We are in 2010, people. The Internet is full of products to be bought, tested, downloaded, renewed, upgraded, reviewed and more. In the case of antivirus software, there are many titles available from various brands that will scan your computer on a regular basis and keep it free from threats as much as feasible. There are few programs that do this well, however, and that do it without eating up all your processor and memory resources. And even fewer that do it for free.

In this article, we expect a method of making sure your computer is denied of any dangerous threats, thereby guaranteeing your personal data and private information, as well as identity, are secure. An important consideration is that the software capable to do this should be installed promptly, then run discreetly in the background and regularly update itself to allow the discovery of the very latest threats. The icing on the cake – What if that software could be free?

If all you want is a free virus scan and removal of detected threats, you have to download a software that has a quick and easy installation process, scans at the speed of light and stops consuming your computer's precious resources when it is done, whether yours own a desktop, laptop or netbook. In general, antivirus software does not match this description: application file sizes are huge, download time is long, installation takes a while and resource consumption shoots through the roof during scans, remaining non-negligible at idle. Even worse: some software titles advertised as 'free instant scans' will indeed scan your machine but will not remove any threats unless you pay to buy the full product. Great, now you know you are infected but the threats are still here … Yes, there are many things to have had on the Internet, including getting scammed fairly easily.

A lot of the free titles available are deceptive in this regard. After all, they are free so what do you expect? If it is too good to be true, it probably is … The main problem of most free antivirus software is that it does not update itself automatically, therefore you have to remember to constantly update it manually yourself otherwise you will not be protected against the most recent threats. It is another responsibility, or we say say sudden, that falls upon you and because we are humans, we get lazy and unfortunately push back on things we do not like to do. Or we simply forget. Or we do not even know something needs to be done. That is why it is a bad idea to rely on antivirus software that does not update itself automatically; what you want is some kind of 'set-it-and-forget-it' protection and get some peace of mind in the process.

How then can I get a free virus scan and removal of any detected threats, you ask? The answer: by trying out the full version of a recognized, award-winning antivirus software title. The expression 'full version' is important here because when you download free antivirus software, very often what you are actually getting is a lighter version of a subscription-based product missing a lot of the powerful features you need to make sure you computer and data are safe, including automatic updates.

Almost all antivirus brands offer free trials of their top security products but today we will focus on the latest version of Norton Antivirus from Symantec. Why? Because it has won more industry awards than you can think of and it also has a lot of the things you are looking for when you need a free virus scan and removal of threats:

  • First, it is a completely free trial valid for 30 days!
  • Second, installation takes less than a minute of most computers; just make sure you thoroughly get rid of other antivirus software you might have installed previously.
  • Third: The footprint of Norton Antivirus has dramatically decreased with the last two releases. This means it will not use half or more of your processor power at all times, so that your computer's performance is barely affected. Also, Norton Antivirus only scans files that are deemed at risk and does it quietly in the background when there is no concurrent, resource-intensive task running.
  • Fourth: because the free trial period is 30 days, you can get as many free virus scans during this time frame as you wish and know that all detected threats will be removed as soon as they are found. And of course, Norton Antivirus will prevent new threats from entering your system (again, something that just a quick scan and removal operation will not do).
  • Fifth: because it is a trial, you can cancel at any time within the 30-day period. Symantec does require a credit card number but will not charge you until you decide to keep the software, for instance if you do not cancel before the trial period is over.

So, in a nutshell: by trying out for the free full versions of industry-leading antivirus software titles, you get the benefits of powerful detection features, automatic updates and low processor and memory utilization; we say 'versions' in plural form because you could try out a few different products and in the end actually keep the one that works best for you. There is indeed no shame in paying for something you think is useful and let us be honest, antivirus software subscriptions are very cheap for the kind of security they provide.

From the moment you decide you want a free virus scan and removal of threats to the instant the scan scan takes place, there could only be a few minutes as downloading and installing software such as Norton Antivirus is extremely quick. So forget the free scan scams, and not just because this sounds funny: stick with the big guys and stay safe; your personal data, identity and even wallet will thank you in the long run.

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