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.I looked at several free antivirus programs which are vital in protecting your computer from virus threats and other types of malware.
List of Top 10 Free Antivirus programs
1. Microsoft Security Essentials
Released by Microsoft in late 2009, Microsoft Security Essentials sports more than a typically verbose Microsoft name: it’s also a really good antivirus. Lightweight enough to run on older machines without crippling their performance, yet competent enough to handle most viruses and malware out there.
Perhaps the best part of MSE is its simplicity. As you can see, the user interface is really clear, with large buttons for the most basic functions. This is important if you’re setting it up on a computer for someone who is not computer-savvy.
Finally, MSE is completely free – there’s no professional version you can upgrade to. In fact, it’s even permissible to use in business situations, meaning you can use it at work without breaking the law. This alone sets it above most of the other selections for the 10 best antivirus programs.
Download Free Microsoft Security Essentials
2. AVG Anti-Virus Free edition
This one recently topped our Movers and Shakers list of the top downloaded free anti-virus programs. But just because AVG is popular doesn’t mean it’s not great.AVG has become synonymous with free anti-virus, and there’s a reason for this: AVG offers complete malware protection, with considerably less bloat than the top pay-to-use antivirus clients. And while AVG Free does constantly remind you that you could pay for the professional version of the program, it does this without ever getting in the way of the program’s core purpose: protecting you from viruses.
Though when it comes to upgrading one version of AVG to another, you need to make sure you’re good at reading what’s on screen, because the free download is only available via a tiny link at the bottom of the screen””the site really wants you to get the paid version. When upgrading to version 9 recently, for example, check out how hidden the free download was:
Download Free AVG Anti-Virus Free edition
3. Avira AntiVir Personal Edition
Avira AntiVir Personal Edition is another high quality free antivirus, and formerly the Top Pick. The primary reason I removed it from its status involved the recent controversy of AntiVir including a re-branded Ask toolbar in their installer, and a temporary spate of advertisements promoting a possible ‘scareware’ company. In spite of the negative press though AntiVir is still a top notch antivirus scanner with outstanding detection rates of malware, higher than almost every other antivirus according to tests. AntiVir is still a good choice for a free antivirus scanner, particularly for high risk users.
However, there are some minor 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 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. Also, AntiVir contains a rather intrusive advertisement every time it updates. Although AntiVir had signature updating problems in the past, this issue seems to be fixed now.
Download Free Avira AntiVir Personal Edition
4. Avast Free Antivirus
Download Free Avast Free Antivirus
5. Panda Cloud AntiVirus
Download Free Panda Cloud AntiVirus
6. Malwarebytes Anti Malware
Download Free Malwarebytes Anti Malware
Consider this the nuclear option. If you know you’ve got a virus, but your usual anti-virus program can’t handle it, and Malwarebytes can’t handle it, it’s time for ComboFix. This program isn’t friendly: it runs from a command window and is proud of it. And this is not a program you should use if you don’t know what you’re doing, because it can have devastating effects in the hands of the uneducated. But when all else fails, ComboFix delivers. Every geek should have this one on their keychain.
8. Clamwin Free Antivirus
Clamwin is the Windows version of ClamAV, the main Linux anti-virus on the market. ClamWin is flawed in many ways: it simply scans instead of offering real-time protection, it doesn’t really do non-virus malware and it’s not exactly easy to use. Still, having ClamWin around doesn’t cost anything, and you can never have enough scanning tools in your arsenal.
Download free ClamWin Free Antivirus
9. Comodo Firewall + Antivirus
Comodo is best known for its free firewall, but it also offers a bundled firewall and antivirus program. While the Comodo firewall isn’t the easiest to use, and the antivirus doesn’t include protection for non-virus forms of malware, this one’s worth mentioning if you’re looking for a free security suite which includes both a firewall and anti-virus protection.
Download Free Comodo Firewall
10. Emsisoft Anti-Malware