Anyone with a computing device more sophisticated than an abacus and having an internet connection or some contact with the outside should know about this site. Independent ratings of vendor anti-malware programs are available here after a one-time and free registration. Go there. Now. And register.
For free antivirus programs, I know of two excellent choices.
free.grisoft.com - Home of the AVG Free Antivirus
www.avast.com - Home of Avast Antivirus (download page)
I've known about these three sites for a while, but somehow never got around to bookmarking or blogging them.