Free antivirus software is popular because it's free, but there are downsides to using the free version of some vendors.
As described in our article about the best free antivirus, free software often prompts you to upgrade to a paid product, sometimes at an incredibly annoying rate without consideration of your current activity.
Furthermore, some free antivirus programs contain ads or even worse, bundled PUPs like a variety of browser toolbars which could weigh down on your system's resources or inadvertently leave you exposed to infections.
We decided to take a look into what really interests users who are considering a free antivirus.
We'll be looking at the user experience with free versions and expired free trials in terms of everything I mentioned and a couple of other aspects.
This quick overview should assist you to figure out which of the free antivirus versions is best for you.
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There is no antivirus software that is the best in all parameters and that suits all users in the same way. The select choice depends a great deal on personal preference and personal needs.
Users who aren't very computer-savvy might prefer to choose one with a more convenient user-interface. If you need a mobile version, or a virus protection software for your Mac, it will also disqualify several choices. Gamers must have a "gaming" mode available which will disable popups and warnings while gaming.
Virus protection software works in several ways:
Manually-activated or scheduled full system scans check your system top to bottom for malware and other threats which might be lurking around, and clean up the infected files.
On-access scans are active in the background, checking every file you open for malicious elements.
Heuristics are also employed by antivirus software in order to identify unknown threats. This means that even if a program behaves strangely and doesn't match the current virus definitions, it's regarded as suspicious.
Some might say that it depends on one's level of familiarity with technology, but we advocate using at least basic virus protection regardless of how well you understand this world.
Just as veteran doctors aren't immune to disease, advanced users and highly regarded professionals may also find themselves under the attack of malware without expecting it.
Malware might attack you in the places you least expect around the web, so installing a virus protection software is the smart move.
Depending on the antivirus company you choose, a free antivirus tool might have one or more of these drawbacks:
Annoying popups that implore you to upgrade to the paid antivirus version, ads within the software, lack of certain protection tools like a firewall, a less convenient user interface, and more.
If you're really tight for cash, a free antivirus tool might be enough for you, but bear in mind that more often than not, it will increase your exposure to online threats.
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