These antivirus programs have had to evolve to keep up with the viruses they chase. As viruses have found new ways to infect your computer, antivirus programs have had to change the ways in which they scan your computer and files. Many antivirus programs today are focused more on preventing the installation of virus riddled programs while still maintaining the ability to do a full system scan of your computer if the user feels infected.
Many antivirus programs today offer e-mail scanning, web browsing protection, and some even offer sandboxing (think of it as a safe way to test run the program to make sure it's not going to ruin your computer with a virus). Let's take a look at some of my favorite freebies and some of the protection they offer.
1. Avast: Avast is the "worlds most popular antivirus software with 159,619,632 registrations and growing" of which probably 2,000 are me putting them on customers computers as well as my own. Avast is a full featured antivirus program that out performs many paid antivirus programs. Avast was the first to offer for free, the sandboxing mentioned earlier. Avast is free, the only ask that you register with them and it will prompt you to reregister annually. Avast has won a numerous awards over the years and many other antivirus programs actually use Avast's virus engine (what they use to determine a virus is a virus) in their programs. Avast has the fastest scanning speeds I've seen as well. All of this makes Avast my #1 choice.
1b. AVG: During the past decade, AVG was my main antivirus solution. AVG continues to put out a high quality product with great features. Both Avast and AVG are similar in their offerings. The only reason I bumped AVG down to 1b is due to the fact that their update servers seem to have trouble staying up all the time. When have it scheduled to update once a day at a certain time and the servers are down at that time, you could go a few days before getting an update which could put your system at risk to the latest virus.