You ask a common question for which you will receive varying opinions and recommendations.
Here are links to some recent BC discussion topics with opinions from other members:
I generally recommend ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus
or Emsisoft Anti-Malware
as they leave a small footprint...meaning they are not intrusive
and do not utilize a lot of system resources. Kaspersky Anti-virus
is also a good choice for the same reason. If you don't want to pay then I would recommend avast! Free Antivirus
or Bitdefender Anti-virus Free Edition
For more choices see Choosing an Anti-Virus Program
Keep in mind that an offer of free anti-virus software is essentially a marketing technique
...a way of advertising and enticement to get folks to try a product and if they like it, to purchase the full (or Pro) version which typically provides more features. Marketing and promotional strategies are built into the vendor's business model as part of their operating costs. Bottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so
. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups or nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version.By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those ads.
In some cases you may be able to disable annoying pop-ups through the anti-virus settings if the vendor included an option to disable them. If the vendor does not have such an option listed, then your only alternative is to switch anti-virus software if the pop-up ads annoy you that much.
Also keep in mind that many anti-virus vendors are bundling toolbars and other software with their products as a cost recoup measure. In fact, all free Anti-virus programs now come with toolbars or other bundled software except Bitdefender Free
ESET and Emsisoft Anti-Malware also have the added advantage of blocking the installation of most Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)
(such as adware
, unwanted toolbars
, browser hijackers
) if you enable that feature.