Everyone knows that anti-virus software is crucially important to operating a Windows-based computer. Steve Jobs tells us so. In reality, in my experience, you have to be pretty careless to get a virus, or else connected to an open network with a lot of careless people. This isn’t usually the case. I went without anti-virus software for about five years and never found a virus in my yearly check. Most people leave the pre-installed Norton or McAfee on their system without updating it and do just fine.

Have you ever tried removing that pre-installed Norton, though? I just did, after getting tired of how badly it slowed down my computer, and it was a bear. Fortunately, I found out the right way to do it. (Find Norton in Add/Remove Programs, hit Change, and then remove, then download and run the Norton Removal Tool to be sure.)

Instead, I installed the free, unbloated AVG anti-virus software. So far, I am quite pleased. I have added peace of mind knowing that it is keeping updated and keeping my system clean. And it doesn’t take over my computer like Venom, gradually turning it to the dark side.

Another option is the avast! virus cleaner, also free.

(If you can’t tell, I am big into free software, which just makes better sense. If you like free software, please support the makers by donating to the project.)