Recommendations for Best Anti-Virus For Windows 7 or 8 in 2014

OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
AV: Avast Internet Security
Malware: Malwarebytes

My machine is a desktop with win7, but I'm also using laptops with win8 now.

I need protection from Potential Viruses my machine might receive from internet browsing and downloads; also from email received from a client such as MS Outlook; and from other MS Office, or desktop programs.

Is MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) still recommended as a "best" solution for 2014? What type of support is there for MSE for billing or other issues (such as how to use the cleaning tools)? Does it support email filtering? Does it have exportable or text editable safe lists, and blocked lists?

How effective is MSE in 2014 as compared to
3. AVG, or
4. Other?
Jerry LOperations ManagerAsked:
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Phillip BurtonDirector, Practice Manager and Computing ConsultantCommented:
My preference for several years has been Norton Internet Security. If you get the 3 PC version, it works out at about £8-£9 ($15) per PC.
No, Symantec stuff is all crap and has always been one of the worst AV tools available, and for that you even have to pay. It is a resource hog, and more like malware itself.

I have found Panda Antivirus to be the best AV tool available, and if you are using it privately, there is a free version, which is all I need. It has a very small footprint and it has never let me down. If your PC is for business, then get the pro version, but during installation make sure you don't install the extra stuff, like firewall etc, as that isn't needed, the Windows built-in firewall is very good and you don't need to replace that with a 3rd party tool.

There are some additional measures you must take though, besides running a good AV utility.

1. NEVER logon as an Administrator. Rather use a standard Account for your day-to-day work, and ONLY use the Admin account when UAC pops up and needs you to logon as Admin, or if you need to do admin tasks that UAC doesn't account for.

2. Take care when browsing or mailing. Don't click on every link or site you get, and don't open attachments you don't trust.

Run a Linux Virtual Machine on your PC, then you can use that for browsing sites which might not be so safe. Linux is much less attackable than Windows is, and besides that, any infections will be confined to the VM and not in Windows.

3. Take your backups seriously.
Andy MIT Systems ManagerCommented:
I generally find when it comes to Anti-Virus you get what you pay for - the free editions although are not bad do lack some of the features paid-for anti-virus provides.

At the end of the day there's no 100% correct answer for the best anti-virus as it boils down to personal preference and other user's experiences. Personally I find Norton/Symantec bloated and a bit of a performance hog but other users swear by it, some users may think McAfee is better.

Personally I use GFI's Vipre Antivirus (£40 a year for upto 10 PC license) - never had any viruses infect my system and it's also picked up viruses that some of the other av's we use at work did not (That included ESET, AVG, MSSE, and Symantec/Norton).
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Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution GuideCommented:
It is a personal decision.  Now that mse is part of windows 8.x. we have used symantec (or had gotten better over the years and is less of a resource hog), Vipre Business,  Comodo,  Faronics AV (DO NOT use WinSelect), MBAM (am not av), as well as some ancillary apps like Winpatrol Plus and the MVPS hosts file. I don't use anything on some machine and use Faronics Deepfreeze instead (think windows steadystate for any windows OS).
Phillip BurtonDirector, Practice Manager and Computing ConsultantCommented:
I agree than in 2007 Norton Internet Security was not that good - it definitely improved over the next 3 years or so, and is now lightweight.
Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution GuideCommented:
Symantec Antivirus products (SEP) do use less resources but still use to much disk space.  I forgot to mention that for home users AVAST! 3 computer option is excellent.  I also feel that the suggestion of using a virtual machine needs to be repeated.  VMs are easily setup and much better security.
Let me just comment on "How effective is MSE in 2014 as compared to A/B/C...)
->MSE integrates into windows very smoothly, no wonder, it's by MS themselves. As for effectiveness, AV vendors are struggeling for arguments to keep MSE in a niche.
You will often read "MSE only finds 65 percent of this and that while the 'BIG_AV_HERE' will find more than 90%" - of course do AV vendors invest more time and strength into their product than MS' security teams can - that's not MS' main job after all. But the game does not work like this. There is no "with that 'BIG_AV_HERE' , I will be certain that with 90% of encountered malwares, it will save me" - that is just plain bogus. You will have the AV as last resort, very last resort, that's all. When all security measures have failed, then we have to "pray" that our AV finds that thing.
Do you like that thought?

You don't. So don't rely on AV. I have left the big names and after deployment of win8 have deployed nothing but the built-in windows defender which is nearly identical to MSE.
Asif BacchusI.T. ConsultantCommented:
As everyone has said, this is a very personal choice... which I know, is not quite as helpful as you were hoping for :-)  My two cents...

I find, personal opinion only, McAfee and Symantec and other 'popular' bundled AVs to be very bloated and not as efficient or effective as they were many many years ago when they were still smaller companies.

For home/personal use, I find Avast to be great especially when combined with Malwarebytes (free) and a good firewall (ZoneAlarm free is pretty good).  Along with a decent router providing NAT and basic SPI, this is pretty much all the protection a casual user would need.  Following Rindi's additional suggestions, you'll be pretty well protected against most internet baddies.

For a business network, that's a different story.  I've used ESET for years and find it to be the lightest and fastest scanner out there.  It's also pretty reasonably priced and they have great deals for multi-licenses and even options for SBS servers which cover both file servers and Exchange as a 2-for-1 deal.  Contact a reseller (before ESET directly) because they can sometimes work out some great deals for you.  For example, if you buy full endpoint protection and server protection, they may cut you a deal on mobile and/or gateway protection.  Also, they always throw in free remote administrator licenses which is very helpful in centralizing your AV management.

Good luck!
Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution GuideCommented:
I forgot ESET, thank for reminding me.  Let me throw another hat into the ring for ESET (that's a mixed metaphor).  I used it for awhile for my work and liked it so much we would have bought it  but at the time we were trying to cut our budget down to nothing.  You can always make a pretty good argument for Business AV just on a financial basis (think Manhours lost).

ESET has had the best centralized console for years.
i would say, for a personal PC - just use any of the free  versions
be aware that - if you keep visiting suspect sites - sooner or later you'll get infected, so be sure to have a good backup, - or image of your drive, in order to have a way of restoring it properly

there is no tool in existence now that can provide protection against future developments in virus, or malware

** i havve been doing this for years, and only once or 2 times i had met a virus, which was easily deleted.
i also restore my pc at least after 2 years use

for a business pc - that's another matter, and you can follow the suggestions above
Jerry LOperations ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your suggestions.

Rindi                     - Panda Antivirus
Andy Morton      - Vipre (comes ahead of ESET, AVAST, AVG)
asifbacchus        - AVAST for personal, or ESET for server
Thomas Scharff - ESET and Vipre

One way for me to decide will be how well email filtering works. AVAST has been working well to block email malware and bad websites. Customer support is less than stellar. AVAST has taken over 7 days for them to answer a simple billing question through their support ticket system. And they don't answer billing questions over the phone. I hope their development team is not managed as poorly.
Asif BacchusI.T. ConsultantCommented:
AVAST should really only be considered for a home system, where support and development are not paramount.  The other suggestions will be much better in any form of business or even home mission-critical environment.  Again, my vote is ESET.  Their support is fast and very good, in my experience, and they are great with updates.  If you are looking especially into email, ESET has an Exchange protection module that loads on the server and the endpoint protection on the clients has dedicated plugins for several email clients, especially Outlook.

Good luck!

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Jerry LOperations ManagerAuthor Commented:
McKnife - MSE and Windows Defender
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