Question from Marilyn A: Rick, I’ve bought several new computers over the years and they all came with an antivirus program pre-installed.
As you can probably guess it was usually either Norton or McAfee.
I’ve always just kept using what was already on there because I figured it was probably the best antivirus program for that particular machine, but I now have doubts about that after reading some of your stuff on your blog.
Hence, this question: Is it best to stick with the security software that comes pre-installed on a computer or replace it with something else?
I guess I’m just wondering if the pre-installed software is made to work better with that particular computer?
Rick’s answer: Hi Marilyn. Your choice of whether to keep using (and eventually pay for) the anti-virus software that came pre-installed on a PC is entirely personal preference.
There is no inherent advantage to using one particular brand of security software on any particular brand/model of computer.
The computer manufacturers are typically paid by the software companies to pre-install trial versions of their software onto the new PCs they build.
These deals between the software and hardware vendors are sold to those shopping for a PC as a benefit to the customer like “Hey, buy this computer and you won’t have to shop for security software!”
But truth be told, it’s actually just a simple marketing deal.
Bottom line: You are completely free to ditch the security software that comes pre-installed on your next new PC with no worries whatsoever.
In fact, one of the first things I do when setting up a new PC is remove the pre-installed security software and replace it with the free version of Avast AntiVirus.
I don’t do that because Avast is optimized to work best with specific machines. I do it because Avast is simply my preferred antivirus product.
And now, a couple of things for you to consider:
1 – If you decide to stick with the antivirus that comes pre-installed on a new PC (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing so), you’ll have to pay in order to keep using it after the trial period ends.
2 – This is entirely my own personal opinion based upon my own personal experience, but the free version of Avast just seems to do a better job at protecting my PCs from malware than the paid versions of some of their competitors.
(FYI, a recent head-to-head antivirus test ended with Avast free out-performing all other antivirus programs, including the “paid” ones.
Bottom line: There’s no real advantage to using the antivirus software that came pre-installed on your new computer. You’re completely free to choose any antivirus software you wish to use on it.
Bonus tip: This post explains how to completely rid your Windows PC of viruses and other forms of malware.
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