The companies that provide free virus protection software should be sainted in my opinion. Viruses cause millions of dollars of damage each year in lost productivity and computer damage, not to mention the psychological and emotional harassment of trying to get rid of an infection.
McAfee Inc.'s Avert Labs, a leading anti-virus software provider, estimates that 150 to 175 new malware programs are created every day. This is up from five years ago, when just 100 were created each week.
Free virus protection software can be used in two different ways. You can either download and install a program, or you can run a scan from online. Here's a list that discusses both options:
The Best Free Anti-Virus Software to Download
- Grisoft's AVG Anti-Virus:
I have been using the purchased version of AVG for a little over a year, and it works very well. (At the time I bought it, they weren't offering the free version, but Grisoft is offering the free version again.)
AVG automatically updates itself every day, and even though I don't run a scan as often as I should, my PC is virus free.
But I really like AVG because it works in the background without causing any speed issues or computer crashes. When I bought my PC, it came with Norton Security on it. My computer used to hang and crash frequently, so I uninstalled Norton and installed the purchased version of AVG instead. Voila, no more crashes.
Grisoft also offers a free Anti-Spyware program. Spyware is nasty so take advantage of this free tool to stop it. It isn't permanently free though, as I recently discovered, but it's not that expensive.
- Avira Anti-Virus Personal Edition:
I have not used this program personally (I've been using AVG). However, the Avira software got a great review from my favorite computer magazine, PC World, so that’s good enough for me. Given that malware is such a huge problem on the Internet, I'm happy to offer another free virus protection program.
- Avast Antivirus:
I have not used this program personally either. However, it also received great reviews from both PC World and my other favorite computer magazine, PC Mag.