HI, SCR, Tomface, Marcos, swex, arakasi --
I truly appreciate all the work you put into your replies. This forum has nice vibes and I appreciate your thoughts. To answer one question, yes, I'm her in the U.S.
I have some comments and questions and NONE of them are meant to be cute or disrespectful, just the spirit of learning more on my part, so here goes:
1) I'm currently using Smart Security 7, but per SweX's comment it is a bit confusing. So, it seems that if/when I renew next week, it will STILL have the same "7" I have now...but just keep getting updated throughout 2014? Or will the renewal download and install a full new program and uninstall the old. It will still be called "7" just the same.
2) No, I've never been infected in the past 12 months using ESET. But the same was true for a few years of Kaspersky as well as BitDefender and Norton before them. So, at the least, ESET hasn't been worse. :-)
3) Marcos, thanks for your input. My situation is that I'm a "civilian" in this area so most of us out in the real world Google for things. If one Googles, for example, REVIEWS ESET SMART SECURITY 7, we civilians will get PCWorld, CNET, Techrepublic, softpedia, expertreviews, and pages more...with no idea which to trust more (although I assume that the PC magazines are seen as valid). One of my favorite sites for educating myself about a product pre-purchase is www.consumersearch.com. What they do is all the research that they can possibly find on the internet about a specific product genre and tell the reader what the "experts" are saying vs. doing another review themselves. In the old days, one might go to Consumer Reports, but this site now includes CR with all the other reviewers so it's pretty comprehensive. If you go to that site and search for security software you'll see BitDefender Suite #1 (per all the "experts" combined tests, not Consumer Search's opinion or test results) and ESET not even mentioned. So, my point is that all potential customers can do is search the internet thru the wee hrs of the night and finally make a decision based on a respected site. With Consumer Search, it's even much easier because they save you the shoe leather and sleepless nights. Try the site for others stuff like HDTV, baby buggies, toasters...great site. But I digress...
I also went to your link to Dennis Technology, which I appreciate. But, honestly, I never would have know about that site, and for a civilian, he seems to be an outlier, and how do I know that DT is as credible or even more than the ones that pop up in the first 4 pages of a Google search? Even DT says ESET is #2 behind Kaspersky. And, in fact, DT wasn't too happy about ESET's "protection rates" that came in #4 and #5 in various tests. So, how is a little guy like me to really now? Perhaps the top three ranked over and over again on several test sites are all about the same and we should just pick the one with the least load on the computer, best potential customer service and lowest price?
Arkasi: thanks for all your concern and work. I did try the first link which took me to a form and ultimately took me to FAQ pages to see if I don't need to call. I had to change the filters and lie a bit to get directly to email option. I like companies that allow me to just shoot an email w/fewer hoops. Phone is a good, direct option, but sometimes I just don't have the time to sit and talk. But ESET had a phone number; didn't test it for wait times. Also, thanks much for reference to "VB100" awards. I enjoyed the site and it makes my point that as a lightweight in this arena, I'd have no idea that this site even existed; so most of us would just be going with test results #1, #2, + cheaper as criteria. It's just that the virus protection industry seems to be lacking in creating an awareness of their presence to the general public.
Anyhoo...I'm considering renew my license on both my desktop (W7 Pro, 64bit) as well as my wife's old laptop with Vista (!)....hope it's work w/Vista, yes?
Finally, is my renewal directly from ESET the least expensive route, or should I be looking for a vender who could give me a better price?
Thanks again all....you've been very considerate and informative. Any more comment would be appreciated.