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Best Windows Antivirus Protection for
Home Office and Small Business

What are the most important factors to consider before buying an antivirus software for Home Office or Small Business computers?

Certainly, price is one of them, but it can't be the "be all and end all" in the decision making process. What is the point of running a cheap (or even free) antivirus, if it didn't catch many viruses or was impossibly difficult to understand and manage? And would it be sensible to buy a "100% detection rate" antivirus, which slowed down your computer to make your work hell?

For those who like to cut to the chase, here are our recommendations for the most important categories. Anybody else, please read on below, for an explanation of how we carry out our antivirus review and what those categories are or look at the Antivirus Software Product Reviews: Top 10 Comparison.

Best Antivirus
"Overall"

Best Antivirus
"Value for Money"

Best Antivirus
"Light on Resources"

Kaspersky
Antivirus 2011

Panda
Antivirus Pro 2011

ESET
NOD32 Antivirus

Click here to read the full review of Kaspersky Antivirus 2011 Click here to read the full review of Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 Click here to read the full review of ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4

$59.95

$31.99

$39.99

Kaspersky Antivirus is the Rolls-Royce of the antivirus products. Not only does it offer an excellent standard protection but also sophisticated additional features to scan, detect and close general security holes. Possibly the best option, on new-ish machines, when “peace of mind” outweighs the budget constraints.

Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 has many new security features and by including a good firewall too, the overall feature set is second to none. All in all, it does everything a normal user needs and does it very well. Combined with the fact that you get a generous license to install it on up to 3 computers, it makes it for a very, very compelling antivirus solution.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is "lean and mean," typically using just a fraction of what other products consume. Because it's fast and "light," upgrading your existing antivirus protection to ESET NOD32 Antivirus can literally be like buying a new computer. And the new automatic energy-sipping battery mode lets you work or play longer.

In our antivirus review, we have aggregated and reduced the myriad of technical and usability details to look at, to the following factors:

  • Detection rate: how effective the antivirus software is in detecting known and yet unknown threats;
  • Light on resources: an assessment of the impact on your computer resources, e.g. slow down, "freeze" effect, etc.
  • Ease of use: an index of how intuitive to use and navigate the antivirus software is;
  • Features: antivirus programs come with different set of tools, which can sometime substantially extend the security protection offered by a product;
  • Scan speed: how long it takes to complete a full, deep scan of a disk. While not essential by itself, it says much about what goes on "under the bonnet";
  • Value for money: a trade-off between technical merits, the price they come at, and the number of licenses included;

This antivirus review analyzes the top antivirus software for each of these categories and gives an "overall" evaluation. The complete results are summarized in the Antivirus Software Product Reviews: Top 10 Comparison. Any antivirus software has strengths and weaknesses and the table allows you to sort each column, either in ascending or descending order, to check how they fare against each other in that particular category.

From the table you can access the full review, which includes also the technical specifications and screenshots.

Screenshots are actually very helpful, because they let you understand if you like the "look and feel" and the general usability of each antivirus program, without having to install it first.

What to do next? How to install your new antivirus software

After having chosen the most suitable product for you, it is time to take action, by following few simple steps. Remember, the order is important:

1. Download the latest version of your selected antivirus, by clicking on the "Buy" button included in the Antivirus Comparison Table or in the relative review. For many, you will have to register and provide your email address, if wou want to download the trial first. In that case, follow the instructions contained in the registration email. Very important: take note of where you download the program!

2. Uninstall your existing antivirus (two antivirus programs cannot be running on the same machine at the same time); probably you will have to reboot your computer;

3. (Optional) If you want to be extra cautious, disconnect your network cable or switch off your wireless before restarting. This will prevent any existing malware from being able to communicate with their servers, while you have no active protection;

4. After restart, immediately install the new antivirus software by double-clicking the file that you had previously downloaded;

5. Follow the instructions, leave everything to their default value.

6. If you disconnected your computer in step 3, reconnect it and check that you are connected to the Internet again. You need an active Internet connection to make sure to complete the registration process, activate your license and get an immediate update of the database.

Important!Never forget that all antivirus and antispyware products are subscription based services rather than normal programs. No matter what product you use, it will always be as good as their latest definition update.

Whatever program you use, if you are unsure about whether or not it is safe to eliminate one of the items contained in the list of threats, just quarantine it.