If you’re resigned to the fact that you need some type of antivirus software running on your computer (and you should), the question becomes which one should you use? Yesterday’s blog covered a few free antivirus programs on the market. You can see the review here. Today we’ll begin covering some of the antivirus software for purchase.
Software licenses and subscriptions
Most of the antivirus programs reviewed here require a license, subscription, or contract to be able to continue receiving updates. When you buy the program, you usually also usually get a 6-month or 1-year license, and sometimes you can find a 2-year license option. When the license expires, the software is still usable, but you cannot receive updates without purchasing a new license. The ongoing cost of protection is one of the drawbacks of purchased antivirus software. You don’t have to buy the newest version every year, but you do have to renew your license or subscription.
● Norton Antivirus 2006 – One of the most well known antivirus programs, Norton Antivirus by Symantec can be purchased as a stand alone program or as part of a more comprehensive security package that includes features such as firewalls, anti-spam, and parental controls. Regardless if you buy Norton Antivirus as a part of a package or as a stand along product, the program works the same.
Norton Antivirus does an excellent job at catching viruses and worms that my come into your computer. If you are the type who wants to know everything that Norton Antivirus catches, then you’ll like the default settings of this program. Every time something is detected on your system and quarantined or cleaned, you’ll be notified by some type of pop-up screen. You can turn the pop-up notifications off if you choose, but I like to see how many times my computer is attacked.
Norton Antivirus is much more user friendly in the 2006 version and you shouldn’t have any trouble installing the software. If you do have software trouble, however, their customer service is less than stellar and will cost you about $30 just to get help over the telephone. Also, Norton Antivirus uses a lot of system memory when working, so if your computer memory (RAM) is limited (less than 256MB RAM) then you may notice some slowdown when your system is being scanned. You can get around this problem by scanning your computer when you aren’t using it for anything else.
● McAfee VirusScan – McAfee VirusScan is as popular as Norton Antivirus in terms of the number of copies sold and users installing the software. People often ask, “Should I use McAfee or Norton?” Honestly, as with a lot of my recommendations, the choice is a personal one. Both programs catch pretty much any virus that tries to sneak its way into your computer.
Similar to Norton Antivirus, McAfee VirusScan can be purchased as a stand along product or as part of a package of security software. McAfee VirusScan really excels as part of the McAfee Security Center, which monitors your firewall, anti-spam, anti-spyware, and antivirus software among other things. I find it easier to use a security suite that includes both a firewall and antivirus program and McAfee’s is top notch. McAfee VirusScan is a little more user friendly than Norton Antivirus 2006 and most of the important features are turned on by default, so you won’t have to figure out what all of the different settings mean.
McAfee’s customer service is nothing to shout about, similar to the service offered with Norton Antivirus. You’ll have to pay almost $50 to talk to someone on the telephone if you can’t find your answer after trolling their support site. McAfee’s VirusScan isn’t as much of a system memory hog as Norton, but it will slow your system down a little when doing a full computer scan.
More antivirus software for purchase
Tomorrow’s blog will review three additional antivirus software programs in addition to the two reviewed here.