If you run Windows you know you have to run anti-virus software and that its only good if its up to date. While that can be rather expensive (especially with most only allowing one year of virus definition updates) I have found five free anti-virus programs available. They require you only use them for personal use and not for business. And you are only allowed to install it on one computer for personal use (however Avast will let you use the same key for multiple home computers). If you are a non-profit organization, charity, education or government entity you still have to buy anti-virus, but many companies offer discounts for those types of organizations.
While Norton AntiVirus is great software, its also a resource hog. If you are an experienced computer user and know not what to click on and download, you can go with something a little lighter. I’ve tried out AVG, AntiVir and Avast, and they work pretty good. They can detect viruses in real-time, get updated virus definitions and scan your computer. AVG eventually gave me errors with Zone Alarm and stopped loading the email scanner for some reason, so I ended up switching to Avast. I haven’t tried Trend Micro or ClamWin, but you might leave some feedback on your experience.
You might be asking, ‘How can this be free?’ Well the idea is that if you like the free version you might buy the retail version for your business or tell others about your good experience with it.
- AVG Free Edition – the retail version is becoming quite popular.
- AntiVir Personal Edition Classic
- Trend Micro
- Avast – can use the same key on multiple computers, but you have to get a new key each year
- ClamWin Free Antivirus – This one is open source, so you might donate to their cause if you use it, because they have no retail version to help support costs. It does not come with a real-time scanner, which means when files are downloaded or run they are not scanned for viruses, but you can scan files manually.