There are a lot of anti-virus software out there. I have used a few of them, and for the most part I have been burned by them all at some point or another. Sometimes the cure is worse than the potential virus. So do you need antivirus on your PC, and if so then what should you buy?
If you are like me and only visit a few well trusted websites or just use your PC for email for family and friends, then you may not need anti-virus software beyond what Microsoft already provides on Windows 7. After using my PC for a year with just Microsoft Security Elements running, my PC was still healthy but it did contract one rather harmless Trojan virus. Not too bad, but it still made me nervous so I decided to buy an Antivirus program.
There are lots of experts out there, and here is what I recommend and why. I went through various Antivirus review websites, and they say similar things. Some sites appear rather biased and accepted advertisements from Antivirus software vendors, but there are some good unbiased sites out there. Antivirus-Reviews-TopTen recommends BitDefender. Kaspersky comes in a close second with Norton coming in third. I have never used BitDefender so cannot recommend it myself, but it is worth a try.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013 – Recommended but it does slow down your web browser slightly
Kaspersky Anti-Virus reset my browser home page and also disabled browser password saving. Now I do not recommend saving passwords on your computer for anything related to banking or any other site with confidential information, but I honestly do not care if someone cracks into my chess account and makes a bad move in one of my games. The point is that I should have the option to decide which passwords I save on my PC, and which ones I do not. Kaspersky antivirus is supposed to allow you to save passwords in your browser, but it has a bug and your passwords will not be saved. This affects Firefox and Windows Internet Explorer.
To fix this in Windows Internet Explorer, go to Tools->Manage Add Ons->Toolbars and Extensions, and then disable the four Kasperky Lab add ons: Content Blocker, URL Advisor, Virtual Keyboard, and URLs check. This worked for me and my browser was able to save and recall all my passwords and field values as before. I did not check which of these four add-ons was causing the problem so if you like some of these services, you may still be able to use them. If you go to lots of strange websites, you should use them. For myself, my browse history is quite boring and so Kaspersky can keep its mitts off thanks.
Norton Antivirus – Not Recommended
I used to be a big fan of Norton Antivirus and their utilities, but I found that more and more Norton was breaking my computer more than fixing it. Their quality has definitely gone down I my opinion. I used Norton Ghost to make a backup of my disk drive, and it nuked both my backup disk and the original leaving my computer dead. When I check out the bug reports from Norton on this, they said that it was a known problem and that Norton was not going to do anything about it since they believed it was an incompatibility with Windows and that Windows should fix it. Talk about passing the buck! They argued that it was ok to sell a backup product that was known to kill all copies of your data. Not the way to win my loyalty. Norton is off my list.
AVG – Not Recommended!
AVG was an open source and free anti-virus program and used to be very good. With the latest version, they are trying to make it a money maker. You can download it for free, but you will need to pay to keep it running after the trial. Do not be tempted. It messed up my computer and prevented me from saving browser passwords. Uninstalling it is made intentionally difficult and unintuitive. Avoid! Yes, your teenager may be saying how cool it is because its free, do not believe him. Walk away.
This program is worse than the cure. They offer a free trial but to me it seemed like a baited trap. AVG disrupted how my computer worked, constantly bugged me to purchase a license, and made getting rid of the program nearly impossible.
Avoid loading AVG in the first place. If you do install it, you can uninstall it, but you will need to use their uninstall program multiple times. Each time, first use msconfig to kill any AVG tasks that are started on boot up. Kill any AVG services running too. Then uninstall the software from the Microsoft Control Panel. I had to repeat this two or three times before I managed to uninstall it.
Microsoft Security Essentials – Recommended with Reservations
Within the Antivirus community, Window’s built in Anti-Virus program does not get a lot of respect. For myself, I found it to be quite good and very fast. It does miss some Trojans and does not flag potentially dangerous older versions of some applications, but I think it does a good job. And its free with Windows 7. They do not put as much man-power into keeping up with all the threats out there that others do, but if you are not high-risk (lots of web browsing plus you use your computer for on-line banking), then I think this is a good option.