Saturday, November 26, 2005

Short-Term Savings

Everybody loves a deal, and there’s no denying that AVG 6.0 and “AVAST! Home” represent as good a deal as you’re likely to get when it comes to virus protection. Nevertheless, you may want to think twice before loading either of the free products on your PC because they have some drawbacks.
The greatest drawback to these products is their limited technical support. Grisoft doesn’t provide any technical assistance to users of AVG 6.0, whereas ALWIL Software lets users of “AVAST! Home” submit their technical inquiries via email only. In either case, the burden is on you to figure out timely solutions to problems that arise while installing or configuring the utility. That may sound like a small price to pay for free software, but it can take a heavy toll when a virus strikes and the need for immediate assistance becomes crucial.
Another significant drawback is the monthly—rather than weekly or daily—virus definition updates. Home and small-business computer users, especially those who have dial-up Internet connections, may be satisfied with the frequency of these updates, but anyone who maintains a steady flow of incoming and outgoing files, email, and instant messages via a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or cable Internet connection won’t be content with limited tech support. The same is true for those who operate their computers on a network. Besides, 30 days is more than enough time for a virus to invade a system, wreak havoc, and transmit itself to dozens of other computers. Freeware just doesn’t cut it when the stakes are high.
Scrupulous computer users know this and have no problem shelling out $20, $30, $50, or more to receive a reliable, supported, and frequently updated anti-virus product. The question, then, becomes which one. Norton Anti-virus and McAfee Virus-Scan get most of the attention in the United States, but they are not the only anti-virus programs available. Dozens of different anti-virus programs promise to protect your PC for a price. Ironically, it’s the freebies that can help you choose one.

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