What is the best premium anti-virus and all around security for a desktop?
Avira is the best anti-malware, Malwarebytes is the best on-demand scanner.
Great, thank you!
No problem. Also look at Kapersky, it's probably the best real-time defender. It is paid, however.
If you want slightly irritating background protection try McAfee. Intel is one of its parent companies
Dude. It isn't malware... it is quite irritating to use though
It changes. Av-comparatives publishes detailed testing results periodically. Some good names for general protection are Avira, Avast, Kaspersky, ESET, Sophos, BitDefender, Panda, Trend Micro, VIPRE, the list goes on. Even Microsoft has stepped up their game.
I tend to prefer free solutions over paid, but paid solutions do have more features if you want them. I used Kaspersky for years, partially because of top tier detection and removal rates despite its relative light weight, and it sometimes goes on sale for very cheap. I also had it for free from my ISP at one point.
For free scanners, don't forget Malwarebytes, ADWCleaner, Comodo Security Essentials, Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (requires redownloading since it doesn't update itself), EmsiSoft Emergency Kit, McAfee Stinger, etc.
Ultimately, there are two important factors for your security. The first is common sense. The second is making sure you have layers of security: ad and script blockers, setting configurations, active protection, backup scanner, data backups, firewall, passwords, just to name a few.