Over the years, software companies I have been involved with have sold and protected millions of computers and supported all of those people through the complex process of protecting themselves. I want to be clear, antivirus software is absolutely, positively, 100% needed on your computer. Make no mistake about that but what I want to clear up is free versus paid antivirus. Just for clarification, we are discussing free antivirus software and not free trials (which are generally only 15 or 30 days) of antivirus software.
There are three well known, free antivirus software products, AVG, Avast and Microsoft (yes, Microsoft) and yes, there are others. I am going to make a statement that is not 100% accurate but for the average consumer, weighing these various products, it will suffice. “All antivirus software protect you equally well”. I can make this statement because in general, the decision to get free antivirus software is a decision between free software or no antivirus software at all and antivirus software has become so comprehensive that most big name products provide excellent protection (I am going to get a lot of comments about that statement). So my statement stands. Also, just to take it a step further, I would personally recommend any of the three I mentioned.
In general, free antivirus products come with some limitations, either delayed updates, no support, limited features or any combination of the above. Of course if you are an absolute computer novice you may need hands on support or if you are a hard core gamer or downloader of a lot of files you may need more frequent updates or if you have special requirements because of the way you use a computer, you may need a full featured product. Eliminating all of those people and talking to the average Joe and Jane computer user … free antivirus is perfect.
Why is free antivirus so good now?
First off, all except Microsoft are trying to upsell you paid versions and that is fine. Maybe you change your mind after you use the free version. But the free products, again other than Microsoft, offer free technical support, they offer more frequent virus updates and the bottom line is, the products are pretty robust. They include virus and spyware protection, generally web surfing protection and some additional features. This has all changed over the past few years when free antivirus was truly a cut down version of the paid products and really a risk to use.
It is simple, I no longer see a need for the average user to pay for virus and spyware protection, download any of the big name free antivirus products (I personally like AVG) but at this point I think there is no longer a need to ever pay for antivirus software again.
There goes all my relationships with the antivirus companies.
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