Anti-virus has always been the bane of the PC user—constant updates, continuous surveillance for threats, and often intrusive, expensive programs that happily take over your PC in the name of security. If computers were nation states, the average Windows PC would be a dictatorship.
But for those looking for a hassle-free solution, look no further than these suites of anti-virus software being offered at a very competitive price: free.
Free here, though, does not mean a compromise. Once downloaded and installed, these freebies can scan for threats, clean up viruses, malware (uninvited programs, usually from the Internet, that take root in your computer) and shield your computer just as well as any paid product can. Some of them, such as AVG, are tried and trusted names, and have honed their skills at virus-busting for years. Others, such as the open-source Clamwin or the cloud-based Panda, offer interesting alternatives to traditional scanning techniques. Avira and Avast are frequently updated and tweaked to deal with new threats. New entrant Microsoft has the promise of cutting-edge technology powering its own suite.
We compared the six anti-virus software suites across four categories: virus detection and removal, malware detection and removal, scan speed and the footprint it leaves on your system (this means the amount of system resources the software consumes).
Frugal PC users, rejoice.
Listen | Music player by Transcend
Transcend, known for its storage and multimedia products, has launched a digital music player, MP330. Weighing a mere 25g, the compact device supports a wide variety of formats, including FLAC, MP3, WMA, WAV and even WMA-DRM10 protected music files. It sports an extra bright, easy-to-read OLED display and doubles up as a portable storage device with a built-in USB connector. Music from external sources can also be recorded, including FM radio and sing-along synchronized lyrics in 14 languages. Two colours (black and white) are available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB; the player is priced at Rs2,500-4,000. Varuni Khosla
Navigate | New look for Orkut
Google is rolling out a new-look interface for its social networking site Orkut. With an estimated 13 million users, Orkut is the most populous social networking website in India. The new iteration is built on the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) platform, which powers Google’s futuristic sequel to email: Wave. The changeover will be rolled out through select invites and communities, a strategy familiar to users of Gmail and Wave. Krish Raghav
For more on Orkut’s new design, listen to Playcast
Play | Multimedia player by Amkette
Digital lifestyle brand Amkette has introduced an ultra-portable Flash TV multimedia player in India. You can playback your downloaded movies, pictures and music from the USB hard drives, flash drives or memory cards, in high-resolution output of 720 pixels, directly on your high-definition television. It connects to your TV or home theatre and plays digital movies, music and photos, and even the text files stored in the USB portable drives. It is priced at Rs2,995. Staff Writer
Illustration by Jayachandran / Mint