What's the Best Free Antivirus Software?

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What's the Best Free Antivirus Software?

Kevin R. Smith

In the interest of full-disclosure, I'll begin by saying that everyone who's a part of pcAntivirusReviews.com are advocates of Open Source Software (OSS) and Free Software.

Both individually and as a company, we have made significant financial and other contributions to various open source and free software projects. This very site runs on free software, in fact, and we couldn't be happier with it. Then again, we are geeks. ;-)

That said, we're also strong proponents of commercial software, too. We believe there's room for everything and in using the right tool for a job.

Preamble complete, back to the point of this piece is to answer the question we're often posed:

What's the Best Free Antivirus Software?

While a valid question, it's one we can't answer. (Sorry, everyone.) Why not?

We only review commercial applications. Why only commercial applications?

Five words: Commercial applications mean commercial support.

For the average consumer, they're unwilling and/or unable to wade through the often complex process of getting help from newsgroups, search engines, and other places where typically one must go to get help for free software.

Given just what's at stake when it comes to antivirus software and people's data, we feel like not paying for antivirus protection and choosing free antivirus software--for most people--isn't worth it.

Bear in mind, too, how strongly we feel about antivirus software--we feel it's one of the three things we consider most important in securing a computer, including:

  1. A software firewall
  2. Antivirus software
  3. Backup software

With that in mind, there's simply so much at risk--and so much to lose--in choosing these programs. That sense of something to lose means someone to contact directly and say, "Look, I'm having such-and-such problem, and I need help!"

In our experience, most companies--particularly the good ones like Sunbelt, makers of VIPRE Antivirus, the product we rate as the best antivirus software--respond to their customers' needs and help them.

Even if some people (read: your uber tech-savvy nephew ;-) think it's a silly notion, having a phone number to call means a lot: it means (hopefully) there's a friendly technologically adept person on the other end who's able to help bail them out and to comfort them through removing the virus or to get through whatever other tech challenges they may face.

While we understand the need for free antivirus software and have tremendous respect for those applications, it's beyond the scope of what we feel is best for consumers.

Lastly, as for testimonials, we get testimonials all... the... time... from individuals and companies thanking us for having helped them choose a good commercial antivirus program to replace a free one they've depended on for years.

Interestingly, the two most common things we hear in these customer testimonials are:

  1. How much less resource intensive the new software they just purchased runs.
  2. How their commercial software managed to remove a virus the free antivirus software missed.

Now, make no mistake, I'm not saying free antivirus software is bad. Far from it. There is definitely a place for it. What I am saying though is that the customers we hear from tell us resoundingly: they're glad they bought antivirus software.


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What is the best free antivirus software i can use for my windows-7 pc;
i,m learning and not an expert.
Jerry Garto

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