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Antivirus is one of those things that we all need to have on our computers but hate to pay for it when the year is up. If you’re like me and have a bunch of systems laying around because you can never throw out the old, junky computers from years past, the bill gets higher and higher when it’s time to re-up for another year. Even though you can often put antivirus software on multiple machines, I’d still be looking at a few different subscriptions.

I tried out a few different free versions of antivirus such as AVG, Avast, TrendMicro, and ClamWin. All of them worked fairly well, but I ended up going with AVG in the end. I honestly don’t remember why I chose AVG out of that group, but it did serve me well for quite some time.

The only thing that concerned me is that most free versions of antivirus have a paid version as well. If a piece of constantly updated software is your company’s bread and butter, and you also offer a free version of the same software, it’s safe to say there’s going to be a wee bit of a difference in the delivery of updates.

I’m not sure how delayed the definition updates are for each software I mentioned, but I found out how vulnerable I was when the AVG antivirus failed me and I got a nasty virus on one computer. Luckily, I was able to track down the root of the virus and delete the files that were constantly replicating on this system. It wasn’t easy, but it’s the price I paid for going with free antivirus.

I’ve since moved on to a paid corporate antivirus program that seems acceptable so far. It will occasional find risks and quarantine them if possible, but some risks also need manual remediation. I guess I’d prefer this over the unexpected virus, but it’s not a completely automatic process by any means.

I still consider myself an advocate for using the free versions of antivirus if you’re willing to risk exposure with delayed definition updates. In my experience, you’re never a hundred percent protected from a new virus regardless of what you use, but at least with the paid versions you can submit your problem and expect a remedy in a timely fashion. With the free version, you’ll have to either wait a bit longer for the cure to trickle down to you or figure out how to fix it yourself.