Did you ever get in a rut about something and keep on doing it in a certain way while neglecting promising alternatives?
I may be guilty as it comes to which antivirus software I recommend to the average home and small business user. I have concentrated on four main criteria: effectiveness, ease of use, minimal performance interference and cost. As most of you know, I never recommend bought software if there is an equivalent one available for free.
My preferred free AV Software for several years has been AVG free and I continue to regard it highly for its effectiveness, timely updating, ease of use and of course the fact that it’s free. There are three or four other third-party AVs that I can also vouch for, but there is a new kid on the block that I need to acknowledge. Not really a new kid, more of an 800 pound gorilla: but they have really gotten their act together in the last year or so and offer a free AV to users that is easy to download and install, easy to use and free. I’m speaking of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Their only caveat to free use of MSE is that it be used on genuine Windows Operating Systems. It’s even available for small businesses with up to 10 PCs.
Most of the IT gurus that I follow are now recommending MSE after panning the prior attempts at establishing a commercial (for pay) product. I don’t really blame Microsoft for trying to make a profit, but the reason we need AV products in the first place is because of exploits of weaknesses in the MS software. There is a whole industry of hackers and those trying to prevent the hacking.
So here I am, a little late to the party recommending MSE. Do you need to switch from another good free AV? No, and you definitely don’t need both! But if you want to try something new, you have my blessing. You can download the free MSE versions from Microsoft’s own servers (just Google MS Security Essentials) and follow the directions or download from fielhippo.com as many of you already do. By the way, MS has a Help Guide and an Install Video right on their download page.
Regardless which download site you choose, be aware that Microsoft Security Essentials comes in three flavors to allow for running on Win XP, Vista/Win 7 (32-bit) or Vista/Win7 (64-bit). Make sure you download the version that suits your OS.
One last reminder; whichever AV you choose, you do have to pay a little attention to it. Don’t be like the guy who was asked if he had antifreeze in his car and replied, “Sure I’ve got two gallons in my trunk”. You need to set up the AV in the beginning so that two things happen on a regular basis: your system is scanned periodically for malware and updates to the AV definitions are downloaded.
I recommend that you regularly (like once a month) do both these operations manually so that you know they are happening.