The internet is a glorious and exciting world, but unless you're properly protected with a good antivirus application, it can also be a dangerous one. We've come a long way since the days of Norton, with handfuls of excellent freeware software that can keep your computer safe from malware just as well as their bloated, more expensive counterparts. On Tuesday we asked you to share your favorite antivirus application, and today we're rounding up the five most popular answers. Hit the jump for an overview of the five best antivirus applications and to cast your ballot for the best antivirus app of the group.
AVG Anti-Virus (Freeware and Shareware)
The lightweight AVG Free
provides protection against the various nasties floating around the internet. Like many of the options in the Hive Five, AVG provides freeware (with limitations) and commercial versions of their software, but most users find AVG Free is all they need—though many users prefer versions prior to the most recent 8.0 release.
is best known for its speed and small system footprint, but users also swear by NOD32 as a comprehensive and bulletproof solution. At $40/year for a home license, it's not free, but NOD32 die-hards claim the pricetag is well worth it.
Avast Antivirus (Freeware and Shareware)
Available in both freeware (Home) and shareware (Professional) flavors, Avast Antivirus is the happy home of many an AVG-switcher. Avast is slightly heavier on system resources, but users argue its excellent protection more than makes up for the increased footprint. The freeware version will cost you an email address to get a free registration code from their website.
Avira AntiVir (Freeware and Shareware)
According to many of its users, Avira
is the go-to freeware app for detecting viruses and other malware that other antivirus apps miss. Like several of its peers, Avira is available in both freeware (Personal) and shareware (Premium) versions, and most people find the freeware alternative plenty to suit their needs. One downside to Avira on install is pop-up ads enabled by default (adware, anyone?), but you can disable the ads with a couple of clicks.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus (Shareware)
Fans of shareware antivirus app Kaspersky
point out its consistently strong ratings in malware protection as well worth the $60 license. Kaspersky also boasts an extremely quick response time to new viruses, earning it a special place in the hearts and system trays of its users.