Good anti-virus software is still free and available

The Baltimore Sun

My subscription has expired for Norton's anti-virus program, and I am finally getting around to trying to check out a program you recommended years ago. Is AVG still around, and is it still free?

-- Linda Gordon

It's still available at I really like Grisoft AVG and think it stacks up just fine with commercial programs.

In the past several weeks, when I turn on the computer (Dell Dimension 4600 with Windows XP) as part of the boot process I have to run System Setup every time. I haven't done anything different with the computer prior to this occurring, so I'm thinking I just may have hit some keys wrong that ended up being a shortcut to System Setup.

I dutifully enter the date and time, and then the computer works fine until I shut it off. Next time I turn it on, we start the process all over again.

-- Susie and Charles Evers

I'm almost certain that you need to replace the small battery inside your computer that preserves the system settings when the power is turned off.

It's a pretty simple do-it-yourself replacement. You'd open the computer case and look for the circular silver battery clipped to the motherboard. Take the old battery to a store to get an exact replacement, pop it in, and you'd be up and running. You'll have to go through the F2 routine one more time after replacing the battery.

Bear in mind that I can't know for sure that this is your problem.

Also, while the job is relatively simple and safe, be sure that you unplug the computer and touch the chassis (to ground yourself to avoid static electricity) before you touch anything inside the computer.

Most important, don't do the job unless you feel comfortable doing it.

Bill Husted writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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