If you’re like many college students today, you depend on your computer for your education. Papers are planned, researched , and written with it. Group project assignments are broken down and delegated online. Without a computer, you’d probably have a hard time getting things done efficiently.

Your computer is a valuable tool for your education. You want to make sure it’s protected, but you lack the budget to buy the fanciest antivirus software. Is it possible to protect your computer without going broke? Are there advantages to getting the paid versions of programs? How can you tell if you picked a program?

AntiVirus Software – What’s It Good For?

What exactly does antivirus software do? They protect you from malware that can harm your computer and files. It can also detect and remove spyware from your system as well.

Malware is a broad term and can include the following:

  • Viruses
  • Trojans
  • Worms
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Keyloggers

While no antivirus software can keep ahead of problems, the best ones can add valuable protection.

Top Free Options

While there are many free antivirus programs out there claiming to be free and safe to use, here are some proven ones.

Personally I’ve been using Avira AntiVir for my laptop and so far it’s been pretty good. Microsoft Security Essentials has a good reputation for offering good protection.

Are the Paid Versions Worth It?

The big question is, does the free software work as well? Should you fork over the money to buy the latest edition? I can’t give you a definitive answer, because you have to examine the quality of service you’re getting for a paid version to see if it’s really worth it.

I have relatives that benefit from having the paid service since they tend to call customer service a bit.

If you’re looking for some solid paid programs, you probably have to look no further than the trial versions that come with new computers. Some of the free antivirus software listed above also offer paid versions.  If you’re looking for software that is a bit more known, the 3 most popular ones right now are:

  • Norton
  • MacAfee
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus

Check them out and see if they offer you any additional benefits. My family has used MacAfee and Kaspersky and has had great success with them.

Your Take – Antivirus Software

For now, using the free programs has worked well for me. If it changes, though, i’m more than willing to switch over to a paid service. How about you? Is getting the free version a frugal choice or is it being cheap? What’s been your experience with antivirus software?