Everyone seems to favor a different antivirus software and its hard to make a choice because of this as recommendations too are all over the place. A little test from the guys over at overclockers.com may help you in your decision. They tested desktop and online antivirus solutions and gave recommendations in the end.
They used one virus file, 50 Megabyte in size unzipped that contained more than 10,000 different viruses and other malicious code. The software that found the most got their recommendation which is not the best criteria if you ask me. There should be other factors like system resource use (never use Norton if you want a fast system), updates, type of virus found aso. But its a good test to see how your favorite AV handles this infested files.
Update: The test, as useful as it was in 2005 is no longer useful on today's Internet. Malicious software, antivirus programs and operating systems have moved on since then, and other websites and services have started to do regular tests.
One of the websites that you may want to consult if you are shopping for a new antivirus solution for your operating system is AV Comparatives. The company behind the site runs a series of tests in regular intervals, and publishes the results on the website. Tests include detection tests, but also performance, anti-phishing, removal or false alarm tests.
Reports are offered as pdf documents that you can download from the servers directly. Many products of popular security vendors are analyzed in the tests. Companies included are for instance Kaspersky, Symantec, Trend Micro, F-Secure, or AVG. A click on Comparatives / Reviews in the left sidebar menu displays the available tests.
A second site that is useful in this regard is AV Test which is also publishing regular reports. Some test results are however directly accessible on the web page, which improves the accessibility significantly.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.