A couple of weeks ago my PC got a virus. AVG Free didn’t detect anything suspicious but my web browsers were redirecting me to spammy sites. MBAM (a free malware scanner) found something and removed it but my web experience was still funky so I reinstalled windows for peace of mind.
Since AVG let me down I decided to search for alternatives. A lot of people in forums like Alwil Avast and Avira AntiVir. A respected site for ratings of AV programs is http://www.av-comparatives.org/. According to their reports the big brand guys like McAfee and Symantec (Norton) do not have very good detection rates. Apparently those companies are more skilled at marketing than they are at virus detection. Avira has the best detection rates but also has a lot of false positives and I’ve read that the free version will nag you to upgrade. Microsoft recently released its free Security Essentials product which looks like a solid option as well.
I decided to try Avast free. Although its detection rates are less than Avira, it’s lightweight, doesn’t detect many false positives and doesn’t nag much. When I ran a file scan, Avast detected the virus in a program I had recently executed before the infection, the one that AVG missed. So far Avast has been great and my 5+ year old computer feels faster than ever. I also haven’t reinstalled iTunes (that bloated behemoth), Java or Adobe Reader. More on that later.