac community have that yet?
I dunno, but they better start soon.

Later
Dave

4220.12.2010 17:34

Pretty much all major antivirus vendors sell Mac versions. Even Avast.

4320.12.2010 19:49

Yep it's hard to get a set of security ware that works & plays nice,tried pretty much all that most of you have mentioned found same issues either nag screens or system hog or didn't work as it should've ,ended up using clamwin for a while but that really didn't cut it since it was manual scan only, ended up with spyware terminator,comodo firewall (tried the comodo antivirus that was included sheesh what a piece of crap that was,continual false positives)as for antivirus decided to go with digital defender (reasonably small foot print & realtime scan)) so far so good,however there is NO SUBSTITUTE for a regular backup image schedule,macrium reflect is free if some what limited,ghost 15 is ok tho if you want to get a commercial program acronis 11 would be a better option,however it would pay to trial acronis 11 first as version 11 compared to v9.0 which i had is a lot more ram & cpu intensive on a 2.0ghz single cpu machine with 2gb ram in that respect ghost is better it just lacks try & decide (same as a virtual pc) & it lacks continuious backup function,instead it has the manual setting


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