There are multiple options to choose between when looking for anti-virus protection for your computer. Not all software is created equally and may not protect you, or there are software packages that are completely unnecessary. People usually say “You get what you pay for”, but in this situation, this may not be true. There are many free anti-virus and anti-malware products available that will protect you the same or better than their paid counterparts. In this article, I will show you some of the free alternatives to keeping your computer safe and secure, all while keeping your wallet in your pocket.
Remember: Do not install more than one Anti-virus software. This can cause a conflict that will slow your computer down or make it completely unusable! On Demand Scanners can be added with Anti-Virus without any negative impact.
1. AVG Free
AVG Free may be the most popular free anti-virus on the market today. This is my go-to solution for consumer use. AVG offers on demand scanning, browser protection and even e-mail protection for popular email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird.
When installing AVG Free, you need to be sure that you pay attention to the prompts that ask you about installing the trial for the full version of AVG, which includes firewall protection among other added features. I find that most of the time, these are not needed. If you choose to install the trial version of the full AVG Suite, then you will be prompted occasionally about purchasing protection for your computer, which can be annoying.
Full Version Purchase: http://goo.gl/VXpMu4
Avast is another widely popular free anti-virus solution. Avast includes anti-virus and anti-malware scanning in the free “Essential” version of the software. Also included is a browser cleanup feature that will remove any browser add-ons that could cause a negative experience such as those that change your default search provider.
You may also be prompted to install the full version trial with Avast, so pay attention to the prompts when installing.
Full Version Purchase: http://goo.gl/RwFK9m
On Demand Scanning/Malware Removal
Many times, there are viruses, malware or spyware that make their way through even the best anti-virus software packages. Because of this, it’s always good to have an on demand scanner to clean up your computer, or to run weekly to catch anything that was missed. Most of these on demand scanners have additional functionality that will find not just harmful software, but annoying software as well.
When choosing an on demand scanner, you will want to make sure they come from a reputable source. There are quite a few applications that will look like they are going to clean up viruses for you, but they themselves are actually viruses. You can be sure that anything listed here is good and will help you out.
1. Malware Bytes
Malware Bytes may be one of the best on demand scanners out there. The free version will allow you to scan your system and remove not just malware, but PuPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) from your computer. Just like the above software, there are free and paid versions. When installing Malware Bytes, make sure you choose to decline the free trial of the full version if you do not want to be prompted to buy later on.
Purchasing the full version gives you realtime protection much like anti-virus software does. It will also allow you to schedule scans, which is a nice feature. This is my favorite of the list and I would highly recommend this to add to your anti-virus for additional protection.
Full Version Purchase: http://goo.gl/dJJxtu