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Buying Antivirus Software: Making the Best Choice for You
When you buy a new computer, you may well be aware that you need antivirus software.
Given all the packages out there, though, you may also be at a loss to
know which of all the many options you should buy. There are literally
hundreds of software pieces available both in-store and online to
choose from, and each one will want your business. How do you work your
way through all the options and find the best for you, your pocket and
While the back of the box or the websites of
antivirus software manufacturers may promise the earth, many of us
simply don't understand how to make this sort of choice. We tend to
turn to shop assistants or rely on reviews or word of mouth. However,
what may be good for your neighbour may not be best for you.
All of this might be enough to get you to rely on the free antivirus
software which came with your computer and not to buy any at all.
Obviously this is not recommended; as additional software will always
be worth the money you spend. This being said, some free antivirus
software is great if you want to try before you buy. It can be a very
useful way of deciding which type of software is best for you.
software works by using two virus detection systems known as heuristic
engines and databases. Heuristic engines detect virus structures and
activities, alerting the software manufacturers to them before they can
infect too many computers. Once the antivirus manufacturers are aware
of the viruses, they can send out updates to their customers. Virus
databases tend to be more exact as they use a list of common viruses.
The problem with this system, however, is that they need to be updated
constantly to ensure that they are working well.
of identifying viruses is through online virus detection, which means
that you won't have to install any software onto your computer. This
can save space on your machine, but the free antivirus software which
is offered online is often not very comprehensive and so should always
be backed up by another system or only used as a temporary measure.
your computer is part of a network, then you might want to buy a
security suite which bundles together virus software and a firewall
into one package. This is not suitable for the home computer user,
Whichever method you decide to use, you should take
into account the type of computer user you are and the type of computer
that you own. If you have recently purchased a new computer, you may
choose to use the antivirus software which is offered by your
manufacturer. Mac antivirus is an example of this.
operating system should also be taken into account when choosing the
best PC virus protection. Window 7 antivirus is an example of antivirus
software which is aimed at users of a particular operating system,
although many others do exist.
When you finally decide to do
your virus protection shopping, there are a number of considerations to
keep in mind. Not all of these points will be relevant to every
purchaser, but making an informed choice is the best way to ensure that
you get the best value for money.
essentially, you need to identify how often you want to check for
viruses, the price you are willing to pay, the type of operating system
you have, the type of computer you own and the extent of the free
antivirus software which your computer may already have. Once you know
these facts, it should be quite easy to make the final choice as to
which of the many PC virus protection options you should take.
- Try to choose antivirus
software which makes automatic updates and will install them as they
become available. A good system should check for new releases at least
once per day, as new viruses are found constantly. If your system does
not check automatically, then the very least it should have is pop-up
reminders to encourage you to do the updates yourself.
- It is
also good to be able to set up regular scheduled scans. It is recommend
to do this at least once a month or at any time when you feel that your
machine may have been compromised.
- You may want your antivirus
software to be able to check your external hard drives as and when they
are plugged into your computer. You will want it to automatically
detect that a new device has been plugged in and check it for anything
- Many antivirus software packages offer firewall
protection as well. Many operating systems already have firewalls
installed, however, and the extra cover offered by your antivirus
software may slow your machine down. If this happens, you should be
able to turn one of the two off.
- Most software will scan emails
and prevent any which might contain worm viruses. These will infect
your computer when you open the email. This service does not usually
work on web-based email accounts such as Hotmail or Yahoo. However, as
these emails are not downloaded to your hard drive, they do not pose
- Your software may also offer a spam filtering service. This is not fool-proof, however, and may also catch genuine emails.
- Viruses can be passed on via instant messaging services, so your software may pick these up, too.
a system restore capability may be a priority for some people. This
will allow you to take your computer back to a time when it was free of
viruses if you do become infected. It is a last ditch method of
cleaning up your hard drive, but is suitable in extreme cases.