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The other two include all protective features, so unless you intend commercial use you'll do fine with the free editions. in particular tested well for malware removal, edging out Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 for the best malware removal score by a free product using last year's malware samples.

Just because a product is free doesn't mean it will save you money, though.

Like Malwarebytes, Trend Micro's House Call 7.1 offers malware cleanup but not realtime protection.

Like Panda Cloud Antivirus House Call uses signatures "in the cloud" rather than maintaining a local signature database.

The problem is, not everybody can cough up the cash to buy that protection.

digital defender free 2.0 also performed poorly, as did its for-pay sibling digital defender Pro 2.0.

If you buy a security tool and later decide you don't like it, you're stuck, at least until it's time to renew. You're free to play around, try different choices, and choose the one you like best.

If you're in the anti-Norton camp consider Bit Defender Internet Security 2010 or Zone Alarm Extreme Security 2010 for suite protection.

Some of the free options come pretty close to those top commercial products.

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