In the present computing environment, if you are running Windows then one of the absolutely essential software items that you need is an anti-virus program. It has been tested that without this protection, your copy of Windows is likely to catch a virus within a few minutes of getting connected to the internet. But which anti-virus should you choose? The wide array is bewildering in its variety; on which product should you place your hard-earned buck?
First, of course, there is the ubiquitous Norton Anti-virus, from Symantec Corporation. This is the most popular of all AV programs, and you shall find it installed on most home PC-s and also business desktops. But there is one big problem with Norton that seems to keep it away from slightly older or lower-end systems. That is its demanding nature. It hogs the processing power and memory of you computer, and since you must keep it turned on at all times for best results, this causes quite a drag on your system. You can't play a fairly recent game or run any other heavy multimedia program without first turning it off, which is a bit of a bore, and in a way defeats the very purpose of the program.
You can of course take a look at McAfee, which is second in popularity only to Norton, and in the opinion of some experts, second to none in performance. Truly, McAfee's detection and cleansing capabilities are by no means inferior to any other product, and they keep a virus definition database that is every bit as awesome as that of Symantec or anyone else. Plus, it's five dollars cheaper than Norton. So I guess if you're looking for a top-notch AV, McAfee is not a bad choice at all.
But apart from the top two, there are also many lesser offerings which can show impressive performance for their price. There is Panda AV, for one. Panda is very easy on your resources, and may be the best choice if your hardware is slightly dated. It is very easy to install and use, making it an ideal product for entry-level computer users. It also brings with it a bonus pack of anti-spyware program. In the case of the other products, you have to buy anti-spyware separately, so this is definitely a plus if you're on a tight budget.
Trend Micro is one AV company that has been in the PC Protection business for a long time, much longer than many others. And this experience shows in their desktop AV solution PC-Cillin, which also comes bundles with a firewall and an anti-spam program. Though Trend Micro mainly focuses on corporate AV solutions and network-based anti-malware protection, their product doesn't do too badly in the desktop arena either. Their customer support is known to be very good, which is more than can be said of many of its competitors.
Finally, if you're really hard up, you can try the free edition of AVG Anti-virus, freely downloadable from here. In fact, you can try it even if you aren't hard up, because free or not, this program does a surprisingly good job of taking care of the basics of computer protection, and in a sense the basics are all that matters. Of course if you want support you shall need to buy the commercial version. But if you're fairly confident about your computing skills, then the free version will do just as well for you.