It’s 2010 – we’re supposed to have butler-robots to clean our houses by now. Sadly, I fear we’re a long way off. At least we’ve made some other pretty significant strides in the technology realm…although none of them involve lightsabers…yet.

One area that I’ve always had particular angst for has been shelling out $50 a year for AntiVirus/Internet Security software that only seemed to slow my computer down. Every single day I would get popups asking to upgrade this, that, or the other thing, when all I wanted was to avoid having a catastrophic virus.

Thankfully with a recent and impressive renewed devotion to open-source software solutions, there are now several FREE solutions for your basic antivirus needs. *As you likely have had drilled into your brain from the “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns, Mac users need not read any further.

Click here to go to the MSE websiteThe most lightweight one that I have encountered to date is actually made by Microsoft, called Microsoft Security Essentials. Its only a few megabytes in size, and does a sufficient job at protecting your computer without slowing it down for complete system scans every 24 hours. However, it is exceptionally difficult to find online, as it will likely take you a few searches to find it – do yourself a favor and just click on this link to go straight to the Microsoft Security Essentials download site.

Download AVG FreeAnother great program that I used before the new Microsoft version is called AVG Free. It is very thorough in its scans and has virus definition updates on a very frequent basis. The only problem is that it will most likely slow your system down dramatically once a day while it is doing its full system scan. But if you’re doing things online that may result in getting some malicious pieces of software, that is certainly a small price to pay! You can download it by going to the AVG Free website. Make sure you download the free version!

Needless to say, if you’re doing some really shady business, or you are super concerned with protecting your data and identity, then by all means you should go out and buy the most expensive software you can find. For the other 98% of the population, either of these software solutions will work fantastically for you – but make sure to uninstall your existing antivirus software first.

BONUS TIP!

Lastly, another tidbit of unsolicited advice. If you your computer is acting fishy and you suspect you have a virus, remember that your antivirus software has likely been compromised! Just because it does a scan and comes through clean, that doesn’t always mean that things are hunkey dorey. Plenty of viruses these days actually wiggle their way into your antivirus software and make sure that they don’t get caught.

If you run into this situation, here are a couple of FREE online virus checkers. These are full-fledged web based virus scans, and since they do not reside on your system they cannot be infected by viruses that are already there…and while they may not always be able to remove infections they can at least let you know if there is something wrong!