10 Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows

Best Free Antivirus for Windows / Best Free Real-Time Malware Protection for Windows PC

An Antivirus is a computer security software that protects the computer from all kinds and variants of malware by continuously monitoring the execution of programs and files, and blocking or removing any malicious programs upon detection using its various technologies. It monitors the internet surfing to scan network traffic and protect the computer from harmful websites, and phishing attempts. Any form of data coming from the Internet or removable storage devices such as compact discs, or USB flash drives is scanned to block any kind of malware attack attempted on the computer. An Antivirus is the first software that should be downloaded and installed on a Windows PC. Here, we take a detailed look at the 10 Best Free Antivirus Software available for Windows today.

Here are the Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Homepage: https://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition protects its users by using their famous Intelligent Antivirus engine that blocks all kinds of malware. Along with the power of signatures, you get Bitdefender’s behaviour-blocker called Active Threat Control as well. The free version also includes Bitdefender’s Advanced Threat Defense technology that uses advanced heuristic methods to protect against ransomware and other advanced threats. The web-filtering component called Safe Browsing along with Anti-Phishing & Anti-Fraud modules provides protection from harmful websites and web-based threats. You can enhance the web protection by installing the free web browser add-on/extension by Bitdefender called TrafficLight. Bitdefender TrafficLight has following features – Advanced malware filter, Protection against phishing attacks, Trackers identifier, and Link Scanner. Bitdefender Photon is not available in the free version of their antivirus.

Overall, it’s a great product but if you want to play with some settings then look elsewhere because you won’t find any here. Only two scan modes are available for free users. One is System Scan, which is the full computer scan. The other scan mode is kind of a custom scan. You can drag and drop the selected files or folders in the program window to start scanning. A minimalistic design and a very competent program full of award-winning technologies yet very lightweight.

In a press release, CIA hackers mentioned that Bitdefender’s security software are the most difficult to hack.

No Ads – Neither during install nor after.

If you want a lightweight, minimal yet fierce protection for your Windows 10 then Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition Full Review with Screenshots

2. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free

Homepage: https://www.kaspersky.com/free-cloud-antivirus

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Kaspersky Security Cloud Free

Kaspersky Free includes the core security features that protect your computer against viruses, spyware, ransomware, phishing & dangerous websites, and more nasty stuff.

Kaspersky Free has all of the six protection shields that the Kaspersky Lab offers its paid products – File Anti-Virus, Web Anti-Virus, Network Attack Blocker, System Watcher, IM Anti-Virus, and Mail Anti-Virus. You get all four scan options – Full Scan, Quick Scan, Selective Scan, and External Device Scan. The Full and Quick scans can be scheduled to run automatically. External devices can be scanned automatically when connected. The Kaspersky Protection web browser plugin/add-on/extension adds another layer of protection against web-based threats. It contains the following modules – Safe Money, Virtual Keyboard, and Block Dangerous Websites.

The password-protection feature is also included in the free version, which makes sure that no malware can stop or terminate Kaspersky. No need to worry about updates as it supports automatic updates as well. The Cloud scanning is also available in Kaspersky Free, which lets the user use the KSN Network.

Kaspersky detected NSA hacking tools. A software that can do that is definitely good enough to protect your computer.

No Ads – Neither during install nor after. It does have some promotions and news.

If you are looking for the most feature-rich free protection for your Windows 10 then Kaspersky Free Antivirus could the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Kaspersky Free Full Review with Screenshots

3. Comodo Antivirus

Homepage: https://antivirus.comodo.com/free-antivirus.php

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Comodo Antivirus

Comodo Antivirus protects you using more antivirus technologies than any other free or paid antivirus product. If you use their Free Internet Security then you add one more layer to your protection, which is Firewall.

Comodo Antivirus uses the following technologies to keep your computer safe from malware.

  • Antivirus Signatures
  • VirusScope Behaviour Blocker
  • Defense+ HIPS
  • Sandbox Virtualization
  • File Rating Cloud Protection
  • Comodo Secure DNS
  • Comodo Online Security Web Browser Extension
  • Firewall (available in the Internet Security product)
  • Web Filtering (available in Firewall and the Internet Security product)

A full set of scan options is available in Comodo – Quick Scan, Full Scan, Rating Scan, and Custom Scan. There is an inbuilt tool for creating the bootable Comodo Rescue Disk. Comodo is the only free antivirus that supports multiple themes; you have the options to choose from four different themes. Another nice feature is the password protection that locks and protects the settings and the program itself from the wrongdoers.

Comodo Antivirus is the most polarising antivirus product in the computer security industry. It is loved by the enthusiasts for the multiple levels of protection that it provides, the configuration options supported by this program, the HIPS feature called Defense+ that intercepts each action performed by files and programs, the Virtualization feature called Sandbox that automatically runs a doubtful application in a virtualized environment, and Cloud protection.

But, these advanced technologies bring some downsides as well. HIPS makes the program very talkative, something that most users don’t like. Sandbox may automatically run a legitimate program into a container, and there can be problems of False Positives. Anyway, these are secondary issues. The defence provided by Comodo is almost impenetrable.

It does include some third-party services in its installer that make changes to the default configurations of your web browsers. Make sure you clear those checkboxes while installing Comodo.

If you are looking for the best free multi-layer protection for your Windows 10 then Comodo Free Antivirus could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Comodo Antivirus Full Review with Screenshots

4. Avira Free Antivirus

Homepage: https://www.avira.com/en/free-antivirus-windows

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Avira Free Antivirus

Avira Free Antivirus includes their famous Antivirus engine called Macrovirus that protects from various kinds of malware such as Viruses, Worms, Trojans, Ransomware, etc. The Avira Protection Cloud technology scans files using their Cloud engine for malware in real-time to provide even better protection. The Heuristic technology called AHeAD (Advanced Heuristic Analysis and Detection) protects against the new and unknown malware. The PUA shield detects the Potentially Unwanted Applications. Ransomware protection is included in the Free version as well.

The Avira Browser Safety provides protections from trackers, and harmful websites. With Avira Free Antivirus, you get both of the components – a real-time antivirus and a firewall; the firewall listed in Avira is just the Windows Firewall integrated into Avira’s control panel.

Four types of scans supported by this program. These are – Full scan, Quick scan, Custom scan, and Scheduler. Four Protection modules are available to Avira’s users – Real-Time Protection, Firewall, Web Protection, and Mail Protection.

Too many upgrade advertisements. Big upgrade messages at the top, at the bottom, and inside options.

If you want an Antivirus for your Windows 10 that has one of the best detection rates in the industry, and also integrates the Window Firewall into it to give you an overview of your computer security then Avira Free Antivirus could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Avira Free Antivirus Full Review with Screenshots

5. Avast Free Antivirus

Homepage: https://www.avast.com/en-us/free-antivirus-download

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus protects against viruses and other malware using their famous antivirus engine and other technologies. There are various security-related tools in this program, and there are settings for everything. You can customize this program to your liking. Avast is a crowd-pleaser, and constantly tops free antivirus lists.

All types of scans are present here – Smart Scan, Full Virus Scan, and an option called Other Scans that links to other advanced and customized scans. Four Protection Shields are included in the free version – File Shield, Behaviour Shield, Web Shield, and Mail Shield.

Since the ownership of AVG, Avast’s detection ratio has gotten even better as now it has AVG’s signatures as well in their database. Avast Free includes a Cloud scanning technology called CyberCapture, which helps them keep their antivirus light on user system resources. Avast now includes AVG’s Behaviour Shield inside their product, which means a much better malware detection. The dedicated Ransomware Protection component is not available in the Free version.

Additional Protection tools include Rescue Disk, Passwords, and Game Mode. The Sandbox feature is available only in their paid software.

There are various messages about their paid products at the bottom of the main window and the sidebar of other windows. They constantly remind you to consider purchasing their premium products.

If you are looking for a strong yet lightweight protection for your Windows 10 then Avast Free Antivirus could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Avast Free Antivirus Full Review with Screenshots

6. AVG AntiVirus Free

Homepage: https://www.avg.com/en-us/free-antivirus-download

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - AVG AntiVirus Free

AVG AntiVirus Free provides protection from virus, spyware, and other types of malware using their famous antivirus engine. It blocks unsafe web links, downloads, and email attachments. You get web and email protection as well bundled into your antivirus. AVG AntiVirus Free includes their powerful Behaviour Shield, which detects the new and unknown malware.

AVG provides the most types of scans in a free antivirus software. You get six scan options – Computer Scan, Deep Scan, USB/DVD Scan, File or Folder Scan, Performance Scan, Boot-Time Scan. The automatic Removable Media Scan is not available. A secure data wipe tool called File Shredder is included in the free version.

Since the acquisition of AVG by Avast, the signatures of both of the companies have been merged. The merger of signatures has made the detection ratio of AVG even better. Along of all of their technologies, AVG now also includes Avast’s CyberCapture technology, which is a Cloud malware scanner engine. The dedicated Ransomware Protection component is not available in the Free version.

The main window has a permanent bar at the bottom that reminds you to upgrade to the full protection by unlocking all of the features of the AVG AntiVirus.

If you are looking for a strong yet lightweight protection for your Windows 10 then AVG AntiVirus Free could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

AVG AntiVirus Free Full Review with Screenshots

7. Panda Dome

Homepage: https://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/solutions/free-antivirus/

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Panda Dome

Panda Dome of today has its roots in a product called Cloud Antivirus, which was first released by Panda Security way back in 2009. Panda was the first free cloud-based Antivirus for Windows. The unique selling point of that product was the Cloud scanning and analysis feature that took the heavy stuff to the security software provider’s infrastructure, and made the product super light on the User’s system. In 2014, Panda relaunched Cloud Antivirus as Panda Free Antivirus with improved offline protection.

Security features such as the Behavioural Blocker, Heuristic Analysis, Process Monitor, and USB Vaccination combined with the Offline Malware Cache provide a strong protection against all kinds of malware while remaining light on the system at the same time. Three types of scans are supported – Critical areas, Full Scan, and Custom scan.

A bar reminding us that this is the free protection, and we need to upgrade to the complete (paid) protection. Panda displays news and promotions of their own products. Panda downloads and installs the Panda Safe Web program even if you don’t agree to it, and once installed it does not uninstall with the removal of the Antivirus.

If you want a strong and lightweight Cloud Antivirus product for your Windows 10 with the support of a customizable interface then Panda Dome Free Antivirus could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Panda Dome Full Review with Screenshots

8. NANO Antivirus

Homepage: http://www.nano-antivirus.com

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Nano Antivirus

NANO Antivirus protects the user computer in real-time from all types of malware using their Signatures, Heuristics Analysis, Web Protection, and Cloud technologies.

Under the System Guard component, two real-time anti-malware shields to protect the user computer from malware attacks, these are – File Guard and Web Guard. NANO Antivirus supports six types of scans, these are – Boot Sector Scan, Main Memory Scan, Express Scan, Custom Scan, Scheduled Scan, and Automatic Removable Media Scan.

Most of the Free Antivirus products are the lighter or the stripped down version of the main paid product. Some of them are more like a promotion rather than a free version. However, that’s not the case with NANO Antivirus, which is a full-featured Antivirus program.

There is one small non-intrusive banner image at the bottom of the home screen of the program, and one comparison table between the Free and Pro versions in the Upgrade to Pro tab. These two act as promotions for their Pro version.

If you are looking for a feature-rich and ad-free strong Antivirus product for your Windows 10 then NANO Antivirus Free could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

NANO Antivirus Full Review with Screenshots

9. FortiClient

Homepage: https://www.forticlient.com/downloads

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - FortiClient

FortiClient is a free antivirus product by Fortinet. Fortinet is known for making network security hardware products. FortiClient is a cross-platform program, available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android.

A very underrated product. It includes Antivirus, Application Firewall, Web Filtering, Anti-Exploit, Vulnerability Scan, SSL-VPN, IPSec VPN, and some other tools. The Web Filtering is their trademark feature. FortiClient brings the Enterprise-grade Web Filtering Firewall to the Home Users for free. A very powerful Parental Control feature is also included in FortiClient.

Every major scan type is available in FortiClient. You can run Custom Scan, Full Scan, Quick Scan, and Automatic Removable Media Scan. Along with these common scan types, FortiClient also has a Vulnerability Scan option. There are no Ads in this program.

If you want an Antivirus for your Windows 10 that has great malware detection ratio, an industry-grade Web Filtering technology, and a great Parental Control feature implementation then FortiClient Free Antivirus could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

FortiClient Full Review with Screenshots

10. Sophos Home Free

Homepage: https://home.sophos.com/

Best Free Antivirus For Windows - Sophos Home Free

Sophos Home Free provides basic protection to your PC against all kinds of Malware. The Real-Time Antivirus provides protection against viruses, worms, trojans, and other types of malware. The Parental Web Filtering component lets you allow or block various types of websites on your computer. The Web Protection technology protects against known malicious, phishing, and other harmful websites. The unique Remote Management feature helps you manage the protection settings from an online Dashboard provided by Sophos. The free version protects the computers by using two protection shields called Antivirus Protection and Web Protection.

In terms of features, the current Sophos Home doesn’t have much to offer, most of the features are available on only the online Dashboard. On the locally installed product, you get only two options – one starts the scan, and the other one takes you to your online Account Dashboard aka the Sophos Home Dashboard.

Sophos Home Free supports only the Full System Scan, and does not let you perform a Quick Scan, or setup a Custom Scan. However, you scan your files and folders using the Sophos Scan option the right-click context menu of files and folders. If only they added all those options present in the online Dashboard to the local product, life would have been much easier for the users.

It is heavy on the system, a lot of processes running at the same time in the background. About Ads and PUP, it is completely clean, no sponsored programs or services in the installer or the antivirus itself.

If you are looking for the Remote Management feature in an Antivirus that lets you manage protection on your devices through a web interface then Sophos Home Free Antivirus could be the Best Free Antivirus for you.

Sophos Home Free Full Review with Screenshots

Verdict. The Best Antivirus for Your Windows 10 PC.

How do you find the Best Antivirus for Your Computer? Antivirus is not a simple program that does one single thing. In order to protect your computer and data, it continuously monitors all of the processes, their executions, and network traffic to block threats.

There are many factors that you must consider while choosing an antivirus for your computer.

  • The detection rate is an important factor in selecting an Antivirus. Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avira, Avast and AVG have great detection rates.
  • But detection rate is good only for detecting in-the-wild malware i.e. the malware that have already been detected by multiple antivirus companies. But what if you get hit by a fresh virus, how would your Antivirus protect you against that? For that, you need additional security features such as the Behaviour Blocker and Heuristic Analysis. Bitdefender gives you their  Behaviour Blocker called Active Threat Control in their Free version.
  • Then there are the advanced security tools that can protect you from any program such as the Sandbox. Sandbox is a virtualization feature provided for free by Comodo Antivirus.
  • Maybe, you want the most feature-rich antivirus that has all the things that other paid antiviruses provide, then go for Kaspersky Free, the most complete free antivirus software.
  • And, if you want most number of protection layers, then you can’t beat Comodo Free (Antivirus or Internet Security). It uses 9 technologies to protect your computer – Signatures, Behaviour Blocker, HIPS, Sandbox, Cloud Protection, Firewall, Web Filtering, Secure DNS and Web Browser Extension.
  • If you want a lightweight antivirus then Bitdefender, Panda, Avast, AVG, and FortiClient are your options.
  • If you want a great industry-grade Web-filtering along with a very competent antivirus, then go for FortiClient. It also has an awesome implementation of the Parental Control feature thanks to its excellent Web-filtering.
  • Almost every free product is a promo to the actual thing, the paid product. If you don’t like seeing those ads, promos, and nags in your programs, then go with Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Comodo, FortiClient, or NANO Antivirus. All provide great protection sans ads.
  • Comodo is the only free antivirus that has skin support. You can choose from four different skins. Panda Dome lets their users change the background image of the program. You can choose from the 8 images that are included in the program.
  • If you are feeling adventurous then try Sophos Home, an antivirus that controls the security on your computers(s) using an online Dashboard.

Whatever you do, just don’t use two real-time Antivirus software at a time. Most of the Antivirus software will give you a warning about the presence of other incompatible Antivirus products installed on your computer or they won’t install at all unless you remove your other/previous Antivirus software.

How to Find the Best Antivirus for Your Windows PC?

Other Free Real-Time Antivirus that were Used and Tested but could not make into the Top 10

  • Adaware Antivirus
  • ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus
  • Immunet AntiVirus
  • 360 Total Security
  • Windows Defender

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