We review free antivirus programs and paid-for versions to see which will best protect your computer aginst PC viruses
Antivirus protection is important for any PC connected to the internet and with the wide range of free and paid-for versions, working out which is the best antivirus product can be confusing.
As part of our free v paid-for series we're going to choose the best
Which is the best paid-for antivirus software?
Norton Antivirus 2011
Old versions of Norton products were criticised for slowing computers down horribly, but that’s no longer the case.
Norton Antivirus 2011 uses the same antivirus engine as Norton 360 and is hardly noticeable in normal use.
Full hard-disk scans take a little more horsepower, but the PC will still be perfectly usable. Norton scans email for PC viruses, instant messages and web pages for threats in real time, and protects against spyware.
Small updates (Norton Pulse) are sent every 5-15 minutes, ensuring immediate protection from newly discovered threats.
And at £55 for two years, it’s decent value. Read our full review of Norton 360.
Which is the best free antivirus?
Avast Home Edition
Of the many free antivirus programs available, Avast is one of the few that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to install or register it.
There are adverts to try and get you to upgrade to the full version, but at least they’re fairly discreet.
What you do get is comprehensive free antivirus protection that checks email, instant messaging, web-based threats, peer-to-peer use and network activity as it happens.
Each of these modules can be adjusted for sensitivity or turned off altogether, and like Norton it just gets on and does its job without a lot of fuss.
Total saving: £55 (two years)
Download Avast free antivirus here
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