If you’re like me, paying anything close to retail makes you weak in the knees, and not the good kind (seeing Channing Tatum shirtless), either. I was so used to racking up those great sales that I couldn’t handle paying almost $100 for something like antivirus software. So what did I do? I didn’t buy it, got a very bad virus, and my computer was in the shop for two days.  I paid around $300 to fix it.  So if you want to avoid a story like mine, here are four tips to save your computer, your money, and your time.

1. Protect Against the Basics

  • Viruses: Transmitted through websites, emails, and directly over the Internet. They hide in applications or files, and travel from computer to computer.
  • Trojans: Usually trick you into installing their malware or spyware by hiding in things like pictures or files so you don’t know you’re under attack.
  • Worms: Can drill in through an open web connection. They’re those suckers that send that spam from your email address without your knowledge.
  • Spyware: Does exactly what it sounds like it would do. It spies on you. Spyware will take information from your computer and sends it back to its leader out in the cyber-ether.

2. Why You Need Protection

  • Most bugs want to steal your information. They get into your computer, do some research, and find out things like your bank account number, your passwords, and even your social security number.
  • Other attacks are for your email contacts. Those spammers want to email all your friends, family, and coworkers so they, too, can fall a victim to the crime.
  • Some viruses allow your computer to be controlled to threaten other websites. For example, a “DDOS attack” can be used to close down a website for things like politics, ransom, to hurt competitors, or just for fun. All of this is going to be done without your knowledge and can potentially lead a trail of damage back to you.

3. Free Options For Antivirus Software

  • Avast has a free version of their software that protects you against viruses and spyware. It also allows you assistance from a geek friend. While that might not seem like much, I almost paid $80 at Norton just to talk about what was wrong with my computer.  If interested in purchasing the more advanced product, you can download a free trial before you buy it.  Free trials help when you’re about to invest so much money into something like this.
  • Avira has the most protection out of the three. It protects against viruses, trojans, and worms. It also blocks new viruses before they run, criminal hackers, and it has a simple setup. Avira will literally set itself up if you hit download. I tried to download a free antivirus software once, and after a few tries, my computer locked up. Turns out, multiple antivirus software systems will fight each other if installed on the same computer, which can give you some serious problems. If you want to try out the more heavy-duty software, this also has a free trial period.
  • AVG doesn’t offer much but tends to be the most popular. AVG protects against viruses and spyware, but that’s it. Like the others, if you want to try out the more serious version, they offer a free 30-day trial period. During that 30-day trial period, you’ll get all the perks that you would if you had paid for it.

4. Other Options That Cost

  • Norton is my favorite company because they seem to be the most caring. They gave me a year-long subscription totally free. Norton has several different free trails for you to mess with, so take your time. Each one is personalized for different things. I recommend reading all the fine print to see what’s best for your needs.
  • McAfee is my second favorite. They are simple to operate and tend to be one of the more popular brands. Like Norton, they have several different downloads for you to check out, but they also have several different tools to help you keep an eye on your computer if you don’t have antivirus software too. Just click “free services” right next to the “free trial” tab.
  • Kaspersky seems to be rated right up there with the other companies. I have to be honest, I’ve never even heard of them, but they have great reviews. They have more downloads than the others, and their ratings are higher.

There you have it. Antivirus software is absolutely a necessity when you’re surfing the web for pictures of Channing Tatum shirtless or doing routine checks on the KCL page. Remember to never download more than one of the software systems until you’ve deleted the previous one, otherwise you could experience lockups, and always be cautious when clicking on unfamiliar web links. Good luck!

This has been a guest post by August from Granite Falls, NC
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17 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Free Antivirus Software”

  1. FYI ladies……

    I’ve been using Kaspersky’s antivirus completely free for 2 years now. I buy the software from newegg.com whenever there is a rebate going on. I fill out a form and cut the bar code off the box when it ships. I then send it to the address specified and voila! a check in the mail in a few months. I love their software. Its also for up to 3 computers, so I use two and give my dad one. Great deal!

  2. Jill Haynes says:

    This is what I do when I have no money for an antivirus, I uninstall the antivirus and then download a new antivirus for free 30 day or 60 until I am able to come up with some money to buy for the year or two. I usually use norton,I have been using them for years and love the applications.

  3. Microsoft has free antivirus and malware protection,  go to thier web site and download…..I have been using it now for over a year and no worries, 

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love Avast, been using it for the last 5years. No problems. My fathers is a computer engineer of 30years and compter teacher for the last 7years. He recommends Avast to all his students. I think sometimes people need to have alittle bit of patience when trying to get things for free.

  5. BeefyDragon says:

    Not many people are aware of this.  Microsoft offers their own Security Essentials absolutely FREE.  Third party lab tests have shown that it out performs many of the other industry antivirus.  It is free to the consumers.  Go here to download it. 

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials

  6. Tracy says:

    I have free versions of Malware Bites and Avast. They work well together. Malware Bites and AVG were fighting each other on my old pc.

    • David Martin says:

       Multiple Virus Protection programs always have a tendency to ‘fight’ with each other.  I use the same 2 programs that you do, but I only run Malware Bites on occasion.  Sometimes it picks up a minor cookie, or toolbar, that’s tracking my shopping patterns.

  7. I have been told through my companies IT department and my boyfriend who is  a computer tech that MicrosoftSecurity Essential is the best. Since it’s through Microsoft that they are more likely to have the best protection for new viruses and updates are free as well. I have used it for awhile now and my computer is working great!

  8. Monica Johnson says:

    I just had to buy new Anti Virus software.  I always stick with Norton.  I new my expiration date was coming up so I watched the ads at Staples.  I ended up with Norton for about $20.00 (reg about $75 – $80).  Was worth it to me.  Of course, had this blog been about a month ago, I may have tried the free ones.

  9. I get
    Kapersky for about 35 dollars a year and it is great, I (knock on wood) have not had any computer viruses since I first got it

  10. Anonymous says:

    Some internet service providers provide this for free.  We’re with AT&T now (u-verse) and they provide McAfee.  When we had it through our cable company (Insight) it was CA Internet Security Suite. You’re allowed multiple licenses per household so you can put it on, probably, all of your computers at home.  

    • David Martin says:

      Same here …we’re in New Hampshire with Time Warner Cable.  They offer subscribers a free security package with McAfee.  I still like Avast better though …

  11. The best way that I have found to purchase antivirus software or any software for that matter, is to watch the Office Depot adds for sales on software. They run sales on software that are free after rebate. I have not had any trouble with any of the software that I have purchased and I don’t have any trouble getting my rebates either. In fact I spoke to Office Depot about the rebates and they told me that if I had any trouble with a rebate to let them know and they would do anything they could to help.

  12. Amy Stewart says:

    Avast is win. Kapersky is probably the best thing to buy if you are worried, but I have had avast for years now. The free version and I have been fine! My best buddy/computer technician says I am fine with just that!

  13. Edie Webster says:

    Avast is great until the free product runs out, then it’s a chore to try and delete it from your computer so you can get a new antivirus. It wanted me to update, but it wouldn’t let me, so I just had to delete it. You have to download a program to delete it, then that program only works when your computer is in safe mode, you can’t just take it off like any normal program. Frustrating. I switched from Avast to Microsoft Security Essentials (also free), and have yet to have issues. Kaspersky is one of the best ones out there if you’re going to pay for an antivirus.

    Sources: My boyfriend’s brother and my best friend are both “computer geeks”, and know a lot about this stuff. :)

    • David Martin says:

       I’ve used Avast for several years, without issues like you’ve mentioned.  It auto updates definitions by default (per settings panel).  It only comes as a 30 day trail until you register your copy for free (see option panel).  After that it’s good for a full 365 days …at the end of which you simply re-register for another 365 days.  Registering hasn’t caused any SPAM emails for me either …

      Note: If trying Avast, you may want to select ‘Silent/Gaming Mode’ in the options panel so you wont be bothered by those daily notifications that “Avast has been updated”.