Is free anti-virus software safe to use

Image of person breaking into a computer

Although the cheapest option, do ask yourself if free anti-virus software safe to use at least once a year

Any free anti-virus software can initially be brilliant but not so effective a few years later.   The efficiency of anti-virus software programs can vary year on year.  So we would recommend that you don’t assume that the free anti-virus software you installed years ago is still the best option. It may well be, but it is worthwhile spending five minutes checking out your options every two or three years. is a good place to start. No idea where to check which anti-virus software is best?

Most IT professionals have their ‘favourite’ which you ‘must’ use.  Many have a whole load of programs they ‘condemn’ as unusable because they’ take up too much memory and slow your computer down’.  Make your own decision.  In our experience any of the programs listed in the top ten of are fine to use.

Few people have noticeable problems with these anti-virus software programs slowing their computers down nowadays.  This is not true if you are running a very old or underspecified computer.  If this is the case then do a little research into how much memory the software program you favour will use.  The right anti-virus software may make a big difference.

Also, be aware that some software programs can be absolutely fantastic at stopping viruses and malware. They may also cause challenges when connecting to another computer or downloading and installing software.  So, sometimes the program with the best protection record may not be the best program for your computer.

How current is your software PROGRAMME

I am not talking about your virus definitions here, but the actual program itself.  Most virus software suppliers upgrade their software every year.  You rarely get automatically upgraded to the newest software version.  It really is worthwhile doing though. In our experience, the developers are constantly changing the way their software protects your computer.  We have seen lots of computers over the years with viruses that are running very old versions of free anti-virus software.  Remember that the software programmers are constantly improving how they protect your computer. They are also reducing the impact on memory usage and speed issues.

Have your browsing habits changed?

Many free software programs don’t provide full protection – often things such as identity theft and online banking are not fully covered.  So pop on their site and check what they do cover you for.  If you cannot find a good free anti-virus software program that covers for everything you do online, then pay.  This is one area where you really, really should put protection before cost.

Are your phones and tablets at risk too?

Android devices were one of the fastest growing areas for malware last year, so don’t forget to get them protected too.

If you would like to chat about this, don’t hesitate to contact me at or telephone 01787 881475 for a chat.

Rebecca Mansbridge
January 2014