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Do I have to pay for antivirus software?

Do I have to pay for antivirus software?

  • Comments 25

Jo Anne writes:

I received a message that said that my Microsoft security software is turned off and I am not protected. What can I do? I even ran the scan. The warning says that I can buy antivirus protection, but I don’t want to pay for it.

If your computer is running Windows, you do not need to pay for antivirus software. To help fight both viruses and spyware, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials at no cost for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

First make sure to uninstall any other antivirus software—whether you installed it or it came preinstalled on your computer. If you choose to install other antivirus software on your computer, Microsoft Security Essentials will be disabled.

Windows Defender is an antivirus feature in Windows 8 PCs and tablets that replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. It runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action.

Watch out for rogue security software

The message that Jo Anne received might have been a genuine warning from Microsoft, but it sounds like it could be a rogue security software scam. Rogue security software (also known as "scareware") claims to offer security benefits but actually provides limited or no security and may even lure you into participating in fraudulent transactions.

As you surf the web, you might see legitimate looking pop-up windows containing "updates" or "alerts" that say you need to click to install the software, accept recommended updates, or remove unwanted viruses or spyware. When you click, rogue security software downloads to your computer.

For examples of rogue security software, see our Real vs. Rogue Facebook app.

  • Does anyone have any experience wih McAfee? It came with my Dell--I've been told that my PC acts like it has a virus even though it's been scanned fully, Recommendations??

  • The question was do I have to pay for anti virus protection?  There's all kind of comments, but no answer to the question.

  • Can we use MS Security Essentials on the computers in our non-profit K4-12 school?

  • Get Norton Internet Security - it's worth the money and can be applied to 3 computers.

  • just use AVG that's all you need ,i been useing AVG FREE for 10 years now and had no trouble .Just try it .

  • this is a great and powerful application that i use since 2 years ago

    when we're using this app. we don't need to install antivirus of another companies.

    thanks to Microsoft

  • I would like to read the "Real VS Rogue" but I do not have this Facebook thing. Where else can I read the article?

  • Thanks.

  • Judith; no, that phone call was not legit.  

    There are several phone calls being made by people in India and other places stating that they work for Microsoft and they have detected some sort of problem with your computer.  One of them is the one you got trying to sell you something that you will never receive and then they have your credit card information and the raid to drain your card begins without your knowledge of course.

    The other phone scam again is a bogus Microsoft employee stating that they found something wrong on your computer and they have the fix for it, first they guide you to open a file in your computer, then they tell you the files marked with the red exclamation marks are the bad files and only they can remove and must remove by taking control of your computer.  If you allow them to take control they will steal all important information on your hard drive like passwords and bank accounts etc.  Once they have that they drain your accounts and screw up you credit.  And those red exclamation points they found...all computers have those and they don't mean anything!

    Microsoft will NEVER call anyone, if any updating needs to be done they do it automatically.

    For the rest concerning virus protection, there are several very good FREE anti virus protection programs on the market, of course Security Essentials (SE) is a very good one, the others are AVG (probably the best of the free ones, but that is just an opinion), and AVAST.  Problem with AVG and Avast is that sometime their not compatible with a particular browser, I had major issues with AVAST being used with Chrome so I had to stop using it, not sure if that was because of Chrome or because I'm on the older Vista operating system, or both combined, but it wouldn't work.  So I switched back to SE, though AVG does intrigue me so I may experiment with it because it is rated better then SE as is AVAST.

    But those are the only free anti virus programs I would use.  There is another free anti virus program that I use called Panda.  Panda works in the cloud and not on the computer like the others.  The weird thing is, that because it works in the cloud it does not conflict with any other anti virus program you may have installed and operating on the computer.  I like the idea of having two layers of protection, since doing that I haven't had a virus in over a year, and have not ran into any conflict issues using SE and Panda together, nor does Chrome seem to run any slower.

    Whats really crazy is that these free anti virus programs run faster then the ones you pay for and they work better!

    A lot of this anti virus stuff and trying find the right one is experimental, you have to try it and see how your system will operate afterwards.

  • @Judith Stevens - It is not just Fake calls from Microsoft you need to watch out for, they will also call saying they are your ISP, Phone company and so on. Microsoft will never call you, but if it was your ISP call them back after looking up the number on there website this way you cna be sure you are speaking to who they say they are.

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