Your computers will always be vulnerable to malware and hacker attacks if you frequent the web. Only good antivirus software can guarantee you safety as you browse the web or use external storage media like flash drives and memory cards.
The best antivirus software comes at a price. But you can still stay safe on the web using free and legal premium-quality antivirus. Here is our list of best free antivirus for Windows that will be more than enough to keep your computer free of malware and safe from most attacks.
We are going to base our ratings and positioning on AV Test, a reputable security software tester from Germany. AV Test gives an overall rating to security software depending on
Protection: How well the antivirus can identify and handle malware infections (worms, Trojan horses, and viruses.)
Performance: Resources the antivirus needs to run hence its overall impact on the computer’s performance
Usability: User-friendly interface and prevalence of annoying false warnings like labeling legitimate websites harmful, false warnings when installing legitimate software or detecting legitimate software as malware during scans.
1. Avast Free Antivirus
The Avast Free Antivirus 2016 will protect you from a great deal of antivirus and anti-malware.
Couple this with additional features like home network scanners, comprehensive scans, browser cleanup and a password scanner and you get an all-round antivirus for your day-to-day needs.
2. AVG Internet Security
The AVG Internet Security version bundles the basic antivirus functionality. It can identify and block malware, scan your emails for malicious attachments and scan any links you open online.
AVG is light on the resources. You won’t notice any changes in performance. Their rather aggressive push for paid version could however be a bit infuriating.
3. Avira Free Antivirus
Avira Free Antivirus gives a robust protection against common malware and has an up to date malware signature database that will have you covered on zero-day malware.
Avira is a bit heavy on the resources. It might hog a good portion of your RAM but its extensive range of functionality will always be worth it – assuming your machine can stomach it.
4. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
This malware scanner will bolster you antivirus’ zero-day malware scanning capabilities. It will always use the latest scanning techniques and has a rather impressive Chameleon mode that keeps hidden from intelligent malware.
Malware Anti-malware isn’t an antivirus. It just deals with malware unlike antivirus that contains other PC protection features. You should consider using it in conjunction with another antivirus.
5. BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition
BitDefender will give you real time protection, intrusion detection, HTTP and rootkit scanning without slowing your machine.
You can configure your BitDefender to different tasks like general office work, watching videos or activate the gamer mode.
The most notable feature is the banking mode that encrypts your vital data, a 2-way firewall and parental control. Be warned. BitDefender is only useful if your system is clean. It performs dismally on already infected computers.
6. Panda Cloud Antivirus Free
Panda Cloud Antivirus leverages cloud computing to give you light but powerful antivirus on demand. A light cache version will keep you safe when working offline while the complete software will give you robust protection once you go online.
Panda Cloud Antivirus features a reliable phishing protector, rootkit blocker and malware scanning whose capabilities without drawing heavily from your machine’s resources.
The only problem is that it might be a bother with false alerts. The problem is that it auto-quarantines files it believes to be dangerous and could cripple any application that relies on that particular file.
Download Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Here
My Windows 10 computer uses Avast. I find its catalog quite helpful. Everything, from file protection to email, P2P protection, and active internet protection is above average for any free antivirus system.
It’s lightweight and commendable malware detection capabilities make it quite a bargain. I use it in conjunction with Malwarebyte’s anti-malware scanner to bolster my system’s protection from zero-day malware.