Keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date is essential for helping to ensure that your computer is protected from malware infections. But, no matter how vigilant you are in making sure your anti-virus subscription is still active, it's common to forget to renew your subscription. If your anti-virus subscription has expired, it will still run, but it won't be able to protect you from new threats. You could renew it or buy another program, but you can also look into free options.
Expired Anti-Virus Subscription
Although your expired anti-virus may still be installed, it won't provide you with the same protection it once did. You will no longer have access to software updates or database definitions. This is a problem because your software won't update with the most recent bug fixes or enhancements to how the software functions and if your database definitions become outdated, you're no longer protected from the most recent virus threats. Once your anti-virus software's subscription has reached its expiration date, you must decide on whether to resubscribe, purchase another solution, or install a free solution because after a matter of a week or two, your computer will become susceptible to many different virus threats.
Resubscribe or New Anti-Virus Solution
You can choose to renew your anti-virus subscription once it has expired. Choosing to resubscribe to your existing protection can be a good move if you've had a good experience with the particular anti-virus software manufacturer. If you had issues during installation, updating or a virus removal, consider installing a new anti-virus software. Paid anti-virus software is typically updated more frequently and has more customization options, whereas free anti-virus solutions are typically updated less frequently, may include ads or pop-ups, and are usually not as customizable. The main subscription based anti-virus software manufacturers include Symantec, McAfee, Webroot, Kaspersky and Trend Micro.
Free Anti-Virus Solutions
If you choose not to renew your anti-virus subscription or purchase a new software subscription, you can still get protection from a free anti-virus solution. A few of the most downloaded free anti-virus solutions as of February 2013 include Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG, Avast and Avira. Although you may not receive technical support, email updates with important virus information, or as many updates as you would with a subscription solution, these free applications still do a good job of keeping your system protected.
Whether you decide to renew your expired anti-virus subscription or use a free anti-virus solution, you typically only have a few days after the expiration date to update your computer with a current anti-virus before your expired software's threat database definitions are out dated. After you install your new anti-virus, knowing when and how often it performs updates is essential because even if the update process is automatic, it can still fail. Also monitor that your anti-virus software performs scheduled full system scans on a regular basis to make sure there are no viruses hidden deep in your system.
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