Free antivirus packages have evolved to the point where many of them protect your PC from threats as well as the premium tools. We looked at PC Tools AntiVirus Free, which offers good, basic protection from online threats,is regularly updated, and even includes some useful extras like phishing alerts, Web site ratings, and adware and malware protection.
PC Tools' installer essentially outlines the differences between the freeware and premium versions of its antivirus solution, such as zero-day threat updates, a firewall, ID theft protection, and anti-spam. One of the setup options allows automatic updates. We recommend keeping this box checked since your antivirus software can't be too current. During the setup process, PC Tools downloaded and installed updated antivirus definitions. The program's colorful interface is similar to other tools, but with its own sleek layout. PC Tools scanned our system and found a number of low-level threats like tracking cookies and adware. We could click to expand a tree view to see exactly what the program was targeting. Satisfied, we clicked Fix Checked, and PC Tools quickly cleared the house. Next we clicked the IntelliGuard tab, which offered nine Guards: Behavior, Browser, Cookie, Download, Email, File, Network, Rootkit, and Site. Each offered an explanation as well as View History and Manage Exclusions controls. The Settings tab also offered nine sections, everything from Global Action List to Scheduled Tasks and Quarantine. A Report Card tab brought up a quick-and-easy summary of our PC's security situation and PC Tools' recent activities. Of course, we could click a prominent Upgrade button any time we felt like trying the premium version.
We've tried many antivirus programs, free and pay, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. PC Tools' free solution offers a nice blend of good, basic protection and some useful extras. Many of the extras it omits are available as freeware, too, such as third-party firewalls and spamfighters. Now if it's a question of free or no antivirus, the answer is simple: Download a free antivirus solution right now. PC Tools AntiVirus Free should definitely be on your list.