computer virusA reader writes that he’s been using Norton Security on his desktop computer for years, and it works fine. Now it’s up for renewal. Should he pay the $38 or get the free Avast?

What complicates the situation is that following a recommendation of ours years ago he uses the free Avast anti-virus program on another computer and has never had any problems. Despite that perfect record, we recommended that maybe this time he should keep the Norton. Sometimes we get leery of changing things after a computer has been working well for a long period. We thought $38 isn’t much to pay for peace of mind and installation on five computers. Besides, Norton seems to have improved greatly since Bob threw it in the trash years ago.

We have had long — and sometimes unhappy — experiences with switching programs that were working okay before we messed around with them. Our first copy of Bullguard Internet Security was free; it was sent be reviewed so we went ahead and plugged it in. Then later we got another anti-virus program for review and tried that. We immediately got a virus. Though we thought of going back to the free Avast, because it had always worked fine, we decided to load Bullguard back in and continue testing it. We’ve had no problems with it for a long time now, and since our boat isn’t rocking, we’ll stick with it.

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