Free software Free anti-virus software
Free anti-virus software
Security software, combined with careful browsing online, is the best form of defence from internet nasties. Protection is essential, but paying for it isn't.
In fact, you can keep your PC locked up securely without spending a thing. There are some great free security tools that hold their own against paid-for suites.
Choosing the best antivirus software - everything you need to know for keeping your PC safe
Free security software vs paid-for software
The biggest names in security software are the likes of Norton and McAfee. Their security software suites have been big-sellers for years, and while they are both include a comprehensive set of tools to help keep you safe. The downside is you have to pay an annual fee to stay protected - without this, you may have out-of-date protection, or none at all.
Sometimes a free anti-virus program like Microsoft Security Essentials will do the job just as well, with no annual fees.
Below, we compare the performance of Norton Internet Security 2013 and Microsoft Security Essentials side-by-side. We examine their ability to ward off threats, as well how easy they are to set up and use.
|Head-to-head||Norton Internet Security 2013||Microsoft Security Essentials|
|Advanced parental controls|
|Ease of installing and uninstalling|
|Total ease of use|
What do you get with free security software?
You might think that by opting for free security software, you'll leave yourself less protected than if you'd paid for an anti-virus suite.
In fact, free security software can do a great job at keeping your PC protected against threat, as well as staying up to date to guard against the latest viruses. Not all free software suites are as comprehensive as others, so be sure to check our Which? security software reviews - you don't want to cut the wrong corners when it comes to your online safety.
What you won't get with free security software are extra features like parental controls, tune-up tools and data backup. Any of these features can separately be sourced for free if you're intent on having them, though paid-for security suites tend to group them into one handy package.