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What Anti-Virus software is available?

There are several Anti-Virus programs available, some of which are free of charge. All pay software vendors offer trial versions on their web sites. Here are some of those programs:

Norton AntiVirus

In the land of system protection, Symantec's Norton AntiVirus is king. Not only does it offer top notch E-mail attachment scanning, but the tools in the Norton System Works suite can keep your computer in great shape. Symantec also offers firewall software alone or in a suite to help keep hackers out of your computer.

On the bad side, the Norton Utilities package has become a large and bloated system hog in recent versions. If system resources are tight on your computer, you may want something leaner.

One thing to note: Symantec no longer offers indefinite free updates of the AntiVirus product. Instead, you get one year free and have to pay an annual renewal fee to continue to get software and definition updates. Norton AntiVirus can be found in most software stores or at

McAfee VirusScan

Second, and just about equal in performance is the Virus Scanner from McAfee. When bundled with the complete security suite, it offers top notch protection from various threats, including spam. Though Norton AntiVirus edges it out slightly in scanning compressed files, McAfee makes up for it in other areas including Internet security. The McAfee suite includes many tools for fighting spam., pop-ups and protecting your kids from inappropriate web sites.

McAfee Virus Scan is offered both in a standalone version and bundled with a security package. As with Norton, choose what you feel you need. You can find McAfee software at most software stores or on the web at

Panda Antivirus

Third on the list is Panda Antivirus. The value of this software used to be, well, its value. Being less expensive while offering top notch protection was a huge selling point. However, price difference has become irrelevant, though the product still competes well in performance. Based on performance for the dollar, the above options may be a better way to go for most people. Also, the Symantec and McAfee products are availble in just about any store that sells software, unlike Panda which fewer buying options.

Panda Antivirus is also available bundled with a security suite that offers tools to protect all parts of your system. As with the packages listed above, choose how much protection you feel you need. Panda Antivirus can be found at

AVG Anti Virus

Last, but not least, in our roundup is AVG Anti Virus. Though it's not as slick as some of the other software, AVG offers one great feature: a completely free version. The free version doesn't have as many custom features (for example, automatic virus scans are always done daily at the time you specify, unlike other scanners which allow you to choose which days each week a scan is performed), but it does the job and the price can't be beat. Also, unlike other products that require you to renew your subscription each year in order to download new virus definitions (and keep your computer safe from new threats), the AVG updates are also free.

For those who want more control over settings, AVG Anti Virus is also available in more advanced paid versions. All versions can be downloaded from

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