Do You Need an Antivirus?

What We Do and Do Not Recommend

Navigating the Antivirus Marketplace

When you purchase a computer or notebook, it often comes loaded with pre-installed software known as bloatware. This software is not installed for your benefit but rather to generate commissions for the manufacturer through subscriptions. Frequently, these antivirus products to avoid are the very ones aggressively pushed through these channels.

The Reality of Pre-Installed Antivirus Software

Many antivirus solutions pre-installed on new devices can be intrusive, almost to the level of malware, with constant pop-ups urging you to purchase additional utilities or VPN services. From our extensive experience, here are some antivirus products to avoid:

TotalAV antivirus belongs in the trash in our opinion

These products not only slow down your computer but also employ fear-mongering tactics to push further sales. In particular, TotalAV often gets flagged as a suspicious site, and we strongly advise against using it.

Misleading Marketing and Unnecessary Add-Ons

The aggressive upselling tactics employed by many antivirus companies are misleading at best. Products like “Driver Update Utilities” or various VPN services promise enhanced security but often do not deliver on these claims. Indeed, for most users, VPNs are unnecessary and can even slow down your internet connection. If anonymity is your goal, the Tor Browser is a more effective and free option.

Microsoft Defender: The Best Free Antivirus for Windows

For those looking for a hassle-free, cost-effective solution, Microsoft Defender is an excellent choice. It’s built into Windows 10 and 11 and now available for Mac users through an Office 365 subscription. Unlike many free antivirus programs, Microsoft Defender does not bombard you with ads or pop-ups, making it a user-friendly option that doesn’t compromise performance.

ESET Internet Security: The Premier Paid Antivirus Solution

While Microsoft Defender suffices for basic protection, we recommend ESET Internet Security for users seeking more robust security features. As an ESET Business Partner, we have been recommending ESET/NOD32 Internet Security for over two decades due to its efficiency and reliability. Here’s why we believe ESET stands out:

  • Proven Track Record: ESET is recognized for its effective protection without slowing down your PC or Mac.
  • Heuristic Intrusion Prevention (HIPS): Offers advanced protection by learning normal computer behaviours and detecting deviations.
  • Enhanced Features: Includes Firewall, Online Banking Protection, Anti-Theft security, and more, making it suitable even for gamers due to its minimal system impact.

ESET’s Unique Selling Points

ESET is not only about virus detection; its ‘Learning Mode’ simplifies setup processes, ensuring devices like printers operate smoothly on your network without interference from the antivirus software. This makes ESET a reliable choice not just for individual PCs but also for endpoint security in business environments.

Making the Right Choice for Antivirus Protection

While no antivirus can offer 100% protection, combining robust antivirus software like ESET with smart practices like regular cloud backups can significantly enhance your security. Remember, the right antivirus depends on your specific needs, and sometimes, the best things in life are free — like Microsoft Defender.

Disclaimer: This article is based on personal experiences with these products over three decades years of IT experience. While we recommend products we believe in, it’s essential to choose what best meets your needs.


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