In Short: Are you looking for the best free antivirus which provides you a complete protection from virus, malware and other PC threats on your Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 computers? This detailed guide will help you to choose best free antivirus according to your requirement and system specification.
A good anti-virus software stops you from unknowingly downloading viruses or opening unsafe files. That’s why it is essential to have an anti-virus software installed on your windows computer with latest updates.
An antivirus is a tool aimed very specifically at detecting attempts to exploit, vulnerabilities in the operating system or applications. However, Microsoft provides an inbuilt malware protection called Windows defender which work well in detecting and removing different kinds of virus and malware but such virus, malware and adware are getting smarter and becomes undetectable by Windows defender, that’s why we need a dedicated antivirus software to protect our computer from all such kind of threats.
A good antivirus program should definitely have the ability to root out existing malware, but also, its task is to prevent any nasty programs from getting in. The best part is when we get these services free of cost.
How to Select Best Free Antivirus?
So what do we look for when selecting the best free antivirus?
Useful Features to look for:
1. To simply start with, every antivirus product scans files on access to make sure malware can’t launch, and also scans the entire system on demand, or on a schedule you set.
2. Blocking all access to malware-hosting URLs is a nice way to avoid trouble. Many products extend that protection to also steer users away from fraudulent websites, phishing sites that try to steal login credentials. A few rate links in search results, flagging any dangerous ones.
3. Behavior-based detection, a feature of some antivirus products, is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it can detect malware that’s never been seen before. On the other hand, if it’s not done right, it can baffle the user with messages about perfectly legitimate programs.
4. Other useful bonus features include preventing USB-based malware attacks, scanning for router weaknesses, and cleaning up traces of browsing history.
10 Best Free Antivirus for Windows 7, 8 & Windows 10 Computer
Below is the list of top 10 best free antivirus software which offers protection from a wide range of online and offline PC threats, these antivirus utilities possess all the features mentioned above.
Avast is a popular choice of millions of people, whenever it comes to a free antivirus program avast comes in the mind first, it is easy to install and a straightforward interface makes it easy to use, whenever you install it for the first time it does perform a quick scan which should identify any potential threats into your PC, avast is a lightweight antivirus which has minimal impact on your system performance. Independent testing by AV-Test has found the program to be a good all-rounder, and it was one of AV-Comparative’s Products of 2012.
Avast Free has some useful extras too. A Software Updater alerts you to program updates you’ve missed, for instance, while its Browser Cleanup tool provides a simple way to remove unwanted add-ons from your browsers. You can perform on-demand scanning of complete PC or selected drive including external storage devices like USB flash drive, SD cards etc. It also provides a boot time scanner which helps you to find and delete any kind of boot sector virus.
Avira is another leading antivirus company which offers complete protection from viruses, malware, trojan, worms spyware and rootkits. According to AV-TEST, Avira offers the strongest protection against both widespread and zero-day malware. However, computers with less RAM might see a performance impact. However, Avira Free Antivirus’ sheer effectiveness and a good range of features including a mobile portal and child-safety settings make it one of the best choice.
The user interface of Avira is not that simple and clean like avast or AVG, it has the bunch of control and setting options which give you more control on the antivirus but you may not get familiar easily.
However, it does take less time to complete the scanning compared to other free antiviruses, and if you are having less than 2 Gigs of RAM you might notice a little performance drop during the scan process.
There are hundreds of new threats are being spread every day sometimes these threats skips through your main antivirus and get into your PC, to deal with such threat here comes Malwarebytes’ antimalware which is technically not an antivirus software itself, it is a second opinion to antivirus programs, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is an excellent complement to any antivirus program. The software has a laser-like focus on eliminating tricky zero-day malware from your PC.
The Chameleon feature, which disguises the software so malicious programs can’t find it, it is worth mentioning. We recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free for every PC user.Although, it has a very simple interface but may take more time to detect and delete malware and other PC threats, the 2016 version of antimalware has an attractive interface along with added features which protect you from known and unknown malware.
Bitdefender’s antivirus engine makes it one of the best free antivirus around, and a favorite of the independent testing labs, the free version of Bitdefender is engineered to enable computer performance to the maximum.
The program is ultra-compact, downloading and installing takes less than a minute. A very basic interface then provides effective on-demand and automatic scanning, real-time antivirus and anti-phishing protection.
It doesn’t slow down your PC, computers having less RAM can easily use it without any performance drop. There are very few manual controls here, no settings, no options, no scan types, no scheduling, nothing at all, perhaps an issue if you like to fine-tune your security. But if you prefer simplicity then Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is an excellent choice.
Like Avast, Panda scored top marks for virus protection in AV-Test’s report. Its interface is pretty but not as user-friendly as that of Avast. It also has a nice feature called USB Vaccine – this prevents virus attacks that occur when you plug in an infected USB drive.
Panda free is an “install and forget” antivirus, once it gets installed on your windows computer it automatically performs Url & web filtering with behavioral analysis protection. Panda is a cloud based antivirus engine which protects while you do all the tasks and you even won’t notice any performance lag, all these features makes it another best free antivirus around.
The latest version of comodo antivirus has been released, earlier comodo had decided not to provide any version numbering but last year they released Free antivirus 7, following their naming the recent version is called Antivirus 8. It has a very good score in hands-on malware blocking test it does a good job both in detecting and deleting a wide range of malware and viruses.
It has Defence plus Auto sandboxing technology which isolates any unknown and potentially hazardous file to run within the Sandbox environment.
Sandbox limits damage from unknown programs. It also has Host Intrusion Prevention System, Behavioral blocking, Virtual desktop, a hardened browser with Do Not Track add-on.
However, it has not so impressive score in malicious URL blocking test. It has received mixed scores from independent labs. Also, default auto-sandbox does not work well everytime and it may interfere with the installation of unknown programs and sometimes identified valid programs as malware.
AVG free 2016 offers good protection from malware and spyware, the latest version has AVG Zen™ Dashboard where you can manage all your device from a single screen, it is also available for Mac and Android devices.
Remote protection feature allows you to scan and remove PC threats from a mobile device and It received good scores in independent lab tests and has the speedy full scan. Has inbuilt features like website rating and Do Not Track, File shredder and PC tune-up. You can do both scheduled and manual scan whenever you need, downloading and installation of free version is bit tricky, if you are not careful while installing you will end up installing trial of Pro version, so choose custom install and uncheck Pro trial, but you will still get frequent prompt to upgrade to Pro version.
The downside is that PC tuneup component shuts down after the one-day free trial. The latest edition of AVG AntiVirus Free earned good scores from the independent labs. AVG is an Editor’s Choice for free antivirus.
Zone alarm free antivirus + firewall has more than 90 millions of downloads which bring it to the frontline of Antivirus. You will get an installer which may take additional time to install the product, at first, it will install Firewall but after a restart, you need to click on “Install Antivirus” to get a free antivirus too.
Zone alarm is perhaps the most popular free firewall available which works great with it’s free antivirus. It has strong firewall component which resists malware attacks, 5GB of hosted online backup, Credit monitoring and identity and data protection.
If you tend toward the minimalist approach, Check Point’s ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2016 may well suit your needs. Its firewall component is an Editors’ Choice, and its antivirus protection is licensed from security giant Kaspersky.
Qihoo (pronounced as Chi-hoo) has two products under 360 branding, Total security and Total security essential and both are available for free, Total security has more features than Total security essential, you can choose any of them but if your computer has lesser RAM than 2 GB then install Total security Essential.
Qihoo 360 total security provides many modules to make your PC safe, secure and fast it has Virus scanner, PC tune up, Junk Cleaner and sandbox.
Sandbox allows you to try new and unknown applications safely, it also provides protection against browser hijackers and webcam protection against hackers.
360 Total security has a negligible impact on system performance since this antivirus doesn’t download the whole database to your computer but uses a cloud based antivirus engine.
These engines include-
- 360 Cloud Scan Engine
- 360 QVMII AI Engine
- Avira Antivirus Engine
- Bitdefender AV Engine
Overall, Qihoo 360 Total Security provides complete protection and full system optimization without slowing down your PC.
FortiClient is a free endpoint protection suite which offers malware & virus detection, rootkit removal, parental control, and VPN. While they’re best known in the corporate world for making network security appliances and various enterprise level security suites, FortiNet also produces a capable antivirus tool, FortiClient, which is free for home users.
The program can be installed in two modes. The standard option provides a good range of tools like an antivirus engine, simple parental controls, an application firewall, vulnerability scanning and more. But you can also run FortiClient without its real-time protection, perfect if you need to run it alongside an existing antivirus tool without conflicts.
FortiClient is also available for Mac, Ios, and Android operating system.
Earlier Microsoft used to provide a free antivirus known as Microsoft Security Essential but now it has been discontinued and bundled with Windows defender.
So above are the best free antivirus suites which are able to protect your PC and other devices from different kinds of threats in both online and offline environment, best practice to avoid virus, malware, and other threats is not to download any cracked software, keygen, hacking tools and beware of scams and frauds while surfing and downloading stuff from the Internet.
Although there is a numerous number of antivirus(es) with their own distinct features and a set of pros and cons, no antivirus can be addressed as backward, or perfect. It’s because each one has its own area of specialization.
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Stay Safe, Happy Computing!
Do you use any other free antivirus program? OR which one is best free antivirus software according to you? Do share it with us too 🙂