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My Anti-virus software trial has expired! What should I do?

Many new computers come with some sort of Anti-Virus or Internet Security software pre-installed. Unfortunately it is usually just a trial that will expire after a few months. You are probably offered the option to renew your subscription, but may be left feeling like you have little choice. While it is true that you should take steps to protect your computer from Internet badness, the software that came on your computer may not be the best option. Here are some of tools that I have used in the past and recommend to others.

Free Security Software

If you just need basic anti-virus software, there are some free options that don’t bog down your computer. Generally these are only for home users, not businesses.

  • Probably my favorite free anti-virus software is AVG. It has automatic updates, active scanner, and a browser toolbar that helps protect from bad websites. You can check it out here: AVG Free
  • Another good choice is Avast Antivirus. This one also provides active scanners, mail protection, and network protection. You can find it here: Avast

Free Anti-spyware Software

If do a lot of internet browsing, its probably a good idea to run spyware protection. Spyware is not technically a virus, but is bad and should be kept off your computer similarly.

  • My favorite free spyware protection is called Spybot Search & Destroy. It offers outstanding real-time protection and also does a good job cleaning up existing internet “leavins”. You can get it here: Spybot
  • Another good option for cleaning out spyware is Ad-Aware. The free version doesn’t offer real-time protection like Spybot, but it does offer a pretty solid scanner for cleaning up existing infections. See LavaSoft’s website here: Ad-Aware

Free Firewall Software

If your computer sits behind a router, you already have some very basic firewall protection. If you would like something a little more customizable, Zone Alarm is one of the best firewalls I have used. Even the free edition is very powerful. You can check it out here: Zone Alarm