It amazes me that there are users out there, who still don’t understand the importance of having an antivirus solution installed on their system!
Many a time, a new PC or laptop has Norton software that comes pre-installed with a 6 month license, after which you have to renew it, for a price. Of course, no one ever does and next thing you know, “Sri, my system has a virus!!!” and “I don’t have a backup!!”.
A note on the Norton Antivirus package. Norton was a respectable choice for home use (once upon a time) and did the job, but the last few versions I have run into, just slow down the system with excess memory/processor usage and has a lot of other features that most people don’t need.
Anyways, fear not, for all of us bargain hunters out there: FREE solutions are available. I have listed 3 options in order of preference.
Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft has done an amazing thing by making this freely available to all who own legitimate copies of their Windows operating system (XP, Vista, Windows 7). You can’t beat free anti-virus protection for your PC when commercial software can set you back at least US$ 30, if not more. Of all the free one’s out there, this is my current favorite. I use it on my Windows 7 laptop and it works great! It should cover the needs of nearly all users. It has real-time protection (scans files as you use them) as well as an email scanner (scans your emails for nasty attachments). Well done Microsoft!
avast! Free Antivirus
A great and popular option out there. Has anti-virus, anti-spyware protection and an email scanner. If the Microsoft Security Essentials software was not available, I think I would go with Avast. Requires free registration every year! The current version is 6.
Download avast! Free Antivirus (takes you to download.cnet.com)
SPECIAL NOTE: I used to have AVG listed on here. But, I believe that over the last few releases, they have lost the way and as a result, lost my respect. So, I will no longer recommend them to anyone.