In years past it was widely recommended that yes, you should pay for good anti-virus software to keep you protected for viruses and spyware. I myself have paid Symantec for several years worth of protection and was glad that I did. But is it really necessary here in 2011 to continue to pay for protection?
I’ve come to change my opinion. I believe that Microsoft has realized that due to security holes and vulnerabilities in their OS’ they are responsible for many of the problems that consumers have with malware. They now attack this problem in two ways.
- Malicious Removal Tool – An updated version of this tool is released on the second Tuesday of each month. It checks computers running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software and helps remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed. If you would like to perform a more thorough scan using this tool just select “Start” – Run and type “MRT.exe” (without the quotation marks). This will bring up the tool and you can select whether you want to run a “Quick Scan”, “Full Scan”, or “Customized Scan”.
- Microsoft Security Essentials – This is a complete antivirus / antispyware solution that Microsoft provides free of charge as long as you are running a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows. It provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. I personally have found this program to be more than adequate to protect all of the computers in my house.