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Best Free AntiVirus
We give a few recommendations on our recommended software page when it comes to good, free antivirus software packages. However, we wanted to provide a more comprehensive guide talking about the pluses and minuses of the different free antivirus software.
This is also a good time for a reminder that every computer needs to have some type of security software installed to keep it safe. Even with good browsing habits, it is possible to come in contact with a virus. Sometimes, a virus will slip through the cracks and even show up through an ad on a major, trusted website.
We tried to pick what we thought were the best three free antivirus software packages.
Microsoft Security Essentials
The 100% free antivirus from Microsoft is very good. It does a great job detecting potential problems and it works really well with Windows. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a paid antivirus has, but it gets the job done and has a few useful features. The first feature is that is allows you to schedule your antivirus scans. It also allows you to choose how much CPU to use during these scans, which is nice. The only major ding was that Microsoft Security Essentials did negatively affect system performance more than the average antivirus software in our antivirus resource usage comparison.
Avast! Free Antivirus
Another solid free antivirus is Avast! Free Antivirus. Avast! keeps getting better and better at detecting viruses. One reason that Avast has great detection rates is its advanced detection engine. This engine detects patterns to help find and remove malware that isn't even in the malware definitions yet. To go along with its good detection and removal rates, Avast! also has the most features of any 100% free antivirus programs. It includes real-time scanning of email, instant messaging, and peer-to-peer networking.
Avira has been a leader in free antivirus software for years. For a long time it was our top pick for free antivirus software and it continues to be a very solid antivirus program. It has a great detection and removal rate. It is also pretty light on the computer resource usage. Generally speaking, the only reason Avira has dropped from our top rating is that the other antivirus software programs have improved more than Avira. Avira is still the same, simple antivirus program that gets the job done and keeps your computer secure.
To go along with the top 3 antivirus programs above, we do want to give honorable mention to the free versions of AVG and Panda. We found them to be pretty solid as well, just not quite good enough to beat out our top 3. Also, it should be noted that you will be in good shape if you are using any of our top 3 picks for protection. All 3 have great detection and removal rates.
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