Is AntiVirus Really Free?


Take a wrong turn on a download page and you might end up with the Paid version of an antivirus software.–PC Pitstop.

Is AntiVirus Really Free?

By Bob Rankin

I have noticed an increase in puzzled, indignant emails from readers asking why I say antivirus programs are free when they aren’t. Typically, the writer says he/she downloaded the ‘free’ program and has been using it happily for anywhere from a month to a year, but suddenly the program says it’s time to ‘upgrade’ and that’s going to cost money. I’d like to clear the air on what’s happening here…

Which Antivirus Software is Really Free?

Virtually all antivirus software developers offer two or more versions of their wares. The version that I say is “free” is truly free, perpetually – for personal, non-commercial use. If you’ve run into a situation where you downloaded what you thought was a free antivirus program, and it seems to asking you to pay, read on…

The confusion arises when users make a wrong turn by mistakenly download the “trial” version of an antivirus program. Trial versions, generally, are fully-functional but only for a limited amount of time. You get to try it before you decide whether to buy it or stop using it. But the language and layout of the download pages can be confusing, if you’re not paying close attention. Let’s look at three of the most popular antivirus freebies:

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Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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3 thoughts on “Is AntiVirus Really Free?

  1. AVG scans for rootkits…. If you do not know this, you should not be evaluating software…. You obviously did not evaluate it well….
    It is also pretty simple to go into the advanced settings and turn off the pop up boxes and annoyances for upgrading to the paid for version…. It runs well with the pro version of Malwarebytes and I have no fear of doing anything online….

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