How To Choose Antivirus Software

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: June 17, 2018
How To Choose Antivirus Software

There are many types of viruses, including spyware, adware, Trojan horses, ransomware, keyloggers, rootkits and worms that can enter and infect your computer system. When they do, they can corrupt your files, steal sensitive information and even use your computer for nefarious activities. These reasons and many more should lead you to choosing an antivirus software program. It can give you peace of mind by detecting and removing viruses from your computer as well as preventing their presence in the first place. There are numerous antivirus software programs, each claiming to be better than the others. But which one os best suited to you? oneHOWTO will tell you how to choose antivirus software according to your personal requirements and preferences.

All-inclusive protection

The antivirus program you choose should not only offer security against viruses, but also against cyber crime, firewall, ransomware, censorship, 3rd party monitoring and other prevalent online threats. This means it should protect your computer system against the following:

  • Virus: can multiply itself and infect other devices on your network.
  • Trojan horse: masquerades itself as an innocent software program which you may get tricked to download and run on your system. Once you do so, it opens up other forms of security threats to enter your computer.
  • Worm: takes advantage of security loopholes in your web browser and infects your system.
  • Spyware: designed to spy and collect information from your system and send it to hackers.
  • Rootkit: once inside your computer, it allows hackers to have remote access of your system and control your device.
  • Ransomware: takes control of your system and encrypts your data, including documents, videos and pictures. Once they do this, they force you to pay money to get your files back.
  • Adware: displays advertisements on your computer screen, seriously damaging your computer's performance.


One important thing you need to look in your antivirus software is its reliability. A reliable security program will do the following:

  • Secure your system without causing conflict with other installed programs on your device. For example, if a similar program is already installed on your system, it will ask you whether you want to remove the first one before you can install it.
  • Protect its own processes from suspicious termination. Powerful viruses will exploit the weak points in your antivirus program and even try to skill its processing so that it can gain control over your system. Reliable antivirus software will protect its own processes and keep them alert against suspicious termination.
  • Provide updated security. Antivirus software that still makes use of outdated virus definitions is a weak program. Threats keep evolving, and an outdated antivirus program will not be able to stop an updated virus. A reliable antivirus program should regularly update itself from time to time.
  • Automatic security scans. Automatic security scans are necessary for reliable security protection of your system. A good antivirus program allows you to schedule your scans and it is even better if it comes with scan schedules already activated. Some of the best antivirus programs start running the scan when they see your computer idle for a few minutes.

Computer performance

In order to do their job, all antivirus programs need to use some of your computing resources. However, a good antivirus program will have minimum impact on the performance of your computer. If you have an old computer with outdated internal systems, then this aspect would be a key consideration for you while choosing antivirus software. A good security program will have the following features:

  • It will have minimal impact on your computer’s boot timings. It should start and shut down at almost the same speed as it used to do before installing the antivirus software.
  • It will not affect the performance of your computer without bogging it down. It should use your computer’s resources in such a way that it does not affect its responsiveness.
  • It will be fast to scan your system for malware.
How To Choose Antivirus Software - Computer performance


The antivirus program that you choose should have a user-friendly interface. Even a casual user with minimal knowledge of computers should be able to use it to keep the system protected. It should be equipped with the following user-friendly features:

  • It should be easy to navigate and provide an intuitive system of browsing through its settings, menus, tabs and windows.
  • It should also be compatible with touch screens. Since plain old monitors are now considered outdated, your virus software should be responsive enough to run on a PC with touch screen technology. It should be equipped with large size tiles, button and switches, so that the user can select them easily with fingers.
  • It should be easy to understand, meaning the settings and items should be intuitive and not overcomplicated.
  • It should give you easy access to their documentation, including documents with information on their help, credits, ownership, origins, development, etc.
  • It should give you full control over how the program works. It should allow you set each and every detail of the software according to your personal or professional preferences.

Customer support

While using the program, you may come up with an issue that you may want to get resolved by talking to a professional customer care executive. The antivirus program you choose must come with a good customer support system. They should be contactable through the phone, email and in-person if needed. Some manufacturers also give you the option for live chat too. This option allows you to solve the issue while working on your computer. Most important thing is that it should not cost you any extra money for the service it provides.

Tool bundles

The antivirus software that you choose should be complete with additional bundled tools as well. These may include parental control, encrypted storage space, password wallet, etc. Although these tools should not be your first preference while choosing an antivirus program, they can help choose one similar program over another. For instance, if you have children using the computer and you want to restrict the content they can access, you can choose the program which comes with a parental control tool. Also make sure the bundled tools it comes with are security oriented, useful and work without affecting the privacy, security and performance of your computer system. Also give preference to the program that offers your desired tool for free, without incurring any extra charges other than the subscription.

Reputable antivirus companies

When it comes to software programs, reputation does matter. Getting a security program from a reputable company is always a better bet than going for a program manufactured by an unknown firm. Good antivirus programs build up their software information and have extensive programs to deal with all kinds of computer security issues. They are more likely to have a reputation of being reliable and trustworthy. At the same time, many virus programs disguise themselves as antivirus programs. When you choose a program from an unknown source, you may end up installing virus on your system.

However, just because it is well known, doesn't necessarily mean it is good. McAfee Antivirus software has been available since 1988 in some form or another. It is the default software on many PC bundles, but it also doesn't always test well with independent reviewers. They have also had some controversy over the years over protection issues[1] such as those with false positive files.


Most people try to choose the least expensive antivirus software, but this is not always the best approach. As far as the security of your computer is concerned, a cheap program may not be enough to offer you optimum protection. Most antivirus programs come with free and paid versions (such as the ever popular Avast antivirus software), in which free versions provide the basic security, while paid versions come with advanced security systems. You need to choose the one that provides best protection at least possible price.

If you are looking for more specific information on antivirus software, you may find our article on choosing antivirus protection for an Android phone.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Choose Antivirus Software, we recommend you visit our Software category.


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