ntl Netguard

Cable company NTL offers its users a seemingly simple solution to online security in the form of its snappily named Netguard.

Netguard provides a complete package of services, including antivirus, pop-up blocker, form filler (form filer, it says on the ntl site), and a privacy manager. If you want to pay for extra components there are Firewall, Anti-spyware and Parental Control modules.

The firewall apparently “blocks other users from accessing your computer while you’re on the Internet”. Surely if you’re sitting in front of your machine you can stop them getting at your keyboard and mouse with brute force? But, yes, I know what they mean.

Parental Control – blocks thousands of inappropriate websites, tools to help you control what tools (like Chat) your kids use and flexible to allow for easy over-rides. I hate that word inappropriate? Certain sectors of society could describe almost any of the billions of pages on the web as inappropriate. Youtube is “inappropriate” if you’re supposed to be doing your assignment or the housework. Again, I know what they’re really getting at.

The Anti-spyware module blocks tracking software that tracks your Internet use and steals your personal information. Tracking software that tracks. Well, I never!

Netguard is £2.99 for 2Mb customers but free for 4Mb and 10Mb customers.

And therein lies, the rub. Always a sucker for a freebie, and running on 4Mb download, last week I thought I’d give Netguard a whirl and then review it here. Within minutes a previously entirely stable Windows XP machine was rendered into a flickering “blue-screen-of-death” brick. It took me a whole working day to resurrect the machine using the recovery discs and I still cannot access the built-in DVD player. So, thanks for nothing NTL!

Turns out I’m not the only one. A friend told me they opted for Netguard when their Norton Antivirus expired and they didn’t fancy paying to renew. Same result – blue screen brick. I suspect we’re not alone, although obviously there aren’t many posts about problems with Netguard on the internet just yet because users cannot get online (they’re machines were rendered into blue screen of death bricks, remember?)

Anyway, my advice for NTL users whatever download speed you have on broadband. DO NOT USE NTL NETGUARD. FULL STOP.

Instead, grab yourself Google toolbar for your browser. Google Toolbar has a form filler. Upgrade to Firefox or Internet Explorer 8 for your browsing as it has built-in pop-up blocking and anti-phishing settings.

Next, get the latest version of AVG Antivirus (free for personal use) and the accompanying AVG Antispyware program. And, finally, the free ZoneAlarm personal edition for your firewall. None of these programs have ever crashed or trashed my PC and as far as independent reviewers go are just as good at their jobs as any paid for software and certainly infinitely better than NTL TrashGuard, sorry NetGuard.

The only thing missing from my list of alternatives is the parental control. But, then I know what pages I personally consider inappropriate and can steer clear. That said, OpenDNS now has a powerful parental filter that can be made to work at the router level without having to install an easy to crack nanny-type program on the computer to which your kids have access.

(Hope you got your machine fixed Lesley, by the way!)

Sciencebase readers may be interested to know that since ntl became VirginMedia there is a newly named version of this software I’ve written about briefly here – www.virginmedia.com/pcguard. I’d be happy to reconsider my position on this application suite if someone from VirginMedia can offer me a test machine to try out the software.

37 thoughts on “ntl Netguard”

  1. Well, actually, I couldn’t if I wanted to. ntl is no more and nor is their netguard. They were taken over by VirginMedia which was touting some other similar Swiss Army Knife application called PCGuard last time I looked. I’ve not tested it and have no intention of doing so. However, one of the reasons not to entrust all your PC protection to a single app is based on the fact that if it’s disabled by a trojan, worm, or virus, then all your protection goes. In contrast, malware that disables your standalone antivirus won’t necessarily be able to pull the plug on your Firewall at the same time…

  2. Go on David, consider it the IT equivalent of the Darwin Awards; some people are best off the internet!

  3. You’re kidding Alford, aren’t you? My blog post is all about how ntl netguard screwed up my PC and you still want to install it. Anyway, ntl netguard is obsolete regardless of whether or not it ever worked and was replaced by a VirginMedia tool. What is it that you hope to achieve by installing this software that cannot be achieved with far more secure and more powerful alternatives available elsewhere?

  4. Mr Pcsecurityexpert, I think you’re probably right, which is why I certainly don’t recommend ntl netguard nor its successor VirginMedia’s PCGuard. I have found that ZoneAlarm detects some stuff that standalone antispyware and antivirus don’t see, and having that in place with a zero-day program like Threatfire seems to cover all bases.

  5. My approach to PC security may be badly criticized, but I stick to it nevertheless. Security Suites are worse than selected stand-alone packages from different manufacturers. A huge bundle is more difficult to configure, besides there are fewer options to change compared to small, more straightforward programs. I suspect that manufacturers of Internet Security Suites can easily sacrifice the performance of one or two modules because they expect that others will compensate. That’s why suites rarely get on top of best performing (in terms of detection rates) security programs. Separately installed antispyware and antivirus programs are better than a single package from one maker – but that’s just my belief.

  6. ntl netguard is no longer available since the switch to VirginMedia, they now call it PC Guard. Where did you find it still online Jeff.

    As to AVG, independent reports have shown it to be more than adequate, although scanner is perfect. I’ve approved the link you provided but would not recommend Norton AV to anyone on the basis of past experience and the fact that it can trash systems in a similar way to ntl netguard. Kaspersky is meant to be the absolute best AV software.


  7. I tried the ntl netguard antivirus and it does in fact suck. I downloaded AVG afterwards and found that to be adequate. However, I don’t think AVG’s auto protection is that good. I have also heard that its detection rates were just sub par. I found a list of online anti virus scanners that I use regularly here These should help you find viruses maybe missed by AVG.

  8. Has anyone who had problems with ntl netguard tried the latest release from its Virgin successor? I’d be interested to know if it’s an improvement of just as bad as the original


  9. Terry, thanks sadly for adding your name to the list of confirmers. Of course, ntl netguard is now known as VirginMedia PCGuard, be warned.

  10. i used netguard for a while with no problembs but one day my pc was acting funny so i put avg on it and found viruses on there so i took off netguard and used avg no porobs since

  11. I suspect your error is related to WildTangent – a piece of spyware – download AdAware and do a full system scan. Then download CCleaner and do a full system cleanup, that should get rid of remnants. Finally install the startup.cpl Control Panel module and check what is being loaded by Windows at startup. You might find it is somehow still listed there, delete it from the startups. Hope that helps

  12. I have just uninstalled NetGuard and gone back to AVG and Zonealarm.
    Like David Bradley I had more blue screens than enough and once uninstalled the system went back to normal with one exception I keep getting a message as show below . . . . Can anyone help please?

    Error loading C:\PROGRA~1\WILDTA~1|APPS\CDA\CDAEND~1.DLL
    The system cannot find the path specified

  13. Louis, like this? http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

    I don’t use Netguard anymore, got a Zonealarm thing paid for by joining ebay! :o)

    However, for me the problem with it was not corruption, but the fact I couldn’t work out how to configure it to allow shared drives on our LAN. :o(

  14. Never had a problem with Netguard, i have tried avast and zonealarm pro, but each one i’ve had separate problems with, slower startups, different scans and database checks that seem irrelevant and make no sense to me, who isn’t running a particularly complex system or network. Think i’m lucky in that Netguard works fine with the system i’m running, so no complaints from me! Although it would be good to have a separate and more in-depth virus program THAT I CAN TELL THAT I DON’T WANT IT TO START WHEN I TURN MY COMPUTER ON, and that i can just use for virus scans every now and again.


  15. Hermes, that’s not the point. Obviously, I was using the “old” version, not the posting date on this item. After that experience, I don’t think I’d risk installing the new version though, not given that there are several free resources out there that are better by all accounts.

  16. well this a good one >

    my system is on a wireless internet connection through my dads machine ,,
    since branson sorted NTL out …. ive had more crashes turn offs etc software not running etc .. due to the primary machine .ie my dads .. running ntlnet guard , i know jack about pcs , i just know enough to get me from A 2 B , etc
    and after reading for wks on the net about this subject .. i m finking , that its my dads pc screwing mine up big time ….
    like the father can teach his son ,,,, but can the son teach the father !!! ?
    im running AVG FREE antivirus etc , hoping that itll kill the trojan still on the machine .NTL HAS GONE , SO WHY IS MY DAD STILL F.USING IT! DWEEBS EVERYWHERE! GOD HELP ME .
    peace out

  17. I think there are two types of ntl netguard users: those who have no problems with it, and those who get their whole system trashed by the sh*tty program.

  18. I have the same problem. I thought it was a virus on my computer but it seems that you guys have had the same problem. So it is damn ntlgurd not a virus!!!

  19. You’re very lucky Graham. It seems that safety of this freebie from ntl lies about 50:50 between users. I wonder whether there’s a simple explanation such as an incompatibility for XP Home or Pro users or some other obvious difference between those who find it works well and those for whom it trashes their system and requires a complete XP deletion and reinstallation of absolutely everything from scratch, not that I am bitter or anything Mr N.T.L. World!!!

  20. I’ve never had problems (damage) from running netguard.

    My only issue is the apparent inability of allowing access to drives on your computer to other computers on the LAN, for that I use zonealarm.

  21. hiya this netguard thing wont let me sigh into msn and it keeps shuttin my computer down why does it do this

  22. ntl is no more. they were subsumed by the Branson conglomerate and are now Virgin Media. Still offering that cr*ppy program to unwary users though.

  23. Yes i agree with majority of the comments
    ntl has caused me nothing but rouble over the pass couple days
    if i was not on a contract then i would have left ntl along time ago

  24. ntl netguard keeps shuting my computer down, when i e-mail them they never replied.
    i am going to leave ntl.

  25. Mr Palmer, I’m pleased for you of course, but there was a serious incompatibility with my machine that caused serious problems I wanted to warn others that they might suffer a similar fate. I didn’t think anyone used Norton these days, anyway…

  26. I’ve been using Netguard (for anti-virus) on three machines since it was released and haven’t encountered any problems. It scans about twice as fast as Norton and takes up less system resources.

  27. I’m pretty much convinced it was this program that screwed up my machine, despite protestations from others. Avoid this one and use the tools others recommend, it’s the only way forward.

  28. Similar thing happened to me. I installed the program and then the next day my laptop would not work and would hang as soon as I switched the thing on. I have not removed the program so hopefully my machine will now work as before – without problem.

Comments are closed.