Tired of paying for anti-virus programs? So was I! Therefore, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. You DON'T have to pay for quality anti-virus software! There are free alternatives that do just as good of a job by themselves or compiled with one another. Here are the 3 I recommend the most:

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft-Security-Essentials

Developer: Microsoft

Download Link: Microsoft Security Essentials

Description:
Microsoft Security Essentials is an anti-virus software designed by Microsoft themselves granting free use for genuine Windows license holders. The software works really great and does an excellent job of scanning through your files and detecting any malware, rootkits, or suspicious files without finding a lot of false positives. The interface is simple and easy to understand so less tech savvy users will easily benefit. One of the things I like the most about this software is that it is not extremely resource intensive like some other competing anti-virus programs thus it can run on weaker computers without slowing them down. I personally have been using Security Essentials for years and never had any issues or any reason not to recommend the software. Keep in mind that the Microsoft Security Essentials software has been integrated into Windows Defender for anyone using Windows 8.

Avast! Free Antivirus

Avast-free

Developer: Avast

Download Link: Avast! Free AntiVirus


Description:
Avast is one of the superior options in free anti-virus, really putting in some competition with the paid market. The interface is one of the sleekest for the free alternatives and one of the most appealing to my eyes personally. There is a vast amount of features though it can be a bit more complicated for some less tech savvy users. The biggest complaint about the Avast is to make sure you check “custom” install option and uncheck the automatic installation of the desktop gadget as well as the WebRep browser add-on since I'm aware the vast majority of people would not desire either to be clogging up their screen space. I think Avast is one of the best free anti-viruses currently on the market and should definitely be a top choice to be protecting your computer.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

avg-antivirus-free

Developer: AVG

Download Link: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

Description:
AVG Anti-Virus has been a longtime competitor in the free market and one of the most trusted. The interface is less appealing, but the features make up for that. Boasting the ability to scan links & e-mails for viruses is pretty impressive for a software of no cost and definitely awesome features to have. If you are someone who is prone to opening up emails that could potentially contain viruses then this is likely the choice for you since we all know how easy it can be nowadays to get tricked. It will update automatically in the background and alert you whenever a threat is detected. Do keep in mind this software is intended for home use only and not supposed to be used for business use.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Sin (Flickr)