Rarely does a month go by before someone I know asks me about basic security software for their home PC. Usually it’s at the right after their pre-installed anti-virus expires or when their college age children bring the laptop home.
In the past I’ve purchased McAfee and Symantec products (usually to extend my own pre-installed version), but for the last several years I’ve relied almost exclusively on free software. There are hundreds of articles from experts on the relative benefits of one package over another, but I tend to rely on millions of my closest friends, “the crowd“, and Cnet’s download site. A quick trip to Cnet and a search on “anti-virus” quickly takes me to a list I can sort by “Most Popular.” At time of this post, roughly 230 million people have downloaded “AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.” There are several other very good free tools there as well. I like SpyBot for its scanning tool as well as the ability to tweak startup settings withing Windows.