It's a "Catch 22" world out there, and way too much -gray- area to define "Who's best?".
I agree with TeMerc, but would add a few "caveats"
: 'always near the top on all the "best" lists*, -but- (there's always a "but") if you follow this for awhile ( http://www.avira.com/en/threats/section/vdfhistory/index.html
), you will see they "go to sleep" on the weekends alot, or else - nobody works the weekends alot, dunno. And, they occasionally "remind" you (with pop-ups) that their "free" version does -not- scan your e-mail, although there are workarounds for that in their forum ( http://forum.avira.com/thread.php?threadid=31838&hilight=configuration
). Free version download site is here: http://www.free-av.de/en/download/1/download_avira_antivir_personal__free_antivirus.html
: You have to "register"... Doesn't EVERYBODY have all my info by now, anyway? Free version download site is here: http://www.avast.com/eng/download-avast-home.html
: The new AVG8.0 has a slew of complaints at the "Free forum" ( http://freeforum.avg.com/
) and support for the v7.5 version appears to be ending July 25, 2008. AVG Free download site is here:http://free.avg.com/ww.download?prd=afe
[All these types of "best" lists rank/test the vendors... er, differently. This is just one.]
2008-07-03 - "...The organizations that offer free software walk a thin line between encouraging people to upgrade to the paid versions of their programs and being so intrusive that people choose a less-annoying alternative..."
So, there you have it. "In a perfect world...", things would be, er, different.