What is the differene or differences between Free Antivirus software and Antivirus software that must be paid for?
This is a pretty common question asked by lots of people. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Mostly it depends on you the user and how involved you want to be with your software and if you are comfortable handling some of the tasks like manually updating some of the software or running a scan once a month.
First off I would say that this article does not refer to Corporations or Companies. The free software described below is strictly for the Home User. Antivirus Security on the Corporate level is far different than the Residential level. Most companies use a Corporate Version of Antivirus software for which they pay licenses for. Their Security needs are far different from the average Home User. We are only focusing on the Home User/Residential PC owner. With that being said here is the advice for the Home User.
Quality wise, Free Anti-virus programs for the Home user, such as AVG Free or Avast are just as good as the Antivirus software you pay for. Most of the paid Antivirus software does usually come with additional Antispyware protection which is an important component. However there are also free Antispyware programs available as long as you don't mind doing a little updating or scanning yourself.
For example I use AVG Free anti-virus in conjunction with Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Blaster. All of these programs are free for the Residential user. As mentioned in an earlier blog, you do need more than just Antivirus software to properly protect your PC. The process for protecting my PC is pretty easy. The AVG updates automatically (daily) and will inform you of any infections it finds. The other Spyware programs are simply updated every two weeks to stay protected against the latest infections. Installation of these is pretty straight forward though there are few customizations i personally use.
Some people may prefer to have an all in one Security protection and not have to worry about multiple programs to deal with. If this is you then you are probably going to paying for Antivirus protection. Antivirus software that is not free usually costs around $50 dollars or so. It lasts you for a year and then prompts you to renew your subscription for usually another $50 dollars or maybe a little less. The most common paid Antivirus software manufactures are Norton and McAfee.
I find some of these programs prompt the user(ask for permission) a little too much. For example, Microsoft Windows updates should not need permission from the Firewall to connect to the Internet. McAfee and Norton are both infamous for this with their Firewalls and their software. It is a bit too overprotective in my opinion. One of things I really enjoy about the Security Software I use is it requires very little user interaction, so I do not have to constantly give approval to every thing I am doing. I don't have to waste time approving every decision I make when it comes to my PC.
Some ISP's (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast give their customers McAfee for free so be sure to check with your ISP about what they offer before purchasing, you may be able to get it for free. Some people may not like the Security Software offered by their ISP or have a preference for something else. If you fall into this category then the free options that I have listed above are ideal for you. Be sure to uninstall your existing Antivirus before installing the new one.
Many new PC's come with Trial Version of Norton Security Software or perhaps other Antivirus software which is good for 60 days. Once your 60 days are up you have to pay to get the latest updates. Once the updates stop, you are NOT protected against the latest infections.
Be sure to do one of the following:
1. Get free Antivirus software and Free Antispyware protection
2. Renew the existing subscription for $
3. Purchase a different Antivirus software.
When switching out Antivirus software, it is best to remove the existing software first, reboot the machine (most AV software will prompt you to do this), and then install the new software.
In this economy money is a primary concern for a lot of people. Why should you pay for Antivirus software and Antispyware protection if you don't have too? Providing you can handle updating the Antispyware programs once a month, with no suffering in Quality or system performance the choice is Free Software. With the paid Antivirus software you are usually paying for convenience when it comes to updating but have the added aggravation of what I consider over protection and annoyances. For me the price of the maintenance is minimal and the savings well worth it $$$$ wise to go for the Free Software.
Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.
This is a question that is easily answered for the Home User. YES. Yes you need them and by not getting them you leave your PC vulnerable to viruses, trojans, worms, and anything else you can imagine that is bad for your PC.
Windows Updates are from Microsoft (the makers of Windows) so they are not malicious and are safe to download. Depending on your Operating System, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, these updates can come in a variety of categories. Home Users should be the most concerned about Priority Updates. These updates are released by Microsoft because a vulnerability has usually been reported that could expose your system to an intruder or infection. Hackers are constantly trying to find exploits and weaknesses in Windows that they can use to hack into other machines etc. These Fixes are extremely important for you to have on your PC.
When you see the Yellow shield it means you have updates that are ready to be downloaded/installed. Simply click on the shield to begin the process. The instructions are very easy to follow and usually just require Next, Yes, or Install etc. Many updates will require a restart of your PC to take effect.
Though this can be a bit bothersome, it is still well worth it to have the latest updates and patches etc. Just like your Anti-virus software protecting you against the latest threats, keeping your Windows up to date also protects you against threats. By keeping your Anti-virus Software, Anti-Spyware Software and keeping your Windows Operating System (XP, Vista, 7) up to date, it gives the Home User maximum protection. This protection against Viruses, Malware, Trojans, Worms and all the others while not guaranteed to keep you from getting infected, certainly will reduce your chances of getting infected. The more up to date your software is, the better chance your system has to protect itself from infection.
There are also Optional Updates that can be installed. These updates are at the User's Discretion. Any Security Update would be listed as a Priority Update, so if you don't install an Optional Update it will not compromise your security. You can also read a description of what each update does. Some are only for specific machines or devices. Depending on the age of your machine, you may see Windows MEdia Player in your Optional Updates. Usually it is not a Priority update as it not a Security related concern, but is something most people would probably want the latest version of. Others are bit more obscure.
Another category of updates is Hardware. This category is one where the idea and theory behind it was pretty good but in the real world doesn't work very well. The idea was to have Windows Update manage the latest Updates to Hardware no matter the Manufacturer etc. The problem with it was that Windows was usually far behind on the latest drivers. Sometimes by more than 2 or 3 versions. Very rarely should you ever download a Hardware update via Windows update. Hardware is controlled by Drivers (Next Week's Topic) so we won't cover it here. The Bottom line is stay away from Hardware updates via Windows Update.
Priority Updates should always be download and installed for the latest security updates. When you see the shield, you should install and apply the updates etc. Optional updates can be installed at your own discretion but are not needed for Security purposes. Hardware updates, stay away from them as they are most likely old and out dated. At Zolex PC, we always keep your Windows up to date. Though it can take a little extra time, the benefit is well worth it. By keeping your Security Software and your Windows updated, you are reducing it's chances of getting infected. Thanks for reading.
Next Weeks Topic: Drivers, Drivers and more Drivers.
There are times when your Anti-virus software will detect and try to remove an infection but cannot. Here are some reasons why this can happen. 1. the infected file is in use and running and cannot be deleted. 2. The file is tied or is related to a Windows system file that is in use or has been corrupted. 3. The infection has other associated files that recreate the file if it is deleted.
Your options at this point for the Average Home User, are to bring in a specialist to remove the infection. Though there are lots of tools on the Internet, in the wrong hands they can be very dangerous. Only people trained or familiar with these tools should be using them. For the Home User it is best to have a professional handle it. At Zolex PC www.zolexpc.com we use Remote Connection Software so you don't have to bring your PC anywhere. We come to you via the Internet and remove the tough infections.
So if your Security Software cannot remove the infection, get a qualified technician to remove the Virus. Don't leave it alone as it can and will only get worse. All Security Software is good, but not perfect. Leave the tough jobs to the experts.
Thanks again for reading.
Next Weeks Topic: What is Malware?, What is Spyware?, What is Adware?