About four months ago I started getting that familiar pop-up window on my computer. My McAfee VirusScan software was so kindly reminding me that I needed to renew my virus updates subscription - repeatedly. I'd be in the middle of something, and there pops this annoying red and white box - again. Now, if it had been just once a day, that might not have pushed me over the edge, but it wasn't just at load time, it was periodically while I was using it. And these people thought I was now going to pay them money to renew my subscription? Ha!
So I started looking for some alternatives, and came across the Avast website. Now, being the owner of a web design business, my first thought was "Oh, nice website." and so I paid a bit more attention to it. In my mind, people who take the time to make a nice and appealing site, have a product they are serious about getting out there. So, I browsed around on the site some, and came upon the Free Home Version of Avast! 4. (Note: They also have a version for Linux for home that is coming out next month.)
I wanted three basic things out of a free anti-virus software. I wanted it to have automatic updating, take less active memory (RAM) from my computer to run than McAfee, and I wanted it to be updated frequently because new viruses come out so often. When looking at the features, I found that it did include everything I was looking for, and then some. Heck, they even have skins I could download to change the appearance! Not that I'm particularly concerned with my anti-virus software looking pretty, but it was just a neat little addition. Now, it did warn me that after 60 days I'd have to t register online for a free registration key to keep the software going. Then, annually, get a new key. But they made sure to highlight that those key codes are always free. So, I gave it a shot.
I uninstalled my McAfee, said a none to remorseful 'Goodbye' to the red & white popup, and installed Avast! on my computer. The very first thing I noticed on reboot was that it didn't drag my system the way McAfee did. I took a look at the running processes, and noticed that it was taking significantly less RAM to run than McAfee. Woo! One promise fulfilled so far. It also has a very easy interface for picking and choosing what it should monitor in programs. If you want it to watch your email clients and online email, messenger programs, etc... it's very easy to set.
The real test happened over the next few weeks. As I used it, I was seeing some very frequent updates come in for the software. So now, it had scored 3 for 3. I got my desire for auto-updating fulfilled, frequent updates, and less ram needed by my computer.
I've been using it since then, and I cannot say I'm at all sad to see that annoying pop up gone.