For several years I'd been using various versions of the Norton and McAfee anti-virus programs. They did the job, and I willingly paid the annual cost because I was terrified of the alternative - some nasty virus taking over my computer. Downloaded, these programs usually cost around $30 annually.
Well, a virus got me anyways. And my McAfee program didn't catch it since I'd forgotten to update it. So then I bought the latest version of Norton, loaded it in, and still had problems, as Norton couldn't remove that latest virus. The virus kept shutting down my computer, so I couldn't even download the latest Norton or McAfee. The version of Norton I'd bought came from one of the local big-box stores, and I had to pay a lot more for it than what it would have cost had I downloaded it. Even worse, it was issued before that particular virus had arrived on the scene, so it didn't fix the problem, and I couldn't download the Norton updates because the virus kept shutting my computer down every 30 seconds.
In the end, I finally took my laptop to a local computer expert, who eliminated the computer-shutting virus, as well as both Norton and McAfee from my laptop. He then did me the nicest thing he could have done - he downloaded and installed AVG, a free anti-virus program.
That was 2 years ago, and I haven't had a single problem with any virus since. It has protected me well, scanning all my in-coming and out-going emails for viruses, checking all executable files for viruses, and performing automatic updates on schedule. I no longer have to remember to check for (or pay for) updates!
Free isn't always good - there are many free programs out there which are intentionally designed to allow spywares to enter your computer, and track where you go. If you use Emoticons (those cute little "harmless" smiley faces) or Gator, you have spyware in your computer.
But in this case, free is GREAT! Using AVG means I no longer worry about viruses, worms or Trojans, and it's good for a lifetime. The auto-scheduler checks for updates so I'm ready for the latest nasties - my AVG is scheduled so it runs in the middle of the night, and I don't even realize I've been updated. If you don't leave your computer on all the time, and you forget to manually update, it even has a reminder system to help you remember.
If you want to try AVG, click here. It's one of the very best freebies on the Internet!