Seven More Free Antivirus Programs

Category: Security

We can never have too many options when it comes to antivirus protection. Right? If you're still using Norton, McAfee or some other expensive Internet security software, you owe it to yourself to check out these free alternatives. Read on to see my list, and some tips on choosing antivirus protection...

Save Money With a Free AntiVirus Alternative

In my related article Free AntiVirus Programs, I listed seven free Internet security options. Here are seven more free antivirus programs for you to try. Some are open-source, some proprietary. Some some are cloud-based, and rely on reports from their user communities to identify new threats. Check out the list that follows and see if one of these freebies can replace the paid antivirus software you're using now.

Trend Micro's HouseCall is an on-demand antivirus tool that scans your computer for viruses and other malware, and removes any detected threats. Housecall is capable of detecting and removing rootkits and other sophisticated threats, and uses Trend Micro's Smart Protection Network™ to identify the latest threats. The quick scan option targets critical system areas and active threats. Housecall is closely related to the paid Trend Micro Internet Security product, but does not include automatic updates, firewall, spyware detection, and spam blocking.

PCTools Free Antivirus offers basic antivirus protection and useful extras such as phishing alerts, Web site ratings, and adware defenses. Its IntelliGuard technology monitors nine critical areas of your system to detect and block suspicious behavior or software.
Free AntiVirus Programs

ClamWin Antivirus is a free, open-source antivirus program for Windows PCs. It integrates with Windows Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, and Internet Explorer to provide good basic antivirus protection without all the extra trimmings of premium packages. Scans can be run manually or scheduled. Virus signature databases are updated automatically. A simple tree view lets you select drives or directories for scanning. Suspected malware can be reported for manual handling, deleted automatically during scanning, or quarantined.

Immunet Protect is a free, cloud-based, community-powered antivirus solution. It’s very easy on system resources because most of its computation takes place in the cloud. Immunet takes up only 10 MB of disk space when installed. Data from registered Immunet users is used to keep the virus signature database up to date. Immunet uses the same open-source ClamAV engine used by ClamWin. For $24.95, the premium edition gives you offline scanning, email support, and advanced virus removal tools.

Some people prefer an open-source alternative because the program source code is available for inspection. This allows programmers to verify that there are no hidden privacy threats or backdoors in the program, and also enables a community-based approach to update and enhance the software.

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free provides more protections than Immunet, including real-time antivirus and antispyware, behavioral analysis protection, monitoring of running processes, and URL filtering for protection against rogue Web sites. The $29.99 Pro version adds a community-based firewall, protection for public WiFi, automatic vaccination of USB drives, and 24/7 support.

Fortinet's FortiClient works on both Windows and Mac computers, providing anti-virus protection, web filtering, and a firewall. It also offers vulnerability scanning to make sure your installed software is up to date and has all the latest security fixes. For travelers and business users, FortiClient also has SSL-VPN, which allows for a secure encrypted connection to a remote computer. FortiClient is designed to work with the company's FortiGate enterprise security gateway product, but the standalone client provides excellent protection for those who wish to use it outside a corporate environment.

Rising Antivirus Free Edition comes from Rising Security, China’s largest computer security firm. It protects your system against viruses, zero-day threats, Trojans, worms, and other malicious programs. It monitors email for malware, guards against rootkits, and protects against stealth delivery of malware via rogue Web sites. Should you be nervous about using internet security software from China? Maybe, but any software that's not open-source (see my comments above) carries the same risk of potential gotchas.

Will Free AntiVirus Programs Protect Me?

The fact that both free and paid internet security software options abound does beg the question. But in my experience, the free antivirus programs do an excellent job of protecting against the most common online threats. The reason for that is simple -- the free versions almost always use the same antivirus detection and removal engines as their paid counterparts. The downside is that you don't get all the bells and whistles -- such as enhanced firewall, identity theft protection, spam filtering, and customer support -- which are found in the all-in-one Internet security suites.

I encourage you to also read my Free AntiVirus Programs article, which lists seven more free antivirus alternatives, in addition to other free programs that you can use to cobble together your own Internet security suite. I also give links to some of the most popular paid programs, and discuss why you might want to consider them.

Do you use a free antivirus program or a paid version? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Seven More Free Antivirus Programs"

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

Why in the world would I trust CHINA for an anti-virus program?

Posted by:

Risden Hill
07 Nov 2012

As the popular phrase goes re the comment y VOXPOP (11/07/2012): "I second that commotion!" CHINA?

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

Where does WEB ROOT fall in your listof greatprotection

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

I agree with the China comment!

IOBIT allegedly S-T-0-L-E the Code from the Esteemed and Respected Malwarebytes (MBAM) company.

Posted by:

Peter Mundy
07 Nov 2012

Thursday 8 November 2012 9:50 a.m.

I have used the German Avira security packages for some years now. They have been freeware with good reports from the computer community.
I would not do without it. It has very regular updates and has caused no problems for me. Go Avira.

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

I have used free anti-virus. Avast was okay 'til it had a glitch. "Somewhere" in India, a young lady and young man wanted to 'fix' it, but I had to give them 72.00 by credit card first!!
I then took a friends' and your advice, and downloaded free AVG. It's been great so far...also downloaded Malwarebytes, which has been great. I'm debating whether or not to upgrade the AVG, but I do recommend the free product.

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

Microsoft Essential seems to work well for me.

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

My daughter gave me her laptop yesterday, asking me to help remove the FBI virus. Tried using malwarebytes, but everytime I install it via safe mode with command prompt, it wants to update the signature file which triggers the stupid warning. Any Ideas?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Try the bootable AVG Rescue Disk that I've mentioned on this site.

Posted by:

07 Nov 2012

Will the free anti virus conflict with Norton?

Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

Bob I am very sure you would stand by your recommendations. However, there is no mention in the above comments about any live comparisons or other independent testing of any of the seven free antivirus programs, either between themselves or with other known antivirus software. The comments almost sound like direct lifts from websites. Have any such tests been carried out?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Actually, yes! See and for independent testing results.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

I have been using the free version of Panda cloud almost since it first appeared. Which has been a few years now. I'm not in any way a geek and I like it because it just does what it says it will do. Hardly anything bad gets through, and, so far, the few things which have haven't been serious threats or difficult to remove.

The very early versions sometimes looked terrifying during installation, with streams of file names scrolling down your monitor as if some mad hacker was sucking the soul from your computer ;-) And there were some configurations which didn't seem to get along with the panda.

But everything is tidied up and well behaved now. So if you tried it a few years back and had problems it might be worth giving it another go. If you have a lot of files or several drives the initial scan can take a long time, but after that you'll hardly notice it's there.

And the price is irresistible for something which works so well ;-)


Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

Very professional assessment / guidance Bob, txs v much. Together with your earlier, related article "Free Antivirus Programs" you've basically covered off all that one needs to know / have at one's disposal.
Rgds & take care,

Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

What if I told you... these all severely fail in anti virus tests...?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'd say you were wrong, and point you to the AV-Comparatives test results. (See

Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

To the best of my knowledge, advanced users don't easily pay for Antivirus Progs or such - they use some kind of free stuff after proper testing. They know where they can easily get hocked, so they don't go there. And when they really need to go in, they get themselves prepared for the outing. If they feel something stupid, they'll get a trial pro stuff that switches back to free at the expiration of the try-period, when they suspect something is fishing, or even phishing!

Hey! Bob, I want your comment on this and I give the license to write your next article on my idea! How about that! Great! Ya! You've done an excellent work for the dummies. Kudozzzz!

Posted by:

08 Nov 2012

I got tired of Norton quite a few years ago when
I got infected several times (I have always updated daily.) I tried Zone Alarm and something else that no longer exists, and settled on the free version of Grisoft AVG. Shortly after, I added Lavasoft Ad-Aware to protect against spyware, as the AVG Free was virus only.

I no longer use Lavasoft, since they added anti-virus to their free version, and replaced it with Malwarebytes. Since using AVG Free plus the others, I have not had a single issue with infection. (at least 5 years.)

On the other hand I got a new HP laptop last Christmas preloaded with W7 home premium and Norton 360. I have had to reinstall the W-7 twice in the past year, because of being invaded by viruses getting past the Norton 360 (again, the
auto update and scan is run daily.) I shouldn't have to say more.

Posted by:

John L Brown
11 Nov 2012

I replaced Ad-Aware with SUPER-AntiSpyware. Ad-Aware’s real time protection conflicted with Microsoft Security Essential, which I presently intend to retain. I made sure not to activate SUPER-AntiSpyware’s real-time protection for this reason. Therefore any antivirus program I employ cannot have real-time protection as a default function if I hope to avoid possible conflicts. Unlike many such programs I have used in the past, SUPER-AntiSpyware detects tracking cookies. I realize this is not always a problem, yet the ability to detect and disable, and therefore decide which one to retain seem like an excellent option to me. I plan to take a closer look at some of these other programs you cited to decide if any have particular functions not covered within SUPER-AntiSpyware. As always, a most informative and useful article. Thank you.

Posted by:

13 Nov 2012

Thanks for the list, Bob. New examples here. Gave up on pay AVs 3 or 4 years ago. Looking for savings on the pay per every year was tiresome and frustrating. And then there's the drawbacks and disappointments. The only majors I've used w/o drawbacks were McAfee and F-secure. Couldn't even begin to install Kaspersky. Software conflict. Forget 5 years of Norton problems, including Ghost. Panda, too many popups, conflicts. Using AVG on this. Avast on my laptop. Like AVG best, except for its "browser is consuming high video memory" popup window. Which disappears after a short while. Have Malwarebytes and Spybot installed if I want a thorough check. When trying Linux distros, used Clam with no problems. If it's FREE, it's for me.

Posted by:

23 Nov 2012

Bob, I am ready to ditch the Norton (which has just expired) from my new HP laptop. Should I uninstall the Norton before installing one of the free antivirus programs?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, definitely.

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