Choosing an anti-virus is a matter of personal preference, your needs, your needs, your technical ability and experience, features offered, user friendliness, ease of updating (and upgrading to new program release), ease of installation/removal, available technical support from the vendor and price. Other factors to consider include detection rates and methods, scanning engine effectiveness, how often virus definitions are updated, the amount of resources the program utilizes, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular anti-virus that works well for one person may not work as well for another. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution
that works for everyone and there is no best anti-virus
. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your needs. For more specific information to consider, please read Choosing Your Anti-virus Software
.No single product is 100% foolproof
and can prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. Just because one anti-virus detected threats that another missed, does not mean its more effective. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear. Security vendors use different scanning engines and different detection methods such as heuristic analysis
or behavioral analysis
which can account for discrepancies in scanning outcomes. Depending on how often the anti-virus database is updated can also account for differences in threat detections.
Further, each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using several anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense
, safe computing
and safe surfing habits
provides the most complete protection.
I have been disappointed with AVG
ever since they made a decision in April 2010 to partner with LimeWire
and promote the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing
, a security risk which can make your system susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections
, remote attacks, and exposure of personal information.NOTE
: With the release of AVG 2011, there have been numerous complaints about issues and conflicts with other security tools like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. Unlike previous versions, AVG 2011 cannot be effectively disabled
to prevent it from interfering with other security tools...after restarting the computer, AVG re-enables all protections. Read these related discussions:
There have been reports of issues with the computer starting properly on 64-bit Windows sytems
for which AVG has had to release these fix instructions
There have also been reported problems with computers after using
new features like PC Analyzer
and PC Tuneup
which purport to fix registry errors in order to make the system more stable and various optimizing tools which can make changes to system settings.I do not recommend the routine use of registry cleaners/optimizers
as they are extremely powerful applications that can damage the Windows registry
by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily
could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from booting properly. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks
Even MajorGeeks, a popular download hosting site, had issued a Statement on AVG Free 2011
and removed its Editor's Pick listing at that time.
For these reasons, I no longer recommend AVG as a free alternative.
My personal choice is NOD32 Anti-Virus
if choosing a paid for program as it leaves a small footprint. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
is also a good choice.
If you're looking for a free alternative, I recommend any of the following:
You can also supplement your security tools and get a second opinion by performing an Online Virus Scan
is no longer recommending
Spybot S&D or Ad-Aware due to poor testing results. See here
- (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products)
. Ad-Aware has even been placed into the Installers Hall of Shame
for bundling and pre-checking Google Chrome during the installation. Also read Lavasoft Turning to the Dark Side?
written by a former volunteer (now a MVP) who provided support for Ad-Aware but no longer uses the program.
As for Spybot S&D, most people don't understand how to use TeaTimer
and that feature can cause more problems than it's worth. TeaTimer monitors changes to certain critical keys in Windows registry
but does not indicate if the change is normal or a modification made by a malware infection. The user must have an understanding of the registry
and how TeaTimer works in order to make informed decisions
to allow or deny the detected changes. If you don't have understanding how a particular security tool works, then you probably should not be using it. Additionally, TeaTimer may conflict with other security tools which do a much better job of protecting your computer and in some cases it will even prevent disinfection
of malware by those tools.
More effective alternatives are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
and SUPERAntiSpyware Free
I recommend taking advantage of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Pro) Protection Module
in the full version which uses advanced heuristic scanning technology
to monitor your system and provide real-time protection to prevent
the installation of most new malware. This technology runs at startup where it monitors every process and helps stop malicious processes before they can infect your computer
. The database that defines the heuristics is updated as often as there is something to add to it. Keep in mind that Malwarebytes does not act as a real-time protection scanner for every file like an anti-virus program so it is intended to be a supplement, not a substitute
. Enabling the Protection Module
feature requires registration and purchase of a license key
that includes free lifetime upgrades and support. After activation, Malwarebytes can be set to update itself and schedule scans automatically on a daily basis. The Protection Module is not intrusive as the program utilizes few system resources and should not conflict with other scanners or anti-virus programs.
If any conflicts between Malwarebytes' and another security program are reported, suggested solutions are usually provided in the Common Issues, Questions, and their Solutions, FAQs
thread. I know and have worked with some members of the research team so I can attest that they make every effort to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
Edited by quietman7, 18 May 2011 - 05:57 PM.