questionsbest cheap or free anti-virus for non-techie?

vote-for38vote-against
vote-for32vote-against

I started using Microsoft Security Essentials after seeing it recommended in a tech journal. It has been working pretty well for us.
http://www.microsoft.com/nz/digitallife/security/microsoft-security-essentials.mspx

We do combine it with the free version of Malwarebytes for annoying malware that doesn't always get caught by anti-virus software.
http://www.malwarebytes.org/

vote-for15vote-against

Avast Free Home Use edition. It's not only free, but it auto updates, can run quietly and is rather user-friendly. I've used it for years and have never had a problem. You can get it here

vote-for15vote-against

I'll second Microsoft Security Essentials. It's been working perfectly fine for me over the past year or two.

I used to use AVG Free, but in my opinion, it's not nearly as good as it used to be. It is a lot more intrusive with needing attention and I had a few occasions where it would stop auto-updating.

vote-for13vote-against

I'll third Microsoft Security Essentials.

AVG sucks IMO. I use malwarebytes if I get something nasty.

Both free ftw.

vote-for12vote-against

Try AVG Free. I also like Ad-Aware, and I run each of them once a week. You can download them both at cnet.com.

vote-for10vote-against

I've been using Avast for several years now with no problems.

Bonus: on National Talk Like a Pirate Day last year, it gave me the option to get notices in "Pirate". Never changed it, so now I can "Scour the Ship" instead of just scanning for viruses!

vote-for9vote-against

+1 to Microsoft Security Essentials. Avast and AVG are ok, but MSE is much better for free.

vote-for7vote-against

Another vote for Microsoft Security Essentials. I'm not doing lots of high-risk activities, so maybe I am not a good test case, but I have had no issues with it. Plus, it feels much more integrated with the OS. (Microsoft product, after all.) Which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

vote-for7vote-against

Like @AlPayton said: Microsoft Security Essentials + MalwareBytes if you get something nasty.

vote-for6vote-against

Same here on the Microsoft Security Essentials suggestion.

I was a big AVG fan, still am, but MS Essentials has always gotten great reviews, and it's free, so I moved over about a year ago. You also mentioned something for the non-techie, and MS Essentials is just that. It has next to no user interaction required, it just does it's job in the background and does it well.

vote-for6vote-against

One more for Microsoft Security Essentials. It is by far the most un-obtrusive AV I've ever used.

vote-for5vote-against

I work in the security industry, and the best home AV I can recommend is Trend Micro's home suite.

vote-for5vote-against

After using AVG Free for many years, I switched to Avast! immediately after the Windows Vista launch due to compatability issues. Avast runs much quieter and I have had fewer issues with updates and scheduled scans.

vote-for5vote-against

@magic cave @moondrake: Whatever you get, DON'T go to cnet for it: http://dottech.org/tipsntricks/keeping-them-honest/23420/cnet-crapware/

You can generally go to the individual product site and get the software of your choice without the bundled crapware. A lot of the files on cnet just download a downloader program, which grabs the software you actually want, plus some "little extras" that you have to opt out of. While some software developers provide downloads from their website through cnet, those will generally be the real installer without the extra crap tacked on.

Microsoft Security Essentials: http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/
AVG Free: http://free.avg.com/us-en/download-file-dm-afh
Avast Free: http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download
MalwareBytes: http://www.malwarebytes.org/
Ad-Aware: http://free.lavasoft.com/products.aspx

vote-for5vote-against

@khellendros1984: Totally agree.
It used to be that I went specifically to Cnet because I knew that the .exe's that I would download would be clean and safe. Now that they bundle all sorts of crap with them, it defeats the purpose, and feel like they are now pushing crap on my computer that I do not want/need. I do not go to Cnet any more due to this.

vote-for4vote-against

I've used AVG at home for several years. Recently switched to Avast! on some computers, as AVG was getting flaky about updates. Installed one or the other on my laptops (gone through 4 or 5), my desktop, my wife's laptops, my kids laptops, the kitchen laptop (recipes) and my parents laptops.

Both have worked very well - no viruses yet.

No experience with MSE, so can't speak for or against.

vote-for4vote-against

I run Avast free and Malware Bytes Pro. They're a pretty comprehensive 'team'. I haven't had any problems since I started using Avast, but prior to that, the Malware Bytes was able to remove anything that came along.

I used to run AVG, but it became too big and didn't work well anymore.

vote-for4vote-against

Another free tool to add to your arsenal, maybe after you become more familiar with terminology and how to run programs, is the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool.

It's a program you download and use occasionally to ensure security, or when your system goes wonky and you can't figure out what's wrong - it's a very powerful search-and-destroy type tool that the Kaspersky labs update and change all the time to fit the needs of their clients - that's us - so they recommend you download it, use it, and then uninstall. Then when/if you need it again, you download, use, and uninstall it all over again. It sounds a bit tedious and it can be, but it's a super-detective when it comes to finding malware, viruses, etc.

It's the first on the list here:

http://www.kaspersky.com/virus-removal-tools

You can see they also have removal tools for specific virus threats, tailored for users to be able to target and nuke things quickly, before the damage is too great.

Hope this helps.

vote-for4vote-against

http://www.av-comparatives.org/

Click the link for a comparison test. Please note that although there are many comparison sites which all have different results you must understand that they do not test them with the same settings enabled.

So, ensure you look at the settings they use. [b]I have done a lot of research and for my needs Avira works[/b]. I'd likely use Avast! second.

I have set Avira to medium heuristics in the settings and have password protected it (also in settings).

I hope this helps.

vote-for4vote-against

I have to agree on MSE. I have a lot of installs using Avast! but, recently, one user did not have option to renew registration, only to purchase for $19.99. I dumped Avast! and installed MSE.

vote-for3vote-against

Avira. Free and awesome and doesn't eat much memory.

http://www.avira.com/

I torrent alot and and this one works very well. You can upgrade to a premium version also.
I use this and Windows Defender.

vote-for3vote-against

@woothulhu: Trend Micro has a promising free anti-bot program in beta. It's compatible with Windows XP, Vista 32-bit with service pack, and 7, 32-bit only, (bummer!) and is supposed to be very effective.

It's here:

http://free.antivirus.com/rubotted/

vote-for3vote-against

I answer this question quite a bit. Microsoft Security E. Was my choice for 6 months, but it has been hammering older computers. So I went back to my old fav Avast.
To make Avast even better go into the settings and change the voice to not tell you when it the virus database has been updated. While you are in there you should turn the program updates to automatic. I hope everyone I recommended MS E. is back on Avast. Not expired deal http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/159b5d9b-4200-4140-bda1-5cd9647381b2/-free-antivirus-download-software-for-virus-protection#5
Yes MalwareBytes too!

Reminder 1 antivirus at a time. (MalwareBytes is not an antivirus). So you need to uninstall your old before you get a new one.

vote-for3vote-against

Another vote for MSE, though it isn't the only tool I use (however, it is the only realtime antivirus scanner I run).

I'd been using Zomealarm Pro AV or Internet Security Suite (which are paid products and use the Kapersky AV engine) on my home machines for years, but I switched most of them to MSE earlier this year). It found stuff that Zonealarm, Avast, AVG, Symantec and McAfee didn't, though mostly hacking and rooting tools that I knew about (and had to whitelist) or things that were in a harmless state on my systems.

I also use Spybot Search&Destroy (the Browser Helper Object is quite good at silently blocking bad crap from many many sites) scanning with it about weekly (doesn't find so much with MSE). Was using AdAware but don't bother any more (it doesn't find anything else).

On already infected machines, Malwarebytes is useful.

So, for free AV, I've used Avast and AVG, but think that MSE is better and has more of a future.

vote-for3vote-against

Another happy Avira user here. I used AVG for a while but it started getting clunky and missing things.

vote-for3vote-against

this advice have been very helpful.
Thank you

vote-for2vote-against

I've been using AVG for quite some time now and never had a problem with it. I did switch over to MSE when I first heard it was out and it worked fine for awhile until I got a virus one day. Every time I would start up my PC, MSE would find virus so I installed AVG again. It cleaned it up and didn't come back.

This was back when MSE first came out so I would guess it's been improved upon since I've last used it.

vote-for2vote-against

Back when I used to torrent a lot, I had AVG.... and had to reformat my computer 4 times in one month because it couldn't detect the viruses. Switched to avast and haven't had any problems since.

vote-for2vote-against

Also...the more advanced viruses these days are learning how to hide from Windows (and any virus scanner running on Windows). I know some of the antivirus security companies are actually working on hardware to directly access the hard drive, to circumvent virus writers that have learned to circumvent the Windows API. What that means is that there are viruses that you'll have a difficult time detecting (let alone removing) using a virus scanner, no matter how good.

vote-for2vote-against

@woothulhu: I'm curious, because you mentioned that you work in the security industry, what is your opinion of MS Security Essentials?

vote-for2vote-against

@khellendros1984: Thank you for your caution; I'll take it under consideration. I've used cnet for years without difficulty or weird stuff added to the mix, but things change and it's worth reviewing.

vote-for2vote-against

The current one in use at my house on all 5 of our Windows machines is Microsoft Security Essentials. Love it.
Before this we happily ran Avast and MalwareBytes.

You couldn't pay me to run the expensive, resource hogging, horrible "Anti-Virus" crap out there.

Also, (if you're a non-techie you may not know) DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY PROGRAM CALLING ITSELF ANTI-VIRUS "insert year here."

vote-for2vote-against

I like Panda Cloud Antivirus ... but I've also used MSE and MalwareBytes.

vote-for2vote-against

@khellendros1984: I still tell clients to use CNET just because they could go to a malware site instead of the legit site (using a search, not direct link). All except for MSE, which is of course, a microsoft site.

vote-for2vote-against

@rlapid2112: How old is old. I am running avast on 1gb with sub 2000mhz processors. (2 in the house for kids) It ran fine at first then I noted it started taking 256-300mb by it self and running processor at %30. Perhaps it was doing a scan that I did not ask for.

But this trend continued. I would have customers complaining there PC was slow, I checked the processes. It was always MSE. In fact I have a laptop I use primarily for remoting into my PC. (single core 1.8.., who cares specs). Opening a single web page takes a good 30 seconds to a minute. I check the processes ya MSC taking the most. I will install Avast on that one for the sake of this discussion today. I will grab a stop watch and run a unscientific speed test. (BTW this laptop is on 24-7 so possible scan is unlikely.)

@moondrake
In the end do not pay for AV @gweenpenguin: situation is a normal for my world. I here "I think I still have x months left" But free is better.
Just do not pay for at plain AV home coverage.

vote-for1vote-against

So the frontrunner is MSE, followed by Avast plus Malwarebytes. The comment about MSE "hammering older computers" troubles me, as I failed to mention that the specific computer I want to put this on is a very old (got it the month WinXP came out) Sony Viao desktop. It was a very sweet computer when I bought it and is still a helluva workhorse, but it is getting a bit slow in working with newer software. So would Avast be a better choice for this machine, and go with MSE for my newer computers? Thanks to everyone for your detailed and clearly worded advice! You have been a big help to me and I am sure other non-techie wooters.

vote-for1vote-against

I am running it on some older/slower XP machines and the performance seems better than the older version of Avast! that I removed.

vote-for1vote-against

@moondrake:

My daughter's netbook got faster when we removed AVG and installed MSE.

I don't pay for computers but rather borrow them from work (not a secret from TPTB at work). My best machine is a Dell Optiplex GX620 (which isn't a POS but isn't a top of the line machine either). MSE runs on all of the crap I have at home and doesn't kill them.

vote-for1vote-against

For my relatives, I download AVG Free onto their system. It runs very well and in a user friendly fashion. An aunt of mine pays for norton and when she got a virus, I asked her to run AVG Free before I drove up there to fix it. Norton didn't find the virus, Free AVG did.
Also - MalwareBytes is a useful tool for anyone and very user friendly... You just press one button ^_^

vote-for1vote-against

@caffeine_dude: P4, probably 2-2.8 GHz, 512 MB ram. The ram is/was the killer. The company is a 501(c)(3) so upgrades are few & far between.

vote-for1vote-against

Avira plain and simple. good virus protection

vote-for0vote-against

I'd highly recommend Linux, personally. I don't get any viruses this way.

That said if someone held a gun to my head and forced me to manage a windows system, I would install AVG and regularly download the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool as well. Between the two you get perfectly adequate coverage with no money invested.

Of course, switching to Linux gets you 100% coverage with no money invested as well :)