Are There Any Good FREE Computer Anti-Virus Programs?

That is pretty much the question in a nutshell.

I know Norton and others are good, but my “free trial” ran out, and was wondering if there were any good free programs before I break down and purchase one.



Windows defender (dl direct from microsoft)

Even though at times the full paid versions of norton or macaffee stuff will do a more than admirable job, all of them will all eventually fail you. I never reccomend any of the well known programs for that very reason…when you do finally get bit, you didn’t pay $80 for the priveledge.

Thank you drachillix! Downloaded and installed.

Windows Defender is not an anti-virus program.

It is an anti-spyware program.

Hmmm…good point. (I should finally learn to read more closely…)

So I guess my question is still out there…any good FREE anti-virus programs that anyone knows about?

AVG is an antivirus program that is free and quite good.

Windows Defender is an antispyware program and is currently free but looks to be a pay thing one day.

You need BOTH antivirus and antispyware on your machine. Norton and McAfee and their ilk are starting to combine the two products but if you want free you will need to get other antispyware that is free. Windows Defender as already mentioned, SpyBot and Ad-Aware come to mind. Be careful about antispyware though…more than a few “antispyware” programs are wolves in sheep’s clothing and are in fact spyware themselves. If you do not go with these recommendations read independant reviews before installing.

BTW: Having two antispyware programs is a good idea as I have not seen a single program that reliably catched everything. Note that you do NOT want two antivirus programs running simultaneously.

I use Avast anti virus , which has a free personal edition. It works like a charm for me.

Not according to Microsoft. From the Windows Defender FAQ, “Windows Defender (Beta 2), subsequent beta versions, and the final release version will each be available at no additional charge for currently licensed Windows customers.”

Thanks…downloaded it and ran it (took quite awhile on my computer) and it seemed to function quite well, and while watching I was reminded it was about time to empty those temp internet files I have been meaning to dump.

Good and Free are mutually exclusive, aren’t they?
A free program doesn’t get the latest virus definitions.
My AV is furnished with my internet service. I received the update automatically before the email announcing it’s availability.

I’ve been using Avast for over a year now and it has been great. It catches stuff that McAfee and Symantic were missing.

No, not necessarily.

Anti-virus SW has been discussed many times on this board, and I think it’s safe to say that the consensus is that Norton’s stuff which is not free - is despised with a deep, burning, searing, seething passion while AVG - which is free - is very much liked.

I use AVG and I’m perfectly happy with it.

Here’s the only anti-virus sw I’ve ever put on any of my machines, and it’s always been free.

No single anti-virus program, or anti-spyware program for that matter, will catch every nasty thing out there. IT folks I have spoken with and respected PC websites all recommend using a combination of software, and keeping them all regularly updated.

I use Avast! anti-virus, Ad-Aware, Spybot anti-spyware which comes with Tea Timer resident preventative software, and ZoneAlarm firewall, all free. I have not experienced a problem in several years.

You can check out, run by CNET, for the latest programs and get user and editor reviews. There are paid programs, free trials, and outright free programs available.

You’d be surprised. There are times that the big guys like McAfee or Symantec get the signatures out first, and there are times that the little guys like AVG or Avast are first to release the signatures.

What you need to do is have what we call “defense in depth” whenever possible. In this case, to use a medical metaphor - it’s a second opinion.

It’s not advisable to run two different AV programs on a PC at the same time as they’ll trip over each other, and will mutually go bananas if you do get a virus - you’ll have a virtual cagematch as each app has an utter hissy fit when the other antivirus app attempts to control the virus file.

Instead, if your service provider says they use Brand X, you should use something else. It does no good if you’re using the same app that your provider is as you’ll have the same signature file as they do on their servers - using different brands means you’ll have different signature files and better chances that one or the other will catch the new threats.

From The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities:

[1] (16.0MB)
[2] (8.8MB)
[3] (8.7MB)
[4] (13.2MB)

It’s the best freeware listing site I’ve found on the 'net.

This combination’s fine - Ad-Aware and Spybot aren’t antivirus apps and they’ll coexist peacefully. ZoneAlarm is a firewall app, and as such isn’t directly doing anything against viruses or spyware. What it’s doing is watching for apps trying to operate in uncommon or inappropriate ways - stuff like “Hmmm… Why is the photo editing program trying to send email through an IRC port?” or even just “Why is the photo editor trying to send email?” It’s also doing the same thing on the inbound direction.