In theory it sounds good not to buy AV software, because there are free versions available. I am one of those that purchase it. I rely heavily on the information that is stored on my pc. Some of the disclaimers on the websites of the free av’s such as spybot or free avg ect, they mention that they produce the AV update definitions when they can. You cannot be guaranteed instant/on demand protection against new virus outbreaks and threats. They don’t have an office of people constantly look for new threats. You are simply getting the updates when the publisher gets around to getting them to you. One site specifically says that he does it as a hobby when he has time. Others will let you use the program for free, but unless you send them a “donation” or buy the “super cool version” it will not automatically update. You have to manually get the updates each time.
The average Joe will probably be able to get away with this kind of protection, but as I said earlier, my info is too important to hope that Bill or Carl gets around to getting the proper updates in time.
I recommend a program called Bitdefender. If you buy 2 years of the program, it costs about $10.00 a year. You can’t beat that for the piece of mind. It has also been rated as the best anti virus software for the past 3 years. They offer different flavors. Be sure to get the one with the firewall and AV protections. It also comes with anti-spyware and root kit protection. I do have to agree that MaCaffee and Symantec/Norton are simply a waste of $$!!
Hope this helps!