Recommend a Good Free Virus Protector

This is for a teenage girl who just bought a new computer for personal use. (Low end Dell laptop.) She will not be hooking it up to the internet. But she will undoubtedly be sharing files with her friends via portable storage devices.


If it has Windows 7 on it, get Microsoft Security Essentials. If it has an earlier version of Windows, get the free editions of either Avast or AVG.

Up until a year ago I used AVG, but it started giving too many false positives. If I’d followed through on them without researching first (as an inexperienced teenage girl might do), I could have created some problems for myself, so I switched to Avast and haven’t been disappointed.

Avira or Avast. Both are free and relatively hassle-free.

No, don’t. It still winds up near the bottom in tests.

Plus, really, the most essential thing for you to get is a proactive, HIPS-based solution. For her use, I’d recommend ThreatFire, as it’s pretty much set-and-forget. I suggest you use the direct Download instead of (it’s in the fine print after the link), as often adds a toolbar installation you’ll have to avoid.

MSE might be good enough with that, but do look at Avast, Avira, and even AVG, playing with the settings to see if you can eliminate most false positives. At least those are mentioned on the Threatfire web page.

I still use XP and just loaded Microsoft Security Essentials. Love it. I hate to give Microsoft any credit for anything but MSE is faster and much, much less intrusive than either the AVG or Norton that I had before. It’s free and the first time I ran it it found stuff that AVG had missed for a year. Of course, AVG never found anything it didn’t like in that year and it sucked a lot of resources to do that.

I use MSE and love it. I’m not doing any serious or shady internetting, but it’s simplicity works juuuuuust fine for me.

MSE works well enough. I was an AVG user until a few years ago, but it started acting up, plus false positives. I moved the computers in my house over to MSE. Very set it and forget it and we’ve had no infections (though we do browse smartly).

“Undoubtedly” be sharing files with other teenage female friends? Like what? Seriously, what files are teenage girls going to sharing amongst each other on flash drives?

Recipes, knitting patterns, etc.

Thanks to all. That was very helpful.

If she won’t be connecting to the internet, you’ll have to in order to update whatever AV solution you use.
Or grab the defs on a connected box and transfer via flash drive.

Can you explain how to do these things? Thanks.

That would be a about a 20 step explanation, and it depends on what AV program you are using.

The easiest thing to do is occasionally connect the computer to the Internet and tell the anti-virus program to download updates, then disconnect the Internet when it’s done.

I’m just curious why a teenage girl wouldn’t be connecting her laptop to the Internet. I’d expect that to be 95% of what she’d want it for.

Just curious; whats the other 5%?

Writing Justin Bieber fan fiction, I’d imagine.

I don’t know, some combination of typing papers for school and watching DVDs and playing offline games.

Why would you want to protect the viruses?


A PC without online access is almost a glorified calculator these days.

I had AVG, uninstalled due to various issues. Not worth it. Avast was great for a while but also became bloatware IMO. MSE is good, but is in no way a final solution to anything.

Anyone who tells you that “this is all you need for malware protection” and points you to one program is foolish. There is no such thing as any one program that can prevent, detect, and disinfect a system from any and all malware. Period.

The situation the OP describes needs a malware scanner, but it has to be updated all the time, otherwise new threats can get in. That requires internet access.

I’ve only paid for ONE antivirus program EVER. 99% of the time I can remove just about anything using free stuff. I got a lifetime sub for Superantispyware (I know it sounds sketchy) for like $20 and it was the best thing I’ve ever done malware wise. It’s automated, thorough, and updates all day long.

I’d love to have Kaspersky when it goes for free on Newegg with a rebate, but I know I’ll miss something with the rebate. That’s how they get you. You have like a day to get it sent out, then have to pray.

Like control-z said, it would be like a 20 step process if not more, to make things as secure as they could be.

I’ll not solicit anything here, but if you need something PM me.