In-depth

Five free security software suites

We uncover five of the best free security downloads that you can get for your PC.

Good computer security is worth every penny you pay for it - especially for SMBs or home workers not protected by corporate systems.

But the proliferation of free software packages - lead by AVG Free - means you don't actually have to pay a thing for good quality security. In fact, Microsoft has ditched its paid security system OneCare in favour of a free system.

Here are five free packages you can download now for instant protection - there's now no excuse not to protect your PC.

Avast

Avast recently released Avast 5.0, a new version of its free security software which claims to have 90 million users and has been around for more than 20 years.

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It is a nice looking package, catering for more than 30 languages and offering some good features.

Compared to the other free security software, the installation is very quick, even though it does suggest you download Google Chrome during the download.

After installation, it advises you to restart and let Avast run a pre-emptive scan that should hopefully clear your computer of any malware it could be hiding.

It has a pretty unique WinAmp' style interface, which is available in different skins. The whole look is designed to be hidden and work behind the scenes, and that it does pretty successfully.

There are a number of features, including protection for instant messages, internet mail, P2P, Outlook and Exchange, as well as web and network shield.

There is also a real-time scanner, as well as anti-spyware and anti-rootkit abilities built in.

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All in all, Avast offers an impressive little package, and if its claim of 90 million users is true then you won't be the only one using it for protection.

AVG

One of the most well-known free anti-virus packages, this took a while to install compared to the other packages, and also hounds you to buy the professional version.

It also asks you to download the AVG toolbar and encourages' you to switch your browser toolbar to Yahoo, which can be annoying when you simply want to download the software.

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