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What is a good free antivirus I can use for my new computer?


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#1 KaidensMommy

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:38 PM

I just purchased a new computer a month ago. It had a free trial of McAfee. It also has Windows Defender on it, which I had off since McAfee was running. Now I have Windows Defender on. Is Windows Defender enough (i.e., will it catch most viruses and/or malware) or is there another free antivirus that is better?

 

I tried doing research on my own but I seem to find one thing saying one free antivirus is good and another saying the same stuff about another one. It just confuses me! If I had the money I would purchase one, but unfortunately I don't right now. So I am just hoping to get the best I can for free!

 

I have a HP laptop with Windows 10. I am not sure what info about the computer you need in order to answer my question, but here is my computer info:

Processor: Intel ® Core ™ i3-6100U CPU @ 2.30GHz

Installed Memory (RAM): 8.00 GB (7.89 usable)

System Type: 64-bit Operating System, x64-based processor

Pen and Touch: Touch Support with 10 Touch Points

 

Thank you for any help you can provide!



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#2 quietman7

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:35 PM

Windows 8/10 Defender is Microsoft's free built-in (integrated) anti-virus and anti-malware solution. Windows 8/10 Defender provides the same level of protection against malware as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) provides on older operation systems plus enhanced protection against rootkits and bootkits.

IMO Windows 8/10 Defender is just as good as any other free antivirus solution (and probably easier to use for the novice) without bundled toolbars or nagging popups. The key word being "free".If you have Windows 10 Anniversary update, it includes Limited Periodic Scanning and allows you to also use a third party anti-virus program as your primary protection.

If you don't want to pay for an anti-virus, again I would say that Windows Defender is just as good as any other free antivirus solution (and probably easier to use for the novice) without bundled toolbars or nagging popups. In fact, all free anti-virus programs now come with toolbars or other bundled software (and annoying prompts to upgrade) except Bitdefender Free, Sophos Home, Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows 8/10 Defender. If you prefer not to use Windows 8/10 Defender, then I would recommend Sophos Home Free Antivirus or Bitdefender Anti-virus Free Edition either of which can be used instead of or in conjunction with Windows 10 Anniversary update edition of Windows Defender.

You may want to read Choosing an Anti-Virus Program for more suggestions.

With that said...although Windows 8/10 Defender provides some anti-malware protection...it is weak, meaning it does not provide comprehensive protection and cannot prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. This is true for most anti-virus solutions. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs each perform different tasks as it relates to computer security and threat detection. Essentially, they look for and remove different types of malicious threats.

In simplistic terms, Anti-virus programs generally scan for infectious malware which includes viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkis and bots.
Anti-malware programs generally tend to focus more on adware, spyware, unwanted toolbars, browser hijackers, potentially unwanted programs and potentially unsafe applications.
Anti-virus and Anti-malware solutions with anti-exploitation features protect against zero-day malware, drive-by downloads, exploits and Exploit Kits.

Therefore, you need both an anti-virus and an effective anti-malware solution for maximum protection. If you choose to use Windows 8/10 Defender (or any other anti-virus), then I recommend adding an additional anti-malware solution. Please read Supplementing your Anti-Virus Program with Anti-Malware Tools for information about trustworthy and effective anti-malware programs which can find and remove adware, spyware, browser hijackers and potentially unwanted programs.
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#3 mikey11

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:48 PM

AVG free



#4 ranchhand_

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:55 PM

For excellent protection and no nag screens, Panda free is excellent. I put it on my clients' machines and so far no complaints. They do have occasional nag screens, but they can be turned off in the program options screen. It updates itself automatically.I recommend that you disable Windows Defender if you choose to go with Panda, it is not good to have two security antivirus/malware programs running at the same time.


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#5 quietman7

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:57 PM

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I have been disappointed with AVG ever since they made a decision in April 2010 to partner with LimeWire and promote the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, a security risk which can make your system susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, and exposure of personal information. More recently (September 2015), is was reported that AVG privacy policy update allows it to sell your browsing history...meaning AVG allows the collection and sale of personal information relating to browsing history, searches, location and meta-data and sharing that data with affiliated partners, search providers and resellers.

There have been reports of AVG exposing and collecting personal data.

There have been numerous complaints about issues and conflicts with other security tools.

There have been reports of issues with the computer starting properly on 64-bit Windows sytems for which AVG has had to release these fix instructions. There have been numerous reported problems with computers after using features like PC Analyzer and AVG PC TuneUp which purport to fix registry errors and various optimizing tweaks which make changes to system settings. Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons...read Why you should not use Registry Cleaners and Optimization Tools.

There have been complaints of AVG Secure Search and AVG Security Toolbar repeatedly being reinstalled after AVG updates itself even though users intentionally choose to remove them. And finally there have been many user complaints about the lack of adequate AVG Customer Support in addressing issues related to the use of their product.

For these reasons, I no longer recommend AVG as a free alternative anti-virus solution.

BTW, you may want to read...


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#6 quietman7

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 06:01 PM

...I recommend that you disable Windows Defender if you choose to go with Panda, it is not good to have two security antivirus/malware programs running at the same time.

That is no longer a concern for those using the version of Windows Defender with Limited Periodic Scanning in Windows 10 Anniversary update...it is intended to offer an additional line of defense to your existing anti-virus programs real-time protection. Windows 10 will use the Windows Defender scanning engine to periodically scan your computer (or allow you to schedule scans) for threats and remove them.

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#7 baymerlou

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 07:16 AM

I also am looking to eliminate my current antivirus, Norton, the expense is getting to be ridiculous $70 for one year for one computer, I used to have 3 devices using this but I don't have the option to reduce the price, I now want to go free.   The free alternatives I see mentioned here all refer to having Windows 10.  I still have Windows 7 64bit my system is unable to upgrade to Win10.   Will these mentioned above still be compatible to work on my system as it is?  


Edited by baymerlou, 16 March 2017 - 07:41 AM.


#8 quietman7

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 08:20 AM


Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a free anti-malware solution for Windows 7 and Vista SP1/SP2 that combines the features of an anti-virus and anti-malware scanner to provide real-time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

If you don't want to use MSE and do not want to purchase a paid for solution, then as noted above....you can use either Sophos Home Free Antivirus or Bitdefender Anti-virus Free Edition.

See Choosing an Anti-Virus Program for more suggestions.
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#9 mikey11

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:46 AM

Will these mentioned above still be compatible to work on my system as it is?  

 

 

yes,

 

i have been using AVG free on windows XP, Vista, and windows 7 for over 8 years....never had a problem....paying for anti-virus in my opinion is a waste, its no better then free versions, do regular scans with AVG and malwarebytes and you will be fine


Edited by mikey11, 16 March 2017 - 11:46 AM.


#10 quietman7

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 06:30 PM

Both free and paid for anti-virus solutions typically use the same scanning engine, detection and removal methods when in comes to malware disinfection. The primary benefit of paid for products is that most of them offer additional features (i.e. more advanced system-behavior monitors, parental controls, identity theft protection, backup and recovery tools, Internet Security Suites with Firewall, etc) and free technical support without having to deal with nagging advertisements or prompts to upgrade.Whether one chooses to use a free or paid for product really depends on their personal needs, financial situation and what level of security they are attempting to achieve.
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#11 daveydoom

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:36 AM

Panda free is excellent. 

I'll second this opinion.   I'm surprised it's rarely mentioned around here :)  .


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#12 ranchhand_

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:02 AM

Quietman....thanks for the update, post #6. 


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#13 quietman7

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 04:51 PM

Panda free is excellent.

I'll second this opinion.   I'm surprised it's rarely mentioned around here :)  .

It's included as one of the suggestions provided in Choosing an Anti-Virus Program.
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#14 quietman7

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 04:51 PM

Quietman....thanks for the update, post #6.

You're welcome.
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#15 millipede

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 06:01 PM

I am also setting up a new laptop and was tempted to start a conversation(I think I've done that before) but thought I'd check and found this one.

 

I think I may try out Panda and possibly use it with defender.    I always look for these conversations, dread them, and wish it was easier to ask and be certain for some good reasons... 
You can see in the responses that people learn something and stick with it.  ______ is the best free AV.  And "you can't use two."  Some of these things are truths at one time or another but these things change and they can change fast. 
I just looked at results from at least 4 different websites that actually tested antivirus software... tests from this year...  and the results on each were quite different at times.  Each one, based on their tests, had different winners, etc.  Each site was fairly reputable(more or less) and it makes it quite difficult to say "okay, that sounds like THE best free option." 
av-test, av-comparatives, pc magazine, and tom's hardware...  all had different ideas on protection, ease of use, and performance.  What looked GREAT on one might look mediocre on another.
All thoughts here are going to be similar I imagine.

I wish a couple things here...
1.  I wish it was easy to know which source(s) to trust the most.
2.  I wish there was an EASY way to stay informed... as what's best today might be garbage tomorrow(or it might be revealed they're spying on you) and you might not know it unless you're actively searching for that info... which I sure don't do on a regular basis.

 

Years back I used AVG all the time... eventually switched to Avast... have that on most of the household computers but do believe I'm trying something different on the new one.

hmm... said I might try panda... now I'm looking at bitdefender again.  Comparing performance and protection it's looking a little better to me.
Although one more frustration(as if there weren't enough) with all of this is that some of the tests and comparisons(like av-test) some of the products test the pro(paid) versions only so you don't get a good idea on their free products.

Lots of thoughts eh?  ha.
In case anyone reading wants to chase all my rambling thoughts and where I got them I can post the links of some of the sources I compared with...  of course if you read my ramblings you need to understand that some are different and I honestly have no clue which one is going to be more accurate.  :)
Tom's Hardware:  This one gave very little detail as far as a real side by side comparison.  Just lists their favorites and you can click on each to read reviews

PC Mag:  This one doesn't go into a lot of detail or compare performance and protection as much as it just shows the features each has or does not have.

AV-test:  This one doesn't give a good picture of some of the free ones where it shows their paid versions but is good side by side and you can even compare(if you scroll down) how they rate them on different operating systems.

AV-Comparatvesi: This one has a list of different reports.  Downside; the info is not all in one place.  Upside; more details and comparisons.  I used their real world protection and performance reports... 

AV-test and av-comparatives both look good for bitdefender which is why I'm leaning towards giving that one a try.
I hope my info dump here isn't too much and is useful in some way.
These processes, finding info, knowing what to trust, etc...  drives me NUTS... I have a hard time making decisions.  ha. 
 






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