It is pretty much agreed upon that in the Windows world of computing running a computer without anti-virus software is like jumping onto a busy highway and expecting to not get hit. No other platform has as many viruses and now spam infections as Windows. Given that, most Windows users will need to setup some sort of anti-virus application. In this review I will cover why ESET NOD32 should be considered one of your top choices as well as why buying anti-virus software in general can be difficult.
All software makers pretty much distinguish between two classes of software these days. You either buy personal software for home use or you spend more and purchase business (sometimes referred to as enterprise) software. It use to be that ESET offered one solution that you could install on Windows2000, WindowsXP workstations and Windows Servers, but they recently changed their software pricing model to make a clear distinction between personal home software and what they call the business edition. It is now no longer possible to buy just 1 license of NOD32 Business Edition so that you can run it on your server. You must instead purchase 5 business licenses and then you will be able to download the Business Edition. The Home Edition no longer installs on any type of Windows Server, it will only install on Windows Workstations! My biggest problem with this is that I run a home server and so I can no longer buy cheap anti-virus software. Almost every vendor now requires a 5 business license limit, so even if I just wanted one or two licenses, I no longer have that privilege.
However if you are not like me, and just have Windows XP or Vista workstations, then you can buy ESET NOD32 Home Edition pretty cheaply. The cheapest way to buy the Home Edition is to just purchase an OEM version. You should be able to find OEM versions for sale on Newegg.com and save yourself a few dollars in the process.
Other than the Home versus Business editions, you can purchase ESET Smart Security which is both an anti-virus and anti-spyware utility. The Smart Security suite is more expensive than NOD32 alone, but it will save you the expense of buying a separate commercial spyware utility.
The software takes a few minutes to install and by all accounts is a relatively easy install. The installer will require the usual Windows restart. From this point on, any time you start Windows, you will get a NOD32 splash screen once Windows gets to the desktop, letting you know NOD32 loaded. The green logo will then appear in your systray and you can click on it to bring up NOD32. Version 3 of the software differs from version 2.7, in that version 3 gives you a nicer looking interface and hides the old style 2.7 setup screens. You can even configure NOD32 to show a simple interface if you think the Advanced Interface is still too cluttered.
Other than NOD32, I have tried Computer Associates Anti-Virus products which are very inexpensive compared to other vendors. However it is my opinion that NOD32 is the top anti-virus product in quality for Windows at this time. Business users though might want to look at Sophos who offers enterprise class anti-virus and spam solutions with a good reputation for quality. For home user though, NOD32 is still my best recommendation.