Are you looking for a good and reliable antivirus program that can detect malware, viruses, spyware, trojans, and other threats on your computer? This article will tell you about the best free antivirus software for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7 operating systems.
There are a million and one ways for your computer or smartphone to become infected on the Internet. Having an antivirus program on your computer is usually the best way to protect yourself from malware.
A decent antivirus program will remove viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits, and other malware from your computer. It will also protect it from future infections and increase the effectiveness of your system.
As computers become increasingly interconnected, it’s important to keep your computer safe from viruses and other malware. Unfortunately, this task can be difficult, especially if you’re on a budget. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 10 best free antivirus software for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7. These programs will help you keep your computer virus-free and protected from other nastiness. So whether you’re new to using antivirus software or you’ve been using it for years, be sure to check out this list!
Table of Contents
What is an Antivirus?
Antivirus software is a computer program that detects, prevents, and removes malware. It is a tool that can tell if someone is trying to take advantage of flaws in the operating system or software.
You’ve probably heard that antivirus software is essential for any computer. We all know that our personal computers store our entire lives, and a virus assault might put you and your machine in danger. Even your phone is now at risk, but fortunately, there are antivirus programs capable of stopping the spyware.
A decent antivirus tool should be able to detect and remove current malware, but it should also be able to prevent malicious programs from entering. The finest part is when these services are provided at no cost.
However, Microsoft has built-in malware protection called Windows Defender, which identifies and eliminates many types of viruses and malware. However, malware is becoming more intelligent, and Windows Defender is becoming less effective. To fight this, we need special antivirus software to protect our computers from all kinds of attacks.
What are the Main Reasons for Using Antivirus Software?
We’ll go through why antivirus software is so crucial on your electronic devices now that you know what it does. It’s critical not to underestimate the importance of an antivirus program or software, regardless of which device you intend to use. People who want to steal your personal information can get malware attacking your computer, tablet, or phone.
Once your computer has been infected by a virus, whether it be malware or trojans, the performance of your computer might be severely harmed. When your system becomes sluggish, you’ll notice that it takes forever for the windows to load no matter how simple the operation is.
This is because viruses can take up hard disk space, prevent you from connecting to the Internet, and running important programs. Antivirus software will stop them from getting into your computer and installing things that will cause the problems above.
Having the right tools can even protect you from identity theft and personal data breaches. Cybercrime is a serious offense that is rapidly expanding.
If you don’t have an antivirus, hackers can view your data, such as banking information and emails containing sensitive information, When malware gets into your computer, it helps them and can even record what you type on your keyboard.
The greatest antivirus also protects spam communications, and it will turn off your spam filter and lower the number of unsolicited emails you receive regularly. There are viruses on your hard drive, and spam messages result from those viruses can damage your computer.
These are just a few of the numerous reasons you should have anti-virus software installed on your computer. Installing top-of-the-line software to secure you and your computer will give you peace of mind. In the long run, it’s worth the few minutes it takes to set up and pay for the software, which will save you from having to think about it later.
How do We Choose Free Antivirus Software?
When it comes to choosing a free protection tool, there aren’t many factors to consider because they’re usually quite limited. However, bear the following in mind when looking for the best free antivirus:
- Rates of malware protection
Even if an antivirus program is free, it should be capable of detecting cyber dangers on your laptop. That’s why it’s good to check out independent labs like AV-TEST or AV-comparatives to see how they rate free antivirus protection rates.
- Protection in real-time.
While not all free antivirus software options provide real-time protection, finding one that does is preferable. This is because it helps to keep malware from getting on your computer or phone.
- Extra features are available
Although there aren’t many comprehensive free antiviruses available, you can hunt for providers that supply at least some of the functionality you need. Perhaps you require a password manager to keep track of all of your login credentials securely.
Alternatively, perhaps you’d prefer to utilize a browser plugin to help you stay secure online? Examine your requirements and try to select a service that meets them.
Another major consideration is the number of advertisements available in the system. When utilizing a program, advertisements might be a pain and inconvenient, and they generally obstruct rather than offer value to the content you’re watching.
When utilizing free antivirus software, it’s good to check what kinds of extra tools and display advertisements will be installed on your system. These are the most important factors to consider while downloading a free antivirus program.
How to Choose the Best Free Antivirus Software to Download?
So, how can we choose the best free antivirus software for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7 operating systems? Antivirus software should perform its core function of detecting malware and removing it. Aside from that, there are a few things to watch for.
Look for the following features:
- To start with, every antivirus software checks files when they’re opened to make sure malware doesn’t run and scans the whole system on demand or at a time you set.
- Blocking all access to URLs that house malware is a good way to stay out of trouble. Many programs further warn customers about bogus websites and phishing sites that try to obtain login credentials. A few people rate links in search results, identifying any that are potentially dangerous.
- Behavior-based detection, available in some antivirus software, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is capable of detecting previously unknown malware. However, if it’s done wrong, it can make the user get notifications about programs that aren’t even real.
USB-based malware attacks, scanning for router vulnerabilities, and wiping browser history traces are extra features.
- It should be equipped with the most up-to-date antivirus engine, updated regularly to keep up with new threats. This ensures that you are safe from the most recent dangers.
10 Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7
Below is a list of the best free antivirus software for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7 operating systems that protect your computer from various online and offline dangers.
These antivirus programs include all of the capabilities listed above. If you’re wondering what the greatest computer protection is for your computer, the answer is that it depends entirely on your system settings.
Some of these may be fairly rapid, while others may cause your windows to slow down slightly. You should strive to figure out which antivirus program works without a hitch.
If you have a high-end PC or laptop with more than 4 G of RAM and the latest processor like the Intel i3, i5, or i7 minimum 4th generation, you can run any antivirus software without lags.
1. Avast Free Antivirus
Avast is a popular choice among millions of people, and when it comes to free antivirus software, Avast is the first name that comes to mind. It’s simple to set up and operate, with a plain UI. When you install it for the first time, it does a short scan to see if there are any potential risks to your computer.
It’s a mild antivirus with little impact on your computer’s performance. Tests done by an outside group called AV-Test found it to be a good all-around app, and it was named one of the AV-Product Comparisons of 2020.
Avast also has some handy add-ons. A software updater notifies you of any missing application updates. For example, its Browser Cleanup tool makes removing unwanted add-ons from your browsers straightforward.
You can scan a whole PC or a specific drive on-demand, including external storage devices like USB flash drives and SD cards.
It also includes a boot-time scanner that aids in detecting and removing any boot sector infection.
2. Avira Free Antivirus
Another popular antivirus program is Avira. It protects people from viruses, malware, trojans, worms, spyware, rootkits, and other types of malware.
According to AV-TEST, Avira provides the best protection against common and zero-day malware. Computers with less RAM, on the other hand, may see a performance hit.
However, one of the best options for a free antivirus program is Avira Free Antivirus. This is because it has many features, such as a mobile gateway and child safety settings.
Avira’s user interface is not as simple and clear as Avast or AVG’s; it includes a lot of control and customization choices that allow you greater control over the antivirus, but it may take some time to get used to.
However, compared to other free antiviruses, it takes less time to scan, and if you have less than 2 gigabytes of RAM, you may notice a slight performance loss during the scan process.
Also Read: 10 Reasons Why VPN is Used
3. Malwarebytes 4.3.0
Hundreds of new threats are released every day, and some of these attacks get past your major antivirus software and inside your computer.
Malwarebytes’ antimalware, technically not antivirus software, is designed to combat such threats. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is a great addition to any antivirus program, and it acts as a second set of eyes for antivirus programs.
The software focuses like a laser on removing tough zero-day malware from your computer.
It’s worth emphasizing the Chameleon feature, which hides the software from dangerous programs. Every PC user should install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free.
The 2022 edition of antimalware includes an appealing design and improved functions that protect you from known and unknown malware. It has a simple interface, but it may take a long time to find and remove malware and other threats from your PC.
4. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
Bitdefender’s antivirus engine makes it one of the best antivirus downloads available, and it’s a favorite of independent testing laboratories. Bitdefender’s free version is designed to maximize PC speed.
The program is quite small, and it takes less than a minute to download and install. The software then does a good job of scanning on demand and automatically and real-time antivirus and anti-phishing protection through a very easy-to-use interface.
It does not slow down your computer, and PCs with less RAM can use it without experiencing any performance degradation. It will not slow down your PC if you are gaming, video/photo editing, or utilizing resource-intensive applications.
There are few manual controls here, no settings, options, scan types, schedules, or anything else, which could be a problem if you prefer to fine-tune your protection. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, on the other hand, is a wonderful alternative if you want simplicity.
5. Panda Free Antivirus
Panda, like Avast, received top results from AV-Test for virus protection.
It has a nice interface, but it isn’t as user-friendly as Avast’s. It also features a handy feature called USB Vaccine, which protects you from virus attacks caused by plugging in an infected USB drive.
Panda Free is an “install and forgets” antivirus that conducts automatic URL and site filtering and behavioral analysis protection once installed on your Windows PC.
Panda is a cloud-based antivirus engine that protects you while you do your chores without causing any performance lag; these characteristics combine to make it a top malware protection application to download.
Also Read: How to Extract Emails and Phone Numbers from Instagram
6. Comodo Free Antivirus
Comodo antivirus version 2022 has been launched. Previously, Comodo had decided not to provide any version numbers, but now they are using year versioning and calling it Antivirus 2022.
In hands-on malware prevention testing, it has a very high score. It can identify and remove a wide variety of malware and viruses.
It contains defense plus auto-sandboxing technology, which isolates any unknown or potentially dangerous file and allows it to operate in the sandbox environment.
The sandbox limits unknown apps. All included a Host Intrusion Prevention System, behavioral blocking, a virtual desktop, and a protected browser with a Do Not Track add-on.
It ensures that only known PC-safe applications run and that your online banking and shopping transactions are well protected.
However, in the malicious URL blocking test, it did not perform well. Independent labs have given it mixed reviews. Furthermore, the default auto-sandbox may not always work well, and it can interfere with the installation of unknown apps and misclassify legitimate programs as malware.
7. AVG Antivirus Free
AVG Free 2022 protects against malware and spyware; the most recent version includes an AVG ZenTM Dashboard, which allows you to manage all of your devices from a single screen; it is also available for Mac and Android devices.
The remote protection tool allows you to scan and eradicate PC threats from your mobile device. It achieved high marks in independent lab tests and performs a quick, comprehensive scan. There are built-in functions such as website rating and Do Not Track and a file shredder and a PC tune-up.
With real-time security upgrades, it disables hazardous URLs, downloads, and email attachments.
You can do both scheduled and manual scans at any time. The free version is a little difficult to download and install. If you are not attentive during the installation, you may wind up with a trial version of the Pro version.
So choose a custom setup and uncheck the “Pro” trial. You’ll still be asked to upgrade to the Pro version regularly, but you won’t be able to do that.
On the other hand, the PC tuneup component shuts down after the one-day free trial period. Independent labs gave the current version of AVG AntiVirus high marks, and for free PC protection, AVG is an Editor’s Choice.
8. Zone Alarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2022
Zone Alarm antivirus + firewall has over 90 million downloads, putting it at the forefront of antivirus software.
You will be provided with an installer, who may take some time to install the product. It will first install a firewall, but after a restart, you must select “Install Antivirus” to receive a free antivirus.
Zone Alarm is one of the most popular free firewalls on the market, and it pairs well with its antivirus software. Viruses can’t get in because it has a powerful firewall, 5GB of online backup that the company maintains, credit checks, and identity and data protection.
On the downside, it lacks a few advanced Kaspersky features. There is no anti-phishing protection. Suspicious behavior detection detects good and bad programs in testing at maximum sensitivity.
It protects your computer from dangerous downloads by giving you Wi-Fi protection, traffic monitoring, early boot protection, identity protection, and an anti-phishing tool to keep you safe.
9. Qihoo 360 Total Security
Qihoo (pronounced “Chi-hoo”) offers two 360-branded products: Total Security and Total Security Essential, both free.
Total Security provides more features than Total Security Essential; you can install any of them. However, Total Security Essential should be used if your computer’s RAM is less than 2 GB.
360 Total Security includes a virus scanner, PC tune-up, junk cleaner, and a sandbox, among other features, to keep your PC safe, secure, and fast.
The sandbox allows you to securely experiment with new and unfamiliar applications. It also protects against browser hijackers and hackers from accessing your webcam.
Antivirus, anti-malware, anti-ransomware, sandbox, secure online shopping, privacy protection, and internet protection are all included in the free edition.
Because 360 Total Security uses a cloud-based antivirus engine instead of downloading the entire database to your computer, it doesn’t slow down your computer.
10. Fortinet FortiClient
FortiClient is a free endpoint security suite that includes malware and virus detection, rootkit removal, parental control, and a virtual private network (VPN). They’re well known for their network security appliances and different enterprise-level security packages in the business realm. Fortinet’s FortiClient, a capable antivirus program from Fortinet, is available for free to home users.
There are two ways to install the application.
An antivirus engine, simple parental controls, an application firewall, vulnerability detection, and other features are included in the base option.
However, you can run FortiClient without real-time protection, which is ideal if you need to use it with another antivirus application without causing issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is using a free antivirus safe?
The bare minimum is a free antivirus solution, but it’s better than no protection, and it can sometimes be as good as or better than the built-in antivirus software. As a result, it’s critical to be picky and discover what you get—installing antivirus will almost certainly disable other built-in features.
However, keep in mind that free antivirus software often lacks an important function known as “real-time protection.” This means that a free tool will only fix existing problems, but it won’t stop new malware from getting on your computer.
Is antivirus software worth the money?
Yes, paying for antivirus is worthwhile if you want the greatest possible experience. Because, depending on the service you choose, you’ll get access to more features and better customer service.
A premium antivirus gives you a lot more when it comes to features. Free extra security features include webcam and identity theft protection, a password manager, and a VPN. If you have children, a premium antivirus program can protect them from age-inappropriate websites. I recommend Norton for the smoothest experience with all of these features.
A premium antivirus will almost always provide better service in terms of customer assistance. Most providers, for example, do not provide free consumers with human service options such as live chat or email, and you have no choice but to rely on the FAQs on their website. However, depending on whatever antivirus you choose, you can get live chat, email, and phone helps 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In truth, antivirus software like Norton and Bitdefender offers all of these features.
Overall, the level of protection and comfort you desire will determine whether or not you should purchase a premium antivirus. For basic security, a free package is ideal. On the other hand, our best antivirus services of 2022: If you want to make sure your computer is safe and get extra bonuses and customer service, you should look into these services now.
What is the best way to get free antivirus software?
Obtaining a free antivirus is usually as easy as visiting the provider’s website and downloading an app. In some circumstances, you may need to download the program from a dedicated app store such as Google Play or Microsoft Store. You should be able to utilize most free antivirus services right away because they don’t require registration. Usually, it is better to join because you will get a free trial of the paid version.
Is using a free antivirus safe?
Yes, provided you stick with reputable antivirus suite suppliers, it’s safe to use a free antivirus. As long as you are safe, you can use it, and it’s going to be limited compared to the paid version.
Will installing an antivirus make my computer run slower?
No, installing a quick antivirus will not slow down your machine. Computers nowadays have many more resources than they did in the past, so the performance hit should be minor. Of course, if you’re using an older device, some antivirus requirements may be more difficult to meet.
Microsoft used to have a built-in security program called Microsoft Security Essentials. However, it has now been phased out and replaced with Windows Defender.
The best free antivirus suites to protect your PC and other devices from various dangers in online and offline situations. People who don’t want to be infected by viruses or malware should not download cracked software or keygens, and they should also be careful when they surf the Internet or get new information from it because scams and frauds are common there.
Although there are several antiviruses, each with its own set of functions, advantages and disadvantages, there is no such thing as a backward or perfect antivirus. It’s because they each have their area of expertise.