The Why and Wherefore of Anti-virus Programs

We all know how important it is to have an anti-virus program on our computer to catch viruses, malware, prevent identification theft and so on. Unauthorised access to your computer via the Internet is commonplace, just read the headlines about hackers accessing and corrupting files in government and military computer systems. Private individuals are also fair game!

It is unfortunate that some users still live in a fool’s paradise and fail to install an AV program and jeopardise their computer’s security. Often their answer is to say they never log onto the Internet and never let anybody access their computer. If this is true they’ll probably get away with it. Others say they’ve got an anti-virus program but when you ask if they update it regularly they’re not sure.

Besides having your computer compromised and the files corrupted, the worst thing that can happen is to have your personal information stolen. If you fail to take basic precautions by installing a reliable anti-virus software application you are indeed taking a serious risk.

Installing a reliable Anti-virus application is perhaps the most single and cost-effective action you can take for your computer’s health and safety. It is essential to have a reliable AV program and to update it regularly.

Initially, when I started using computers and knowing full well the dangers that lurked on the Internet, I purchased Norton anti-virus program. At first I was happy with its ability to detect and remove the “nasties”. As each subsequent version came out Norton became more and more complicated. It became too intrusive in my opinion. Removing it from your computer was a work of art indeed. Others may well disagree with my negative attitude towards Norton.

When you buy a new computer you will find a 30 day trial of Norton ready for you to install it. My advice is don’t! I’ve purchased several computers over the years and remembering my earlier experience with Norton never took up their offer. Some of my friends who have done so and later decided against using Norton, had the devil’s own job removing it from the computer.

If cost is a factor well there are several free AV programs available. Here is a list of good reliable ones.

  • Avast! Free Antivirus
  • Avira AntiVir Personal Edition
  • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus

All of the above, with the exception of Microsoft Security Essentials, all of those listed come with an advanced version that you have to purchase.  The free versions, excluding Microsoft Security Essentials, are a cut-down version, just providing minimal support. For enhanced security you may need to purchase the full version. All these free AV applications encourage good computer security at no cost to users. So why spend good money on an expensive anti-virus program when there are a number of free versions available all of which are just as effective.

These days I use Microsoft’s free program, Microsoft Security Essentials. This runs nicely with Windows 7 and suits my needs completely with its regular automatic updates and its ability to scan my computer for viruses etc.

It is available from Microsoft’s website at the following location –

Once you install Microsoft Security Essentials, its icon is added to the Notification Area. Its easy to-use interface allows you to scan you computer for virus etc. Normally its icon is hidden on the Notifications Area but you can check it out by clicking the up arrow button.

Tip! Should you wish to see Microsoft Security Essentials on the taskbar, access the Notifications Area window by clicking the up arrow button. Scroll down  to find Microsoft Security Essentials and select “Show icons and notifications”. 


Microsoft Security Essentials


If you are in the market for a reliable cost-free AV program, give Microsoft Security Essentials serious consideration!



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3 Responses to The Why and Wherefore of Anti-virus Programs

  1. bob October 9, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    if your OS is up to date, your programs are up to date, you don’t download anything suspicious, you don’t use P2P, and you use firefox, and you know the first thing about computers, you don’t need an AV. only  a firewall is important and it’s provided in recent versions of windows.

    • Dmp October 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      I use to think that also until. I was hit with a PDF virus. Adobe is so slow at adding protection mechanisms I Now use Foxit Reader and AntiVir.  I was really surprised at some of the things that occur. JavaScript Key-loggers embedded in Gannet News Paper Advertizing. HTML 5 code that does HTML post of my bookmarks some site in Caribbean. A wifi signal at a corporate headquarters who’s proxy does a man in middle so that can scan all SSL traffic.

    • Robert October 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      Someone actually recommends Firefox in this day and age of Chrome ftw craze? I’m impressed. 🙂

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