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Best Free Antivirus Software!

Date:2010-04-16 13:17From:kingdek info Author:kingdekinfo Click:
Best Free Antivirus Software

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 07:55 — Jonathan

Antivirus software provides an essential layer of protection from a multitude of virus, trojan, worm, spyware, adware, dialer, keylogger and rootkit infections. Traditionally antivirus programs just detected viruses and spyware removers just detected spyware but nowadays the boundary between antivirus and spyware removers is unclear. Most current antiviruses have at least reasonably good detection rates of all forms of malware.

Malware includes viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, dialers, keyloggers and rootkit threats that perform malicious activities on a computer. With the huge increase in malware, antivirus software cannot keep up with detecting all of it. But using more than one real-time antivirus uses much more system resources, can cause conflicts and even reduce protection. So I recommend you only choose one antivirus for real-time protection. Instead, you can increase your protection using other security software.


Avira AntiVir Personal EditionAvira AntiVir Personal Edition is my top pick for the best free antivirus software if you're looking for the best protection against virus, spyware and rootkit threats. AntiVir is very light on resources and the detection rate of malware is outstanding, better than almost every other antivirus according to tests. However, there are some reservations.

First, AntiVir does not include web or e-mail scanning capabilities; this is only available in the paid version. The lack of an e-mail scanner is not really a disadvantage, it just means that AntiVir won't warn you of infected emails before you open them. But should you open an infected email, AntiVir will still spring into action, so it doesn't mean that you're not protected from email-based infections. Second, AntiVir has advertisements that appear with every update, although you can disable these ads. Finally, AntiVir has a time-limited license. It is renewable, but be aware that you'll have to periodically go through the hoops. Although AntiVir had signature updating problems in the past this seems to be fixed now.

Microsoft Security EssentialsMicrosoft Security Essentials has good detection rates, in particular detecting rootkits. Even more impressive is that Security Essentials has very few false positives, is light on resources and is good at removal of existing malware.

Microsoft Security Essentials is the best choice for average users because of the minimal user interaction required. It automatically updates and removes threats. No registration is needed, apart from a quick validating of Windows, and there are no nag screens or advertisements.

The main downsides are the slow scan speeds and the lengthy amount of time it takes to quarantine malware. MSE also is not available in certain countries so users there will have to look elsewhere. Note that Microsoft Security Essentials requires a genuine copy of Windows to install.

Avast! Free AntivirusAvast! Free Antivirus is also an excellent free antivirus that many users prefer. Its detection rates is on par with AntiVir. Avast has the most features, with full real-time capabilities, including web, e-mail, IM, P2P and network shields, boot-time scanning, and a behavioural blocker. Avast is light on resources.

These free antivirus programs are excellent software that provide a real alternative to the major commerical antivirus products.

You can increase your protection if you run on-demand scans with another antivirus. On-demand scans can be run regularly to check for viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, keyloggers, rootkits and other malware that may have been missed by your main antivirus scanner. If you have a good preventive security strategy in place, however, the extra protection an on-demand antivirus scanner offers is minimal.

You can also use one of the free antiviruses mentioned above as an on-demand antivirus scanner. One advantage is that you can set scheduled scans if you wish.

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition: During the install, under "Choose Installation Type" select "Custom", and under "Install Components" untick "AntiVir Guard".

Avast! Home Edition: During the install, under "Configuration" select "Custom", and untick all the items under "Resident Protection".

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition: In the interface, open the "Resident Shield Component" and untick "Resident Shield Active".

a-squared FreeAnother option is a-squared Free, which started out as a trojan remover but has recently included the Ikarus antivirus engine. The detection rate is incredibly high, on par with AntiVir, which makes it a very good choice for an on-demand scanner. Unfortunately it has many false positives, and the large update sizes make it unsuitable for dial-up users.


AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition deserves a special mention because it is so popular. Although this venerable antivirus was once highly regarded, I feel that in recent times, although it is not bad, it is not comparable to the above mentioned free antivirus software. It has grown considerably in size and resource usage, has very slow scan speeds and also advertisements (but they can be disabled).

I'll also mention several popular free antivirus programs which I considered but did not include in the review because of low detection rates.

  • Comodo AntiVirus (part of Comodo Internet Security)
  • PC Tools AntiVirus Free Edition
  • Rising Antivirus Free Edition 2010

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