QOTD: Is Free Antivirus as Good as Paid Software?

This week there's been an awful lot of talk about free antivirus. Between Microsoft officially launching its Security Essentials software and Symantec essentially saying free antivirus sucks, there's been no shortage of differing opinions on the matter.

Microsoft isn't the first to offer free antivirus. MSE aside, you've got Avast and AVG, software that many of you say you use and much prefer over the likes of Norton or McAfee. That said, most of you know your way around the web and wouldn't be clicking on the big, blinking signs that say you've just won a cruise to the Caribbean or seven billion dollars in stock options.

Today's question of the day is do you think free antivirus is enough for the average computer user?

  • Lavacon
    All Norton and Mcafee seem to do is cause more headaches than they solve. Compared to Avast and AVG most paid solutions seem to be nothing more over priced bloatware.
  • jerther
    IMO, no. most free solutions only offer narrow protection.

    conception of bloatware is another issue :)
  • hellwig
    When I bought my copy of Win XP Pro x64 a year after it had been released, Norton didn't have a product to support me, which forced my switch to Avast in the first place.

    I currently run Avast on all my personal computers. It supports Windows XP, Windows XP Pro x64, Vista 32 and 64-bit, and now has Win7 support. It even has a Linux clinet (no real-time scan though), so I can check files I've downloaded.

    I'm never switching back to Norton or McAfee again. As I type this on my work's PC, McAfee is consuming 150MB of memory out of my 1GB, and I'm not sure what its doing with that memory either.
  • festerovic
    I haven't had a problem that a mix of free programs couldn't fix, so I would never pay for AV software.
  • Romaniac
    Indeed. Any AV will slow down a system a bit, but Norton can really kill one. They had to make their own "removal tool" for pete's sakes.

    Comparatives, and other independent tests, will show that free Anti Virus software can perform on par or ABOVE paid anti virus software.

    AVIRA FTW!!! Works great. Caught more than AVAST or AVG (which is becoming bloatware apparently).
  • thearm
    I'd like to see some testing on this topic. I wouldn't trust people on the net (nor myself) to make this kind of judgement.
  • Romaniac
    PS: http://www.avira.com/en/download/index.html
    And yes, it supports Linux.

    PSS: Does anyone have another link to the video? The posted one reports as 'removed by user'.
  • leo2kp
    I agree with thearm...there needs to be some more reviews on paid vs free AV protection.
  • commandersozo
    I downloaded MSE and installed it on my newly replaced laptop just yesterday. So far I'm happy, but I'll withhold judgment until I see how it fares against viruses. I'm also a current user of AVG on my desktop, and I've dealt with the costly names like Sata- er, Norton in the past. Hands down, I've found the free antivirus to be more effective, as well as friendlier and easier to use. You won't catch me recommending Norton or McAfee.
  • overclockingrocks
    I'd say yes yes it can be as good as paid software. Never ever had a problem that Avast couldn't catch. made the switch from AVG after I couldn't get the virus update one day and I've never looked back. Avast is great and does a wonderful job