How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: Which Anti-Virus Do You Use? [Poll]

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Every day new viruses appear with the sole purpose of compromising your personal information and computer systems. This week we want to know which anti-virus software you use.


Having anti-virus software on our computers has become a fact of life these days. More than ever criminals are working hard to create viruses that will steal your banking credentials, account login information, add your computer to a botnet, and more. There is no room for being lax in securing your computer.

The choice or recommendation of which anti-virus software to use is always a hot topic. Which one detects viruses the best? Which one provides the best overall protection? Does the software have a high rate of false positives? The list goes on and on. Choosing an appropriate anti-virus software for your computer is something worth giving careful consideration and thought to.

Here is your chance to share your virus fighting wisdom with fellow readers. Which anti-virus software do you use to protect your computers? Let us know in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=3438995]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 07/7/10

Comments (132)

  1. Steve`

    I can’t believe AVAST wasn’t a choice!!

  2. Austin

    Surprised not to see ESET NOD32 in your poll as it’s a widely used anti-virus package.

    I don’t have one installed at the moment, might wait for Norton 2011 to be released.

  3. Brian

    I use McAfee only because it is free with my internet subscription.

  4. Sean

    Other (Avast).

  5. jimmyboi

    ESET NOD32 is the best AV of all, Ive been trying the most and Nod32 is fastest, doesnt eat my CPU and find all new viruses :) Bitdefender is also good on a second place.

  6. Austin

    Just remembered F-Secure and GDATA too.

  7. Alexander

    I use Avast even though I believe the best free security suite is Comodo.

  8. SquareWheel

    MS Security Essentials w/ Malwarebytes if I’m suspicious of a file. I recommend Kaspersky when somebody is looking for a paid antivirus though.

  9. David HS

    Vipre from Sunbelt Software.

  10. Mysticgeek

    Microsoft Security Essentials

  11. komeni

    eset smart security ftw

  12. Satya

    I was using Avast. From some days, I’m using Microsoft Security Essentials. I rarely connect to Internet via my mobile. I hope it is sufficient.

  13. Nathan

    Avast FTW!! :)

  14. Josh

    Would using Ubuntu be considered as “Other” since it is a preventative effort against viruses?

  15. Chris

    Avira all the way

  16. EspaÑaks

    None. What for? Its all of knowing how to browse the internet and hiding behind a good firewall. Ive seen mosts AVs are a resource hole, and a pain to pay or mantain. I dont think its worth paying for one having very good free ones thought (thinking about msse, wich was the only one I really messed to try). AND if you use linux, you surely know how to read through the code of a script (the main peril, i think) you are able to detect menaces yourself.

  17. aXius

    Avast! is not in that the list and is one of the most popular! I can’t believed, well my vote is for other: avast!

  18. eceplayground

    What?! How is ESET NOD32 not on the list?

  19. Hell my darling

    Avast should be in the poll ;)
    But 95% of the time i use Ubuntu, so no AV for me :)

  20. Paper Planes

    How you not have Avast has a choice??????

  21. Merlin

    Back in the old days, when the PC’s spoke DOS, I used Norton Anti Virus. I kept using it in Win95 and 98. Then when Windoze XP came along I switched to AVG until they had this big problem with blocking internet access due to an incompatibility with a MS update. I never got it to work properly again. So I switched again and now I’m using Avira.
    The problem with these antivirus progs is that they keep growing and they get bloated with all kinds of fancy pancy stuff. They all want to sell, I know. But I think they all are becoming bloatware and slow down the PC unnecessarily. And they get features that actually nobody needs or wants.
    For instance they block the autorun feature of a USB-stick… You’re supposed to be able to turn that off, but still it doesn’t work like it should. I know that it can be dangerous, but then again why do they have the permanent guard? Isn’t that supposed to hunt down the virusses that want to activate? Besides, one can deactivate the autorun from within Windoze…

  22. Ryan

    Other: Avast 5

  23. The Geek

    My mistake, I should have included Avast in the list. I’ve added it now!

  24. at0mic

    i used kaspersky for a while, switched to nod32 for a few years and after never once being a victim of malware the entire time i gave up on paid security. MSE w/ malwarebytes and spywareblaster works for me.

  25. JimmysDaBestCop

    Symantec Endpoint Protection is the truth, use it or use nothing.

  26. Thomas Skov

    MSE on my laptop and desktop.
    ForeFront on my Home Server.

  27. Mrrix32

    I need a motorbike to do this propperly, so I’ll just point you in the direction of the comic….

  28. derekr54

    Microsoft Security Essentials is what I now use for windows,otherwise I am on linux.

  29. dreadlock_alex

    I used to use Avira but now I use Kaspersky mainly; I also use Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware and Spyware Blaster in the way of freeware.

  30. Bakr

    I use Avira premium security suit because it’s the best one I tried and because I can get free license !!


  31. Leandri

    MSE is low key and provides adequate protection.
    It also scores points in my book for regular updates from Windows Update.

  32. Bakr

    I use Avira because it’s the best one and I also use IObit security 360 as my anti spyware or at least until spyware terminator releases it’s 64 Bit version

  33. Matthew Guay

    Microsoft Security Essentials … I’ve switched everyone I know to it. It’s lightweight, fast, and works great :)

  34. Mark

    Are you kidding? why is nod32 not there?

  35. Jon

    This is turning into a land slide. Another vote for Microsoft Security Essentials.

  36. david

    i don’t run anti-virus software as i’m smart enough not to fall for “lindsay_lohan_bewbs_pictures.jpg.exe” or any other stupid crap.

    But for the computer illiterate, i install mse on their systems.

  37. David Levine

    I don’t use anti-virus at home because I have a Mac. Trend Micro is used on my work laptop.

  38. Sabah malaysia

    Use MSE and Comodo as firewall..great combination..besides that,its also free and low usage of CPU in my laptop

  39. Adrian

    Can’t believe ESET is not listed !
    I actually use ESET NOD32 and I thin it’s the best, but i have used Microsoft Essentials and worked dreat too. I think both of them are the best ones.

  40. mursid

    i had a bad experience with avg. avg erase my files not disinfected it. now i’m using kaspersky 2011

  41. netbox

    NOD32 and MalwareBytes for my system..
    i even post a tutorial for the latest nod32 fix (freezes windows when both installed)

  42. Stephen

    What about ESET Nod 32? Greatest anti virus in my opinion. I have had no infections in 3 years, and it uses barely any system resources.

  43. Paul

    I am not trying to be a smart … with this comment, it is just true and what I use. My anti-virus is Fedora and Ubuntu Linux. :) I am not saying Linux is perfect and that no threats exist in Linux, I am just saying that it works for me and what I do with a computer.

  44. Kreg Steppe

    I am not going to trust my computer to a product called Microsoft Security Essentials when MS has been missing the Security Essentials for SO long.

  45. Richard

    I will put my vote for Nod32 as well .Surely people still arent using Norton , McAfee , Kaspersky etc.
    For a free choice Microsoft Security essentials

  46. FriedGold

    I use ESET Smart Security.

  47. Edwin

    Nod32 by ESET has been the best anti-virus I’ve used over the past 7 years.

  48. Stan

    Avast for PC1,
    Aviar for PC2,
    AVG for virtual machines

  49. Grant

    Microsoft Security Essentials backed up by Malwarebytes run from Safe Mode periodically.
    Used to use and recommend AVG Free but got tired of the constant new version which you then had trouble finding while they tried to make you buy the commercial version. Tried Avira – good but the file scan goes on forever vs MSE which is fast and light!

  50. Rob

    McAfee at work cause we have to…
    Avira at home with Malwarebytes…

  51. Radaghast

    Nothing resident, I find them a waste of resources. I do however have Mbam and Hitmanpro, for the occasional on-demand scan

  52. Jon

    @Kreg Steppe
    Microsoft didn’t make the Security Essentials program. Microsoft acquired software security companies like GIANT Software, Komoku, GeCAD, etc over the years to create OneCare and eventually Security Essentials.

  53. Lady Fitzgerald

    Symantec Endpoint Protection came installed on my computer but worked for only two months (once the builder set it up; the user interface is not intuitive) then wouldn’t update. The builder couldn’t get it to work again so I tried to remove it with their removal tool. That didn’t work so I removed it with Add and Remove programs and deleted the folder. That got rid of it but my modem quit working immediately after that.

    I first had Norton Antivirus on my last computer which worked alright but was slow and hogged resources. It was also a yearly financial drain for the obligatory annual upgrades. I got suckered into moving up to Norton Internet Protection. That was a huge mistake; it effectively throttled my computer.

    Symantec products (McAfee is almost as bad) are as bad as viruses. They entrench themselves throughout your computer and require special tools (and good luck finding them) to remove them without messing up your computer (just a half notch below ransomware). There is no way on earth I’ll use them again.

    I’ve been using Avast’s free version for over a year and haven’t had a problem with it. It automatically updates virus definitions several times a day (as opposed to daily, weekly or monthly with the Symantec programs) and let’s me know whenever there is a program update available (giving me the option to download and install when it is convenient for me. I don’t have to wait until an annual program update comes out and pay through the nose for it. The downside of the free version is I can’t schedule scans, there is no free firewall (big deal, I use ZoneAlarm’s free firewall), no anti-spam (I get very little spam but I could always use Yahoo’s) and a few other features I don’t really need but others may find convenient. I also use Malwarebyte’s Anti-malware, Spybot, Super Antispyware, and Glary Utilities every week along with an Avast scan. I also have Web of Trust and Spybot’s Teatimer running full time.

  54. Gerry

    other: Linux

  55. Rino

    i just use Avast!, firefox with ABP, and common sense. :-P

  56. Dude

    I don’t use ANY anti-virus junk any more – it’s worse than the disease! Instead, I usually run Windows VIRTUALLY! In fact, I typically use Ubuntu as my host OS with Windows running as a guest. And I do it using Oracles free VBox program (available for both Windows and many other distros of Linux). This way, if I do get infected (in Windows) then all I do is delete one big honkin file and replace it with another big honkin backup. It’s like totally reinstalling Windows with all my apps, updates and everything in less than a minute – and it’s all virus free! I believe this technique is called SANDBOXING?!

    Then again, even when I do run Windows, virtually or otherwise, I still try to load and run the free Microsoft Security Essentials program. Cause like I said, it’s FREE and it’s from Microsoft! Think about it. Who knows better the intricacies of Windows than Microsoft?!

    All the other bloated A/V products can go pound sand as far as I am concerned. They’re probably the little maggots producing all these viruses in the first place! And they do it so that the public will continue to buy their anti-virus products year after year too. (I’m also sure Apple and their “drones” aren’t exactly innocent where Windows viruses are concerned either.)

  57. FiendAngel

    Other (Panda Cloud Antivirus)

  58. Andrew

    I use Microsoft Security Essentials on all my PC’s. I have switched everyone I know to it because it’s lightweight and easy to use.

  59. neko

    F-secure IS 2010 (now beta 2011)

  60. Gene Thomas

    I run MS essentials, Avast and (spybot, because grandkids use IE) simultaneously.

  61. BigGunn

    AVG with a combo of Spyware Blaster and Spybot S&D

  62. Eric

    paid AVG (for realtime protection) w/ Malwarebytes to scan…come october when 2 year+ subscription to avg runs out, i’m switching myself and my family to Microsoft Security Essentials

  63. KB Prez

    Norton Internet Security for real-time protection.
    Malwarebytes and SUPERAntispyware scans on demand.

  64. Shahnawaz

    If you are using MS Windows then just try Microsoft Security Essential, it will rock!

  65. Phily

    I use Vipre from Sunbelt. It is very low on system resources. It is a combined antivirus-antispyware product. It updates itself several times a day (at least 4 times). Besides Vipre, I also run on-demand scans using: Malwarebytes, SuperAntispyware, and HitmanPro. In five years, I have never had a single virus or spyware item!

  66. Keshav37a

    Ms security essentials powerful, free and light on the system

  67. Meena

    Why isn’t Eset in the poll?
    i use it mainly as it doesn’t use alot of ram and cpu
    btw, MSE is good too. but i think it needs a firewall with it,Windows firewall is not working for me
    any suggestions?

  68. imtheredude

    Microsoft did something right with Microsoft Security Essentials. I find it the best free AV sw there is right now.

  69. Carlos Corona del Cid

    I use a combination of Norton Premier 360 and Spyware Dr.
    The one that escaped Norton are caught by Spyware Dr. and viceversa

  70. Apu V.

    NOD 32 All the way

  71. Letsrock

    Switched from AVAST! Free to Miscrosoft Security Essentials. Couldn’t be happier!

  72. Zibeb

    Ubuntu at home, so no AV needed. I use Panda at work, (surprised not to see it on the list) but that’s mainly a shield against getting infected. System Restore and MalwareBytes cleans out 99% of viruses I have ever seen.

  73. muhsan

    ESET Smart Security 4 :)

  74. David

    Avira free – high detection rate, an occasional false positive just as the reviews say. Sometimes ikarus (asquared) built into Online Armor detects something that doesn’t.

    But Avira’s GUI is far from intuitive if you want to do something.

  75. Earl Truss

    Why can’t we pick more than one choice? Most of us have more than one computer and/or OS.
    Norton from Comcast and AVG mostly

  76. Wolfman544

    Wow MS Security Essentials is impressively disproportionate to the rest.
    I use Avast at home and am stuck with McAfee at work (it brings my work PC to a crawl every week during it’s scheduled scan, where at home I can run a full scan with Avast on my less powerful machine and take only a very slight performance hit.)

  77. Earl Truss

    Back in the day (DOS and BBSs) I used McAfee. Several years ago they released a buggy version that killed a lot of computers and hogged the CPU on all the others and released a new update that changed the way scans worked without telling anyone in advance. Switched to Norton (free with rebate) for a couple of years then to AVG Free to avoid the annual charges. Recently switched back to Norton from Comcast beause they switched to it from McAfee. I’ve had some problems with it being too obtrusive but I think I have all the kinks ironed out now so I’m happier. From all the votes for MSE I may have to try it out on one of my computers.

  78. David Luttrull

    MSE FTW! I used to use AVG Free, but it started getting annoying so I (family and friends included) switched to Avast. After a while people called me saying their six month subscription had run out and it wanted them to buy the program. (I regularly had to send them a link to get a new key even though many times they should have had more than 4 months left). Finally, Microsoft released Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows maintains the updates and it never bugs friends and family to buy something. Plus it is fast and does a great job to boot. I heart MSE!

  79. Robert

    The go-to unbiased results can be found at non-profit, who have been benchmarking av products twice annually for years. Latest results are here (pdf) and are quite thorough, as always:

    I use Avira based on its consistently high-ranking here, and my experience with it for years.

  80. C. E. Frederick

    Avast. Avast goes on everything now.

  81. van

    before AVG … now AVIRA

  82. John

    Microsoft Security Essentials and Trend Micro Internet Security

  83. Dch48

    MSE is fine until they put out a program version upgrade, then all hell breaks loose. Twice now the in program upgrading has resulted in a non functioning old version with no way to easily uninstall it. (Most of the files and folders still present and the Add/remove link non functional). You have to go into a DOS box to run the old setup with a /u switch and even that does not completely remove everything. You have no AV protection during this time. Then you have to download and install the new version only to find two days later that definition updates are failing to install. I dumped it and installed Avast! 5 free which is light years better and upgrades and updates smoothly and flawlessly. At least they put out links to public betas of new versions in their forums and things get thoroughly tested before being pushed out to the masses.

    The best paid product is unquestionably Norton which puts out pulse updates every 10 minutes so you are never out of date.

  84. firestork

    Avira is the best for me. Light, powerful and free :)

  85. Susan Cassidy

    I am now using Avira (the free version)…I have tried PCTool’s Anti-virus and I kept having problems with it crashing and closing on me. The staff there tried to help me but nothing seemed to fix it so I changed a few months ago to Avira and so far, there aren’t any problems with it and it seems to be doing the job. I have been reading about these anti-virus programs “in the cloud”, like Panda’s, and I am itching to try it! Just that Avira has been running so smoothly for me, I hate to change a good thing. But, knowing me, I will give Panda a shot sooner or later. I didn’t see it on the list, so I guess it’s not real popular yet. Anyone use it yet and how’s that going for you??? Also, I agree that it is a waste to purchase an anti-virus program with so many FREE good ones out there.One is better off DONATING to one of the FREE programs!

  86. pinkfreud

    how can NOD32 AV/ smart security not be included here?! it’s by far the best AV i’ve ever used for the past 2 years and is so light on resources as well.

  87. farid28

    I will put my vote for Nod32 as well; it surprise me that the geek don’t consider it as a widely used anti-virus

  88. Steve Taylor

    ESET NOD32 AntiVirus – the native 64bit version running on Win 7 HP. I’ve got multiple firewalls due to DSL Modem and router and Windows Firewall. MSE didn’t catch a certain Trojan, but NOD32 caught it immediately.

  89. HD Blog

    Avira :)

  90. Kevin

    I used to use Windows Live One Care. Now I use Microsoft Security Essentials

  91. Nicky

    ESS 4

  92. ak

    Lame Poll

    i am using nod 32 past 4 years, never had a single virus.

  93. Marc57

    I’ve been using Microsoft Security Essentials since it was in beta. Now I’ve switched all my users to it. MSE all the way!!

  94. Mr. X

    Avira Still The Very Best of Anti Virus in The World

  95. Dhruv

    Microsoft Security Essentials is Gr8…!
    works excellent………..!
    itz light n perfect…..!

  96. Ankit

    No doubt: Microsoft Security Essentials, is the beast…

  97. Ankit

    Sorry its: No doubt: Microsoft Security Essentials, is the best…

  98. Andrew

    ESET Smart Security 4 FTW! Lol…

  99. eezdva

    I use Eset. But there is no Eset. I mean how come???

  100. abdull

    I use comodo , why not when it’s on top of proactive security challenge !

    check it out …

  101. arahman32

    I use MSE in Windows.

    In Linux, I use Avast, just to make sure that I don’t transfer infected files in Linux.

  102. David

    Using ESET NOD32 on 3 of 4 computers, and MSE on the old WinXP machine.

  103. RedTuxer

    Anti-virus?? What the f*** is that? Is some kind of software that some weak OS needs?
    I’ve used Linux for 8 years, so I don’t need those products.

    For those who still use that weak OS, I recomend ClamWin…

    Best regards

  104. Dch48

    MSE is a resource hog and slows down things a lot more than the other offerings according to the latest tests. Avast! and Avira actually top the list now. Linux? no thanks I like to actually be able to do things on my computer. Clam Win is terrible btw.

    It also looks like the Comodo people have been stuffing the ballot box as was suggested.

  105. Dch48

    The “proactive test” quoted above that has Comodo on top is a test of Firewalls/ Hips products, not AV’s. Don’t fall for that.

  106. Cameochi

    I use Vipre Premium from Sunbelt software. It’s lightweight with an easy to use interface and it works beautifully. Vipre handles it all – anti-virus, malware and it comes with a customizable firewall. I’ve used them all over the years and this one is the best by far. They will soom become a Microsoft Certified Partner.

  107. tjX

    Right On. 100%.

  108. Bin

    U kiddin’ [Comodo 33.8% (2,912 votes)]
    Myself, I use KIS 2010, and it’s makes me happy :)

  109. Tiago S.

    ESET SMART SECURITY 4 is the best anti virus

  110. MIKLO

    AVAST OFC, I have tried most of these on the list,but I find Avast the best overall 4me. It doesnt slow my puter at all. I tried Panda cloud recently but it was buggy,I could use Media Player and it did some strange things. I do really like the idea of Cloud so Im hoping after some time it will get fixed and I can use again. BTW I have been using free stuff for many years and after we (users) do the R&D or beta testing then it goes to paid version.I also have used many paid versions and there is not much of an improvement IMO. I dont wanna slam any company but some of the paid4 and well known AV aps really SUX.

  111. MMVC

    I use Norton Antivirus 2010

  112. Shumayal

    and its an awesome anti virus! Does not use up a lot of resources and helps my pc boot and shut down fast :)

  113. vlad

    I use sophos 9.5 with live protection :) is the best you must try it ;)
    just a preview

    * Sophos Live URL Filtering – Prevents real-time access to URLs that have been identified as hosting malware based upon an URL database hosted by SophosLabs. This database contains more than 11 million malicious URLS and is growing by 20,000-40,000 each day. Regardless of where the user is – in the office, at home or using an unprotected Wi-Fi network – they are protected against the growing number of web-based threats.
    * Sophos Live Anti-Virus – Stops previously unseen threats faster by instantly checking suspicious files against an extensive in-the-cloud database of known good and bad reputation data – a response is received within milliseconds allowing or blocking known good and bad executables.
    * Sophos Runtime Behavior Detection – Combines multiple detection techniques and compares results to a database of existing profiles. Behavioral Genotype protection examines files before they execute and new Runtime Behavior Detection examines files as they execute. By using these techniques in concert, Sophos can more accurately proactively identify malware in order to alert users and automatically resolve the issue

  114. Ashma

    I don’t have any antivirus software in my computer.I use to hunt virus myself.You just need do understand the life of a “virus” and “where” to look for it in your computer.It’s funny because I use my own way to hunt virus in computer who have antivirus software and even if the software is updated I still found Virus in the PC.Even if i just scan the computer and found no threath but for me I alway found virus……..<<<>>>>.Merci Beacoups………..!!!!!!

  115. Yowan

    I use KIS2011 + MBAM + common sense

  116. manda

    “Linux? no thanks I like to actually be able to do things on my computer” ……. I like it (^o^)b

    I was using kaspersky, it was good, but now I’m using MSE and I like it, it’s fast, powerful, free & let’s say “light” on the system.

  117. Agulka Wieczorek


  118. SlaverSlayer

    Antivirus Free: Avast v5
    Antivirus Paid: Avira Premium Suite 10.
    the Most Important is Update and your antivirus will become stronger and stronger to defeat virus,trojan,malware,spyware,etc.
    for Tweak PC Software, i recommended Optimizer’s work! my internet connection has more been stable and my computer faster.

  119. Upr

    NOD 32 – the best

  120. Sam72727272
    Avast Free is by far the best, look how it beat out subscription products, year after year.

  121. Adam

    Where’s NOD32 ? i use nod32

  122. shaggy

    i must admit avast free is very good

  123. chris

    Panda. takes a long time but you can work while it is scanning.

  124. mail

    I can’t believe how many morons don’t have a protection utility installed. Dopes the lot of them! Kaspersky is the best :D

  125. Kaspersky

    Mind you having the likes of Panda & Norton & Microsoft Security Essentials installed is basically like running a system with minimum amount of RAM with no security lol

  126. Ajay

    AVG is the best.

  127. Steve

    On my notebook I use Kaspersky Internet Security 2011, on my netbook Norton Internet Security 2011. kaspersky is the best choice if you have a dual core CPU with 2 GB of RAM or more powerful PC, Norton is for less powerful PC-s.

  128. ster

    i use avast but panda is the best

  129. Kero

    Eset node 32, CCleaner, Malwarebytes and just plain common sense!!

  130. RMc


  131. SolitaryMan474

    I have been using “Webroot” Spy Sweeper w/ Anti Virus recommended by Kim Komando who has a weekly National radio show. I like it, I haven’t run in to any problems for 4 Yrs. I use to use Zone Alarm when I had XP for my firewall, but when I got my new laptop with windows 7 64 bit, it wasn’t compatible with 7 so I’m using the microsoft firewall.

  132. jof

    other — I’m using ESET NOD Smart Security for years now..

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