If you're happy with your current anti-virus software, then you probably don't pay too much attention when the annual renewal notice comes in — but perhaps you should. Reader Regan writes in with a cautionary tale:
My subscription to McAfee Security Centre recently expired; as a result I selected a McAfee link to renew my licence. I was then redirected to a Dell/McAfee branded site that wanted $129 for the licence renewal. Even navigating directly to the McAfee Website (or via Google) seemed to have the same result. However, I was able to access the McAfee Direct Download service (searched for it directly via Google) where I got the same software for $79 — and that covered three computers!
When it comes to security software, I'm a great believer in the "if it hasn't broken your PC, don't change it" principle, but Regan's tale demonstrates that a bit of comparison shopping before clicking that renewal link might be worth your time. If you'd prefer to stay in the free software universe, check out our top five anti-virus applications.