Monday, 15 March 2010

My New PC Came With A Trial Antivirus

My new PC came with a Antivirus trial copy and it's about to expire. Is there any good free Antivirus out there?


There is indeed. There are many free Antivirus packages. Some years back I researched them and came to the conclusion that avast! was the one I preferred, as it was able to catch over 90% (or even over 95%) of the test bank viruses that were being used to rate Antivirus software's effectiveness, which propelled it into the realm of the top commercial products.

Available in over 10 languages, avast! is free for personal use and can be downloaded from http://www.avast.com/. It automatically updates its virus definitions database (which is a must, as new viruses hit the world all the time), is integrated with Windows' Security Center, and secures e-mails and chats as well.

After installing, don't forget to register (it's free) at the 'avast! License Center' after which you'll receive an e-mail with the license key. You can then insert that license key by right-clicking the blue ball with the letter 'a' in it in the System Tray (at the bottom right corner of your desktop), choosing 'About avast!...' and clicking the 'License Key' button in the window that pops up. Just copy the key from the e-mail, paste it into that window, and click 'Ok' and you're set for a year, after which this process requires repeating. Failure to do so will only update the virus definitions database for 30 days or so, and new ones that come in after that will go undetected.

While you're at it: why not install some anti-malware programs too? These programs help protect your computer against threats other than viruses, such as malware (malicious software) that could be used to take remote control of your PC and use it for any purpose - usually illegal ones, and you'd never notice until the FBI drops by for a friendly chat. Did you know you could catch viruses or other malware by just visiting rogue web pages?

My two companions to avast! are Javacool Software's Spywareblaster and Spybot Search&Destroy. Both are free and as long as I've had the trio on board, I've never had problems - well, no malware problems that is :)

Both tools require manual updating to catch the latest and not-so-greatest malware, though if you purchase a Spywareblaster license you can enable automatic updates. Perform these updates at least once a week and you should be set. When installing Spybot Search&Destroy, make sure you select the 'TeaTimer' option which runs the program in the background all the time, catching malware when it arrives on your PC (or, for malware that was already there, when you'd inadvertently try to access it).

Enjoy your free PC insurance!

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