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antivirus software. mse, defender ?

Hi could anyone advise me what is a better antivirus.  I have a choice of Microsoft Sec essentials? windows defender? or avg? They are all free but they are not that good.  Could anyone advise which one is the best free one?  also spyware, which one should I use?  free or not free,  
With anti virus, if the free ones are really no good, which one should I purchase.  same with the anti malware?  I expect the free ones to be so limited.  You get what you pay for.  any advice will be helpful.  thanks
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sydney25000
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sydney25000
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If you want protection, a paid, corporate brand name AntiVirus is always miles ahead of the free stuff.

Symantec Corporate paid, Kaspersky paid, MacAfee paid all have their good points and weak points.

Windows Defender is pretty much gone. I have had to rip out AVG free and replace it with better product to eliminate all the viruses.

My clients all now use Symantec Endpoint Protection late V11 or V12 and we have very few viruses and zero outbreaks.

... Thinkpads_User
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ThomasMcA2Commented:
Per Consumer Reports, May 2012, in order of preference

 1.  Avira Free Antivirus
 2.  AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012
 3.  Avast Free Antivirus
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Darr247Commented:
MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Pro is currently $12 from Newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832562001
Add it to cart, then use the promo code EMCXWVL36
and it takes another $8 off their regular discounted price of $19.99.
I think that special ends tomorrow, by the way.
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nobusCommented:
>>  They are all free but they are not that good.   <<  i find they are VERY good.
you must realise that there is no one that can protect you against everything - the best protection is not visiting suspect sites

since you post this in the XP tab - be aware that it is not best suited for protection either; maybe best to upgrade to W7, or W8
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Robby SwartenbroekxMSP engineerCommented:
There is no all time best av scanner, free or paid.
I use this site to find what av scanners are the best at this moment: http://www.av-comparatives.org/
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dbruntonCommented:
nobus stated correctly

you must realise that there is no one [product] that can protect you against everything

You can help mitigate the risks by:

Use the Chrome browser to surf the Internet.
Use a LIve LInux CD to surf the Internet.  Especially useful for online banking.
Ensure you have an easily restorable image of your system if you use Windows.
Ensure all of your data is backed up.
Use Thunderbird rather than Outlook for handling your mail.
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rindiCommented:
First of all, most free antivirus software can only be used privately, not in company environments (MSE is the exception here). So that could be something that limits you.

Otherwise, I don't agree that the free antivirus tools are no good. I use Panda's free Cloud antivirus, and have never had any problems with it. It certainly beats the symantec crapware by light years. An advantage is that it uses very little resources on your PC, less than any other tool I know, and as it runs "in the cloud", it is always as up-to-date as possible. There is also a paid for version if you need it in a company environment.

Of course as has been mentioned above, no tool can be 100% sure, and things can also change, as maybe one product will product you from a certain virus faster than another on a certain day, and that could be different on the next day with another virus. So using common sense while using the PC is probably the best good practice.
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sydney25000Author Commented:
Hi Thomas, can I just ask if it is ok to run avast and avira at the same time so that if one does not pick up a virus, maybe the other will?  I have installed avira.  It seems good.  My Microsoft Sec Essentials was making my system hang.. thanks
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rindiCommented:
Never use two different AV products at the same time.
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nobusCommented:
sydney - you did not give any reward to the majority of the posts - that were saying the same
maybe you don't agree ?  that's fine, but post your ideas plse
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ThomasMcA2Commented:
Never install 2 AV products that run in the background and monitor for real-time threats at the same time. But it is OK to use multiple scanning tools. For example, Malwarebytes is a great scanner. The free version only scans when you open the GUI and click the button, so it can be installed along with your preferred real-time scanner. Once a month you can open Malwarebytes, click the Update button, then run a scan.

AVG also has a free CD version. You can burn it to a CD, then boot from that CD, and it will scan the hard drive. The advantage of scanning from a boot device is that any viruses that may be on the hard drive won't be running during the scan, which means they can't protect themselves from being deleted.

Although it's not an AV tool, Ccleaner is another scanner/cleanup tool that deletes temporary files and cleans the registry. During my maintenance sessions, I usually run that right before running Malwarebytes. You'll need to run 2 scans in Ccleaner (once in each tab). One cleans the files, the other cleans the registry.
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