I am always scouting out the best options for you. You should be on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 at this time. As a reminder, Windows 7 is a perfectly valid choice for a new computer. It will be patched with security updates by Microsoft until April 2020. Next April 2015, Microsoft will come out with its new version of Windows, which may be called 9, but will feel more like a 7.5. That’s a good thing. Minus a few problems — Windows 7 was the best operating system ever for Windows. However, under the hood, Windows 8.1 is really great. It offers a built in file backup system; file copying is much faster, and there is built in Anti Virus. Expect “new Windows” to keep those under the hood enhancements but be more friendly like Windows 7.
On the topic of Anti-Virus……
1. Viruses are not what they used to be. Anti-virus software alone is not good protection.
2. Most attacks to your computer come through malware or bad programs. Therefore, anti-malware software is the perfect compliment and in fact probably more important than anti-virus. However, you need both.
3. If you are running Windows 7…… I think ESET and Webroot are fine Anti-Virus programs. They both cost about $40 a year for 1 computer, with discounts for multiple computers. In the past I have recommended Avast and Kaspersky. If you are still subscribing to those options — no changes. They are worthwhile and priced similarly.
4. A non-issue: You may wonder why many anti-virus programs are headquartered in places like eastern Europe. Some may have U.S. offices, like ESET, but the only one above that is based in the U.S. is Webroot. That does not make it the best for me. Think of all of that NSA spying that came to light last year. There have been rumors that the NSA has also slipped tracking into anti-virus from traditional players like Norton and McAfee (and others). Therefore — you celebrate your anti-virus software being created in a safe foreign country. This is good.
5. If you are using Windows 8 — there is a built in Anti-Virus program called Windows Defender. It’s pretty good. You can’t call Microsoft for advice like you can with the 4 paid programs above, however, chances are you won’t need to.
6. I would highly recommend the Premium version of Malware Bytes. Some of you know that I have used this program for years to scan for malware on your computers. The free version allows you to do manual scans. However, the paid version is always running in the background. It gives you active protection and automatic updates. Malware Bytes Premium used to be $25 for a lifetime subscription for one computer. They now charge $25 for 3 computers per year. It’s still a great deal, especially if you are using the free Windows Defender with Windows 8. Malware Bytes is known to play nice with all of the four paid anti-virus programs I mentioned in #3, except for Kaspersky. However, I haven’t checked the compatibility on this in a few years. If this applies to you, please ask before you buy.
An ounce of prevention is worth……..