What's the best free Anti-virus?

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
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I have been looking for a good free antivirus for Windows XP. I am looking for real time antivirus protection, scheduled scans and pop3 protection.
I only want antivirus protection, not a whole suite that includes a firewall or antispam filter, etc.
I used to use AVG but I was wondering if perhaps Antivir or Bitdefender was better.
Does anyone have any experience with these programs and can give a recommendation?
Thanks!
 

mechBgon

Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
Oct 31, 1999
30,699
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AOL Kaspersky is the best of the free-for-home-users antiviruses. Don't install the optional security toolbar they bundle with it (you'll see the checkbox during installation).
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
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Don't forget avast---which usually noses out avg on most ratings---but lots of learned debate about AV's--on places like spyware warriors, castle cops, or wilders security But no
one product can even come close to having all the definitions---and the heuristics and false positives vary also---which is why doing some on line scans have some value also.
Fsecure, panda, mcafee, trend micro, and others offer them free.
 

Slickone

Diamond Member
Dec 31, 1999
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When I tried Kaspersky (trial?) last year it changed something on my files (maybe only text files?) so that any time I tried to move them, it gave me some sort of annoying message. Does it still do that?
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,370
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Kaspersky also gave me some problems - probably their association with AOL. :) I like AVG 7.5.430 - it works and is fast - doesn't slow boot time down. Anyway, it is only a second tier defense - first line is my ISP. So far, in three years, nothing has gotten through them.

 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
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As someone who regularly checks consensus opinions and tests of various anti-malware products---I can state that Kaspersky enjoys a very good reputation---partly because they update faster than everyone else in the business---which reduces the unpatched gap---the time between a virus first being detected in the wild and the time your computer receives a signature file telling it that its very bad malware to be rejected---but during that gap time--everyone is vulnerable.

But one also can't rely on just rejection rates--which will also be based on heuristics---because one way to achieve 100% is to reject everything---good or bad coming in. Other things to be looked at in a AV product is what does it actively check for or not check for?---does it do E-mail for example.---and some don't.

The other thing to remember in the fight against malware is that its a never ending battle-- one side is a set fighting to get it on your computer for fun and profit---and we are on the other side fighting to keep it off---and as our defenses get better their offensive strategies get better also---and yesterdays excellent tactics may not be today's best strategy because the bad guys are always at least a step ahead and getting more nasty---and I find---time after time---that the so called experts are always ready to try new products and strategies.---but they often have test bed sacrificial computers to try it on first.

But this thread will prompt me to take a closer look at bit-defender and Kaspersky.---I already changed my process control program a few weeks ago.---but I will say---following the common sense ideas in something like John's guide will go a very long way to making your computers much safer.---with a AV program being just one layer in what should be a multi-layered defense.
 

mechBgon

Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
Oct 31, 1999
30,699
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Speaking of arbitary rejection strategy, when I go hunting for live malware (and the rest of the time, too), I use a Limited account combined with a disallowed-by-defaut Software Restriction Policy. I could download nice fresh undetected Trojans and double-click them all day long, and nothing will happen because the SRP won't let me execute stuff from anywhere that I can save them to when I'm in my Limited account. Gotcha! :evil:

SRP is not available on WinXP Home Edition, so it's not for everyone. Even without it, a Limited account may be worth looking into. If anyone's interested in setting up a SRP and needs explicit instructions, PM me and I think I have a screencapture demo movie I can email to you.
 

SeTeS

Senior member
Dec 11, 2000
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I've been using AVG for years and am very pleased with it. No probs whatsoever. Of course, I'm also not the type of person who would click a "YOUR COMPUTER MAY BE INFECTED WITH THE Gullible.User VIRUS - CLICK HERE TO REPAIR IT" popup. :/
 

TechHead87

Senior member
Sep 18, 2004
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Originally posted by: SeTeS
I've been using AVG for years and am very pleased with it. No probs whatsoever. Of course, I'm also not the type of person who would click a "YOUR COMPUTER MAY BE INFECTED WITH THE Gullible.User VIRUS - CLICK HERE TO REPAIR IT" popup. :/

Fully agreed!

Remember, the best free anti-virus is THE USER. That means YOU. If you dont use your computer in a risky behavior (this means [and is not limited to] surfing porn sites, clicking pop-ups, opening strange links in unknown emails, NOT using a firewall 24/7, heavily using peer-to-peer software, downloading software which hasn't been researched and found as "safe", etc, etc), you shouldn't have to worry about getting a bunch of worms.
 

bjp999

Member
Nov 2, 2006
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I agree that AVG is good. When I switched from Norton about a year ago, I was annoyed at how much of the computer's horsepower Norton was using. I was looking for something that was quick. Living behind a firewall and staying away from fringe web sites, I have VERY rarely had an infected file. AVG fits the bill - no complaints.
 

Pardus

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2000
8,197
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there is no real answer here, the best antivirus is one that works best for you. they all have different features, both good and bad. download a trial of any mentioned here, if you don't like it, try something else.

reviews and here



 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
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I somewhat agree with the idea that no anti virus is perfect---and that the answer will be--at any given time---will they cure what ails you at the given time?---or better yet catch the rascal before it installs. But other variables also intrude---while bit defender free may have a great detection rate---when its not active in the free version---and does not automatically scan emails as they download---its not worth considering in MHO.

But there are some fairly reliable rating of free and paid AV products---and most rate Avast free slightly above free AVG---but in terms of a paid subscription---most rate Kaspersly at the top---but my jury is still out on how readily one should ditch what they have for the free version of Kaspersky. But still one can use a variety of free on line scans to hedge their bets, and post a hijack this log of their system for added assurance.

And please regard an AV as only one of many layers of defenses everyone should have.
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
22,389
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the free Bit Defender doesn't do real time scanning, so I installed it and run it once in awhile to make sure Anti-Vir isn't missing anything. Since it doesn't do real time, it won't conflict with your real time, well I do disable Anti-Vir the times I run Bit Defender. And as a few have said you have Housecall and other free web based scanners you can use.

I use to be 100% Avast, but when I found Anti-Vir I really liked it, hasn't let me down in the year I've been running it.
 

John

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
33,944
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Antivir has a really large and annoying popup/nag screen when it updates. If you want to disable it here's one way to do it.

1) Boot into safe mode
2) Log in as "Administrator"
3) Go to C:\Program Files\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic\avnotify.exe right click on it in explorer go to properties->security->Advanced-> edit then select the option to not let it execute for all users.

Reboot into regular windows and you are good to go. :)