Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Solutions: New computer, lots of viruses

You wrote in your column that Windows 8 has a very robust antivirus built in. After I bought a new Windows 8 Lenovo laptop, I followed the instructions to set it up and went online to check my emails. The computer wouldn't respond. I called the help line in India, but they wanted to charge me money to help solve my problem. I took it to Office Depot (where I had bought it). They told me it had 16 viruses on it. I told them that I thought all new computers came with an antivirus for 30 days. They said no, but I could clean it and install McAfee for $135. I had it installed, but why did this happen if Windows 8 has a built-in antivirus?

I can't tell you what exactly happened. That would have been a question better asked of Lenovo, since it happened so quickly. They should not have asked you for a fee.

Windows 8 does come with a built-in antivirus that is turned on out-of-the-box. But here's where the train can run off the rails: If the PC vendor installs a third-party antivirus (Norton, McAfee) and you proceed to uninstall that application, as many people do since they know Windows 8 already comes with a free antivirus, the uninstall seems to leave pieces behind that are enough to tell Windows 8 Defender that there is still another antivirus in place. The result is Windows Defender doesn't turn itself on, and there isn't any warning or message to that effect.

You have to go to the third-party support website and download and run their removal tool. Then you have to explicitly turn Windows Defender on. This is a messy and dangerous process. It would be so much easier if the PC vendors did not put all of this unnecessary software on your system in the first place.

I'm sorry you had to pay so much money for something that may not have been necessary. Since this happened the first day you had the PC, I would have recommended reloading the factory image and checking for viruses at that stage. That should have been the solution offered by Lenovo and Office Depot as well, without asking for a fee.

When I boot up my computer, I always get a message that McAfee isn't fully loaded. I always get emails from AOL telling me that I have "free" McAfee downloads available as part of my "AOL Package" and the emails want me to "download now." I don't trust this. Should I be concerned?

Yes. My recommendation is to do a complete uninstall of McAfee through Control Panel, Add/Remove programs.

Go to the McAfee support site and download the removal tool to clean up anything left behind. AOL does appear to offer a free "AOL version" of McAfee antivirus, but I think you would be better off installing Microsoft Security Essentials at

It's free, will keep itself updated and give you better protection.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: New computer, lots of viruses 04/05/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 6:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. These two documents illustrate how Florida has made it harder to access inspection reports of nursing homes, heavily censoring what the public can see. In the foreground is a document obtained from a federal agency that details the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where 10 patients died after Hurricane Irma. Behind it is the state's version of the same document, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]
  2. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation


    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us


    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  4. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay


    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]
  5. William March: Frank Reddick says all-white Tampa council possible


    A decline in the percentage of black voters in Tampa's only majority-black City Council district, District 5, has council member Frank Reddick worried.

    City Council member Frank Reddick said that if Tampa can't maintain African-American voter numbers, he could be the council's last African-American representative. [JAMES BORCHUK   |   Times (2016)]