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Free Antivirus Software

Updated on December 6, 2016

Anti-virus software that's really, truly free


There are quality antivirus programs that are free. It's just a matter of knowing where to find it, downloading it and installing it. We have here a review of 7 of the leading and popular free antivirus software that can be downloaded online.

Anti-virus Review: AVG

The free version of AVG Anti-Virus is awarded the number one downloaded program on CNET's That alone should be recommendation enough for you to stop reading this right now and going there to download and install it. Thanks for coming!

On a more serious note, while 50 million users can't be wrong, the other reviews and recommendations on this hub are worth sticking around for. Because you may have more than one computer in the house and this free version is available for single computer use for home and non commercial use.

AVG is easy to use and automatically runs and updates. They say it doesn't hog system resources, but the free version does a full virus scan EVERY DAY and it can't be switched off unless you upgrade to the paid version. So if you've got an older computer it may slow things down a little. It did for me on my desktop that was just over two years old, but since buying a new notebook I haven't seen a noticeable change in performance when I've started the computer and the full system virus scan has kicked in automatically.

AVG Free Edition can be used in Safe Mode, which is handy for cleaning a system that is unable to boot into Windows.

Download AVG.

Installation Of AVG Anti-Virus

Anti-virus Review: a-squared

a-squared removes infections of Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms, Keyloggers, Rootkits, Dialers and other malicious programs.

The a-squared Free Scanner scans your hard disk, removes all infections and restores your PC to maximum performance.

Occasionally it is possible that a system may become unstable after removing Malwares because it already manipulated too much. So it is recommended to place detected Malwares into Quarantine first before removing them permanently.

You can manually run an online update before you scan your computer. The automatic update feature is only available in the paid version.

Download a-squared.

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Your virus protection should be kept active all the time to prevent threats from the internet or email sneaking on to your system.

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Anti-virus Review: Avira AntiVir

Avira AntiVir boasts more than 30 million users worldwide and have also picked up several awards. Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic reliably protects your private computer against dangerous viruses, worms, Trojans, costly dialers and detects and deletes rootkits.

The product combines first-class detection rates and ease of use with a top performance that protects your computer safely and hardly burdens older PCs.

Avira AntiVir can be used in Safe Mode, which is handy for cleaning a system that is unable to boot into Windows.

Download Avira AntiVir.

Anti-virus Review: ClamWin

ClamWin is a free antivirus program for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP. It's not only free it's Open Source. Which means programming geeks are allowed to look and even play with the code.

The program features: High detection rates for viruses and spyware; Scanning Scheduler; Automatic downloads from the regularly updated Virus Database.

It's not an on-access real-time scanner, which means you will need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware.

Download ClamWin.

Anti-virus Review: Bit Defender

BitDefender Free Edition uses the same ICSA Labs certified scanning engines found in other BitDefender products, allowing you to enjoy basic virus protection for no cost at all.

BitDefender Free Edition is an on-demand virus scanner, though they suggest that if you have a permanent Internet connection (your computer is always on and always connected to the Internet, that you consider using a more complex antivirus solution (ie: get the paid version).

On demand as well as Scheduled scanning. Or you can select a specific folder or file for immediate scanning.

It has a Skinable interface. This means you can design your own interface. Which will appeal to the geeks who like to express themselves but the average user won't be concerned with such frivolity. We just want to keep our machines and data safe, right?

Infected files can be isolated in quarantine, And you have the option of sending these files for further analysis to the BitDefender Labs.

You need at least a Pentium 200 Mhz or higher processor, they recommend 128 MB of RAM Memory (though it'll get by on a bare minimum of 64MB) and at least 40MB available on the hard disk drive to install the program.

Download BitDefender.

Anti-virus Review: Avast

The Home Edition of Avast is now free of charge for HOME users for NON-COMMERCIAL use.

To use the Home Edition you must register it. After installation you have 60 days to use the product before you must complete registration.

The registration process is very easy, and should only take a few minutes.

Download Avast.

Anti-virus Review: Comodo AntiVirus

Comodo AntiVirus will eliminate Viruses, Worms and Trojans from Windows XP and Windows 2000 PC's.

Features both on-demand (when you want it) and on-access (when you open a program or file) scanning, email scanning, process monitoring, worm blocking and scheduling.

Detects and eliminates viruses from desktops and networks, detects and blocks intrusion by malware before they can run, daily automatic updates of virus definitions, proactive Heuristic analysis intercepts unknown threats ('Heuristics' describes the method of analyzing the code of a file to ascertain whether it contains code typical of a virus) and simple to use: install and forget (you can't get better than that!). Once installed Comodo AntiVirus 2.0 beta will sit unobtrusively in your system tray.

Comodo Antivirus is free to both home AND business users.

Download Comodo AntiVirus.

Not So Free. But worth the fee!

You get some extra features and functions with paid for anti-virus.

What Are Viruses?

When you first contract a computer virus (and pretty much every one after that) you will have an overwhelming urge to strangle the virus writer if you ever in the position of having the pleasure of meeting him (or her, but I'm guessing it's some young kid of the male side of the human species).

Why do they do it? I don't care. All that I care about is that my computer is not working the way it should (like shutting itself down for no reason, or corrupted files).

A few years ago the chances of contracting a computer virus were slim if you didn't download and open up email attachments from people that you didn't know or downloaded and opened files from websites of an unknown reputation. In fact even if I did know the sender, if it was a suspicious email asking me to open up a .exe file it usually meant that my friend had opened the virus on their computer and then sent itself out again via email to everyone in their address book.

Nowadays though just merely being connected to the internet can find your computer being exposed to the risk of catching a virus.

Whether it's a virus, worm or Trojan horse, the results are still the same. Something happening that you didn't want nor appreciate. Whether it be deleting or renaming files, damaging programs or formatting the hard disk. Loss of time and worse yet... DATA can be quite costly, and also heartbreaking.

Even the most benign of viruses (launching nothing more than text, video, or audio messages) can take its toll by taking up system resources (using computer memory that would otherwise be needed by legitimate programs). Also bug-ridden virus programs can cause system crashes and therefore data loss.

In the last decade macro viruses have become common. Most of these viruses are written in the scripting languages for Microsoft programs such as Word and Excel. These viruses spread in Microsoft Office by infecting documents and spreadsheets. Since these Microsoft products were also available for Mac OS most of these viruses were able to spread on Apple computers as well.

The importance of having up-to-date antivirus running on your computer


Unfortunately cyber threats such as hacker attacks, worms, trojans and viruses are now a part of daily life.

Unprotected computers on the Internet are vulnerable and can virus infection can result in a costly waste of time and money.

Antivirus software is a program that attempts to identify, neutralize or eliminate malicious software from your computer.

Most modern antivirus software are now designed to combat a wide range of threats such as worms, phishing attacks, rootkits, trojan horses and other malware.

It's important that you install and enable an antivirus that can connect to its developers server to automatically download and install the latest patches, fixes and updates in order to prevent the latest threats.

As well as the computer system some anti-virus programs are able to scan files after you've double clicked to open and emails that are both outgoing and incoming can be scanned as well.

Once a computer has been compromised by a virus, it is usually unsafe to continue using the same computer without completely reinstalling the operating system. However, there are a number of recovery options that exist after a computer has a virus. These actions depend on severity of the type of Virus.

An alternative to Virus prevention and virus removal is to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system if you are infected.

The downside being that you have to reinstall all your other installed software and you need to keep constant and current back ups of all your data.

Considering the time and effort involved an antivirus seems like an easier option!

Send this link to your friends...

If you know someone in need of decent virus protection, copy and paste the following and email it to them...

This link will take you to a page that has reviews and download links for 7 of the best free Anti-Virus programs.

Other Useful Links

  • Virus News: Kaspersky, the makers of Kaspersky Anti-Virus, have a news section on their website that is kept up to date with current cyber threats. From basic definitions to thorough analysis. And once a month they publish the top 20 viruses in terms of impact on computer users.
  • A-Z Listing of Threats & Risks: Listed alphabetically and like a spread sheet also comes with information such as Severity, Type (eg: Virus, Worm, Macro, Misleading Application, Adware, Trojan Horse) and the date that it was first discovered. You can click through on the name of the threat and find out more information such as a Summary and also the Technical Details.
  • McAfee's Blog: Avert Labs are the creators of McAfee Anti-Virus as well as other excellent products which come under the same brand. They have a blog. So if you want to get your geek on, then this is one such place to do it.
  • Symantec Virus Removal Tools: Leading antivirus vendor Symantec offers a wide range of free cleaning tools for individual malware removal.
  • McAfee AVERT Stinger: The McAfee AVERT Stinger is designed to find and eradicate thirty different infections, including SoBig, Blaster, Klez and BugBear. The download is a simple self-extracting, self-installing file used to scan and remove these known, high-profile threats. It is not a cure-all for every virus, nor does it prevent infection (is NOT a substitute for full anti-virus protection), but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system. At less than a meg in size it is handy to have on hand for a quick fix if you or a friend is in trouble.


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    • profile image

      Server Antivirus 

      7 years ago

      Really? AVG is not free?

      The link I gave takes you to a page that says this: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0. Basic antivirus and antispyware protection for Windows available to download for free. Limited features, no support, for private and non-commercial use only.

      It is not a trial version.

      I am using it on my computer.

      AVG Free is free.

    • dwaynehood profile image


      8 years ago from 9535 Stoney Ridge Lane, JENKINTOWN, PA-19046,USA

      from last 1 month my pc infected by trogen malware and i m trying each and every anti virus tool even i used AVG but its not working properly when i install it in my pc..

    • charlemont profile image


      8 years ago from Lithuania

      a-squared stopped being free since becoming emsisoft. Pity enough, since it used to be a good app. However, their command-line scanner is still free.

    • fresh2def05 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisville, Ky

      Great hub man really! voted up.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Eu já discuti-o durante um tempo considerável neste artigo.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      por favor preciso de antivirus para proteção do meu pc obrigado.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I actually remove malware and viruses for a living.

      IMHO the best free app for this is Microsoft Security Essentials.

      Here's the URL:

      BTW this program really is free (and has no time limit).

      However, you need to have a genuine copy of Windows that can pass the Microsoft "activation" process to install it (or you need to know how to get around that if your copy of Windows is not actually genuine).

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I used the free version of Bit Defender for years. A few days ago realised I lost it from my laptop.I am no expert but wonder if it was remowed. Tried to download from many sites the "free" version. Only to find out I must subscribe to at least of one trial version of another product to get the virus program free, or I get the trial version WHICH IS NOT THE FREE VERSION. I think this is deceptive and dishonest. I tried this site too and the same thing happens, Check it out and see for yourselves.

      Most disgusted!

      Be well!


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Avg is a great program. But in all seriousness, I would NOT take CNET's stats to mean the programs most downloaded are the best. One example-Advanced System Care Free is the highest rated program for cleanup and registry cleaning with more than 2 1/2 times the DL as CCleaner. I myself use neither BUT, CCleaner is a much safer program and Advanced System Care can seriously damage your computer,it's almost impossible to keep it from booting and start-up, will run and dump things without you telling it to and worst of all? It's been conclusively proven they hack Malware Bytes and stold some of their code. A nasty, nasty program.

      As for the Hub, good job. I have used many of the ones you listed along with a few paid ones. AVG is great, Avast, Comodo, Avir-all good and relatively light on resources.

      I would like to suggest one other out since this hub was written and that's MS's new Security Essentials. When I installed 7, it was just out and I decided why not take it for a spin. I'm not a huge MS fan or a schill or anything. But since installing their new free AV program, I haven't gone back to any of the others. It integrates very well with Windows, very unobtrusive, light on resources, updates daily, scan scheduler, default actions you can set yourself, great basic features and since installing, I've had ZERO infections. I performed a test with my brothers paid version of Norton 360, downloading a known trojan and MS program was a full 8 seconds quicker in catching it. In fact, the trojan barely started DL when it was caught. It's my new AV of choice and I've been a huge fan of AVG for years. Much as it breaks my heart to promote anything MS(like they need it!) I rec this to everyone. Benchmarks all over the web show it consistently ranks very high and usually the highest of the free programs for detection.

      Thanks for the hub though. Def a few their I'll have to check out.

    • mynameisnotpaul profile image


      9 years ago from Kentuckeh'

      Love AVG, and love this hub. Great work! :)

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      I avoid keyword stuffing, even if it's under the suggested threshold. I write as a reader would want to read. If I ever write something that appears to be full of keywords, I'd be surprised, and it'd be unintentional.

      In addition to search engine traffic I think there's a lot of word of mouth promotion. People would be bookmarking the page and then when a friend says "I need an anti-virus, preferably free!" they'd email them the link.

      Well that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it :D

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I cannot for the life of me work out how you are getting search engine traffic to this hub, and yet you so clearly are. That for me shows me how much I still have to learn. Do you hide low competition keywords in your body text? I tried about 10 searches and didnt see this hub anywhere, I give up. I'm going to try and work out the tricks of Mark Knowles and Sunforged instead!

    • aziz908 profile image


      9 years ago from saudi

      Thanks for the free program

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My bad. AVG still offers free basic version after 11-30-2009. Just click on AVG support center to go to Cnet to download the AVG 9 Free version.

    • harrisdy profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      great hub!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Unfortunately, AVG will not be free after 11-30-2009. Upgrade to AVG 9 will cost you like 49.99? a year or 69.99? for 2 years. Yes, they send pop-ups every day to remind you.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      9 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Some great tips and names of good software here! I recommend AVG as its easy to use and really works! Norton AntiVirus 2009 is a gem! It caught trojans and Phishing weirdness happening on my old email a/c which I changed as a result! Great advice! This is a great Hub! It's nice to see this! Consider me a Fan!

    • retellect profile image


      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the advice Darkside, I gonna use AVG now. I was happy to find out that you wrote this hub after finding it through a search. I knew I could trust what you had to say, I used to use Norton but it makes my pc really slow.

    • Trekkiemelissa profile image


      9 years ago from Illinois

      Antiviruses are a big debated item. Some people swear by the free ones and some people swear by the paid one. I'm on the side of the paid ones though. I like norton. I have used both clamwin and avg. For the paid ones, I have used norton and mcafee.

      Right now, I am using Norton and I like it.

      I have never had a problem with norton. I actually did have a virus on my old desktop and used the free antivirus problems. They never picked it up so I did not know I had a virus. I am using norton and it picked it up right away when I was migrating my stuff from one computer to the next.

    • profile image

      9 years ago

      Avira's Anti-Virus is the best man! Really! Just try it and see for yourselves! It's got 99.4% infection detection rate compared to AVG's 95% infection detection rate. And did I mention that it uses little amount of system resources? A wise man will look nowhere else if you'll ask me.

    • profile image

      tha truth 

      10 years ago

      You have so much good info on here. I am so way behind and i have so much to learn. Great hub!

    • SPeck profile image


      10 years ago

      A lot of people like and recommend AVG. I didn't care for past versions of it but maybe it has improved. I used Eset which is a paid program but uses very little system resources so it doesn't slow down your PC

    • Count profile image


      10 years ago from Detroit

      I feel you but I just can't trust the free stuff. I suffered two massive infections on both of my PCs and every since installing Norton, I've been good to go with Fortress-like protection. Nice hub though.

    • Kudlit profile image


      10 years ago from Laguna

      I used to work as Tech Support for a certain ISP and we always recommend using AVG Free Edition to those who don't want to spend on antivirus. And yes, it is free.

    • codexehow profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice hub. I can't stand AVG though. I'm an Avast! man.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Australia

      Update: I've been stuck on dial-up for a while. And I got a new computer. For some reason I couldn't download AVG Free. I'd get a few meg and it'd keep disconnecting me. So I tried Comodo, which downloaded fine. And installed fine. And has been protecting quite well too.

    • esocial profile image


      10 years ago from California

      Yep, avg is good, without a doubt. Funny thing, the free version is 100X better than the paid version. Go figure!

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Really? AVG is not free?

      The link I gave takes you to a page that says this: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0. Basic antivirus and antispyware protection for Windows available to download for free. Limited features, no support, for private and non-commercial use only.

      It is not a trial version.

      I am using it on my computer.

      AVG Free is free.

    • privateye2500 profile image


      11 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      AVG is not free - why tell people it is?

      Most ALL programs give you a trial version; does not make them free.

    • Mark Pearson profile image

      Mark Pearson 

      11 years ago from UK

      I have used Avast for a while now and can definitely recommend it. It has trapped quite a few "nasties" trying to get onto my PC, and kept my system running clean.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      11 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Great hub, I have used avg for years and then use spamfighter for the emails

      both of them are free. I used to have a small computer with smoothwall on and I used that as a firewall and then had 2 other computers attached through that. It was good kept me well protected.

    • cheahyuniq profile image


      11 years ago from Penang, Malaysia

      Great review of free alternatives out there! I currently use AVG Free 7.5, but updates will not be available after May 31, 2008. Have to scout for one that does a good job soon. What would you use? I'm thinking of AVAST.

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 

      11 years ago

      I think the 30-day trial version is fully functional (I'm not sure though). But after the trial period, you can't update virus definitions anymore.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Does NOD32 come as a fully working free version?

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 

      11 years ago

      I hear from techies that NOD32 is the best antivirus software. Have you tried it?

    • charlemont profile image


      11 years ago from Lithuania

      Among free Antivirus softwares I put thumbs up for AVG and Avast, and BitDefender is better in paid version. Whenever I come across a need to wipe out a nasty, I use Bit Defender's online scanner.

      But of course any antivirus gets better when installed together with antispyware and firewall. There can't be too much security ;)

    • bucs0658 profile image


      11 years ago

      I love BitDefender, but as far as paid protection Kaspersky is the absolute best.

    • kellyfilmgirl profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks so much! Exactly what I've been looking for.

    • dataminer profile image


      11 years ago from Ninety Six,SC

      great and informative hub and AVG get my vote!!

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Ad-Aware does a good job. I remember the first time I installed and ran it on my computer, I had hundreds of adware and spyware programs hiding in my computer. I ran it on my dad and OMG- he had THOUSANDS.

      Adware and Spyware aren't actual viruses, but they will use system resources to run. And if badly coded they can cause crashes to your computer.

    • Whitney05 profile image


      11 years ago from Georgia

      Do you have any thoughts about Ad-Aware?

    • oscarmecp4 profile image


      11 years ago from South Africa

      Never used antivirus programs before but the last time I have a problem with my browser online and even offline. Did used on off the above mention virusscanners but after offline for 5 days with the pc on find a virus but couldn't resolve it. Download another virusscanner and it show me that the computer was infected 20 days ago. The first program I paid for through my ISP. Now I'm running a trial version scanner is also mention in your message. But I think I must go to Nortons. Can you assist me there friend.

    • Veronica profile image


      11 years ago from NY

      Excellent Hub. Thanks for all the advice. I switched mine and my husband's laptops to MACs last year, partly because of the virus thing. The household computer is still a Dell laptop though. I'm told eventually I will need to find virus protection even on the MACs. I'm looking at the products you listed to see if any of them make a MAC version.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      11 years ago from Sydney

      I was unhappy about what we had then bought error smart. It cleared every thing out including the kitchen sink. Now the other one is working so the first one clears at 11.00pm and error smart takes everything out at 5.30Am

      Good riddance to both, what ever they find.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I used to have Norton's too, but it annoyed me by giving me constant reminders to update at inconvenient times and I couldn't seem to disable that part. Other than that, it was great.

      I think it's quite useful to know about existing free ones too. I used to use one, but heck if I can remember the name now. Seemingly, it was effective. I never got anything it couldn't push out on regular scans.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the feedback Iðunn. I was a paid subscriber to Nortons Anti-Virus, which I never had any problems with. I was at first reluctant to try a free virus program because for me, there was extra peace of mind for paying for it. But when my HDD died early 2007 (a month after renewing the subscription) I couldn't find or retrieve the information for the reinstallation quick enough before I had to get back online. So I tried AVG. And I've been happy with it. I'll be trying out Comodo on my wife's notebook soon.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      very good advice and quite the useful hub. I'm a pay-user of antivirus but I also take my own precautions. I do not open email from spam or anyone I don't know or expect to hear from. I am cautious with lyrics sites which often have trojans and I do not download music anywhere it is illegal or unsafe. Only Limewire. And thank god I have no interest whatsoever in online porn from which a lot of users have virus difficulties. Also, my antivirus program checks sites in advance on search and warns for problems. Good stuff - it's McAfee.

      Great hub.


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