Is free antivirus protection worth the trouble? If you have a computer and use the internet, you need to have some kind of malware protection. Yet, many would think twice about paying for a subscription or buying a software to get their data protected. That is why free options are available, either to help consumers evaluate the product or use it as long as they like.
Pros of free antivirus protection
Well, this is the main advantage of free antivirus programs. Many security firms offer a free version of their antivirus software. However, keep in mind that there is a trade-off for using free products — we will discuss that later.
Often, the use of the free version has a time limit attached to it. Afterward, you will decide if you will upgrade to a paid version or cancel altogether. However, you could still find forever-free antivirus software that offers essential protection with no ads and no time limit.
Typically, free antivirus protection offers basic protection. However, its beauty is that you don't have to deal with complicated customizations and add-ons. You won't be needing them anyway if you are not a heavy internet user.
Freedom to delete the software any time
If you are using a freeware, you can delete it any time you wish. If you think that it is not meeting your needs, you remove it from your PC and install a new software.
The same cannot be said if you are using paid software or if you are subscribed annually. Either you wait until the subscription expires or ask for a refund.
Cons of free antivirus protection
Annoying call-to-action pop-ups
This is probably the most common complaint among free antivirus protection users. Typically, freeware users will receive a barrage of notifications to upgrade or purchase the premium version. We can't blame the developers for this, though. Often, they use free software to promote the full-version of the product.
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Lack of/limited customer support
For the most part, you only get to access technical support if you are paying for the service. And this leaves you with no choice but get help through the online community or by watching tutorials. You would be lucky if the software company offers tech support, albeit very limited. Often, support will come via email or chat, and there is no option to call a live representative.
In general, developers would want their free software to perform at par with the paid version. This especially true if the purpose of the freeware is its promote full-version, therefore, it must provide the best possible user experience. However, you should expect that free antivirus software may not detect all or newer threats.
Likewise, free antivirus is typically slower when it comes to scanning. But that should be fine since scanning is performed in the background anyway, right? Well, you have to remember that scanning also takes up RAM space in your system. The effect on the computer's performance is quite noticeable especially if you are working on a RAM intensive task.