Deciding which antivirus software to use is particularly difficult for home computer users, who often don't have the technical expertise to sort the good oil from the marketing hype. No matter which antivirus software you select, you will still need to practice "safe computing" to ensure your computer is not infected with a virus.
Computing professionals have usually already formed a view about which antivirus software to use in certain situations, even before those situations arise, and are less often found wandering the net, thinking to themselves, "I know I need some antivirus protection, but which antivirus protection do I need?"
Where To Find Advice
If you are wondering which antivirus software is right for your situation, out of all the available makes and models, it can be difficult to find unbiased advice. Any manufacturer of antivirus software will happily tell you which antivirus program to use - theirs, of course!
Seek out neutral sources for product reviews, and consult the forums - you need to read those carefully, because there are some right idiots posting there, but you will soon figure out who are the users who know their stuff.
While the aficionados will argue about which antivirus program does a better job of detecting malware, or which antivirus software is easier to maintain, or which antivirus software has the best update process, the bottom line for the home computer user is simple. It doesn't so much matter which antivirus software you select in the beginning, as it matters how you deploy it.
It's Not What You've Got, It's What You Do With It
No matter which antivirus program - or programs - you choose to run, you will need to download the updates as soon as they are released. New viruses are identified, and new fixes developed, on a daily basis. When you have decided which antivirus software you will use, bookmark their site and/or subscribe to their notification service so that you never miss an update.
Remember, too, that no antivirus program can protect you against worms and viruses that you "track in" with permission. No matter which antivirus program you are running, you must maintain "safe computing" practices - save and scan any files before opening them, and don't download and install .exe files from the internet.
There are many good free antivirus programs available. If you're paranoid run a whole bunch of them - for example the combination of AVG7.5, Zone Alarm, Ad-Aware, Spybot Search and Destroy, A-Squared Anti malware and Anti dialer, Spyware Blaster and Win Defender should give you belt-and-braces coverage.
Why worry about which antivirus to choose? Run them all!
No, seriously - as a home computer user, you don't really need to pay for antivirus protection. Research the free antivirus software available, and choose a good set of 2-4 programs which cover all the bases between them.