Platform: Windows XP
Number of downloads: 2330
If you felt so inclined, you could run your computer on free software. For many users, you don’t really need to invest heavily in commercial software in order to open Word documents, send emails, browse the web or even edit your digital photos. There are many free equivalents and some of the best tools have been released without charge. Alternatively, there are many older commercial full software titles, made available through our coverdiscs or even as downloads through vnunet.com/downloads.
However, when it comes to security, can you really choose to protect your system using free security software? Can you be assured that low-key developers have the resources to compete against the big brands such as Symantec, McAfee and others? Will they be able to release definition updates more quickly to combat the latest threats.
Until recently, you be right in doubting the integrity of some free security software. Indeed, it has been known that some free security software is actually malicious software spoofing as legitimate software, purely to infect your PC.
The reason why we state ‘until recently’ is that some of the commercial brands have started to release free versions of their anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. Microsoft set a trend with their free Windows Defender anti-spyware tool. PC Tools released an Anti-Virus tool for free and now BitDefender have updated their free Anti-Virus tool.
Note that these free versions are not always as pro-actively updated as their commercial counterparts. Although they ship with definition updates, these are ‘on demand’ definition updates, so you need to request them rather than them downloading as part of an automated process.