To those of us using Windows computers, the eternal question is: which is the best anti-virus software out there? Nowadays, our computers are always under the threat of attacks from viruses, spyware and other malware. It is hard to know if there is a best anti-virus program all around, as when you look for anti-virus program reviews on the web, you will find conflicting opinions, with different people swearing by different products.


I will freely admit that I am no expert in this field, although I consider myself relatively computer-savvy. But I am a consumer who has had varied experiences with different anti-virus programs, and so feel I have at least somewhat of an informed opinion, although I would offer the caveat that other people’s circumstances and experience might be very different.


For most of us, the question of the best anti-virus program boils down to: Norton or McAfee - which is better? Although there are many other anti-virus and anti-malware programs out there, these are two of the most commonly available antivirus software packages for sale. Having used both Norton and McAfee, I must say my experiences have been rather different with both.


Overall, I have had a much more positive experience with Norton Antivirus than with McAfee. Although both are memory hogs, over time my computer running McAfee began to run much more slowly than the one running Norton, even though the first computer had a gig of RAM while the second had only 500 MB. You could tell that McAfee was causing a lot of the problem because that computer would slow down even more when it was updating its McAfee program.


Norton Antivirus software - a good choice

Another thing I didn’t like about McAfee was that it aggressively kept prompting me to update my subscription months before the expiry date, and when I did so, it started counting the new subscription from the date I renewed (months before the old subscription was due to expire) rather than from when the old subscription would have expired, months later! I though this was a really dirty and underhand trick. I had to call McAfee customer support and go through this involved process of having them to extend my renewed subscription by a couple of extra months, to make up for the lost time on my old subscription. Of course, you have to be vigilant with Norton also, and should probably turn off their automated renewal feature by logging into your Norton account, but at least they didn’t try to make me pay up months in advance and then deny me the remaining time on my old subscription.


Furthermore, the computer running McAfee suffered from two bad malware attacks recently, within a space of three months. This in spite of keeping my McAfee subscription current. I had to take it in to a computer repair shop to get rid of the malware (spending over a $100 each time), as McAfee was unable to block the infection. In fact, after the second infection, the computer repair technician told me that my McAfee had not even been functional for a while, which is why the malware could sneak in. I don’t understand how you can pay for an antivirus software and have its icon show up at the bottom of your screen, apparently go through live updates and give you A-OK diagnostic messages if it isn’t doing anything! Anyway, by the time of the second malware attack, my non-functional McAfee was almost up for renewal, so I had the technician remove it altogether and replace it with Norton Antivirus. Since then, the speed of my computer has increased several fold. It’s almost like having a new computer again. Now, I know that faster speed does not mean that my computer is safer, but it’s not like McAfee was exactly protecting this computer. Plus, I’ve had Norton Antivirus on my other computer for almost a decade (twice as long as I’ve had the computer with MacAfee on it), and it has had no virus or malware problems thus far. Knock on wood.


Lastly, when the computer tech guy gave back my laptop to me after removing the malware and installing it, he said he would recommend Norton over McAfee any day, as he considers it a better product. So, my answer to the question: McAfee or Norton - which one is better? is certainly Norton, based on my experience. Of course, I realize I could just have been unlucky with one of my computers, and that others more knowledgeable than myself might have very different opinions, but I am going with what I have experienced as a consumer.