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Two Isn’t Always Better Than One: Why Your PC Shouldn’t Have Two Antivirus Programs

Running two antivirus programs at the same time is so bad, that it’s the same as having none at all. Cyber security is, without question, a growing concern. In 2016 alone, one in three Americans has been hacked. Even more shocking is a recent study that revealed that cyber attacks occur every 39 seconds. In the face of such a massive online threat, you probably thought about installing two or more antivirus software on your computer. Having more shields mean better protection, right? As it turns out, the logic doesn’t apply in the case of antivirus programs. Experts even call it a “very bad idea”.

Risks from Using Multiple Antivirus Suites

We’re all aware that antivirus programs constantly scan and monitor your PC for security threats. It’s logical to think, therefore, that having more eyes on the lookout for malware would significantly improve your system’s ability to neutralize incoming viruses.

No, it doesn’t. In fact, it does the exact opposite. Here are some of the consequences of having two antivirus programs in your system:

  1. Running two antivirus programs will zap your battery.

Antivirus programs don’t use up that much power individually as they normally just run in the background. Have two or more and they begin to eat into your laptop’s battery life. The worse part? Both programs are performing completely redundant operations.

Run two antivirus programs and expect your system’s effectiveness to be greatly diminished or completely wiped out. It doesn’t bode well for your system either way.

  1. Running two antivirus programs will compete over viruses.

Antivirus programs, for the most part, refuse to see that they have a common enemy: malware. Even as antivirus “A” has successfully quarantined a suspicious file, antivirus “B” will try and move the infected file into its own vault.

As both programs engage in a needless game of hot potato, your system will repeatedly be notified of a detected threat even if the virus has been completely disarmed. No doubt, you’ll find these bogus warning messages a total nuisance.

  1. They will wage a needless war against the other.

Again, third-party antivirus programs really don’t play nice with each other. In fact, running two simultaneously often leads to one classifying the other as a virus.

You see, some malware strains behave the same way as an antivirus would. They’ll both monitor and send information about your system to a server. Unsurprisingly, an antivirus program will attempt to block and remove the other antivirus and this may likely cause file corruption.

The biggest takeaway here? Never attempt to hoard antivirus suites in their PC because running two is absolutely counterproductive. Not only will they clash for no good reason, they’ll make your system lag considerably.

Top Free Antivirus Programs in 2017

Because more protection isn’t better in the case of antivirus programs, you may have to put your faith in one cyber security suite. It’ll take time before your research will yield a definitive answer, though.

This is why we took the liberty of finding you the top antivirus picks as recommended by a few, trusted Internet security experts. Here are the top five that you can download for free (in no particular order):

AVG AntiVirus Free (2017)

(Image credit: PCMag UK)
(Image credit: PCMag UK)

Getting a new look and adding a new technology to its software were nice touches, sure. More important than these is the fact that AVG AntiVirus Free remains a consistent performer.

It has done well enough to merit the thumbs-up from independent lab tests for another year, as a matter of fact.

Avira Free Security Suite 2017

(Image credit: PCMag)
(Image credit: PCMag)

It’s straightforward and busy interface may intimidate first-time users. Its performance gets a massive hit on slow computers, too. Despite these, Avira Free Antivirus still has an ace up its sleeve.

As unassuming as Avira antivirus may look like, it’s actually a capable defender. It offers solid protection for both zero-day and widespread malware. At the end of the day, a solid protection is all that matters to most users.

Avast Free Antivirus 2017

(Image credit: PCMag)
(Image credit: PCMag)

It may be free, but it surprisingly offers an extensive collection of bonus features. That includes a password manager and a gaming mode. Not bad for a free cyber security, don’t you think?

Overall, Avast Free Antivirus 2017 is a great, useful, free antivirus. It even scores well on AV-TEST’s metrics.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (2017)

(Image credit: PC4U)
(Image credit: PC4U)

Looking for a set-it-and-forget-it kind of security solution? In that case, you’ll like what Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition puts on the table.

Not only does it offer an unparalleled malware detection rate, it has very low impact on your system’s performance. That’s largely a credit to its bare-bones design.

Panda Free Antivirus (2017)

(Image credit: Softonic)
(Image credit: Softonic)

A small system performance impact, a fun and customizable user interface, a good malware detection performance—what’s not to love about Panda Free Antivirus?

For one, it has high rates of false positives. It’s been observed to flag even benign files as malware host. You won’t like seeing all those ads peppered onto its interface, too.

Take your pick among these top cyber security suites and you’ll undoubtedly arm your computer to the teeth against malware. Just don’t get too greedy and pick only one.

While you’re downloading your preferred antivirus program, you might want to fortify your smartphone with a phone security app. Feel free to safeguard your smarthome from cyber attacks, too.