Is Your New Computer Complaining About Expired Virus Protection? Replace It for Free.

Expired Virus ProtectionIn a few days, it will be a month since Christmas has come and past, and that usually means a month since you’ve opened up those new computers and laptops. While you’re enjoying the free trial offers of expensive anti-spyware and virus protection programs, you’re probably also aware (or even repeatedly reminded) that they’re about to expire. If you don’t want to pull out the credit card but don’t want to lose the spam and virus protection, it’s time to look at a third alternative – free programs.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You get what you pay for, right? Some people may even be so dead-set against free anti-spyware that they simply pay for the more expensive suites just to feel comfortable. Don’t be that person. Let’s check out a few free programs that actually deliver the goods:

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft often gets a bad rap these days, especially when it comes to software bugs. But what people don’t take into account is that most viruses are written for Microsoft or Windows software; of course they’re going to get slammed. MS isn’t oblivious to this, hence the free Security Essentials program that you can download right now. We love this as a security program because it’s simple, gets the job done, and won’t expire on you because it’s absolutely free. Just one quick tip: make sure that you uninstall the previous spyware program you’ve been running if you decide to stick with Security Essentials. Keeping your computer free and clear of unwanted programs will help it run smoothly.

Avast – with an Exclamation Point

avast! is another great alternative – they provide both hardcore, more costly Internet security systems but also offer Antivirus 5.0, a free program. You’ll get the usual suspects – anti-spam firewalls, message scanning, and compatibility with your latest Windows system – as well as a few avast!-unique frills like avast! Community IQ. Which is the better choice? It depends on your needs. Give one of them a try or, if you’re feeling ambitious, give them both a try and look for the best results. Ideally, a solid security program will run in the background, talk to you as little as possible, and keep your computer clean and fresh. If that’s what one of these programs does for you, then it’s doing its job. Leave it alone! You don’t necessarily need the more expensive security programs unless you’re really looking for some serious protection.

Want to Learn More?

Still not sure which program to use? Lifehacker.com has a review and additional resources for both programs:

Do You Have a Favorite Free Virus Program? Tell Us About It.

Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite free option. There are some good ones available and these aren’t the only two out there.

Microsoft Security Essentials System Requirements

Operating System: Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3); Windows Vista (Gold, Service Pack 1, or Service Pack 2); Windows 7

  • For Windows XP, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 500 MHz or higher, and 256 MB RAM or higher.
  • For Windows Vista and Windows 7, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 1.0 GHz or higher, and 1 GB RAM or higher.
  • VGA display of 800 × 600 or higher.
  • 140 MB of available hard disk space.
  • An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials.
  • Internet Browser:
    • Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.
    • Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials also supports Windows XP Mode in Windows 7.

Avast! System Requirements

  • Processor Pentium 3, 128 MB RAM
  • 100 MB of free hard disk space
  • Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 (32/64 bit)

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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