I've been running Windows Vista on my notebook for several months now, but only recently installed an antivirus product. It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security given that Windows now includes a firewall and Microsoft have become very efficient at delivering hotfixes. I'm also pretty conservative with my web browsing so I think the risk of infection is low.
But the fact is that viruses can be difficult to recover from once they infect your operating system. I recently tracked down and eliminated several Trojans on a older Windows notebook and was really annoyed to discover that the malware had hacked the registry to break Windows Update! The shortest path to recovery at that point was a format and reinstall.
Since then I've reviewed a few different antivirus products for Windows Vista. The first step was to view the list of Microsoft Antivirus Partners. I tested both Norton Antivirus and the free AVG Antivirus but was unimpressed with both products.
Norton Antivirus 2008 certainly looks the part but it dramatically slows down your operating system. I uninstalled this bloatware after 30 minutes because I refuse to accept that a virus scanner should lead to noticeable loss of performance.
AVG Antivirus Free Edition fares better in the performance stakes and it has the added appeal of being free! Grisoft make no guarantees about grade of service for automatic updates and I couldn't help but feel that Free AVG is a very basic product. I quickly dragged it to the recycle bin.
After spending some time on Google Blog Search, I noticed that ESET NOD32 is highly regarded and boasts the least performance impact of any solution. NOD32 isn't the cheapest solution on the market but I can vouch for its fast scanning throughput and minimal memory footprint. NOD32 isn't bloated with antispyware, a firewall or phishing detection. It's a streamlined virus scanner and I can highly recommend it to anyone who is currently shopping. NOD32 just sits in the background and you'll hardly know its there.