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OK, is this for real, or is my AntiVirus company trying to pull one over on me?

I have a Windows 8 HP Envy laptop a little under a year old. I purchased WebRoot antivirus at Best Buy when I bought the PC, and installed it.

Today I was attempting to download Firefox (my technical college recommends it for online classes, don't ask why because I sure don't know), but the site was identified by WebRoot as malicious and blocked it. I called WebRoot and got a human. She tried to get me to go to the WebRoot site and THAT was flagged as malicious! After installing remote control software on my laptop, she putzed around a bit, talked to her supervisor... who informed me that it wasn't a WebRoot problem, that my PC had all sorts of junk files and registry issues that they could not fix and I should take it to Best Buy and have them do maintenance.

Then he said, "All PCs should have maintenance done every few months" ...! (This costs $200 for a year's worth of maintenance at Best Buy.)

IS THIS REALLY TRUE? I had a Toshiba PC for nearly a decade prior to this and never took it in for maintenance. So are the WebRoot people trying to pass the buck, and do I REALLY need to have my PC maintained by "a tech professional" every few months? Or is there a way I can fix this using other software?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Heptite, Dave M, random Jan 29 '14 at 17:48

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Nowadays... nope (arguably never were). I ran the unholy Windows 6 for more than four years without paid maintenance nor "antivira software". I turned to GNU/Linux just to get a performance boost, but the system was sane. Bloated with updates, but healthy. – uprego Jan 22 '14 at 17:26
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    What number did you call exactly? If you found this number by using a search engine its very likely you didn't actually each WebRoot. You should never allow anyone you don't know personally remote access to your computer. You do need to install security software, it sounds like WebRoot, is protecting you, considering it block you from going to the website this person gave you. – Ramhound Jan 22 '14 at 17:27
  • No where in there does it seem they are saying you have to take it to someone. They are suggesting, probably because they can't figure out why your Windows doesn't work as expected, that you should start doing regular maintenance on your system (file cleanup, registry cleanups, correcting causes of errors appearing in the Event Logs, etc.). They may have assessed your lack of knowledge on the subject, and so suggested that you could take it in to get serviced for you. They probably only mentioned Best Buy specifically, because that's where you told them you got the software from. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 22 '14 at 18:14
  • This "WebRoot" software/company you describe sounds like a total scam. I suggest you remove/uninstall it immediately and never use it again. – Collin Grady Jan 22 '14 at 19:33
  • Holy tech support... I did see a logo for iYogi and wondered, but they said they were the Webroot tech site. Stupid me. (When I google Webroot, "iYogi" is right up there.) I bought the WebRoot via CD at Best Buy on their recommendation when I bought the PC. I wondered about letting them do the remote system stuff, but I was desperate. I suppose it's entirely possible they planted spyware or something. I think I will remove it. – Wendi Jan 22 '14 at 20:53
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No. It's not true. Maybe a novice user who makes mistakes does need to have their PC checked by someone who knows what they're doing once in a while. But the need will become obvious when it comes, with the computer showing major signs of being messed up.

The most likely reason why they told you this, I think, is that many companies continually try to tell you that the problem is not on their side. They want the problem off their hands. Their agents are instructed to do that: only admit responsibility in the most obvious and undeniable cases. And even then.

I remember when I contacted Samsung to tell them Kies wasn't working on my computer. They refused to help unless I tried Kies on at least two different Windows 8 machines and to try other Windows versions too. Oh, and to try on a fresh installation of Windows 8 and a factory reset of my phone.

I'm not saying that's necessarily what happened. It IS possible that your computer has issues. But keep in mind that it's quite a "popular" way to do things for companies to continually bounce the responsibility back to the user or to another company. If it's the case for WebRoot, then if I were you I'd just stop trusting the company, regret spending my money on this and get a free antivirus (the good ones are even comparable to paid antiviruses in performance).

Regardless, no, PCs do not need maintenance every few months. If you're a novice and don't know anyone who's knowledgeable with computers, then it may be advisable to some extent. But it's in no way an obligation, especially if you're careful and use your computer smartly, in which case it shouldn't develop any problems.

  • I think you're right... Especially now looking at their web site I see they offer a tech support subscription for "just 199"...Any recommendations on the free anti-virus? – Wendi Jan 22 '14 at 20:55
  • I like Avast! a lot. Just open your eyes wide, they make the links to the paid versions big and the link to the free version small. My grandmother was convinced it was telling her she had to pay, but it was just the software asking her to register for free yearly. – Ariane Jan 22 '14 at 23:13
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I think who ever you talked to is trying to hustle you!!!

If you can, get to another PC and download Dr Web Cureit. You may have a virus directing you to a scammer. Copy the downloaded file to a USB drive and then let it do a scan and repair on your Envy laptop. You might be amazed at what it finds. Just a precaution.

I usually recommend this software to friends and families who call me about this kind of stuff because Cureit doesn't require a full installation to do a scan.

http://www.freedrweb.com/cureit/?lng=en

  • OK, that sounds interesting. I very much like the idea of letting it do a scan from an external drive, rather than installing something. – Wendi Jan 22 '14 at 20:56
  • I really dig dr. web. Those guys are smart. Each time you download, the executable filename is different so the viruses can't assume a specific filename (and block its execution). However, they do have a different product that is installed. – Xavier J Jan 22 '14 at 20:58

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