5 Free Antivirus Software for Your Windows Computer

Posted By: dstp | Published: 04-26-2020

The internet is an amazing resource that has completely changed the way we do just about everything today. It offers a wealth of information, entertainment and connects us in a multitude of ways.

Unfortunately there are bad actors that are intent on using this wonderful resource to enrich themselves and as a result we need be vigilant with a view to protecting ourselves.

I have documented my experience with installing and removing the 5 top Free Antivirus software packages from well know companies. Perhaps my comments and pros and cons listing will prove useful to you

Why do companies offer Free Antivirus Software?

Here is how one company responded to that question

First of all, recommendations that are based on personal experience and that come from friends and business associates are incredibly powerful. We sincerely appreciate them.

Secondly, our large user base constantly gives us feedback to improve our software in order to better meet customer needs and expectations. In short, you have some great ideas.

Finally, we believe deeply in helping people and making the world a better place. Call it Good karma, but it's also good for sustainable business. Besides, we have friends and family too.

Why consider using Free Antivirus Software?

  1. Save Money.
  2. Often uses less system resources.
  3. A good way to test a product before buying.
  4. Clean out an infected system.

 Product : Windows Defender

Company : Founded April 4, 1975

Requires Registration : No

Download Size : None

Advertisements :No

Disk Space : 300 - 400 Mb

Memory Used : 100 Megabytes

Included Modules : Windows Defender Antivirus, Windows Firewall, Parental Controls, SmartScreen2

 Pros: Build by the Company that builds Windows | Updates Regulary | Does not introduce instabilities

 Cons : Can't think of any!

 Comments: In order to do what they do, Antivirus makers need to sink their hooks deep into the Operating System. Using these hooks creates the potential for system instability and as revealed from time to time actually introduce vulnerabilities. Windows Defender, being built by Microsoft translates to better stability.

 Product : Panda Security Free

Company : Founded 1990 headquartered in Spain

Requires Registration : Yes to activate after installation.

Download Size : 192 Megabytes

Advertisements : Opera Web Browser offer on installation. Opens to webpage after installation to offer 50% discount on upgrades.

Disk Space : 138 Megabytes

Memory Used : 38 Megabytes

Included Modules : Antivirus | Process Monitor | USB Protection.

 Pros : Minimum impact on systems performance. | Includes a resue kit which enables you to create a USB Drive to boot an infected system to disinfect it.

 Cons :

 Comments: Among the five listed in this post, Panda is my favorite. Why? It is one of the least invasive of the group. No in your face advertising. It does provide a security news feed but only when you open the Panda Dome A.K.A. control panel.

  Product : Sophos Free Antivirus

Company : Founded 30 years ago, Headquartered in Abingdon, United Kingdom

Requires Registration : Yes

Download Size : Premium Features for 30 days.

Advertisements : 290 Megabytes

Disk Space : 267 Megabytes

Memory Used : 300 Mb at startup

Included Modules : Real Time Antivirus | Web Protection | AI Threat Detection | Parental Website Filtering | Remote Management.

  Pros : For a free option it had many modules

 Cons : Sophos failed to uninstall with the following error message "Uninstallation failed. The MSI terminated unexpectedly." I had to Wipe the system and reload a fresh image of Windows 10 Pro. perhaps an isolated case?

 Comments: Sophos installs a 30 day Pro version before reverting to Free version. You can opt-out of the full version from the management console. Configuration is done via Web Remote Management. Installation permitted on up to 3 Computers.

 Product : Avira Free Antivirus

Company : Founded 1986, Headquartered in Lake Constance in Germany

Requires Registration :YES

Download Size : 229 Megabytes

Advertisements : YES

Disk Space : 608 Megabytes

Memory Used : 600 Megabytes on freshly booted system.

Included Modules : Real Time protection | System Scanner |Firewall | 500 Mb of Avira VPN Privacy settings allow you to configure hundreds of settings including disabling Microsoft's Telemetry settings.

 Pros : As laptops are more likely to be used outside the safe confines of your home network, security experts advise the use of a VPN when connecting to public Wifi. Avira's 500Mb of free VPN is a definite Plus

 Cons : Avira added the following 2 extensions to my Chrome Browser (without asking). These were Password Manager and Avira Safe Shopping. These extension have access to to all your browsing data and I quote "Can read and change data on sites" That raises a red flag.

 Comments: I recall some 8 or so years ago when Avira offered a free version that was lightweight, installed quickly and did not cause system slowdowns. It is true that attack vectors have increased significantly since then and requires more modules to protect against them. But changing data on sites you visit seems self serving and has the potential for abuse.

 Product : Bitdefender Free

Company : Founded 2001 Headquartered in Romania

Requires Registration : Yes

Download Size : 10 Mb stub then 418 Mb

Advertisements : No

Disk Space : 2.26 GB

Memory Used : 300 Mb

Included Modules : File System Protection

 Pros : Simple local interface.

 Cons : Bitdefender Agent left behind after the uninstall

 Comments: While Bitdefender gets good reviews, being old school as I am, this software package is resource intensive. 2.2 GB of Disk space and 300Mb of Memory fresh after boot. If your system is low on disk space, look at Panda or stick to Windows Defender is using Windows 10.