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Understanding Antivirus Programs - The Most Popular Antivirus Programs

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/24/2011

This is the last part of Understanding Antivirus Programs series of articles. In part 1, we described antivirus software and its common task while in part 2, we tackled how antivirus programs work. In this article we will describe the most popular and best antivirus programs to date.

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    Not all antivirus programs are offering the same features but their function is the same: To protect your computer against malware attacks and to remove any infection, if any. The best antivirus programs should passed certification system, the features should work without tweaking the system in Windows especially if your sytem have meet the system requirements and will provide protection not only to common viruses but most type of malware.

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    Best Antivirus Programs

    Below are the best antivirus programs to date which you should consider using to protect Windows computer and your data:

    • AntiVir – AntiVir by Avira is a light-weight antivirus program offering fast detection of malware in the wild and multiple daily definitions update. It supports netbooks and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The free edition of AntiVir is lacking an important protection- defense against known rogues and malicious URLs. Such web protection is only available to paid customers of AntiVir. Free AntiVir will only protect your browsing if the site you have visited websites has malicious content or when you download a known rogue or malware instead of blocking the rogue/malware sites. AntiVir Premium edition is offering more features and protection. Uninstalling AntiVir has given some end-users a problem but I recommend using AppRemover or Revo Uninstaller instead of using the manual uninstall guide by the vendor.
    • NOD32 – The widely recommended antivirus program in many discussion forums is NOD32 by ESET. That is if the end-user is looking for paid antivirus solution. NOD32’s basic and advanced user interface satisfied will satisfy beginners and advanced user. Its sophisticated heuristic detection capability has proven to detect faster than others could. You can install NOD32 on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7.
    • Kaspersky – The antivirus by Kaspersky is popular because of its fast detection for Trojan Horses. Most malware and rogue is distributed using Trojan downloader which makes Kaspersky antivirus able to perform well. You can install Kaspersky AV in Windows 7, Vista and XP.
    • Norton – Symantec’s antivirus program has received the 2009 Product of the Year award by Existing users of Norton have seen good performance of the new version, 2010. The program’s installer includes a toolbar with Search Assistant which is odd for antivirus company to partner to company that has questionable reputation due to adware and spyware business by IAC/Ask. Still, Norton Antivirus continues to attract new subscribers for it is installed as OEM in new computers and/or existing users who take advantage of free upgrade to every new version of the program. Norton AV supports XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The program is offering common protection by antivirus programs with identity protection and network mapping.
    • Avast – The boot-time scanner, Network Shield, and e-mail scanner in Avast has attracted end-users. The detection capability of Alwil Avast! is very good and you can install the program in any edition of Windows. The installer of Avast is bundled with Google Chrome browser that is not necessary to continue using the antivirus program. Avast is available as freeware and paid editions. The free edition is lacking script blocker, push updates, the enhanced user interface, repairing of executable infected files, and antivirus tasks creation. The current UI of Avast is not attractive but Alwil, the maker of Avast, is planning to release a better UI in the upcoming v5.
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    Other Best Antivirus Programs

    • VIPRE – Sunbelt’s VIPRE antivirus has attracted business and end-users for its nice UI, good support, unlimited home site license and the above average malware detection capability. VIPRE supports Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003/2008, and Windows 7.
    • AVG – The neat user interface, ease of use, LinkScanner feature, and e-mail scanner will make you decide to keep the antivirus program by AVG Technologies. The program is compatible only with Windows 7, Vista and XP. The installer includes AVG Security Toolbar by Yahoo which is not necessary to install or to be protected. AVG Free do not have advanced rootkit protection, instant messaging protection, option to use Game Mode, and access to faster update servers. You can have all these if you will subscribe to AVG Pro. The malware protection capability of AVG is average only.
    • BitDefender – BitDefender Free has attracted end-users that have protection by another antivirus program because the free edition of BitDefender only provides an on-demand scanner, malware removal with option to quarantine and schedule scan. To enjoy real-time protection and other useful features of this particular antivirus program, you will need to use the paid edition. You can install BitDefender in XP, Vista and Windows 7. The free edition also supports Windows 2000. BitDefender’s malware detection is above average but you have to make sure to change the default setting of the program by configuring to send any copy to quarantine before allowing the antivirus to handle any threats.
    • Microsoft Security Essentials – Microsoft is not a new kid in the block when it comes to providing antivirus solution. They’ve offered to public a free anti-spyware since 2005 and Windows Live OneCare, antivirus program since 2007. Microsoft Security Essentials offers real-time protection, e-mail attachments scanner and some common but basic features of antivirus. It is light-weight and being updated multiple times a day to protect against new malware and its variants. The free antivirus of Microsoft will run in Windows 7, Vista and XP only as long as the Windows system has passed the Windows Genuine Validation (WGA).
    • Panda – Panda’s Cloud Antivirus, a free cloud-based antivirus program gained popularity last year by offering real-time protection, and on-demand scanner and quarantine features. The free edition of Panda antivirus is lacking many common protections that other AV solutions provide and the malware detection capability is average only. For full protection, the paid edition of Panda antivirus is available. Panda AV supports Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

    Like any tool to use, an antivirus program is not the only solution to use to secure your computer. You have to maintain Windows or any operating system by keeping it up-to-date and by adding additional security tools like firewall and system backup software. Extra layers of protection is a must nowadays, so install on-demand scanner or regularly scan using online virus scan. If you would like to read reviews on the most popular antivirus programs, check them out here in Bright Hub.

Understanding AntiVirus Programs

What is personal antivirus program? How antivirus programs work? Antivirus program is your first defense against malware and it works by scanning and monitoring the system. These articles will help you understand your antivirus programs.
  1. Understanding Antivirus Programs - About Antivirus Programs
  2. Understanding Antivirus Programs - How Does AntiVirus Software Work?
  3. Understanding Antivirus Programs - The Most Popular Antivirus Programs