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Slow PC? Check Your Antivirus Resource Usage

Every computer needs antivirus software installed to protect the computer from viruses and malware. However, not every antivirus is created equal. Most people only think about how well the antivirus protects. This is the most important thing to consider when choosing an antivirus for sure. However, how well the antivirus performs when it comes to resource usage should be considered as well, especially if you are experiencing a slow computer. In this article, we take a look at antivirus performance and resource usage for some of the top antivirus software packages on the market.

Antivirus Performance Comparison

We looked at a few different criteria when it comes to antivirus. We looked at startup times, restart times, memory usage, and application launch speed. We also want to point out that we tested a control case in which no antivirus was installed. In all cases, the control case with no antivirus was the fastest, which makes sense. When it comes to the specific antivirus software packages we tested Norton, Kaspersky, Avira, Trend Micro, Microsoft Security Essentials, McAfee, BitDefender, Avast, and AVG.

Antivirus Memory Usage

We consider memory usage to be a one good indicator of antivirus resource usage. If your computer is low on memory, how much RAM the antivirus uses could make a big difference. In our tests, we noticed that Avast, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Norton were the best when it comes to memory usage. They each used less than 10 megabytes of memory. The worst antiviruses when it comes to memory usage were AVG and McAfee. These both were over 30 megabytes of memory usage. The rest of the antiviruses were anywhere from 12-23 megabytes when it came to memory usage.

Startup Times with Each Antivirus

Startup Times are another good measuring stick since they directly affect the user experience. In our tests, we noticed that the startup times for Avira and Trend Micro were the lowest. These two really stood out from the crowd. On the low end, we found that Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG really hurt our startup times. They increased our startup times by over 50% when compared to the case with no antivirus. All other antivirus software formed a middle pack away from the top and bottom.

Restart Times with Each Antivirus

Restart times are another great real-world metric to look at. Not surprisingly, we noticed the same results as the startup tests. We noticed that Avira, Trend Micro, and this time Norton were the best. We still observed AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials at the bottom of this list.

Application Launch Speed

When we talk about application launch speed, we are not talking about how quickly the antivirus application launches. We are referring to launching another application and seeing how long it takes to launch. In our test, we used Internet Explorer 9. We noticed that Avast, Avira, and McAfee performed the best. They barely affected the launch speeds at all. On the other end, we noticed that Trend Micro and Kaspersky performed poorly when it came to our application launch test.

Overall, when looking at all the test results combined, we found that Avira and Norton used the least resources. On the other hand, we found that Trend Micro and AVG were the most resource intensive antivirus software packages.

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