Selecting the right anti-virus product

Q: I was hoping that you could please tell me the best virus protector to buy for my computer. Are the ones you get from the discount stores ok?

A: Although there are dozens of anti-virus products on the market, the ones you will hear the most about are McAfee, Symantec and Windows Live OneCare. This doesn’t necessarily mean these are the best but often you will see one of these products bundled with a new computer which is why they are the most popular.

I personally have used all three of these at one time or another but have been leaning a little bit towards Windows Live OneCare lately. One of the things that attracted me to OneCare was that one copy can be licensed on up to three computers although I believe both McAfee and Norton now offer similar options as well.

As far as the ones in discount stores, if it is a name brand such as the ones I have already mentioned, I don’t see any problem purchasing it at a discount store. But just remember, committing to an anti-virus product or suite is like committing to a cell phone contract. In other words, most software vendors will practically give away their anti-virus software because they know they will make up the cost in subscription and renewal fees.

And if you are like most other noobies, once you choose an anti-virus product you probably will not want to go through the hassle of changing providers. And you can bet your anti-virus software provider is betting on that.

This post was originally broadcast Friday, May 25, 2007 on Tech Talk with Noobie, a weekly radio show on WCBK 102.3 FM in Martinsville, Indiana. Tech Talk with Noobie airs every Friday between 11:30 a.m. and noon. If you have a question you would like Noobie to answer on the air, simply e-mail your question to