I have been using commercial antivirus software for a while. I don’t know that it is necessary to do this because Windows has some decent protection as part of Microsoft Security Essentials or Defender or whatever they are calling it. Plus there are some free tools that are pretty good. But Fry’s always has antivirus software that you can buy and then get a rebate for the entire price, making it free. So far I have always gotten the rebates, but twice I had problems, once with Kaspersky and once with Norton, where they told me I didn’t fill in the submission correctly. However, after I complained they sent me the rebates anyway. Sometimes I will get a couple of products the same year just to try them out. I had written about past experiences a few times already. Right now I like Norton the best because it only scans when I am away from the desktop whereas McAfee takes 8 hours or so to scan on my laptop (better than Kaspersky which I gave up on after the scan took many days).

Mom usually uninstalls whatever antivirus software I have given her, but after she let one of her subscriptions run out and got infected shortly thereafter, she has been pretty good about leaving the software in place on her laptop at least. Right now she is using McAfee Total Protection, which I installed last year after getting a 3-user license. It is on my laptop as well and the third license is unused. Mom started letting me know that it was about to expire and asking what to do. I said we would get a new copy once it went on sale at Fry’s again, but I wasn’t seeing it on sale.

She was getting a little more antsy and the deadline was less than 2 weeks away, so I went to Fry’s website (they have cut back on their full page newspaper ads that they used to have most days on the back of the sports page) and saw they had a single user version for free after rebate, but not the 3-user version. With Mom in Florida, I thought maybe I could extend the subscription on my laptop and that would get her extended as well, otherwise I would need to mail the CD to her. Then I was checking again and found the 3 user version for $59.99 with a $60 rebate online (I’m still out sales tax plus a stamp for the rebate submission). They also had a 3-user version of Norton Internet Security (which I use on my desktop computer) for free after rebate and it included Norton Utilities, which I thought could be useful. However the last day of the deal was yesterday and it was supposed to rain like crazy all night. The traffic map showed the entire city either yellow or red. That’s about the worst I’ve ever seen. But around 7:30 it stopped raining, so I headed up to Fry’s at about 8 PM. Fry’s had the 3-user McAfee Total Protection for $79.99 with a $60 rebate. That wasn’t what I was after. I asked at the nearby desk (with the rain and traffic earlier, Fry’s wasn’t that busy) and they were able to look it up and print out a piece of paper to give to the front desk so they would ring up $59.99 instead of $79.99. I also got Norton, Season 3 of Everybody Loves Raymond (now have Seasons 1-6 if anyone wants to borrow them), and Season 3 of Get Smart (wound up returning it because the sale was only for Season 5 and Season 3 rang up for full price).

Got home and the question was if I could extend the subscription or would Mom need to have the CD to install the new version and its license. The software was registered to Mom, so when I went to sign in at McAfee’s website I had to use Mom’s account, but I didn’t know the password and I got the account locked while guessing. I could reset the password, but only by sending something to Mom’s Yahoo mail account, which I can’t get to. So I called Mom and she forwarded me the message with the link to reset the password, which worked perfectly. Now I used the McAfee live chat to see if I could extend the subscription. If I clicked Renew next to Mom’s Total Protection license that was about to expire, they wanted me to buy a license. So I asked the chat people if I could use a store bought copy of McAfee to extend a subscription. They wrote back “Yes”. I asked how to do that and they said I should contact technical support. I tried that, but wasn’t getting anywhere so I decided to just install the software. The tech support website said it was better to uninstall the software before installing new software, so I turned off the wifi on my laptop (to prevent any infections while I had no protection) and put the CD in. The first screen of the installer said a previous copy had been detected and would I like to extend my subscription. I clicked Yes. That was easy! I didn’t have to even download any software or do anything else except enter the registration key. And now Mom is good until 2013 too. That puts us past the Mayan end of times, so we should be good.

To summarize:

  • Check the Fry’s website for deals, not just the paper
  • Get the same exact variety of McAfee (Total Protection)
  • Remember Mom’s password to McAfee’s website
  • Use the CD installer to extend the subscription

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