You recently bought a new one PC and, intending to make a careful selection of the programs to be installed in the near future, you want to start from the appearance safety. For this reason, you would find it useful to have a list of what, at the moment, are best free antivirus for PC, which can help you protect the integrity of your data and your entire computer without putting your wallet in your hand.
If this is the case, I am happy to inform you that you have come to the right place at the right time! In the course of this guide, I will take care to show you a series of antivirus able to provide protection against most of the currently existing threats, at no cost, both on Windows and on macOS. In this regard, Apple's operating system is notoriously less widespread and less prone to malware risk than Windows, so I advise you not to install an antivirus with real-time monitoring on Mac, but only, possibly, software to perform scans. on-demand.
Having said that, as you will soon discover, it shouldn't scare you that these solutions are free, since they are neither unsafe nor incomplete, far from it: many free antivirus also have additional modules, able to offer protection for Web browsing , for email attachments (which have always been among the most common vectors of infection) and for other common behaviors while using the PC. Clearly the paid suites offer even more advanced tools, but in terms of effectiveness in virus detection they almost never differ. Having said that, take a few minutes of free time and carefully read everything I have to tell you on the subject: at the end of reading this guide, you will certainly know how to choose the most suitable security solution for your case. Happy reading and good luck!
Best Antivirus Comparison
Before going ahead and listing what, in my opinion, are the best free antiviruses of the moment, let me tell you a few words about the selection parameters I have chosen to use to make this list of programs.
In addition to my personal experiences, I have based myself on the antivirus rankings made by AV-Test e AV Comparatives, two independent companies specialized in IT security, which periodically provide detailed comparisons on the main antivirus software, both free and paid.
The parameters taken into consideration include the threat detection rate known and new, the false positive detection rate, data relating toimpact on the system of the various scans and much more. Furthermore, a feature of the two portals is to carry out comparative tests in real use scenarios, which makes the results particularly relevant to what is the effective capacity of antivirus during everyday use.
In particular, AV-Test provides results according to the operating system and the software allows you to sort according to the percentage of malware that can block (Protection), performance and speed of analysis (Performance) and the detection of false positives (Usability).
AV-Comparatives, on the other hand, compares the various software solutions based on a series of targeted tests, which include: analysis on common use scenarios (Real-World Protection Test), the threat detection rate (Malware Test), performance (Performance Test), the percentage of false positive detection (False Positive Test), behavior-based heuristics (Heuristic Behavioural Test) and so on.
Best Free Antivirus for PC
Including the parameters I used to select i best free antivirus for PC of the moment, it's time to get to the heart of this guide and show you, in fact, what they are.
Windows Defender (Windows)
Windows Defender is the security solution included in the latest versions of Windows, such as Windows 10 or Windows 8.1. Being a program included “standard” in the Microsoft operating system, it integrates perfectly and, therefore, is particularly light and does not significantly affect the system solutions available.
You will be pleased to know that, over time, Windows Defender has made great strides: to date, in fact, it is one of the most reliable solutions for Windows, capable of detecting viruses and other malware "on the fly", thanks to constant updating the definition database and the cloud scanning system.
If you want to take a closer look at the features included in Defender, you can call up its management panel as follows: open the menu Start di Windows 10 (l'icona a forma di pennant located in the lower left corner of the screen), click on the button Settings (the one in the shape ofgear) and, through the panel that is proposed to you, access the sections System and security e Windows security.
Infine, click your button Open Windows Security and you will access the dedicated panel of Defender which, in addition to the antivirus, also includes a firewall it's a application protection system (SmartScreen) in real time. To run a virus scan, click on the button Virus and threat protection and then on the button Fast analysis, located on the next screen.
Personally, if you have Windows, I recommend that you use Defender Antivirus, combined with the entire security system made available by the Microsoft operating system: everything is activated by default when Windows is installed.
If, however, you want to replace it with other solutions of your liking, you will not have to perform any particular action, nor proceed with the uninstallation of the security system: Defender is in fact configured to automatically deactivate in the presence of another antivirus.
Avast! Free (Windows/macOS)
In the latest antivirus rankings for performance and detections, Avast! Free has gained a lot of ground, positioning itself among the top of the category in the free sector.
In detail, this security solution, available for both Windows that for MacOS, has a real-time scanning module able to promptly block viruses, ransomware, rootkits and other malware and integrates tools dedicated to the protection of Wi-Fi networks, passwords in use on the computer and Web browsing (through modules that can be activated and deactivated on request). Avast! Free is not particularly performance-hungry and can run on older computers as well.
To download it on Windows, connected to this website, click on the button Free download for PC and, once you have the file, run it and start the installation by clicking on the button Yes. Then, remove the check mark from the items related to the installation of third-party software (so as not to install promotional programs) and click on the button Install, to complete the setup. If you wish, when choosing the installation options, you can also click on the button Customize and choose the add-on modules to install along with the basic protection.
In any case, when installation is complete, click on the buttons Continue, No thanks (to refuse data sharing) e Start the first scan, in order to immediately analyze the system in search of any active threats. For more details, I invite you to read my tutorial on Avast.
I invented a Poppy, do this: connect to the program website and click on the button Free download, to download the package .dmg antivirus. When the download is complete, start the aforementioned file, double click on theAvast icon! placed in the proposed window and click on the button Continue three times in a row. Almost there: press the buttons now Accept e InstallI inserted the Mac password and then press the button again Install software, to start the actual program setup.
Finally, you must authorize the antivirus to act on the operating system: to do this, first click on the button Open Security preferences and then on the button Allow located in the window that appears later, corresponding to the item dedicated to Avast !.
Bitdefender Free (Windows / MacOS)
Bitdefender Free For some time now, it has been positioned on the highest steps of the rankings dedicated to free antivirus: this antivirus, in fact, combines good system protection with respectable performance, thanks to the detection and scanning engine, which is particularly attentive to saving resources.
The strength of this security solution is the absence of additional components which, in the long run, could prove to be cumbersome or annoying: in addition to the real-time security engine (available only on Windows), Bitdefender Free only provides a module dedicated to protection of nWeb browsing, able to detect and promptly block phishing and scam sites. Negative note, if you can define it that way, it is the obligation to subscribe to the Bitdefender portal in order to obtain a free license for the antivirus.
To install Bitdefender Free on Windows, linked to its official web page, click on the button Download it for free and, once the download is complete, start the fillet .exe that you got.
Successively click on your button Yes, wait for the basic antivirus files to be obtained from the Internet and for the actual installation program to start: at this point, accept the terms of service, by placing the check mark next to the relevant box, choose whether Send anonymous usage reports, clicking on the appropriate box and, when you are finished, click on the button Install, to complete the setup phase.
Now you have to register a Bitdefender account filling out the form that is proposed to you. After registration is complete, the main antivirus screen should open automatically: when this happens, click the button System scan, to start an operating system scan, looking for active malware and threats. To learn more, check out my tutorial on Bitdefender Free.
Bitdefender is also available for Poppy and can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store: as I mentioned earlier, however, this variant of the antivirus does not has the real-time scanning system, but can only perform analyzes on request.
AVG Free (Windows/macOS)
AVG Free enters by right on my list of best free antivirus for PC thanks to its efficient real-time analysis and detection system, capable of blocking viruses, spyware, ransomware, malware and many other categories of computer threats “in the bud”.
In addition to the basic security features, the free version of the antivirus also integrates a scanning system for e-mail, download for free e unsafe links, as well as an additional module for the analysis of PC performance.
AVG Free's large application park, however, can affect performance of computers equipped with not very recent hardware: the analysis system is efficient but requires a lot of solutions, which further increase if the additional protection modules are also kept active. Therefore, I recommend that you use AVG Free on computers with at least 4 GB of RAM, to avoid temporary freezes during scanning.
Having clarified this aspect, if you are interested in downloading AVG Free on Windows, proceed as follows: connected to the official antivirus page, click on the button Free download to download the software installation package and, at the end, launch the file and click on the button Yes to start installing the program.
Now, wait a few minutes for the files necessary for the antivirus to work from the Internet and, once you have reached the installation settings screen, remove the check mark from the box at the bottom, to avoid downloading and installing additional files.
If you want to install all the antivirus components (including the attachment and download scanner and the PC performance analysis module), click on the button Install, to proceed with the program setup; if, on the other hand, you want to install only the basic protection or exclude some modules, click on the item Customize and set the appropriate drop-down menu to Minimal protection, by checking, if you deem it necessary, the boxes relating to the additional modules to be installed.
Once the antivirus installation is complete, click on the buttons Continue e No thanks, to avoid activating a trial license of the Premium version. Finally, to make sure your PC doesn't contain any active threats, click the button Start the first scan.
If, on the other hand, you use MacOS, you can download and install AVG Antivirus as follows: connected to this website, click on the button Free download to start downloading the package .dmg related to the program and when you have it, launch it. Then double-click on theAVG icon attached to the window that is proposed to you, click on the button Continue three consecutive times, then on Accept e Install and, when prompted, enter the Mac password and press pulsating Install software.
Finally, insert AVG among the software allowed by macOS by clicking on the button Open Security preferences and then on the button Allow corresponding to AVG attached to the next window.
Avira Free (Windows / MacOS)
Without a doubt, Avira Free is one of the best free antivirus available for computers: it is a complete security solution, capable of detecting and eliminating most of the existing threats, thanks to the real-time scanning engine and constantly updated definitions.
Avira Free, however, is not just an antivirus! In fact, it brings with it a series of additional modules, capable of providing protection to various aspects of the operating system and installed software: the module software updater, for the management of updates of installed programs; the module Phantom VPN, to protect browsing via VPN; the module System Speedup, for memory management and PC solutions; and, finally, the modules Safe Shopping e Privacy Pal, responsible, respectively, for the protection of purchases and the management of Windows settings.
Although the virus and threats search engine is somewhat "silent" and very light, the presence of additional modules for Windows, whose installation cannot be avoided (although each of them can be eliminated at a later time, through the section dedicated to Windows program management), could affect the final performance of the PC during the component scanning phase: for this reason, I do not recommend using Avira Free on computers with low RAM memory.
Clarified this aspect, if you use Windows and want to download Avira Free, connect to this website and click on the button Scarica free to start downloading the software package.
After downloading the installation file, start it, click on the buttons Accept and Install e Yes and wait for the files needed to run the setup program to be downloaded to your computer. Afterwards, the antivirus should offer you to register on the Avira portal: if you wish, enter the required data in the form displayed on the screen; if, on the other hand, you wish to avoid registering, close the window by clicking on X located at the top right.
Now, Avira should finish the installation of the main modules of the security system by itself: when finished, click on the button Open Avira, to access the main antimalware console, through which to start the various modules (or install new ones).
To open the main Avira screen, click on the button apri Corresponding to the dicitura Antivirus: if everything went well, the first scan of the system, through the appropriate component of the program (called Luke Filewalker). For more information, read my tutorial on Avira.
If you use the operating system MacOSinstead, connected to this web page, click on the button Free download to download the .dmg package related to the antivirus and, once the download is complete, install it.
Then double-click on theAvira icon placed in the window that appears on the screen, press the buttons apri e Accept and Install and, when prompted, type the password of the Mac in the appropriate form. Finally, click on the button Open Security preferences and grant the necessary permissions by clicking on the button Allow (corresponding to Avira), located in the window that appears next.
Panda Free (Windows/macOS)
If you are looking for an extremely light antivirus, to be used perhaps on older PCs, you cannot fail to give a chance to Panda Free. It bases its functioning almost entirely in the cloud: the most important (and most demanding in terms of solutions) operations, such as detailed file analysis, are carried out with the help of remote servers, thus avoiding the use of precious computer solutions.
Moreover, the definitions of Panda Antivirus are always up to date, as they reside in the cloud. As it is easy to imagine, however, this security solution is not able to work at 100% in the absence of an Internet connection: keep this aspect in mind when choosing.
If you are interested, download Panda Free on Windows, go to the program's web page, click on the button Download and then on the buttons No thanks e Download now, in order to start downloading the program installation file.
After obtaining the file in question, launch it and press on the buttons Yes, Following e Accept and install, to complete the installation of the files necessary for the operation of the program (which could take several minutes). To perform the first system scan, click on the button apri Now, then on the icon of shield, located in the next window and, finally, on the button Analyze now. For more information, read my tutorial on Panda Free.
You must know that Panda Antivirus is also available for Poppy, but it is not free and requires the purchase of a special license (with prices starting from € 2,99 / month): for more information, I invite you to consult the dedicated website.