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Microsoft Security Essentials – Free Antivirus with Customer Support
When comparing different software for virus checking, I place Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) at the first position for the following reasons:
- It is free.
- Comes from the reputed brand Microsoft.
- Offers protection against latest viruses, spyware, adware, Trojans, and more.
- To top it all, Microsoft offers a full-fledged customer support for the free antivirus through email, phone, and chat. No other free antivirus vendor offers you this facility.
The only negative I find with this free antivirus from Microsoft is that it does not include a built-in firewall. The reason is because MSE runs only on Windows operating system, which already includes a firewall.
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Norton 360 - Complete Security
Norton 360 offers better security than Microsoft Security Essentials by using its own algorithms to track down and stop suspicious elements from entering your computer. I place it at the second place because of its cost factor. Not everyone is willing or can afford a paid suite so MSE gained the first place.
You can consider Norton 360 as a stripped version of the standard Norton Security Suite. Unlike the standard suite, it needs fewer resources and does not interfere with your programs even while downloading updates or while scanning. Compared to many of the other paid security software, this program does not slow down your computer to an extent where you can notice it.
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BitDefender 2010 brings in more changes compared to its predecessor, the BitDefender 2009 version.
The upgrades include:
1) monitoring and tracking memory resident programs for suspicious activities;
2) greater ability to track outdated programs and scan IM's; and,
3) reduced resource consumption.
In addition, you can find a spam filter, parental controls, and a two way firewall. At a price of $49.95 for three licenses, I consider BitDefender 2010 to be a good bargain.
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Anti-Virus Guard, the Free AVG
Anti-Virus Guard is popularly known as AVG. The product comes both in paid and free versions. Most of the users requiring free antivirus software use AVG next to MSE. Earlier, it was AVG that was present on most computers. However, with the facilities and features of MSE, AVG got a second place in the market of free antivirus.
AVG free version got the fourth place because the above mentioned antivirus offer robust customer support. For AVG, you have to sort out your problems with the help of Internet forums that may or may not be of much help.
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Comodo Internet Security
While Microsoft Security Essentials and AntiVirus Guard offer antivirus, antispyware, and anti-adware, the Comodo Internet Security includes few more protection elements. These factors include Comodo firewall, which I consider the second most best firewall in the computer security industry. Among other factors are parental controls and real time monitoring of memory resident programs for suspicious activities. If you need a complete computer security suite but you cannot afford it, you can always get the free Comodo Internet Security. If you don’t want entire suite, Comodo also offers standalone firewall and standalone antivirus. However, I did not find the antivirus to be as effective as AVG or MSE.
Please Note that the above computer virus checking software comparison is based on my own experience of the products. If you do not agree, or if you wish to add something, please feel free to update me using the comments section.
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Microsoft Security Essentials, http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials/default.aspx
Norton 360, http://us.norton.com/360
AVG website, http://free.avg.com
Image from Microsoft Security Essentials software