The best antivirus software for keeping your Windows Vista computer running smoothly comes from Bitdefender, Kaspersky and Norton. Install one of them to increase your fighting chances against hackers. Learn about specific anti-virus products, Vista's basic security and related topics in our articles on antivirus software for Windows Vista for more information.
To rank the top anti-virus software for Windows Vista, we evaluated the products for virus detection capabilities, virus removal, features, and help and support. Here's a synopsis of each of these areas:
Good anti-virus software will work in tandem with your operating system to recognize data threats when they enter your system. For those times when the software misses threats, it should perform regular full-system checks — preferably when your system doesn't need those resources elsewhere. Your anti-virus software should also avoid falsely labeling harmless, essential files as threats. The best anti-virus software will have a threat database that consistently updates itself in response to the latest viruses, Trojans and other malware. But your software should recognize the kind of code that shows up in malware, even if a certain new bug hasn't yet made its way into the database. In other words, your anti-virus software should flag both existing and potential threats.
To evaluate these abilities, we relied on an independent lab, AV-Test. This group tests anti-virus programs against tens of millions of actual and potential threats, evaluating their performance on workstations networked to dozens of servers.
When it finds dangerous files, your anti-virus software should be able to treat or quarantine the threats and remove them without causing errors or deleting needed system files. Such deletions can cripple your data or your system.
Beyond its basic anti-malware performance, security software can offer features that maximize usability, without slowing down your computer by monopolizing its resources. Your security software should be easy to install, and just as easy to use. It should actively protect not just files, but also incoming and outgoing email and instant messages, along with external storage devices like thumb drives.
Help & Support
Lastly, good anti-virus software comes with strong, easy-to-use customer service. When you are ready to renew or upgrade your subscription, you should be able to do so easily. If you have problems in the meantime, help should be readily available. Software with a robust support network typically scored higher in our review. We assume that you would prefer 24/7 access to customer support and some vendors provide such a thing, but not all of them.
New malware attacks surface daily. Your protection should constantly evolve so you can stay ahead of those dangers. Anti-virus software with a record of working well with your Windows Vista operating system will keep your computer safe for a few more years.