So you've just set-up your new PC, you've got your software installed, but are you sure you've not forgotten anything?, have you installed any Anti-Virus? Or worse still, has your anti-virus trial run out, still installed and no longer protecting you machine unless you pay the obligatory fee?
Just remember a good anti-virus is essential for protecting anyone that uses your PC, but also crucially important for protecting anyone you may (or have) communicated with. Viruses that spam all of your Hotmail contacts and Facebook friends are on the rise,so ensuring that your machine is adequately protected has never been more important.
But of course in the current financial situation, we're all trying to cut costs, but that needn't mean cutting corners, there are a variety of free anti-virus solutions out there that can be just as effective as their paid-for counterparts.
Microsoft Security Essentials
Well Microsoft tried to unleash a paid for product in the past with Windows Live Onecare, sadly this was never very successful for them, however their free product launched back in 2009 is taking the world by storm, very lightweight, with excellent detection rates and you would expect the people who make your operating system would know how to be protect it.
Again a very lightweight product with high detection rates, the only drag regarding this piece of software is the nag screen that pops up each time you update the virus definitions, this screen doesn't appear in the paid for version that they offer, but again only a minor annoyance, and if you search heard enough (Google is your friend!) there is a registry edit you can make to stop this nag screen from appearing.
Excellent very popular free antivirus, as with Avira and AVG (below) a paid for version is also available that claims to include much more advanced features. On the whole however Avast has high detection rates, and it's always a talking point when you hear the loud american voice announcing that 'Virus Database has been updated!'
AVG is one of the original Kings of the free antivirus, however in recent years they have been dogged by claims that the detection rates are not as good as the competition and that the software can be rather bloated. They are however still well worth considering.
These are just 4 reputable free anti viruses available on the market, more are available, but all go to show you don't have to pay for reliable anti-virus protection.
Do remember that if installing an Anti-Virus package you should first of all remove the old software, usually this is accessible from Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel (renamed Programs and Features in later versions of Windows)