- Best Free Antivirus For Mac Os X
- Best Free Antivirus For Mac 10.6.8
- Best Free Antivirus For Mac 10.6.8
- Best Free Antivirus For Mac 2018
Let's face it...we're no closer to vanquishing the cyber-criminals and hackers that plague the internet than we were a decade ago. In fact, cyber crime actually grows significantly year after year. So it's clearly as important as ever to ensure that your computer and mobile devices are afforded the protection of the best antivirus out there. You may be most familiar with names such as Norton, McAfee and AVG - but are they really the best?
Top 10 Best Free Mac Antivirus Software 2018. There is always a question whether Mac computers need antivirus, however as many Mac users may or may not be aware Mac computers DO benefit from using antivirus software and there are many free versions available that will go a long way to helping you keep your Mac computer safe and secure. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the paid security app that offers advanced features to keep your Mac safe. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc. Bitdefender offers two security apps for the Mac a free Virus Scanner for Mac and the paid Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. Avast software is the most popular and, for many, the best antivirus for Mac. Developed by Czech company Avast Software, it has been available in 43 languages since 1988. It is currently being used by more than 400 million people worldwide, and third-party tests done in 2016 have shown a malware detection rate of 99.5%.
We've tested and reviewed the latest packages - both premium and free antivirus - from the biggest names in cyber security, so you can be confident that our recommendations can be trusted. More than 80 antivirus and security suites have been reviewed and re-reviewed by our experts, as of July 2019, to give you the very best solution to protect and secure your devices.
Best antivirus 2019: our top 5
Read on for detailed analysis of each best antivirus service pick
Creators of malware and viruses are always coming up with new ways to gain access to your PC and other internet enabled devices (with your mobile phone and tablet included). Luckily online software security companies are constantly updating their security software packages to protect against phishing scams, ransomware and all other types of viruses and malware.
Right now, we think that Bitdefender Antivirus Plusis the best antivirus available. It combines watertight security tools with an array of other excellent security features and is super easy to use, too - best of all, it also offers extremely good value for money. You can read more about what it offers below, together with Norton AntiVirus and Webroot SecureAnywhere that complete our top three.
If you’re looking for all-round protection against the latest cyber threats, then investing in the strongest programme is the best solution you can hope for - and we also have the best business antivirus plans if you're looking to take care of your company computers. That doesn't mean you have to start spending big money either, as our guide also gives you the best available prices for the best software. And if it's the best free antivirus that you're after, we have some top recommendations for you, too.
Or jump straight to:
The best antivirus 2019
1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 1 Stand out features: Ransomware protection and remediation, privacy tools, VPN, SafepayAntivirus Plus 1 Year
Get a 50-60% discount on Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020
TechRadar's #1 rated antivirus in a world packed with loads of virus protection providers, and doesn't even cost that much more than free antivirus downloads.
Note: For our Bitdefender Antivirus Plus review, we tested the 2019 version. This was updated and renamed to 2020 in July this year.
Take a look at any rankings of big independent antivirus and Bitdefender's premium security products always rise to the top.
It tends to be reliable and accurate in its virus detecting, featuring web filtering to blocks access to malicious sites, a secure browser that keeps your online banking ans shopping transactions safe, and there's a password manager which auto-completes credit card details in web forms. It also scores high for its excellent anti-phishing module, which alerts you to malicious links in your search engine results and blocks access to dangerous sites.
There's also multi-layer ransomeware protection that heuristically learns the behaviour of such threats to keep you safe as well as the ability to scan all your linked devices via the Bitdefender Central mobile app.
There are one or two issues – it grabs more resources than average, and might conflict with some programs – but Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is still a likeable package which offers excellent detection rates, great performance, and more than enough bonus features to justify the price.
Bitdefender Internet Security builds on AVP and triples the number of devices covered plus offers anti-spam, firewall, parental advisor and file encryption features.
For a little bit more you can purchase the Bitdefender Total Security edition. It adds all of the above and covers up to five PCs, Macs, Android and iOS devices.
Get Bitdefender Antivirus Plus up to 60% off!
Great news! You can currently score up to 60% off our #1 rated antivirus. It's a special software treat for TechRadar readers. It means that fantastic virus protection for your PC is now even more affordable - check out the exact pricing in your locale below, or head to Bitdefender's US site if your country isn't listed:
- Australia: Get Bitdefender for
AU$69.99AU$35 a year
2. Norton AntiVirus Plus
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 1 Stand out features: Advanced privacy security, financial security, global civilian intelligence networkNorton AntiVirus Plus
Norton AntiVirus Plus is a top quality malware hunter which can automatically protect your PC all on its own.
The newly named product was introduced in April 2019 as a direct replacement for the old Norton AntiVirus Basic. Moving from 'Basic' to 'Plus' certainly sounds better, but it really only adds a couple of extra functions - more on which further down this article.
Norton offers plenty of tweaks, options and settings for those who need them, as well as features like a handy URL blocker that keeps you away from malicious websites. If that misses something, an excellent file reputation service heuristically recognises suspect downloads immediately. And if malware still finds a way through, intelligent behaviour monitoring uses its up to date virus definitions to quarantine threats at the first sign of trouble.
If you're a more hands-on type, you can easily run scans on demand. Maybe set up and save custom scans to check just the areas you need. Even schedule them to run at a particular time, but only if your system is idle, and it's not running on battery power.
So what does Plus do that Basic didn't? Only a couple of things really: it adds a bonus 2GB worth of cloud backup and a password manager. The latter is worth having if you've not got one already, but it can't match the power of Dashlane and other market leaders
There can be problems with some of the browser extensions. For example, we've found the Chrome version sometimes stops working for no apparent reason. We've seen plenty of reviewers reporting similar problems, so there does seem to be a real issue here.
That said, Norton AntiVirus Plus's main functions deliver on all fronts: it's easy to use, has the configuration options experts need, comes highly rated by the testing labs, and is carefully designed to have the least possible impact on your system performance.
3. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
Operating system: Windows and Mac Maximum devices covered: 1 Stand out features: Always-on security, identity protection, real-time anti-phishing, firewall monitorWebroot AntiVirus 1 Year
Just about every antivirus tool claims to be ‘lightweight’, but Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is the only one to really deliver on this front. Installation takes seconds, the program files barely grab 2MB of your hard drive, RAM footprint is tiny, and there are no bulky signature updates to tie up your bandwidth.
There's no compromise on features, though. Along with the core protection, there's smart behaviour monitoring, accurate real-time antiphishing, a firewall and network connection monitor, enhanced anti-ransomware, and other interesting extras.
It's not easy to compare Webroot's accuracy with the competition, as the big testing labs rarely evaluate the company's products. But when they are reviewed, they generally score well, and our own tests show solid and reliable protection.
There's a lot to like about SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, and Webroot's 70-day 100% money-back guarantee suggests it's confident in the product, too. If you're tired of overly complicated and bloated engines, Webroot must be on your shortlist.
4. ESET NOD32 Antivirus
Expert-level antivirus for the more experienced user
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 5 Stand out features: Ransomware Shield, UEFI Scanner, Exploit Blocker, cloud powered scanningESET NOD32 1 Year
If you judge antivirus software on the length of its feature list, ESET NOD32 Antivirus might be a disappointment. There’s no firewall, password manager, file shredder, vulnerability scanner or any of the bundled extras you'll often find elsewhere.
This doesn't mean the package is short on power, it's just more focused on the fundamentals. ESET NOD32 Antivirus comes with real-time malware protection, some of the best heuristic detection around, an anti-ransomware layer, exploit protection, URL filtering to block malicious websites, and modules to prevent attacks using PowerShell and malicious scripts.
A Device Control module limits the risk of infection from other devices by controlling access to USB sticks, external hard drives, optical storage media, even devices connecting by Bluetooth and FireWire. It's an unusual extra, but could make a difference if others are regularly plugging devices into your PC.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus isn't aimed at beginners. The interface is clumsy sometimes, some features are very advanced, and even the Help isn't always exactly helpful.
Experienced users will appreciate ESET’s power and configurability, though. Above-average protection does a good job of keeping you safe, and a lightweight design ensures the package won't slow you down.
One of the new features in the latest update is the UEFI Scanner which protects you from threats that attack your PC before Windows has even started.
ESET Internet Security builds on NOD 32 and triples the number of devices covered plus offers firewall, botnet protection, webcam protection, antispam and more.
Alternatively, you can purchase the ESET Smart Security Premium edition for not much more. It adds all of the above as well as password management and secure data.
- Best dealESET Smart Security Premium (1 year, 1 device for $59.99)
- Best dealESET Smart Security Premium (1 year, 1 device for £49.99)
5. F-Secure Antivirus SAFE
The most easy to use antivirus option
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Maximum devices covered: 3 Stand out features: Browsing and banking protection, Family Rules, ransomware protectionF-Secure 1 Year
F-Secure Antivirus SAFE is a great collection of antivirus tools, and while it's a bit more expensive than some of the other programmes on this best of list, the amount of features you get makes the cost worthwhile.
With F-Secure Antivirus SAFE, you get the brilliant antivirus software from F-Secure, along with banking protection for safe online shopping, family safety tools and a device finder that lets you track your lost Android or iOS device, and if needs be remotely lock or delete it as well.
The package typically receives maximum marks for protection from AV-Test, and generally scores highly with AV-Comparatives, too. They also say it can generate significantly more false positives than most of the competition, but how that affects you will vary depending on how you use your computer.
The interface is a major plus. It's extremely easy to use, lightweight, and for the most part you can just leave the app alone to look after your PC. The program has minimal effect on your system performance, and if you do need to intervene then you can generally solve any issues in a couple of clicks.
In 2018, F-Secure Anti-Virus SAFE remains an appealing package: fast, lightweight, and able to run alongside many other security tools without conflict - you can read more about the company's offering with our F-Secure Anti-Virus review of its slightly lighter product.
6. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 5 Stand out features: Automatic scans, drive-by cryptomining infection prevention, simplified security managementKaspersky Anti-Virus 1 Year
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a stripped-back security package which focuses on the core security essentials: web filtering blocks dangerous URLs, an accurate engine detects and removes threats, smart monitoring technologies track and reverse malicious actions, and that's about it.
Fortunately, what you do get works well. Very, very well. We've consistently found Kaspersky to be amongst the best at blocking malware, and removing it from an infected system, plus it's regularly top-rated at sites like AV-Comparatives.
The program is easy to use, too. A well-designed interface has just the right number of buttons and options – not too basic, but not complicated or intimidating, either – and there are plenty of on-screen instructions to explain how everything works. Even a beginner will be at home right away.
If you just need accurate, reliable and consistent malware protection, Kaspersky Anti-Virus will serve you well.
7. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: 1 Stand out features: Ransomware protection, advanced AI learning, email scam safeguarding, Pay GuardTrend Micro AntiVirus+ 1 Year
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security is a very capable package that's simple to use with above average antispam and an effective ‘Folder Shield’ module to block ransomware. And it seems to get better and better as time goes on.
How good is it exactly? The top testing labs all rate it highly for protection, although there's some disagreement on the details. In particular, AV-Comparatives says it gives a high number of false positives, which could be a real nuisance. But AV-Test reports high levels of accuracy and no issues with false positives at all.
If there's a problem here, it's likely to be performance impact. PassMark's March 2019 Performance report assessed 14 security products on various performance-related benchmarks, and Trend Micro came towards the bottom part of the list.
Our experiences with the product are a little more favourable: protection levels appear similar to Bitdefender, false positives are only marginally higher, and it doesn't slow down our system noticeably more than anything else.
We'd recommend running the trial for its full 30 days before you buy, then, to see if you notice any problems. But if you're unaffected, its high levels of detection and excellent bonus features make Trend Micro a good choice.
8. Panda Dome Essential
Operating system: Windows only Maximum devices covered: Unlimited Stand out features: Process monitor, URL filtering, bootable USB rescue drive
Real-time malware detection, speedy cloud-based scanning, URL filtering to block malicious websites: Panda Dome Essential antivirus has all the goodies you'd expect from the best antivirus software.
That's just the start. Panda Dome is jam-packed with added extras that some of the other plans on this list don't match. From port scanning and ping handling to in-depth process monitoring and an integrated VPN.
When it comes to the main event - virus protection - there's not a lot of Panda test results from the independent labs around right now, but the figures we've seen don't exactly fill us with confidence as Panda came towards the bottom of the pile according to AV-Comparatives. This doesn't mean that Panda Dome will put your devices in harm's way, but you can understand why we'd recommend other providers over it on this basis.
The interface will be a little bit decisive, too. With so many weird and wonderful features included, Panda Dome does a very capable job of making sure that they can all be accessed and you can go as in-depth as you need. But on the other side of the same coin, this might put off users who just want a quiet, simple antivirus package.
One undoubted bonus is the price - Panda Dome Essential is one of the best value programs out there. And you even have the option of paying a little more and upgrading to cover an unlimited number of laptops, phones, tablets and desktops with a single subscription.
- Apple user? Then you can head to our bespoke best Mac antivirus guide
- We’ve also looked at the best secure messaging apps
- Check out the best Android antivirus apps for your phone
Best free antivirus downloads
Paying for a premium service means you get more features, such as spam filters, parental controls, system scans and advanced firewalls. This makes them more suitable for power users, those who want a bit of extra security and anyone who wants their system to run as smoothly as possible. It also means you avoid annoying pop-ups that try and tempt you to upgrade to the full version. And, as you've discovered above, they don't really cost too much to buy
But these days you can get top quality protection absolutely free, with just about every single major vendor out there offering a free antivirus. By doing so, developers gain access to more devices from which they can collect data and therefore improve their knowledge and security platforms, so it’s not in their interest to reduce the amount of protection provided by the free version.
Windows has come a long way in terms of security, but it's still fair to suggest that Windows 10's built-in solution, Windows Defender, is the last free AV app you should trust to keep your system clean.
So if you're determined to get free antivirus, we strongly suggest that you check out our list of best security downloads in 2019 below. We've highlighted their features -and shortcomings - to ensure that you pick out the best one.
1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
The best free antivirus scanner in 2018
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android Version: 2018 Features: Phishing protection, Behavioural analysis, Automatic scanning
Essentially consisting of the AV section of the full product, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition's clean, light, well constructed scanning mechanisms – which are almost universally faster than the industry average – and unrivalled virus definitions mean Bitdefender is back at the top of the free tree.
The free version's insistence on running in autopilot mode is a double-edged sword, making the process of virus management easy but taking it out of the user's hands; while we're inclined to trust it, there have been cases in the past of automatic systems going slightly rogue, such as the incident a few years back when Panda Antivirus identified itself as a virus and locked up a large number of Windows systems.
AV-TEST's testing did pick out a few flaws in its handling of zero-day threats, however. And it's worth pointing out that for you can currently get our top rated paid-for solution - Bitdefender Antivirus Plus - for the equivalent of around $2 per month. That's a tiny amount to pay for a tonne of extra features, such as online banking protection, integrated password manager, permanent file shredder and and free online 24/7 support.
Review and where to download: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
2. Avast Free Antivirus
A much-improved free antivirus suite
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android Version: 17 Features: Virus detection, Gaming mode, Password manager, Malware scanner
Avast and AVG haven't yet fully merged, despite the former formally acquiring the latter in mid-2016. The newly combined company says the two free antivirus products will remain separate, although there's apparently a joint AV package on the way soon. Obviously, though, Avast now has a lot more data to work with, having expanded its effective userbase (and, therefore, its threat detection network) to a whopping 400 million users.
The latest edition of Avast Free Antivirus adds an automatic gaming mode to mute popups and reduce system load when you're firing up a processor-hungry game, which is very handy indeed, and the interface has been given a clean new overhaul. There's a password manager, too, which is an undeniably good addition to your security portfolio.
It scores well on AV-TEST's widespread malware benchmark and continues a clean sweep against 0-day attacks – presumably that expanded detection network is really helping. Less impressive is the slight negative effect Avast has on software launch times, and its slightly popup-heavy attitude.
Review and where to download: Avast Free Antivirus
3. Sophos Home
The perfect choice for a home full of PCs
Operating system: Windows, Mac Version: 17 Features: Virus detection, Phishing protection, Parental controls, Protects up to 10 PCs
Marketing itself as 'business-grade security', Sophos Home does a little more than most free antivirus software, and actually seems better suited to families.
You get standard virus protection and anti-malware protection, along with browser tools like anti-phishing and, most importantly, content control. Combined with central management of up to 10 PCs, this means you can effectively lock down your kids' browsing options.
Although AV-TEST hasn't formally assessed Sophos' skills, fellow lab AV-Comparatives offers a decent rating of its abilities.
Although Sophos Home has always had desktop notifications, there was no premium version of the software for it to encourage an upgrade to. That changed in February with the launch of Sophos Home Premium.
Review and where to download: Sophos Home
4. Kaspersky Free
Kaspersky's first foray into free internet security
Operating system: Windows Version: 184.108.40.2065 Features: Real-time scanning, Anti-phishing, Email scanning, Spyware protection
The paid-for version of Kaspersky's Windows security software frequently tops charts of best virus prevention solutions and AV-TEST once again gave it full marks across the board in its latest round of testing.
As you would expect, Kaspersky Free is a scaled down version of the full program - a tool that we really like (more on which below). The free version ditches additional features such as privacy protection and safe payment sandboxes to concentrate on powerful, no-frills and - most importantly - free protection for your PC. The result is a tremendously easy to use and navigate bit of software that does an effective job of keeping you protected from viruses.
Using the nuts and bolts real-world scanning engine of the paid-for suite, Kaspersky Free is fiendishly hard for viruses and trojan horses to break down. And we love that it doesn't constantly pester you with nudges to upgrade to the full version.
But, ironically, we will just for a moment, because Kasperksy Anti-Virus 2018 isn't expensive to buy and yet affords much better protection to your PC (or PCs). The standard price is $29.99 to protect three computers and includes more muscle when it comes to preventing ransomware, spyware and Trojans.
Review and where to download: Kaspersky Free
5. Avira Free Antivirus
Great antivirus, but a little noisy for our liking
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Version: 2018 Features: Virus detection, Phishing protection, Built-in VPN, System optimization tools
Avira Free Antivirus for Windows continues to score highly on AV-TEST's stringent testing program, quashing 99.7% of tested threats, and it generally doesn't put too big a burden on your hardware.
It has a clean, friendly interface - with a swish redesign ready for 2018 - and throws up minimal false positives. The introduction of a free security suite to optionally run alongside it – with ransomware and phishing protection, a 500MB/month VPN and various speedup promises – just sweetens the deal. This is one of the best free antivirus packages of 2018.
So why, then, have we dropped it from the top spot on our list, a position it's held for the past two years? It's the constant badgering. There's a certain level of popups and advertisements that's acceptable for a free product, and Avira has begun to cross the line. It's not as onerous as some – Comodo's over-enthusiastic interface comes to mind – but booting up your PC to see Avira shouting at you once again is jarring.
Review and where to download: Avira Free Antivirus
Best business antivirus
Each entry in this list has been carefully chosen for its business features, such as remote installation and central management. The best business antivirus software will have enterprise-level protection against threats, but that doesn't mean they have to cost a lot of money, either. The price per installation can sometimes be cheaper than even our recommended best antivirus packages.
An excellent business antivirus suite, giving you various tools such as virus protection, Firewall, email protection, anti-spam and the ability to sandbox applications for complete security. Avast Business Antivirus Pro (as opposed to the standard Avast Business Antivirus) also includes Sharepoint and Exchange protection, as well as a number of tools for your servers.
Symantec's first benefit is the company's Insight file reputation technology, an effective way to detect and block even the very latest undiscovered threats. Other layers of protection include virus protection, behaviour monitoring, intrusion protection, a firewall, and the 'Power Eraser' to remove stubborn threats and repair your system.
This package makes reliable protection its top priority. Bitdefender products are loved by the independent testing labs, highly rated for malware detection, removal, performance and usability. Most of the features work automatically – anti-malware, firewall, web advisor, URL filtering – but you can also customise the product to control user actions.
This is Avira's main small business product. It takes all the core features you'd expect – antivirus, baseline network protection, web filtering – and extends them with file server protection and optimisation, along with application whitelisting and blacklisting.
A small business product, which comes ready to protect Windows PCs, file servers, Android and iOS devices. The desktop side of the package has all the usual quality Kaspersky modules – antivirus, antispam, a firewall, more – but the mobile security technologies are even more impressive.
- Even if you own the best computer in the world, you're still at risk
A good antivirus program is essential to a secure system, and you most definitely do not have to pay for one to get great protection. Below is our hand-picked list of the 11 best free antivirus programs that you can download for Windows today.
All of these programs perform definition updates automatically, are always running to make sure your files are protected from malware and your personal information remains private, and can start scans on-demand whenever you like.
However, each of them do have a few prominent differences that make them stand out, so pay attention to those as you decide which one to use.
If you're looking for protection on your other devices, check out our list of free antivirus apps for Android and best Mac antivirus articles, too.
If you just need a spyware cleaner, and need it right now without waiting for one of these full AV programs to install, use one of the (preferably portable) applications from our Best Free Spyware Removal Tools list. There are also free on-demand virus scanners you can install. Also consider installing a Windows Firewall alternative from this list of Free Firewall Programs.
If you can't even log in to Windows to install an antivirus tool, access a computer that does work and then use it to make a free bootable antivirus tool that you can then run on the infected computer.
Avira Free Security Suite
What We Like
Password manager included.
Optional additional downloadable protection layers.
In-the-cloud antivirus process.
What We Don't Like
Additional features can be annoying.
Only protects Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Add-on components often require fee to be fully functional.
The main component in Avira's free software suite that makes it stand out is the optional 'in-the-cloud detection' feature called Protection Cloud. This scanning method lets Avira's antivirus tool identify and stop threats before they get out of hand.
This is how it works: When a suspicious file is detected on any computer running Avira, a fingerprint of that specific file is generated and uploaded anonymously to Avira so that they can scan it and report its status (whether it's safe or dangerous) back to every Avira user so that the program can take appropriate action.
Avira can scan and remove existing threats as well as automatically detect and stop new ones. It protects you against ransomware, Trojans, spyware, and other kinds of malware. You can even choose which ones to actively watch out for, and disable others (though it's not recommended) like dialers, jokes, adware, etc.
- Scan on a schedule
- Check files with any file extension or just the ones you manually choose from
- Disable the ability to stop active scans (so that viruses can not stop the program from finding them)
- Adjust the scanner's priority level
- Scan master boot sectors
- Follow symbolic links to scan the actual files
- Search for rootkits before starting a scan
- Scan the Windows Registry
- Ignore files on network drives
- Automatically repair, rename, quarantine, delete, or ignore threats when they're found
- Use heuristic scanning
- Add files, folders, and processes to the ignore list
- Manage Windows Firewall settings
- Password protect the program's settings
- Block autorun on removable devices
- Make the hosts file read-only
The Avira suite offers more than just a very extensive antivirus application. It includes several other 'layers' of security that will install automatically, and they might take a while to download since there are several. However, you don't have to use them and they won't bother you unless you open them.
These separate modules include a VPN that encrypts all your traffic (up through the first 500 MB each month); password manager to securely store complex passwords; and software updater that identifies outdated programs and gives you the download links to update them.
In addition to those, Avira can speed up your computer and reduce boot up time with its tune-up tool, help you find the best deals as you shop online, and warn you of malicious websites or software bundles before you download them (with its SafeSearch add-on).
These extra features can be annoying if you're strictly after an antivirus solution, but again, you don't have to use them; just keep them tucked away where they are and you won't have to worry about them.
Avira Free Security Suite is intended to run on computers with Windows 7 SP1 and newer, including Windows 10 and Windows 8.
There's also Avira for macOS that's similar, but not exactly the same, as Avira for Windows. Namely, the Mac edition is only on-demand, meaning that it doesn't check for viruses automatically like the Windows version.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
What We Like
Drag-and-drop file and folder scan.
Minimal, uncluttered design.
Simple to set up and run.
What We Don't Like
Limited customization if you're looking for that.
Large initial program download.
If you want an antivirus program that's not only free but super easy to use and not cluttered with lots of buttons and menus, you should definitely try the free version of Bitdefender Antivirus.
You not only get instant protection against viruses, worms, rootkits, spyware, and other threats, but also anti-phishing and anti-fraud protection to carry security with you when you're browsing the internet and entering passwords.
It's actually remarkable how well Bitdefender runs despite its minimal design. You can drag and drop folders and files directly into the program to instantly run a scan against them, as well as immediately start a full system scan or scan select objects from the right-click context menu—all of which can run at the same time.
Regardless of how they're started or how many scans are running simultaneously, a history of those scans are recorded for you on the primary window of the program as well as within the Events area of the settings.
The obvious downside to a program that lacks many customization options is that there isn't much you can change about it. That might be something you want but it might not be available; so be aware that basically all you can do with this edition of Bitdefender is start and stop scans.
Another downside to this software is how long it takes to become ready for you to use. The initial installer for Bitdefender is quite small but that's just what's used to then download the full program, which is hundreds of megabytes and could take a while if you have a slow internet connection.
It's also unfortunate that you can't pause scans (it just lets you stop them) or set up file and folder exclusions before starting scans like some AV programs allow. With Bitdefender, you can only mark files or websites as safe after they've been identified as malicious.
Ads asking you to purchase Bitdefender's professional programs and scheduled scans not being supported (but they're not necessarily needed since Bitdefender is always checking for new threats) are a few other not-so-greats.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition runs on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. You can also get this free antivirus software on your Android or Mac.
Adaware Antivirus Free
What We Like
Lightweight antivirus program.
Can run as a supplement to other antivirus programs.
Silent mode mutes notifications and limits resource use.
What We Don't Like
Some useful features are only usable with paid version.
Email scanning not included.
Adaware Antivirus installs in minutes, is light on system resources, and can be used in one of two ways. The first is in regular mode where it checks for threats as they happen, but the other lets you use it in addition to your 'main' antivirus program (i.e., along with Bitdefender or Avira).
What this so-called 'second line of defense' does is disables real-time protection but still lets you use Adaware Antivirus to manually scan for existing threats. This is helpful if your primary AV software doesn't seem to find malware that you know is infecting your computer.
Whichever way you use it, Adaware Antivirus provides a defense against ransomware, spyware, viruses, and other forms of malicious software. You can find those threats through a quick, full, or custom scan.
Daily, weekly, and monthly scheduled scans are supported, and you can even run a scan to just check certain things, like only rootkits or just tracking cookies and boot sector viruses, for example.
Adaware Antivirus also lets you choose a custom performance setting to use more system resources to run the scan (to make it faster), exclude files/folders/file extensions from scans, and decide how often to check for new definition updates (every 1/3/6/12/24 hours).
When it comes to real-time protection, you can toggle on or off the following options:
- Scan archive files
- Scan email databases
- Deep scan that checks CHM files and executable files
- Smart scan that skips previously checked files
- Scan boot sectors
- Scan files as they move throughout the network
- Skip scanning files that exceed a custom file size (e.g., 10 MB to skip video files)
You can also protect the program's settings with a PIN as well as enable gaming/silent mode to suppress notifications.
Adware Antivirus definitely has its advantages but because there's also a non-free version you can upgrade to, many additional options are not supported.
For example, parental controls and advanced network, web, and email protection are only available in Adaware Antivirus Pro. These options are visible within the free edition but they're not actually clickable/usable until you enter an Adaware Antivirus Pro license key.
Adaware Antivirus Free works with all versions of Windows.
Avast Free Antivirus
What We Like
Add-ons allow you to increase protection.
What We Don't Like
Password manager and some other tools included are trial only.
Additional features require purchase.
Avast is used by hundreds of millions of people and ranks high in nearly every 'best list' of antivirus programs, and for good reason. If you want a solid program that is sure to block new threats but is still easy enough to customize, you should consider using it.
Avast Free Antivirus is similar to Avira which we mention above; there are numerous components that you can install along with the virus shield that provide additional services related to security and privacy (more on those below).
The antivirus portion has lots of options you can change but it's still easy enough for anyone to use since there are information blurbs next to most items so you're not left wondering what will happen if you enable them.
Plus, both definition and program updates are performed automatically (a manual option is available, too), meaning you can install Avast and let it do its thing without worrying whether you're running the latest and greatest version.
Avast is highly customizable and lets you make changes to everything from whether to make a sound when threats are detected and how long notifications should remain on the screen, to the kinds of file extensions that should be scanned.
Here are some more features supported in Avast Free Antivirus:
- Scheduled scans
- Custom scans that can check only the memory, rootkits, auto-start programs, etc.
- Checking all files or just certain file extensions
- Identifying files by their content instead of their suffix
- Fine-tuned heuristics sensitivity
- Scanning for potentially unwanted programs
- Follows shortcuts to scan the real file
- Can scan within lots of archive file formats like self-extracting DOS and Win32 executables, CHM, ACE, 7Z, RAR, TNEF streams, Mac archives, ISO, and more
- Windows Explorer context menu integration
- Folders, HDDs, and URLs (but not specific files) can be pe-excluded from scans
- Custom scans are easy to save for use in the future
- A Rescue Disk can be created that lets you use the Avast scanner even if you can't start your computer
- Particular areas of the program can be protected with a password
- Lets you enable Do Not Disturb Mode to deny notifications from other apps while you're using one in full screen mode
Before Avast is installed, you have the option to include over a dozen different tools: file, behavior, web, and mail shields; software updater, browser cleaner, rescue disk, Wi-Fi inspector, security and SafePrice browser extensions; password manager; junk file cleaner; and Game Mode.
Technically, if you only want the antimalware protection, you can install just the shields from the start of that list; the others are add-ons that aren't necessary but could be helpful at some point.
For example, the software updater is a nice tool that will not only check for and report outdated software but also install the newer versions for you (even in bulk). This is a great way to make sure your programs are up-to-date with their latest security patches and features.
Wi-Fi Inspector scans the network for devices that could be vulnerable to attacks. For instance, it might identify that a computer is running a file sharing service that has been known to facilitate the spread of a certain kind of worm.
You can install these tools (it takes less than five minutes) and then disable or completely remove them later. Or, you can ignore them during setup and just install them later, or not at all.
However, please know that the password manager and Cleanup tools are only trial versions that will expire after so-many days. There's also a firewall, file shredder, and sandbox feature that's unusable in this free version.
Avast Free Antivirus is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
What We Like
Light impact on system resources.
Minimal, uncomplicated design.
Security news about the latest reports of breaches and threats.
What We Don't Like
Resets browser home page and default search engine unless specifically deselected during installation.
Panda Security's free antivirus program, Panda Dome (previously called Panda Free Antivirus), installs in minutes and has a minimal design like Bitdefender, mentioned above. However, even though it's not a CPU or memory hog, and doesn't appear to be customizable, all of its many options are tucked away in the settings.
From there, you can do things like set up both on-demand and automatic scans to check compressed files and scan for potentially unwanted programs.
The automatic, permanent scanner includes some additional options, too, like behavioral and analysis scanning options, the ability to ask you before neutralizing a virus, and blocking files from running for so-many seconds until results on whether it's safe or harmful are obtained from the cloud.
Something entirely unique to Panda Dome is its security news and alerts sections that can show you critical, warning, and informational messages like when a popular vendor experiences a data breach that could affect your personal information. You can, however, turn those off if you want to.
You can complete a scan in just a few minutes if you only want to check for actively running threats, like browser cookies, processes, and things currently loaded in memory. However, there's also, of course, an option for a full system scan or a custom scan.
Here are some other things you can do with Panda Dome:
- Password protect the entire application
- Have the quarantine emptied every three days, every week, every month, or never
- A gaming/multimedia option will disable all notifications if you're using a full screen application
- Exclude particular files or folders from scans, as well as specific file extensions of your choosing
- USB protection can be enabled to always scan removable devices as they're attached, to make sure that they don't spread anything to the computer
- Monitor running processes as well as any URLs accessed by them, and have them terminated if Panda Dome deems them a threat
- Record everything in event reports that you can browse through and even print or export to a TXT or CSV file
- Can optionally install Panda Safe Web during setup to protect you against malicious websites
The Panda Dome antivirus software does a really good job at keeping the important buttons up front and hiding the additional options within menus so that you're not constantly bombarded with options or alerts.
However, the program will change your home page and the search provider in your web browser, unless you uncheck those options during the initial setup.
Panda Dome works in all versions of Windows from Windows 10 back through Windows XP.
AVG AntiVirus Free
What We Like
Installs in a few minutes.
Choose what to enable during setup.
Updates automatically (definitions and the program).
You have full control over how things work.
What We Don't Like
Shows features you can't enable in the free version.
Always advertises AVG Internet Security.
Doesn't officially support Windows Vista or XP.
AVG's free antivirus program is easy on the eyes and even easier to use. The scan button is right in the middle of the screen, turning features off is dead-simple, and all the advanced options are tucked away from view in the settings.
Like most antivirus tools, this one lets you schedule scans, check for threats in archives, remove viruses right when they're found, scan USB drives, exclude files/folders/websites from scans, and run boot-time scans.
It's worth noting that AVG AntiVirus Free is highly customizable. You can either install it and leave the settings alone to have regular protection, or you can go into the settings and make adjustments to nearly anything.
For example, you can have viruses and PuPs fixed automatically or be prompted to take action, enable/disable scanning of downloaded files and scripts, scan inbound and/or outbound mail, check/skip the scanning of MS Outlook attachments, check or don't check for threats on inserted discs, and scan all archive types or just the most commonly used ones.
Another important feature in AVG's antivirus software is the option to choose how to scan files. You can have the program scan only the files that contain content that might include malware (like executable data), only files that are using a file extension considered potentially dangerous (like EXE), or all files regardless of content type or file extension.
You can also enable rootkit detection, hardcore mode (recommended for inexperienced users), and CyberCapture technology, which helps detect threats in unrecognized files.
During setup, you have full control over which components should be enabled or disabled once AVG is installed. Options include File Shield, Behavior Shield, Web Shield, Email Shield, SafePrice browser extension, File Shredder, Cleanup, and Do Not Disturb Mode.
AVG AntiVirus Free includes a file shredder tool as well, which you can use from the right-click context menu to overwrite files using the Random Data, Gutmann, or DoD 5220.22-M data destruction method.
Windows 10, 8, and 7 are supported. It also runs on Mac (10.10 Yosemite or above) and Android (5.0 or above).
You're asked during setup to also install AVG's web browser, AVG Secure Browser, but you can uncheck that option if you want.
What We Like
User interface can conform to your comfort level.
Lots of settings can be customized.
Run programs virtually.
Automatic updates for the program and virus definitions.
What We Don't Like
Settings sometimes don’t save after editing them.
Includes other programs and tools you might not want.
COMODO Antivirus excels in a few ways: it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be depending on your experience level with antivirus tools, it supports cloud-based scans to detect new threats, and the built-in sandbox technology can isolate programs so that they can’t affect your files even if it they do turn out to be malicious.
Right after installing this free antivirus program from COMODO, a scan is started immediately to make sure your computer is safe as soon as possible. You can also run scans at any time, either quick scans, full scans, scans of commonly infected areas, and custom scans.
A custom scan in COMODO Antivirus lets you choose which files or folders to scan and enables a host of other customizations like whether to decompress and scan archives, use cloud scanning, automatically delete threats, enable heuristics scanning, check for threats running in memory, skip files over a maximum size, run the scan with full system resources, delete PuPs, and more.
Provided in this program are two ways to view the settings and features: basic and advanced. The basic view lets you run scans, unblock applications, update the program, and run software in a virtual mode, while the advanced view includes more details about those areas of the program and lets you view logs as well as toggle various things on or off, like HIPS and VirusScope.
It’s important to not overlook the virtualization feature in COMODO Antivirus. You can run any program you want in a virtual space completely separate from the rest of your files. It’s an opportunity to test out an application to ensure that it’s real and not just a trick to get you to install a virus.
However, even if it does contain something malicious, your real data (photos, videos, documents) are unaffected. You can launch programs in this protected container from inside the COMODO program or by right-clicking an executable file and choosing the option in the menu.
- Password protect the program
- Utilize a floating desktop widget
- Hide the “Upgrade” advertisement
- Choose which archive file types to unpack and scan
- Enable real time scanning of files on the network
- Define heuristics scanning level (low, medium, high)
- Schedule scans as frequently as every hour to as infrequently as once a month
- Customize the HIPS rules
- Turn on Silent Mode in seconds
- Force the auto-containment of suspicious or malicious files
- Use a unique password for the Virtual Desktop feature
During setup, you can also install Internet Security Essentials to protect against main-in-the-middle attacks.
COMODO Antivirus officially supports Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. It's also available for macOS.
The COMODO Dragon Web Browser automatically installs during setup unless you tell it not to. After installation, pay close attention to the options you’re given — you can change your DNS servers to be the COMODO Secure DNS servers (which presumably improve security and speed up browsing), enable Cloud Based Behavior Analysis, send anonymous program usage to COMODO, and change the home page and default search engine to Yahoo.
What We Like
Automatically downloads and installs updates.
Lots of control over the settings.
Simple user interface.
Comes with an application firewall.
What We Don't Like
Requires the internet during setup (it’s not an offline installer).
Slow to download and install all the components.
Unable to pause scans (only stop).
Lacks helpful documentation.
The FortiClient free antivirus program is unique for several reasons. Unlike many of the other AV programs on this page, this one includes parental control features, can manually check your programs for vulnerabilities, functions as a VPN client, and includes a firewall.
Installing this program lets you block websites by URL and/or site category, such as bandwidth-consuming sites, illegal sites, and ones flagged as including content relating to hacking, discrimination, adult/mature, games, advertising, shopping, child abuse, plagiarism, and several others.
You can also automatically sandbox files opened from a web download, email attachment, removable drive, and/or network drive. This is great if you’re cautious about opening those types of files because they’re the primary entry points for malware.
Best Free Antivirus For Mac Os X
Here are some other FortiClient features you’ll like:
- Scan on a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule
- Lock down the program with a password
- Manually check for application vulnerabilities
- AntiExploit is enabled for all your programs automatically, but you have the freedom to disable the feature on any of them
The program interface itself is easy to read and navigate, but it might be a bit too much for a novice user. There’s hardly any information regarding what each component and setting does when enabled/disabled, and a few of the features are really only useful if your computer is being managed remotely by an administrator.
Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 are supported. You can also get this free antivirus program on Linux and macOS (but with fewer features). FortiClient has a similar tool for web filtering and VPN access, too, for Chromebook, the Chrome browser, iOS, and Android.
During setup, you’re asked if you want to enable the following along with the antivirus program: SSL and IPsec VPN, FortiSandbox detection and quarantine features, and Additional Security Features which include Antivirus, Web Filtering, Single Sign On, and Application Firewall. You can turn them on during setup or later once FortiClient is fully installed.
What We Like
Tons of customizable options.
Helpful information built-in.
Small setup file; installs fast.
What We Don't Like
Runs on Windows only, and probably only newer editions (not XP).
Another free antivirus program that offers real time protection for Windows is from Immunet. It has a bit of an outdated interface but the software is still current, and even connects directly to the cloud for updates.
There are lots of options you can toggle on or off to customize how the software works, but you can also leave all the defaults and it will still check your computer for threats in real time.
Here are some other features you get with Immunet:
- Detects and removes bots, viruses, worms, Trojans, keyloggers, and spyware
- Three scan modes let you check just running processes (Flash Scan), any location of your choosing (Custom Scan), or the entire computer (Full Scan)
- Schedule any scan type daily, weekly, or monthly
- Start scans directly from Explorer on any folder or file
- A timeline shows the history of threats on the computer, to 30 days in the past. There's also an extremely detailed history of events that have happened in the program that you can filter by date, keyword, and type (such as quarantines, cleanings, blocked processes, etc.)
- Lets you run a FlashScan right after installation to check the registry and running processes for threats
- Includes a special blocking mode you can enable that prevents all programs from being installed unless they first pass a security scan
- Gaming Mode can be enabled at any time to prevent notifications from the program while watching movies or playing games.
- Automatically excludes certain folders and file types from scans, including temp folders and certain system32 folders
- Lets you manually exclude any file, folder, or threat (by its name)
- Toggle scanning on or off for archives and packed files
- Can run alongside many other antivirus programs, such as security software from Comodo, Avira, AVG, and Norton.
Immunet AntiVirus has been tested on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, as well as Windows Server 2016/2012/2008 R2.
What We Like
Super clean user interface that’s easy to understand.
Unique features not found in other programs.
Protect your email.
Lots of options you can customize.
Set up a scanning schedule.
What We Don't Like
Must create a user account to activate the software.
Several features you see in the program aren’t free.
Can’t exclude scans by file extension.
Must renew the free license every year.
Best Free Antivirus For Mac 10.6.8
Kaspersky Free is a good choice for a free antivirus program if you want a simple program that boasts lots of features. It’s incredibly easy to use but has loads of advanced options if you care to look into them.
This free AV program is also useful if your computer is low on system resources. Kaspersky Free can automatically postpone scans and reduce display animations if the CPU runs too high, supports idle scans for when you’re away, and lets you favor performance over protection by altering the overall security level.
Another important feature to know about this program is that it includes Self-Defense, which is a function that blocks all attempts to change or delete Kaspersky’s processes, registry items, and installation files.
- Searches for rootkits and can delete malicious tools, adware, auto-dialers, and suspicious packages
- Can password protect the program to protect its settings from being changed and/or to stop it from being uninstalled or shut down
- Includes a file and web scanner as well as Network Attack Blocker, System Watcher, and Mail Anti-Virus
- Supports gaming mode to suppress notifications while using any program in full screen mode
- The antivirus scanner can be set up to auto-pause when specific applications start up and/or during certain times of the day
- Choose what happens when a threat is detected: notify, disinfect, delete if disinfect doesn’t work, or delete
- Can auto-scan external drives or prompt you to scan them when they’re inserted
- Schedule quick or full scans for every day, every weekend, every weekday, weekly, or monthly
- Choose what gets scanned in a full, quick, and selective scan. Can include any of the following: system memory, startup objects, disk boot sectors, system volume information, email, all hard drives, all external devices, all network drives, any folder.
- Lets you skip items if the scan takes too long
- Speed up antivirus scans by checking only new and changed files
- Exclude files and folders from scans, and even prevent the scanning of specific threats
- Define trusted applications so that they're not scanned
Kaspersky's free antivirus program can be installed on Windows operating systems.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus
What We Like
Includes a free firewall.
Can run scheduled scans.
What We Don't Like
Heavy on system resources.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus, also called ZoneAlarm Security and ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall, is just what you think: antivirus software with a firewall tool built-in. You not only have protection against threats like spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, and bots but there are also firewall shields to block intruders from reaching your computer files.
Here are some other important features in this free antivirus tool:
Best Free Antivirus For Mac 10.6.8
- Real-time, cloud-based security updates that relies on millions of other users to stop threats quickly
- Gamer Mode can be used to block interruptions while gaming, such as scans, updates, and alerts; you can set all alerts to be automatically denied or allowed
- Lock down ZoneAlarm's configuration with a password to protect its settings from being changed
- Back up the program's security settings and restore them later
- Run quick and/or full scans on a schedule
- The network firewall can screen every single program with 'suspicious behavior' alerts that you have to explicitly allow or deny
- The firewall lets you block fragments, trusted servers, and public servers, as well as enable ARP protection, filter IP traffic over port 1394, allow/block VPN protocols, and lock the hosts file
- Set up notifications for suspicious credit activity
Best Free Antivirus For Mac 2018
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall works on Windows 10, 8, and 7.