Saturday, October 24, 2009

Top 10 Tech #1: Top 8 Freeware Antivirus Software: Compared

by Dennis Faas Senior Editor
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Many of our Readers ask, "why should I pay for antivirus software when
I get it freeware antivirus online for free?"
The answer of course depends on a number of factors.
I personally use Symantec Norton AntiVirus on my system, largely
because Symantec has an excellent reputation for quickly implementing
fixes to newly-discovered virus threats.
RE: Simple Protection versus Suite Protection
I don't prefer to use the "all-in-1" security suite models for two
reasons: they tend to be in-your-face / overkill for average to
advanced computer users, and they slow the computer down tremendously
because they are constantly scanning anything and everything for a
possible infection.
If you use common sense about the web sites you visit and don't
download every file that comes your way, you should do well with
standard (free) antivirus or antispyware protection.
For folks that share a PC with others or can't always monitor what is
being downloaded / installed to their PC, then an all-in-1 paid suite
is recommended.
RE: Free Protection versus Paid Protection
If you're thinking about moving to a freeware antivirus solution,
there are many on the market and they all do mostly the same thing; I
have provided a list of the most popular at the end of this article.
While freeware antivirus solutions are great for users with little or
no budget, keep in mind that the advantage of paid antivirus
subscriptions is that they can often detect the absolute latest
threats (called "0-day threats"), whereas freeware antivirus
protection may be a few days behind or offer limited removal of the
For example: it may only offer a quarantine of the infected file,
versus actual removal of the infection. Note that once a file is
quarantined, your computer won't allow you to access it due to its
high risk of infecting other files.
RE: Heuristics
Also note that most all antivirus (and anti-spyware) programs rely on
heuristics or "signatures" and are unable to detect or remove viruses
/ malware that they don't already know about. In other words, you have
to update the software regularly or you won't be protected against the
latest threats.
With that said, here are my picks for best freeware antivirus:
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition ~ Free ~ Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista
The granddaddy of free antivirus, AVG provides basic protection
against spyware and viruses.
- basic antivirus / spyware protection
- automated / scheduled updates / quarantine
- realtime scanning
- safe search web browser protection
- no: firewall, rootkit, anti-spam
- full suite offered (paid)
Comodo AntiVirus ~ Free ~ Windows 2000/XP
From the website: Comodo Antivirus has all the functionality of a paid
AV without the price! No licenses, upgrades, or any hidden costs.
- uses little system resources
- automated / scheduled updates / quarantine
- realtime scanning
- daily updates
- email and network scanning
a-squared Free ~ Free ~ Windows 98/ME/XP/2000/2003
From the site: Remove infections of Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms,
Keyloggers, Rootkits, Dialers and other malicious programs.
- award winning software
- easy to use
- automated / scheduled scan
- daily updates
- realtime antivirus and malware protection
ClamWin ~ Free ~ Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista
ClamWin has been around for a long time and is open-source.
- automatic / scheduled scans
- realtime scanning
- shell integration
- email scanner for MS Outlook
BitDefender Free Edition ~ Free ~ Windows 98/NT4/Me/2000/XP
From the site: BitDefender Free Edition uses the same ICSA Labs
certified scanning engines found in other BitDefender products,
allowing you to enjoy basic virus protection for no cost.
- automatic / scheduled scans
- realtime scanning
- skinable interface
- quarantine infected files
- reports provide statistics
avast! Virus Cleaner ~ Windows 9x/ME/NT4/XP/2000
Avast! Virus Cleaner is a free tool that will help you remove selected
virus and worm infections from your computer AFTER your computer is
avast! 4 Home Edition ~ FREE (home/personal) ~ Windows
Avast! 4 Home Edition is a free complete ICSA certified antivirus
software for home noncommercial use.
- award winning software
- automatic / scheduled scans
- realtime scanning
- email and browser protection
- updates roughly twice a week
- shell integration: right click a file to scan in Explorer
Avira AntiVir Personal ~ FREE (home/personal) ~ Windows
From the site: Avira AntiVir Personal - FREE Antivirus is a reliable
free antivirus solution, that constantly and rapidly scans your
computer for malicious programs such as viruses, Trojans, backdoor
programs, hoaxes, worms, dialers etc. Monitors every action executed
by the user or the operating system and reacts promptly when a
malicious program is detected.
- award winning software
- automatic / scheduled scans
- realtime scanning
- support is free of charge via AntiVir Bulletin Board
- no: browser or email protection
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