Free Antivirus Software Programs That Are Actually Quite Good & Really Free

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I spent 18 years in the computer field (1984 through 2002) selling hardware, software, & services to retail, educational, small business, large business, as well as local, state, federal government.  I still do some work through a small at-home company my son and I have though since then I returned to the psychology field where I teach and have a small counseling practice. But, I still love technologies so I enjoy staying a little involved in the field.

Over the years I have learned that a lot of great software is free.  In particular, there are great antivirus programs that are free and get excellent reviews.  I have been using these, with great success, with home & small business customers.  

Here are links (none of them are affiliate or otherwise monetized links) to several that I recommend.  You should "Google" them and read the reviews to make sure you are comfortable protecting your computer with them.

Where possible, I have tried to provide the direct link to the free download so that you don't have to page through sales pitches for the paid versions.


AVG Free

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Malwarebytes (currently my favorite)

Avira Free Antivirus 2012

Ad-Aware (consistently rated very high)


These five have all been reviewed in the last few months and have high marks from sources such as PC Magazine, CNet, etc.

I would be happy to ad links to other suggestions though I will do a quick search to ensure that the program has recent, good reviews.





erick99 posted Feb 28, 2012
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11 Comments
erick99
Well, HTML isn't working whether I do it directly or use the button. You can click on the blue text while I figure out how to fix this.
erick99 (rep: 17.1k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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nimrodboy3
i've been using Avast! for several years..with several computers..i haven't really had any issues, and it's what i usually recommend. completely free!
nimrodboy3 (rep: 68k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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TOTOOO
@ Erick99 HTML works fine for me. Let me know if you're still having problems with it
TOTOOO (rep: 46.7k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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VirginiaPeanuts
I like AVG a lot! I think it is much better than any of the anti virus software I have paid for in the past.
VirginiaPeanuts (rep: 11.3k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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fluffy
Here's a good one that's not on your list:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials

I especially like it because it just does its job silently until an actual threat is detected. It never bugs you to buy a paid version - there isn't one. It updates both its virus definitions AND the program itself automatically, without the user having to do anything.

I used to use AVG. Whenever the current version of the program expires, it directs you to a page with ONLY the paid versions showing, and no hint that a new free version also exists. You can still find the new AVG Free on your own, but they are clearly trying to trick users into thinking that the free ride is over.
fluffy (rep: 2.17k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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FibroMom
erick99 - Awesome Article - thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us! :)
FibroMom (rep: 175k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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erick99
TOTOO, if I want to use this command Link text do I have to be in the HTML screen or can I be in the regular editing screen? The HTML screen is one run-on line and it's hard to find where something starts and stops.
erick99 (rep: 17.1k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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erick99
Thank you FibroMom :)
erick99 (rep: 17.1k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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erick99
Funny, that command works fine in the comments.
erick99 (rep: 17.1k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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nimrodboy3
i want to say i tried AVG and Avast! back in the day..not sure how they've changed since then, but I remember enjoying Avast! better. i do occasionally use malwarebytes when i need to fix a computer. it's pretty good, in my opinion.
nimrodboy3 (rep: 68k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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erick99
Nimrodboy3, when I am working on a virus-riddled machine I run a trojan detection program for particular tough trojans, then I run Malwarebytes, and then AVG. When I am finished, if it worked, I uninstall AVG and leave the free version of Malwarebytes on their machine. Sometimes a stand-alone rootkit program is called for and and they generally do a good job. I try not to have to wipe their drive, which my customers often say the GeekSquad says they would do. I can sorta see their point but I'd rather try it this way, first.
erick99 (rep: 17.1k) posted Feb 28, 2012
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