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18 Best Free Antivirus Programs

Complete Reviews of the Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows


11. Kingsoft Antivirus 2012

Screenshot of Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 in Windows XP

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 is a cloud-based antivirus program like Panda Cloud Antivirus and Immunet FREE Antivirus. Kingsoft Antivirus keeps an eye out for malware locally, when downloading files, while chatting on IM, and more.

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 works on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 ranks among the best free antivirus programs, especially among the cloud-based ones, because it also protects you when you're not online, a premium offering with some of the other cloud services. I also really liked how quickly the program seems to work.

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 Review and Free Download

12. Microsoft Security Essentials

Screenshot of Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 7

Security Essentials from Microsoft is definitely one of the best free antivirus programs available right now. Microsoft is relatively new to the antivirus game but don't let that scare you - Security Essentials is a fantastic antivirus program that protects you from all sorts of malware, updates automatically, and is incredibly easy to use.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) supports Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. The anti-malware protection in MSE is part of the built-in Windows Defender tool in Windows 8.

Two of the biggest reasons I added Microsoft Security Essentials to this list of the best free antivirus software is because it's available directly from Microsoft and also because it's very easy to see if you're computer is secure from threats: if the icon next to your clock is green, you're good; if it's red, something is wrong.

Microsoft Security Essentials Review and Free Download

13. Outpost Security Suite Free

Screenshot of Outpost Security Suite Free in Windows XP

Outpost Security Suite Free is a free antivirus program that supports web and email scanning as well as a firewall.

The built-in firewall can control applications and network packets through a filter as well as local network policies.

Also included in Outpost Security Suite Free is the ability to protect crucial system settings from being tampered with.

Windows 7, Vista, and XP are supported. No matter the OS that's using Outpost Security Suite Free, a registration key must be used to activate the free version, which needs to be done once every year to avoid expiration.

Download Outpost Security Suite Free

14. Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2

Screenshot of Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2 in Windows 7

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2 protects you from several kinds of malware threats - viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and more - just like all the other free antivirus programs in this list.

What makes Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2 one of the best free antivirus programs is that it does its job from "the cloud" meaning the hard antivirus work that typically slows down a computer is done on computers elsewhere on the Internet, freeing up your computer to work like it should and protecting you from malware even better.

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2 supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Tip: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free tries to install a toolbar and change your browser's home page and default search provider during the installation process. Uncheck those boxes before continuing if you don't want them. None of those changes are required to use Panda Cloud Antivirus.

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2 Review & Free Download

15. Rising Antivirus Free Edition

Screenshot of Rising Antivirus Free Edition in Windows 7

Rising Antivirus Free Edition is the free antivirus offering from China's largest antivirus maker, Rising Software.

Rising Antivirus Free Edition (version 23) works with Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

While I doubt that Rising Antivirus Free Edition would top anyone's list of the most attractive antivirus software interfaces, it does appear to be updated frequently and it was easy to use.

Note: The download link below may not be active at all times. CNET's Download.com has an alternative link here.

Rising Antivirus Free Edition Review & Download

16. UnThreat Free AntiVirus 2014

Screenshot of UnThreat AntiVirus Free Edition 6 in Windows 8

UnThreat Free AntiVirus 2014 offers standard malware protection, including threats via email. I found nothing too impressive about this program aside from its price... or lack thereof, I suppose.

UnThreat Free AntiVirus 2014 (version 6) works in Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

For the most part, I found the installation and use of UnThreat Free AntiVirus 2014 on par with most of the other best free antivirus programs I've profiled here. My favorite thing? UnThreat didn't try to install extra software or toolbars during installation, nor were any of my browser settings changed. While that should be commonplace, it's not, and it was appreciated.

UnThreat Free AntiVirus 2013 Review & Free Download

17. Zillya! Antivirus

Screenshot of Zillya! Antivirus in Windows 7
© Zillya!

Zillya! Antivirus is another free antivirus program that works with Windows. It's nearly the same as most of the other programs from this list.

It actively scans emails and USB devices, and you can choose a quick, full, or custom virus scan. There's an exclusions category so you can remove certain folders and/or files from being scanned.

Update are automatically ran every few hours to ensure the databases are current, which is nice. However, what's not so nice is the fact that the installer is pretty large, at nearly 115 MB.

Zillya! Antivirus has a few extra features like a built-in task manager and startup manager to disable startup items.

Setup is really quick and doesn't contain any extra software or toolbars, which is a plus.

Zillya! Antivirus Free Download

18. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015

Screenshot of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 in Windows XP

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 is just that - a combination free antivirus and firewall tool.

Check Point Software, the makers of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015, have been in the firewall business for a long time. They make good software and this program is no exception. While I didn't notice anything spectacular about the antivirus portion of this program, having an antivirus and firewall tightly integrated has its benefits.

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Tip: Be sure to choose the Custom Install and then click the Skip all offers link to avoid installing the toolbar and changing your browser settings.

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 Review & Free Download

Which Free Antivirus Program is the "Best of the Best"?

As you can see from my list above, there are several fantastic free antivirus choices but which one really does the best job at preventing your computer from becoming infected?

Luckily, a company by the name of AV-TEST independently examines a number of free and paid antivirus programs and ranks them for protection, repair, and usability.

See their Detailed Test Reports for rankings. Antivirus makers regularly update their programs so AV-TEST publishes updated test results every few months.

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