What is the Best Free Anti-Virus Program to Meet Consumer Needs?This morning I wandered upon an article giving consideration to the different available anti-virus programs that are being offered for free, and which one was the best at protecting consumers’ computers. I must admit that I began the article with extreme prejudice for two free anti-virus programs, AVG and avast!, that I have personally used since 2003 without ever being infected with a virus or malware.

The author of the mentioned article reviewed several programs and came to the conclusion that first place belonged to Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0, second place to avast! free version 6.0 (which I currently use), while AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 ranked in third best. In my opinion, the results were close enough that any of these three free versions will meet your needs in protecting your system from being attacked by either a virus or malware.

Some of you who are reading this article may question whether a free version of any anti-virus product can protect your computer as well as a paid version, but it is my professional opinion and personal experience that gives me the confidence to recommend these particular products to you. In addition, however, to having a good anti-virus program, we need to also practice safe surfing, which means avoiding sites that offer pornography or sites that want you to download free copyrighted programs. Rogue sites such as these or those that are inclined to want you to click on every link, whether it comes from an email message or Facebook, may still create problems with your computer.

The reason that there is so much to guard against on the Web is that hackers and worm creators have refined their trade and now employ a variety of different software mini-programs that can disable any anti-virus program, whether a paid commercial version or a free version. Therefore, protecting your computer is like having safe sex, meaning that just because you think that you are protected does not guarantee you and/or your partner a 100% safe journey. Likewise, just because you are using an anti-virus program, no matter how highly it is rated, can 100% guarantee you that your computer will not fall victim to infection.

For what it is worth I used AVG for about six years and loved the program. Unfortunately, when the 2011 edition was released, my computer, which was using the Windows 7 OS, began to run sluggishly. This was about six months ago, at which time I switched over to using the free version of avast!. I am not sure if AVG has addressed the problems that affected the first release of its free 2011 program, but for now I will use avast! since it seems to work well for me. Like everything in life, however, your experience may differ.

After reading the article earlier today, I decided that I will be testing out Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0 to see how it functions. Once I have had time to fairly evaluate it, I will post a blog article as to my findings.

Comments welcome.

PC Magazine: The Best Free Antivirus Software