Tech @ 10: Free Antivirus Options

By: Mikel Lauber
By: Mikel Lauber

Well, you’ve made it to my blog, so the computer you’re using has apparently survived ‘Conficker’. Despite a Y2K-like amount of hype, the dreaded computer virus looks to be turning out a lot like… well, Y2K. Security experts say they’ve seen no problems.

 The truth is any virus that’s ‘anticipated’ as much as Conficker will likely never cause big problems, because awareness is so high that software and updates to help you remove the virus are nearly unavoidable.
But with the thousands of viruses out there, you definitely want to make sure your computer is protected.
Most of us will have a trial version of one of the major Antivirus programs included when we buy a new computer. That’s great, until your subscription runs out and you’d almost rather GET a virus than have another reminder to renew your subscription - for an annual fee.
Fortunately, you can get great basic protection for free!
My three favorite antivirus programs, and the most popular according to CNET’s are AVGAvira, and Avast.
Each of the three has some quirks to get used to, and they’ll all try to upgrade you to a pay version. However, all three will have you covered with basic virus protection.
After spending a little time with all three, my favorite is AVG. It’s simple to install, the interface is clean, and it’s not obtrusive. I’ve been using it for years without any virus problems.
Avira has some interesting features, like the ability to crack open locked-up files. But it’s also missing functionality other free programs offer, like real-time email scanning, and it will nag you to upgrade whenever you update your virus definitions. 
Avast has an impressive set of features, and its users are very loyal. But it requires you to register on their website every 14 months, even though it’s free. Its default interface is also very confusing – for some reason they thought it was a good idea to make it look like a music player, and I found myself guessing what each button would do.
Have you settled on a free anti-virus program, or have you found it worth it to pay for another?


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