Free Virus Scan

Category: Viruses

My computer has been acting strangely... at times it's very slow and I'm getting lots of popups. I'm afraid I have a virus, and the anti-virus software that came with my computer has expired. Can you recommend a good (and preferably free) virus scanner?

Anti-Virus on the Cheap

For some odd reason, I have this image of George Foreman in my mind, saying "I'm not gonna pay a lotta money for this virus scanner!" But I have good news for you... I just saved a load of money on my, oh wait... wrong commercial. There *are* some excellent free virus scanners, and some can even be run online.

I recommend Trend Micro's Housecall for starters, which will scan your computer for viruses directly from the web. They also offer a free online spyware scanner. This site is trustworthy and uses an ActiveX applet to do the scanning. If you have trouble starting the scan, your security settings may be too high. Follow the instructions on the site to modify your settings and things should work fine.

Use an Offline Virus Scanner

For maximum protection, I recommend that you also install a good anti-virus program on your computer, which will scan your system at startup and continuously thereafter. McAfee virus protection is now included with AOL membership, and Road Runner offers their users the EZ-Armor package at no charge. If your ISP isn't offering any freebies, check out the free AVG package from Grisoft at .

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    Most recent comments on "Free Virus Scan"

    (See all 23 comments for this article.)

    Posted by:

    Al Johnson
    23 Aug 2005

    I use NOD32/Clamwin on one PC and Avast/Clamwin on the other. In both cases the more well known AV programs are used for real time scanning and Clamwin for running after the fact scans. No conflicts experienced after using dual AV programs like this for a couple of years. Clamwin is free, but besides being free seems to scan more deeply than many other AV programs...either that or its scanning engine is very slow, but finds malware that the others do not.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Just be aware that Clamwin is open source. That's normally a Good Thing, but in the case of security software could give the Bad Guys insight as to how they might write malware to exploit the defenses. Using it in conjunction with another AV program seems like a good strategy.

    Posted by:

    Ed Brady
    23 Aug 2005

    I've been using avast! for about a year. Is it the "best"? I don't know, but with all the various things it scans, it works great for me. And, I use it in conjunction with Spybot Tea Timer. Between the two, I feel fairly comfortable. But, then, I'm far from an expert in this computer stuff. I didn't even start with it until I was about 60.

    Posted by:

    Matt Egan
    23 Aug 2005

    I also use and recommend avast! as a free antispyware program. Unlike AVG, which reserves some bells & whistles for its paid version, this slick program from the Czech Republic holds nothing back. The spyware definitions are automatically updated practically every day.

    Posted by:

    24 Aug 2005

    I too have been using the free AntiVir Personal program for a few years now. (They recently added the modifier "Classic" to the program name to more clearly differentiate it from the non-free "Premium" version.) The site for this product is While it is a German company, all their Web pages and their support forums are available in both German and English.

    I don't get very many virus alerts from the product, but I am conviced that that's because I am a pretty careful Internet user, and not because the program isn't catching things. This is backed up by the fact that I run Trend Micro's and another product's scan every once in a while, and those programs come back with "clean" reports too.

    The product seems to be updated frequently, and I don't just mean the definition files. The program is quite easy to use, and easy to update. If my mother can handle the updates by herself, anyone can. :)

    Posted by:

    Ed Hoye
    24 Aug 2005

    I think I may go a little overboard but it works for me. I run Avast and AVG together for anti virus. I do shut Avast outgoing mail check off. I use Microsoft Antispyware,Win patrol,BHO Demon, Spyware Blaster and Zone Alarm which all run in the background except Spyware Blaster which "inoculates" the pc. I use periodically Cleanup,Ewido,Reg Scrub,CW Shredder,CClearer.Spybot S/D, Ad-Aware,Some of Karens power tools and Micro Malicious Software Fixer and Diskeeper Lite for defrag. Most of these have been on for more than a year on this pc and more than 4 years on previous pcs. Very seldom does any spyware show up when I check and I only run the extras about 1 time a month. I have got warning on viruses but none got into the pc, Best of all to me all of the above are free versions.I always update those that don't update them selves just before using them. What works for me may or may not work for others and I would not recommend you do as I do.I figure where one may be a little weak the other would take over. Ed

    Posted by:

    Cameron Hess
    24 Aug 2005

    Re: your recommendation for Grisoft AVG

    I was running the Windows version of AVG for several years until I recently got hit with a most stubborn virus. I updated my AVG virus list multiple times to no avail. AVG identified the problem only as a generic trojan virus. I tried to delete it, heal it, move it to quarantine, etc. but nothing worked. As soon as I rebooted, the problem was back. I invested (wasted) dozens of hours trying to identify and remove all of the various files and registry entries. The problem alwasy returned after reboot. So, I read Consumer Reports Magazine Computer Protection issue and saw their recommendation for a freeware anti-virus program called Avast!, which included not only anti-virus features, but also a firewall. Avast! was able to rid my computer of the stubborn virus as well as continues to notify me each time it repels an attack-in-progress. So far, I LIKE IT!

    Posted by:

    Willaim Bair
    24 Aug 2005

    I have had Panda Titanium Anti-Virus for 2 years now and it does a great job protecting my computer from viruses and spyware.

    Posted by:

    24 Aug 2005

    Thanks for the info! It is nice to know there are still people who are for good and fun things in life. The internet has been abused and I am always on the side of Law and order. Some of the attitudes of the punks on websites are incredible. People just want to have fun on line and you guys are very helpful. Thanks.

    Posted by:

    10 Sep 2005

    Avast! is the best antivirus, because it uses few resources, has an excellent detection rate, its virusdefs are updated almost daily, and it is free ! What more can you ask for. Combine this with ZoneAlarm/Kerio/Sygate firewall, throw in Spybot/Ad-Aware/MS-AntiSpyware/HijackThis/SpywareBlaster, and you got a very well defended system ! Who says freeware cannot be good ?

    Posted by:

    21 Mar 2006

    What do you say about kaspersky antivirus? It does a great job detecting any virus, its virus defintions are being updated every one-three hours. The only con is that you need a spyware-detector program besides it. But still, a good choice, so, what do you think?

    Posted by:

    Chris Ray
    07 May 2006

    I have been provided with a company laptop. I travel a lot and spend time on sites that wouldn't impress my employer. I was wondering if my employer can see where I am surfing with some kind of proxy. Any time I type in a wrong address it directs me to my company website. I have every kind of cleaner on here I can think of, but I was wondering if my employer could see what I am seeing or typing. I use Firefox and always clear out my entire computer. I have ran lots of scans and nothing shows up. I do know that my computer was extensively 'configured' before it was sent to me. Am I safe? What can I do?

    EDITOR'S NOTE: While travelling, you are probably using a wireless connection or local dialup, not your company's network. So unless there is some kind of keylogger or other spyware-type program running on your PC, it's highly doubtful that your employer can "see" what's happening on it. If you connect to your employer's network, however, any internet traffic can be monitored.

    Posted by:

    11 Dec 2006

    Dear Sir, I came across your great website and it seems to me you are one of the authorities about anti virus tools and information. I am artistic coordinator for one of the non profit organization here in Canada. The computer I currently use has Windows 2000 server in it. Because of that i can't use most of the anti virus free software like AVG, AVAST etc. Because their software allows free use for home user version only. Would you have any

    information about free software which I can use to protect my windows 2000 server? I can't change operating system for two reasons. (1) I don't have expertise to do that and (2) I have lots of data related to my organization, which i can't afford to loose. Also, I can't afford to pay any money as our organization doesn't make any.

    Also, I use firefox as browser (explorer doesn't work and I don't know why). Most online scanner doesn't support firefox accept TREND MICRO. But trendmicro scan doesn't seem to be working on my computer. Would you kindly suggest me if there is another tool out which has compatibility with firefox and probably better than TREND MICRO? Thank you so much.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Anyone have experience with Win 2000 and free anti-virus?

    Posted by:

    15 Feb 2008

    oh my gosh! i just had a virus the other day.. it was a really bad trojan. I found out that some trojans, if u want to get rid of them, all you have to do is put ur computer on admin and make another log in acount for the computer.. but first download windows defender. Its as easy as that! But this may not work will all trojans.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: I would not count on that strategy to get rid of ANY problem.

    Posted by:

    19 Jun 2009

    i also had a virus mon my pc when scanned the pc with a USB attached all the info frm the USB was deleted,but i think that actually marked the high poerfomance of the anti-virus.and all thanks to your site it definety makes moy world safer

    Posted by:

    04 Aug 2009

    My 2 cents for a couple of unanswered Qs:

    @Chris Ray: When I read the first sentence of your post, I thought, "Gosh! That's me!". But to answer your question, No! Your employer / Company doesn't / can't see where you go on the 'Net. The reason(s) your browser gets redirected to your company's home page when you mistype an address is / maybe really quite simple: are you using Internet Explorer as your primary browser? have you checked what the home page has been set to? Secondly, check under 'Internet Options' in the Control Panel. Go to the Connections tab, then click on the 'LAN' button at the bottom. In the LAN settings dialog box, see if 'Use automatic configuration script' &/or the check box under 'Proxy Server' are checked. If they are, which I anticipate, since you mention your laptop being "extensively" configured before being issued to you, then that's the cause. Another trick your Company's IT dept. may have likely done is configure your laptop to be on your Company's domain - are you required to type in user name & password every time you boot your laptop / log on to windows? can you seamlessly browse your Company's network viz. when you visit their office?

    Posted by:

    04 Aug 2009

    @jeetendra: your query begs a few questions of it's own: are you running a licensed copy of Win 2k Server? Since you don't have the 'expertise' to change the O/S who did you get to install it for your org, in the first place?

    Because the bad news, dear friend, is there are no free anti-virus programs for 'Server' class operating systems, not even Win NT. This is quite obvious, because the general assumption by all these vendors is, 'who runs server class OS at home? Nobody! who can afford server class OS license? they can afford to pay for antivirus protection!'

    You are not alone is this problem, atleast one other has been similarly cornered in Canada. Good news is, their question was answered. I excerpt here section most relevant to you:

    AVG Server Edition

    Up to 2 licenses = $38.00 USD
    Up to 10 licenses = $126.00 USD

    "This version is aimed at protection of Windows NT/2000 servers and MS
    Exchange 5.0/5.5/2000, Lotus Domino, Tiny Mail and Mail602 email
    servers. AVG checks all mail on arrival to user mailboxes or public
    directories. AVG in EXS monitors changes to individual mailboxes and
    public directories."

    Original url:
    Exact url:

    F-Prot Antivirus for Windows

    10 licenses = $40 USD (download) + US $30 (for a cd to be shipped)

    Original url:
    Exact url:

    To read the entire article in detail go here

    Please note, this reply is dated 2002 so info may not still be valid or accurate. But now you have a starting point to research further.

    All the best.

    Posted by:

    24 Sep 2009

    Bob; I got a virus that really is bad,called Antivirus Pro, I could not get rid of it short of reformatting my computer, I have Avast , it could not do anything against this virus, even the Geeks site tool couldn`t get rid of it, bad news this virus is, have you heard of it ? thanks : Ken

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, this malware and variants of it have been around for a couple years. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware can remove it.

    Posted by:

    cheap laptop computers
    24 Jun 2010

    I think it better that most reliable anti virus should be used rather than listening to someone and go for that one. Anti virus should be according to your computer needs.

    Posted by:

    31 May 2011

    I am having trouble to connect to the internet for a few days now. Today a notice popped up on my screen that bigdog.exe can not complete a task - the usual message if a program has a problem. I do not know a bigdog.exe program and I did not load it. Then I found out via the internet it was a virus(or worm) - yet after the scan here my computer got a clean bill. !?

    Posted by:

    20 Aug 2012

    also had a virus mon my pc when scanned the pc with a USB attached all the info frm the USB was deleted,but i think that actually marked the high poerfomance of the anti-virus.and all thanks to your site it definety makes moy world safer

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