XP (Home version) Security versus McAffee Security

I recently got an automatic download to my XP Home.  It was a security upgrade.  
I already have (but pay for) McAffee anti-virus/firewall software.

The XP Home Security is free - is it good enough or should I keep paying the annual $70
for the McAffee.
booksplusAsked:
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KaplanDaniConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi,
this is simple - XP SP2 doesn't fight computer viruses, and it is not updated on a daily basis like mcafee software.
Microsoft is NOT a security company, nor a antivirus company.
If you concern about your mateiral, you should use the mcafee solution.
you might be able to save some money if you buy only the antivirus and not the firewall... (which as you've been told is part of xp sp2 right now, and it is good for a basic use).

Dani
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rreisterCommented:
All my traffic passes through a router/firewall first.  It's the first line of defense for me.  Then I use Kaspersky anti-virus: http://www.kaspersky.com/ for virus protection, and X-Cleaner: http://www.spywareguide.com/txt_onlinescan.html   I've never had any trouble.  I think the rest of those internet security things are garbage, McAfee, Norton Internet Security, etc..
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Debsyl99Commented:
Hi booksplus,
Hardware firewalls are always better than software ones, no doubt about that. But you'll always need antivirus protection, no matter what type of firewall you've got so don't get rid of that!

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KaplanDaniCommented:
The windows security is very basic.
It doesn't flexible as mcafee solution and it doesn't protect you from viruses.
You Have to use Mcafee as well.
Dani.
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booksplusAuthor Commented:
Dani - thanks for your response.  That's the angle I'm interested in b/c the Windows XP (Home) Security
has firewall and virus protection.  So, can someone give me a little more detail - why should I not just
use the XP (Home) Firewall/Virus Security instead of McAfee.  I want to better understand (technically)
why I would choose one over the other - I will pay for McAfee if it's better, but if XP (Home) Firewall/Virus Security
is just as good, then I'd use it  (FYI - I just received an upgrade from Microsoft giving me their security system - that's
what prompted this question - I did not have it before - now I want to make a technically informed decision).

THANKS!
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Debsyl99Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi
There's a big difference between a firewall and virus protection. Some useful links here. Firewalls generally only allow various ports to be opened (You have a lot of ports on your pc and without a firewall, if left open they leave you vulnerable to attack). Some you need to be able to access the internet, and various services run on various ports. There are many but here's a few examples of some common ones for internet users. Like http runs generally on port 80, https runs on 443 and pop3/smtp (email) run on port 25 and 110. These ports need to be open so that you can view or access traffic ie web sites, mail etc. There are other ports however that can easily become targeted for malicious reasons ie hackers, viruses etc which is why they are best closed (mostly down to inherent vulnerabilities in microsoft products)
The problem is that viruses can affect your pc from a number of sources - floppy disks, via email attachments (one of the main routes), and via ordinary web surfing. The ICF with XP is only a firewall it doen't offer virus protection, so additional antivirus protection is essential if you're not going to leave yourself open.

Part of the limitation with ICF is that it doesn't offer configurabilty nor does it protect against outbound connections. So simply put you could get a bug, that initates an outbound connection from your pc and you'd never know about it. SO again with icf, you can't just choose to open or close ports as you need them as you can with a true firewall (however this is often limited with many software firewalls).

About Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/firewall.htm#effectiveness
Internet Connection Firewall overview
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/home/using/productdoc/en/default.asp?url=/windowsxp/home/using/productdoc/en/hnw_understanding_firewall.asp

Ultimately you get what you pay for, and as ICF is free.... It is undoubtedly better with sp2 than it was in sp1, but it's no substitute for antivirus protection at all,

Hope that helps - post back if you need more info

Deb :))
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