Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Save your Money - Get Free Antivirus

If you have a PC with any kind of Windows on it, the fact of the matter is, you're very prone to viruses, especially if you're the type to download a lot of things, or just simply unaware of the what to watch out for.

Viruses are destructive, and can destroy your files, or even render your computer inoperative. You can nerd out here for more details at Wikipedia.

However, don't worry too much like a mom of an acquantance I have, who told him to be careful not to get sick by catching a virus - I heard they spread through computers now.

In order to be 'immunized' from such destructive viruses, you must have anti-virus software. Companies like Norton and McAfee make great software that will keep you secure, but you have to purchase them every year and renew for about $30 to $50 on the average, depending on the suite of software you're buying from them.

I used to use Norton, until I found out that I didn't have to!

There are two great companies out there that do a great job in doing the same thing in fighting viruses, but are totally free.

1. Avast Antivirus - I like Avast, and currently use it for my PC's at home. It's trouble free, and even has a robotic voice that tells you, "virus database has been updated"whenever it does its autoupdate of the latest virus definitions to be aware of. I have had zero viruses since I've installed it.

But you must sign up with your email, and they'll email you a license key to enter to activate it. But that's normal for any software these days. In order to activate it, just copy the license key from the email and then right click on the blue circle with the 'a' in your system tray (that area on your computer on the lower right).

Then click on 'about Avast' and then click on the 'license key' button.

When your year is up, it will ask you to renew, and you just do the same thing, for FREE!

2. AVG Antivirus - I've used them successfully in the past, but I have a few caveats against them.

  • It doesn't seem to auto update the virus definitions all the time. I don't know why. You have to manually do it often.

  • Sometimes, after an update, you have to reboot the computer. I don't recall ever having to do that with Avast.

  • Each year, they try to get you to upgrade to the professional version, which you have to pay for, Avast does not do that. Last time, they had a version upgrade (sometime last year, don't recall the version#), it was really hard to find the free upgrade software. It tried to 'trick' you into upgrading to the professional version.

  • Small point, but overall, the software don't look as modern and professional as Avast.
Anyways, both are in the end effective, but I recommend Avast.

Lastly, in order to overall, just avoid viruses altogether, just follow these simple tips:

  1. Don't download software from any site other than trusted sites. This is not an extensive list, but here they are:,,, You can also check out for free daily giveaways of selected PC software for free.

  2. Don't download attachments from emails of people who don't know.

  3. Don't visit inappropriate sites

  4. Don't download stuff from peer to peer software like emule. Often, people might think that they are downloading that free movie or song or software, but some can have viruses put there with malicious intent. Plus, this is illegal and you risk lawsuit for yourself. Just don't go there.


Jeremiah said...

Hey Joe,
i always wondered about downloading free fonts from or I know you mentioned that in a previous post, but is there a risk from a zip or ttf file?
Thanks, buddy,

Average Joe Tutor said...

hey jeremiah,

actually, yes, you can. any file can be a virus in a windows environment. typically, they are scripts where you have to 'launch' the script, and they try to trick you with the name of the file, but typically, they are something like .exe or .vbs (there are more but wont go there).

Just ensure you only save the file and don't 'open' it if you're not sure. after you save, go to where you saved it. typically, all anti-virus software (like avast) has an option where you can right-click on the file and can choose "scan [file name]"

do that, and you'll be pretty safe.

also, avast has a feature where if you try to open a certain file from the web, it will warn if you if it's a virus. Not sure how thorough they are, but worked for me. prevented me from getting a virus once.