Where to get your anti-virus software

This week we look at anti-virus software. Specifically we look at two programs; one of which is free for personal use while the other comes at a modest cost.

The free program, called Avira AntiVir Personal, comes from a company called Avira who offers the program free for personal use. The free program is a scaled-down version of their paid product that is missing some of the bells and whistles. The program works on Windows XP and Vista, is easy to download, install and it updates itself automatically. The catch is it will generate one pop-up window each time it updates itself, which is a relatively small price to pay. To download, visit free-av.com and click the big round button for the free version. From there you will be taken to a page with mirrors, which are just servers that hold and make the software available. Mirrors help to spread out the load so one server doesn't become overwhelmed with download requests.

The paid antivirus program is Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2009. The Symantec product is actually a suite that offers all-in-one protection. Users can install and use the product on up to three household computers for about $70 normally.

Experienced users may be thinking that I've lost my marbles because Symantec has been around for a long time, has been average at best and a terrible resource hog, too. Well, friends, apparently that has changed for the good and Norton may be worth a second look. All three major computer magazines have tested the 2009 suite and it comes out on top in every comparison. Go figure.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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