Comparison of Free Antivirus
Attitude: I hate Anti-virus.
I started using computers in 1996. At that time, it was just a video game for me. By 1999, I started looking at a bit seriously. My father was system administrator at that time. He was having Norton Antivirus on the system. System was P1 (Don’t laugh; it was latest & best at that time) but very slow. By 2002, I was in Bhilai, doing my engineering and got a personal computer. I become the system administrator for my personal computer. My father got Norton Antivirus installed on it. My system was very slow so I searched internet finding the reasons. Somewhere I read Antivirus is the biggest virus of computers. I started hating antivirus. I uninstalled Norton from my system. My system was not connected to the internet so there was no threat for the system. So everything was fine. Attitude of hating antivirus got powerful in my subconscious mind.
I really needed anti-virus.
In 2005, I got my first laptop. It was also having connectivity to the Internet and I was not having any antivirus on my laptop; simply because I hate them. But soon, my system got infected with hundreds of virus and it become very difficult to work on that. For the first time I realized, I need an antivirus program. But which one; I was not having any pirated software on my laptop so I didn’t wanted to install any pirated antivirus. Again I was not in the condition to purchase any antivirus. So I decided to go for any free antivirus; at least free anti-virus will provide some protection. I found AVG Antivirus is free. I downloaded it and installed it. It was also providing free updates against new threats. Best thing, which was also most important for me, it was not making the system slow. So I become a fan of AVG free antivirus and start suggesting my friends to use AVG Free Antivirus.
No Updates; Get a rid of AV:
In 2007, I joined in2m technologies (now renamed to Finicity). I was sitting late in the office and had internet access in the office. So I no longer needed internet connection on my laptop. Once I disconnected my laptop from internet, there was no updated for AVG Antivirus. In 2009, my personal laptop again got infected by the virus that came after 2007 as AVG on my laptop was not updated. So I realize any antivirus, without updates, it useless. Thus, I uninstalled AVG.
Needed Anti-virus again:
I started my own company, Youthpark, in July 2010. I was again connected to the internet and now I need antivirus software again. Even very cheap now, I didn’t wanted to invest in anti-virus immediately, may be later.
So now I wanted a free antivirus, but which one. My previous experience suggested AVG Free antivirus but an engineer inside me asked to find and compare different free antivirus. I found three free anti-virus; AVG Free Edition, Avast Free Edition and Avira AntiVir. I invested few hours reading about pro and cons of above three anti-virus. Below is my findings; I put them here hoping they will help someone who need to install free anti-virus but didn’t have time to compare different free solutions.
Comparison; AVG, Avast, Avira AntiVir:
Declaration: I want to declare again that these finding are not my own personal findings. I’m just collecting it from different sources. My biggest source is http://av-comparatives.org/. There are quite a few more sources but it is difficult to remember and mention name of more than 25 websites here. But I’m still thankful to all the sites which posted important points regarding free AV comparison, which help me to compare them.
Note: Above results has been taken from August 2010 test of av-comparatives.org.
Based on only above result, I though the AVG, to whom I was thinking best available free anti-virus, have third rank in total three free anti-virus. Thus, now started concentrating more on Avira and Avast but also looking at AVG as it was my favourite anti-virus for around 5 years.
False Alarm Test.
Next finding was ‘False Positive Result’ or ‘False Alarm Result’. I didn’t knew all these criteria for testing anti-virus but found many new ones. ‘False Alarm’ is the capability of anti-virus to raise the virus alarm even if a file is not infected. Obviously that is bad. A good anti-virus must have minimal ‘False Alarm’. Out of same set of virus free files, below are the number of false alarm by the anti-virus under test (I only picked result of free anti-virus):
Avast – 9 False Alarm.
Avira – 10 False Alarm.
AVG – 19 False Alarm.
Again AVG lagged. Man why i didn’t checked this result 5 years ago.
Well, this is a test that matters most for me. I didn’t wanted my system slows down notably. This will put me in trouble as I can’t invest even 15 minutes every day waiting for anti-virus. Test was conducted on Windows XP SP 3 with Intel Core 2 Duo E8300/2.83 G.Hz., 2 G.B. RAM on SATA II disks. Result speed is in MB/sec.
Avast – 17.2 MB/sec
Avira – 15.1 MB/sec
AVG – 13.0 MB/sec
With these results, I guessed AVG is continuously at number 3 in all tests. Than I concentrated again on Avira and Avast to find out which one should I use. For that, I didn’t just rely on above 3 tests but also checked few more tests. I realized, although speed is important but main purpose of an anti-virus is to protect our system from virus, where Avira has an edge over Avast. So I download Avast. Now my laptop is powered by Avira AntiVir free edition. Although, I’m finding it little too difficult than AVG to manage but its just a matter of time when I will learn how to best use Avira. So from now onwards, If my friends ask me which free antivirus they should use, I answer will be Avira AntiVir.
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