Experience with installing Bitdefender

I have just moved across from Kaspersky Internet Security (subscribed for ~10 years) to Bitdefender (free trial), motivated by the invasion of Ukraine.

I share with you some feedback on my initial experience with installing Bitdefender.

  • To install the product the user needs to download & run a small (~14 MB) "installer", which then downloads ~500 MB of files to actually install Bitdefender. I like to actually download the standalone installer, but I don't see this offered by Bitdefender; I understand that it is also useful for IT administrators managing numerous computers over a network.
  • The installation dialogue seems to lack a few standard features: initial confirmation to proceed; "Back" button to return to previous screens; options for the user to choose the path where the application should be installed; and options for the user to specify other details.
  • The installer asks the user to accept various terms. The link pops open https://www.bitdefender.com/site/view/subscription-agreement-and-terms-of-services-for-home-user-solutions.html . However, the site was unreadable (without any warning/error) in Internet Explorer. Also, although IE was already open, the above-mentioned site was opened in a new window of IE (rather than a new tab).
  • The installer forces the user to uninstall any existing AV applications. I had KIS installed, and also Malwarebytes. KIS had been set to run at startup, and I was willing to uninstall that. Malwarebytes had been set to not run at startup (not at all, not in the background, not anywhere), but only run on demand. I don't think the user should be forced to uninstall other AV software: a strong warning/recommendation should be sufficient, perhaps even with a follow-up "Are you sure?!" confirmation.
  • When running the initial Device Assessment Scan there is no indication of percentage progress; there is no indication of the total number of files that are to be scanned, nor an estimate of time remaining.

—DIVERSE

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Comments

  • DIVERSE
    DIVERSE ✭✭✭
    edited March 2022

    Another issue:

    • Following installation it seems that my device was not protected by Bitdefender, because the application had not been 'activated' by me signing in. However, the application never prompted me to sign in!!! It just sat quietly in the (compacted/hidden) system tray with a greyed-out icon, not alerting the user that any action is required.

    And one more piece of feedback:

    • A recommendation is made to apply Ransomware Remediation. But it is unclear what that's going to do, and also unclear whether clicking the button will instantly take effect, or will take the user to a 'settings' dialogue box (perhaps to choose the files containing "important data"). So is this going to back up data to a cloud server, or to a hidden partition, or what? [UPDATE: there's a little more information at https://community.bitdefender.com/en/discussion/90483/back-up-of-files-for-ransomware-remediation , but not enough to answer all questions. I also want to clarify that I would have liked to see a link/button to get full help on this topic of Ransomware Remediation from within the Bitdefender application itself.]

    —DIVERSE

  • DIVERSE
    DIVERSE ✭✭✭
    edited March 2022
    • Bitdefender icons added to Thunderbird do not suit 'look and feel' of Thunderbird. In particular, the buttons are too tall and the icons are correspondingly too large.

    Original Thunderbird icons/buttons are on the upper row, added Bitdefender icons/buttons are on the lower row.

    —DIVERSE

  • Hello @DIVERSE and welcome to the Bitdefender Community!

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. It means a great deal to us because this is how we can improve our product and services.

    For a long time, the Bitdefender installer contained all the files needed. The developers decided to take the downloader route for customers with slow internet speed or inconsistent connections, to make sure their download would not fail, in browser.

    In regards to the installation dialogue, your feedback is much appreciated.

    Bitdefender is no longer supporting Internet Explorer. We've moved all of our default dependencies to EDGE, so if you have Internet Explorer as a default browser, you might not be able to see any content when clicking on a link from the product.

    Having multiple antivirus programs running at the same time will not make your computer more secure. It may degrade performance and even prevent proper malware detection. We recommend using only one Antivirus Solution, since they can interfere with each other. They can start scanning the same files and processes at the same time which leads to loss of performance and system instability. This can have a negative impact on your computer. The symptoms may include but are not limited to: degraded performance, system crashes, and software errors.

    In regards to Ransomware Remediation and the Thunderbird icons, this is valuable feedback for which I am grateful. I will forward your comprehensive review to our developers for further analysis. We always collect user feedback as it arrives in the Community and send it to our developers and product managers.

    Thank you once again.

    Enjoy your Bitdefender product and the Community!

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    @DIVERSE

    I had occasion yesterday to have to reinstall BDTS on my Dell laptop computer because, unlike my Dell desktop, BDTS had not updated the component build since October and no number of manual "Check for Updates" would lead to a component update. The signatures were up to date.

    Like you, I was MOST annoyed when the BDTS reinstall app demanded that I uninstall my Malwarebytes Premium. I have used that for years (not registered in the Security Centre) alongside BDTS. I have the recommended exclusions in both programs and they have played very nicely in the same sandboxes for over eight years.

    As a Bleeping Computer Malware Response Study Hall Instructor, I like to have layered security. Contrary to assertions made, in my view, Malwarebytes Premium is not a genuine anti-virus program. See also this link. Conventional wisdom is that it should run alongside a robust anti-virus application.

    Like you, I believe that the user should be able to override that warning and proceed with reinstalling BDTS without the need to uninstall Malwarebytes Premium (MBP). I had to waste an hour getting BDTS and MBP uninstalled and reinstalled and then had to manually reconfigure MBP settings and recreate the BDTS exclusions in that program.

    Once the BDTS repair installation was complete, I had the February component build, but so far BDTS is not downloading the latest component build to my laptop, which is 26.0.12.56 issued in March. I will monitor that issue for now. I might have to contact BD Tech Support if it does not resolve itself.

    Just my two cents. Have a great day and welcome to the Bitdefender Community. Good to have you on board.

    Regards,

    -Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • DIVERSE
    DIVERSE ✭✭✭

    Thanks, Phil. It's good to hear of your similar experience. And with greater expertise than me, by the sounds of it :-)

    Thanks also, Alexandru, for considering the above feedback.

    It seems like the key differences are between the following:

    • anti-virus applications and antimalware applications;
    • applications that continuously run 'in the background' (typical for antivirus) and applications that are run on-demand on user request (relatively more common for antimalware);
    • 'average users' (who don't understand the above) and 'power users' (who understand the above).

    I think that all of us on this thread understand and agree that running multiple AV applications simultaneously is not a good idea. The suggestion was to allow an 'advanced feature/option' for power users to keep whatever application they want installed, and just show a robust series of warnings that it's the user's responsibility to ensure that multiple AV applications don't run simultaneously, which the user would need to accept/confirm/acknowledge in order to proceed.

    —DIVERSE


    P.S. The funny thing is, I previously had Kaspersky Internet Security Installed, and I asked on their forum the best way to 'disable' KIS while trialling an alternative AV product, and the official advice I got was to uninstall KIS. Maybe I just don't understand how deeply these things burrow in to the OS, but I was thinking it could be sufficient to simply disable the application in the Startup tab of the Task Manager (and possibly cancel some tasks in Task Scheduler).

    Again, it's hard to be sure why Kaspersky gave this advice to uninstall KIS rather than disable it: maybe only because it's the simpler and more robust option that doesn't rely on a higher level of computer/Windows knowledge? Or maybe a disabled installation can still cause conflicts? [Rhetorical questions.]

    —DIVERSE

  • Scott
    Scott Defender of the month mod
    edited March 2022

    @DIVERSE some good concluding thoughts above, agree :) My comments below aren't a rebuttal against anyone here :)

    So, just my thoughts from an average user. Even though an AV could be disabled during installation, aren't there still other background processes that could interfere with the proper install and later the proper functioning of Bitdefender? From my past experience on the old forum, members always had the best success with a complete uninstall of any previous AV, so much so that we even had a Pinned Topic of the most popular AV uninstall tools to help make things go more smoothly. Maybe BD is a different animal than some of the other AVs out there and needs that clean slate to install on and function properly. That may be why it has such an outstanding reputation as one of the best.

    Back then (2013, 2014?) the BD mods finally did acquiesce that after a clean BD install, it could be considered to install and run the MB free version for on demand scan. Phil may remember that. So IMO, and from previous experience, uninstall (the need to) all the other AVs and let BD have a clean install, and if wanted, use the free version of MB as on demand, or use a on demand online scanner once in awhile? Again, I know Phil and others have differing opinions and personal experience, I understand that, but so does BD over the years in what's best for getting people up and running smoothly when they install BD AV's.

    All Bitdefender Home Product User Guides:https://www.bitdefender.com/consumer/support/user-guides/

  • DIVERSE
    DIVERSE ✭✭✭

    Hi, again, all.

    I "bit the bullet" and purchased a year of Bitdefender Internet Security subscription (for up to 3 Windows devices).

    There were three other things that came up in this process. Well, unnecessary irritations, really.

    1. As a Trial User, I received an email a few days ago informing me that I only had 10 days remaining on the trial, and inviting me to purchase a subscription for Bitdefender Internet Security at a discount to the RRP. However, when I checked bitdefender.com , a better discount was being advertised to the general public! In other words, as a Trial User, I got an email promoting a more expensive price than a member of the general public would pay. This is the kind of thing that absolutely ticks people off, and I can't see any good reason that it should happen. The best interpretation I can give is that it was a marketing stuff-up. (Admittedly the email was sent a few days ago, and I didn't immediately check the website, so theoretically the public discount could have been released after the email was sent, but even then a follow-up email should have been sent. [Not that I generally want to get many emails.])
    2. As I've already installed the application, with a trial 'licence', I didn't want to have to download the installer and install the application all over again. The email I got upon subscription indicated that I must go to BD Central and do something or other. The email did say I wouldn't have to install the application if it were already installed, but didn't explain precisely what I should do instead: it was only clear about what to do if I didn't already have an existing installation. I had the widget open on my laptop, and it still said "1 day remaining" (or "1 day left") even after I'd paid and logged in to BD Central. BD Central also claimed I hadn't installed onto any devices! Eventually I clicked "Update" on BD Central, though I'm not sure if it did anything, and then I closed the widget, and then re-opened the widget on my laptop, and eventually, after all that, it showed that the subscription was now for 365 days. But, in a nutshell, the licence activation and applying of it to an existing installation was not user-friendly.
    3. I thought I saw some advice somewhere that I can switch off the automatic renewal (which is on by default). But having hunted through all of the menu items two or three times on BD Central, I cannot see any functionality for switching off the automatic renewal. The only thing I can see is an option to "remove protection" for a device — which may not stop the automatic renewal anyway. In conclusion, there should be an easily accessible functionality to disable automatic renewal in BD Central.

    —DIVERSE

  • Gjoksi
    Gjoksi DEFENDER OF THE YEAR 2022 / DEFENDER OF THE MONTH ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DIVERSE

    3. Follow the steps from Method 1 described here:

    and your Bitdefender product will never be auto-renewed.

  • DIVERSE
    DIVERSE ✭✭✭

    Thanks, Gjoksi79_.

    That does seem to work.

    As there's a support article on it, I probably would have eventually found it myself if I'd searched for it. The general theme of this discussion thread, however, is around user experience, and I would argue that it shouldn't be so difficult that the only way to accomplish it is to search the support articles.


    In my mind even the recommended method further illustrates the clunkiness of the process:

    • there's no obvious option to get to the store's login page from the main BD home page (see snapshot below ...sorry, I'm not allowed to include images!); and
    • even when you get to the store's login page, you cannot log in with your usual BD account (instead you should click a button to "Send access link" — despite the presence of an option, which won't work with the ordinary BD account, daring/tempting you to "Login with Password").

    I hadn't mentioned it before, but one of the several reasons why I didn't want auto-renewal was that I was unsure whether a better deal might be available by turning it off and doing a manual purchase/renewal instead. After going through the process I can say that there's no longer any doubt, and I would again seriously question whether this is the kind of experience that increase customer loyalty.

    —DIVERSE

  • DIVERSE
    DIVERSE ✭✭✭

    It gets worse....

    The trial version I downloaded was Bitdefender Internet Security (3 devices). Frankly I cannot remember whether that was an option I chose, or whether everyone gets the same thing, but suffice it to say that I really only wanted it for my laptop — i.e. 1 device.

    When I got the email, with the poor discount, it only mentioned purchasing a one-year subscription to BIS (3 devices); similarly, when I went to the BD homepage and go to "For Home" ("All Products"), which links to https:// www .bitdefender .com/ solutions/ , then click "PC", then the only option shown for BIS on PC is a one-year subscription to BIS (3 devices).

    But later today — after already making the purchase this morning — I discovered that if I instead to the BD homepage and click the different "For Home" button underneath "Already a Customer? We believe in long-term partnerships. Get discounts and extra benefits when you renew." , which links to https:// www .bitdefender .com/ renewal/ , there are options to choose 1, 3, 5 or 10 devices and also to renew for 1, 2 or 3 years for each of the products, including BIS.

    Finally now I see that if I had clicked to "Learn more" about BIS from the "Solutions" page I would be directed to https:// www .bitdefender .com /solutions /internet-security .html , which does offer options to choose 1, 3, 5 or 10 devices and also to purchase for 1, 2 or 3 years.

    But why would I click "Learn more" when there's already adequate information about the product functionality on the main "Solutions" page? Readers will expect to "learn more" about what has already been summarised. Offering totally different options shouldn't be hidden behind a "Learn more" button. There should be an additional link for each product offered on the "Solutions" page that says something like "Click for other subscription options"!!!

    It turns out that the 1-year option is cheaper than the others (at the moment, at any rate), but I could certainly have saved by getting the 1-device option. (I do have a smart-phone, but don't really do much with it that would warrant advanced protection; it has free protection on it at the moment.)

    Frankly the reason I left Kaspersky was that I didn't feel comfortable with the connection to Russia while Ukraine is under attack. Bitdefender seemed to have good technical reviews (and, by the way, a clear position to provide support for Ukraine, per https:// www .bitdefender .com /ukraine). However, besides all of that, my user experience from the trial of Bitdefender did have some negatives (maybe I have high expectations, but is that so wrong?), and the purchasing experience has been worse, not better.

    —DIVERSE


    P.S. If BD is going to block 'new' users from posting links on the community forum, perhaps they could consider making an exception for (i) screenshots pasted in to the forum, and (ii) links to bitdefender .com . Especially for the latter case, what could possibly be wrong with allowing all users to post such links??

  • Hello @DIVERSE,

    I'll jump in and help clear the air 🙂

    In regards to point no. 1, in most cases, new acquisitions from our website come with a substantial discount and the offers may vary depending on the campaigns in place. There might be a discrepancy between the trial-to-paid aquisition offers and other discounts available online, especially if the e-mail containing the offer was scheduled to be sent at a certain point in time and in the meantime, the online prices were changed, thus your assumption is correct.

    When subscribing to Bitdefender with a new purchase, although the full installation is no longer required (except for when installing protection on other devices for subscriptions with multiple slots available), the activation code received per e-mail following the order must be redeemed in the Central account, for Bitdefender to adjust its configuration and validity according to the specifications of the new license. Essentially, the Bitdefender products are subscription based and require a code for activation. Bitdefender has transitioned to an upgraded subscription type, one that allows the user more flexibility in choosing the activation that is best suited for his needs and the upgraded activation process is one of the first steps in migrating to a subscription based model, that will enhance our customers’ experience. A single Central account now supports the activation and usage in parallel of multiple subscriptions valid for the same Bitdefender product (e.g. Bitdefender Total Security for 5 devices and Bitdefender Total Security for 10 devices) with the scope to protect more devices under the same account. This was not possible before.

    The good news is we have already identified some improvement areas and we are working towards improving this flow and creating a true subscription experience for our customers. This means that, it is quite possible that the activation codes will no longer be required in the future, making things simpler.

    The new design of the code will help accomplish the transition to the new subscription model and will offer our customers flexible subscriptions, similar to the ones used for streaming services.

    This current activation process is a preliminary step in the migration towards a subscription model that can evolve in time and become even better and it will help us create a versatile product, which can satisfy a wider range of needs and demands.

    I regret to hear that the activation and installation flows did not meet your expectations. We promise to do better and the developers are working on improvements as we speak.

    Concerning the automatic renewal feature, as Gjoksi79_ wrote, there are several ways to configure your preferences. It all starts with the product page, where we have displayed a description of this feature and the cancellation e-mail address as well, as shown below:

    The cancellation e-mail address is also displayed during the purchase, before placing the order:

    After the order is placed, the subscription can be cancelled in multiple ways, not only through this e-mail address. As the Bitdefender products are not sold directly, but with the help of a trusted partner - 2Checkout, your 2Checkout customer account is created automatically when you first place an order through our page. This is a secured platform that centralizes all the shopping activity for the users who have purchased software or services from Bitdefender. You can use the account to:

    • view the status of your order even if the payment is incomplete
    • view your complete order history
    • download invoices
    • retrieve activation codes
    • renew your subscription
    • stop or enable the automatic renewal of your service
    • find the support details for the purchased Bitdefender product
    • edit all your personal and billing information. At the moment, the e-mail address can be changed only by contacting 2Checkout or Bitdefender support

    Because the Bitdefender Central and 2Checkout accounts are separate and serve different purposes, complete integration was not possible, due to the different architectures involved.

    Going back to the automatic renewal feature, its pricing is not linked to ongoing offers, discounts and promotions available at our official website or at different points of sale throughout our Partner Network and for this reason we are trying to offer our customers the opportunity to manually renew at favorable prices during the subscription period.

    The price at which the auto-renewal is applied can be seen in automatic notifications so that any customer has the opportunity to request either the deactivation of the option, or a more advantageous offer. We understand that some users do not want this option to be active, and that's why we provide our customers with many ways to disable it.

    Also, we try to ensure maximum transparency on the Auto renewal process both through the information available at the time of purchase and through email notifications before the actual renewal is performed. It is always the client's decision if he wants to keep the Auto Renewal on or off.

    In regards to uploading images or attachments on the forum, the permissions are tied to the rank. Once your rank will move to Level 2, you will be allowed to post pictures and upload documents as well. This was a precautionary measure, because we have encountered new users that signed in with the sole purpose of spamming and adding various irelevant images and links, so we thought it's best to have this feature enabled starting with the Level 2 rank. We do have several antispam filters in place and they are doing the job most of the time, but we noticed some spam comments slipped and this is when we decided to add an additional layer of protection.

    Best regards.

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • The Bitdefender trials are available for multiple devices, so that our customers can test how to install protection on other devices as well, especially for the subscriptions that can cover multiple operating systems, such as Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS.

    The variation of devices for the offers sent via e-mail may vary, depending on the chosen trial or existing subscription that is approaching its renewal date. For example, for early renewal offers there might be two options displayed, or just one, depending on the campaign type and localization. Usually, the discounts are for 1 year, but the Renew & Upgrade section on the website offers the possibility to choose between multiple device variations and validity options, according to your needs. It is true, however, that the configuration of 1 year and 1 device is the most advantageous.

    Your feedback is highly appreciated, especially given the context where the website was just recently upgraded and we are receiving recommendations and valuable feedback from both our customers and internal teams as well.

    Thank you.

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • Steck1108
    Steck1108 Defender of the month

    Hello.

    You changed from Kaspersky Lab products to Bitdefender products, didn't you?

    I am the same, but when installing Bitdefender's product, it is compulsory to uninstall another company's product, but I think it can not be helped.

    Technically, even if software with the same monitoring function is installed on the terminal, it simply becomes heavy, and even if coexistence is possible, both functions may not be available or it may cause malfunction. I know.


    My finding is that there are times when the device on Bitdefender Central is not well recognized at the time of installation, especially when multiple LAN interfaces and VPN clients are installed, asset management on Bitdefender Central is better than any interface. I thought it would be better if the settings could be changed on the client tool to see if it was possible.


    As for other functions, it is lighter than other companies' products, so I think it is good.

  • Flexx
    Flexx DEFENDER OF THE YEAR 2023 / DEFENDER OF THE MONTH ✭✭✭✭✭ mod
    edited April 2022

    To add here, bitdefender does has the offline/ standalone installer available but for only bitdefender total security which can be downloaded from below stated links

    32 bit : https://download.bitdefender.com/windows/desktop/connect/cl/2022/all/bitdefender_ts_26_32b.exe

    64 bit : http://download.bitdefender.com/windows/desktop/connect/cl/2022/all/bitdefender_ts_26_64b.exe

    As far uninstalling other antimalware is concerned, we all know that running more than 2 antimalware on a system can cause performance issues and instability of the system in rare cases, so to be on safer side most of the antimalware vendors either prefer to uninstall other antimalware solution or warn the user about their existence. That is totally up to the developers of the antimalware.

    Regards

    Life happens, Coffee helps!

    Bitdefender Ultimate Security Plus (user)