List of 2013’s best Free Antivirus Software

Ehsan By Ehsan, 10th Feb 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Technology>Security

If you have a computer it is must to have a security software installed in it, especially if it is connected to the internet. Billions of dollars are spent every year on the security of computers by entrepreneurs/offices/companies. But if you are a home user, you can take advantage of using the free versions of Antivirus software provided by different companies. Here is the list of top 10 Antivirus/security software. Choose which one suites you the best.

1. Avast! Free Antivirus

This antivirus gained a lot of popularity recently, taking the first spot in CNET’s, topping AVG and Avira. When I installed and ran it on my test computer, it didn’t even feel like a free version of some security software, because it has all the features of its paid version except the SafeZone, Firewall and Anti-Spam. Their website says that SandBox is not available in the free version, but it’s actually there.

Running it on an infected test PC it blocked viruses and malicious software, taking up very little memory usage. It comes with extra features like SandBox, boot-time scan, remote assistance, with no annoying browser plug-in, different 8 real-time shields, with cloud reputation service.

Download Avast! Free Antivirus from Here

2. AVG Antivirus Free

The free version of this security software used to be the most popular and famous antivirus software but currently at the second position after Avast! Free Antivirus. To match the Windows 8 modern UI they have changed the graphical user interface. Although the anti-spam, firewall and performance fix functions are excluded from the free version, this AV software can still protect you from viruses, malicious emails, web-based attacks, and identity theft. It also has phone support available to free users, but only from countries like UK and USA.

The Installation process is a little annoying as it takes 3 steps to get it installed and updated. First you have to download a 4MB web installer, which downloads the full installation file, after which there is another 60MB of definition file download. The security toolbar will install automatically… so pay attention to that.

Download AVG Antivirus Free from here

3. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+

I was too keened to test Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ because in recent years it has turned into a great antivirus program, leveling up itself to the third spot. Weirdly using G Data’s engine, this antivirus also uses Vipre engine. The user interface is not that user-friendly, and it’s a little hard to find buttons to manually check the definition updates.

The free version doesn’t have the advanced protection features that use most of the space on GUI. To install it, you have to first download the 6MB installer, which will later download the complete setup and definition updates. It has also got a gaming mode feature, which will disable the notifications when your PC is running full screen games.

Download Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ from Here

4. Avira Free Antivirus

Well known for its enhanced detection, Avira tags everything that moves silently in the widows OS. After installation, most of the features are grayed out, allowing you to enable or disable them with one button.

On installation Avira Free Antivirus, it installs a toolbar into your browsers, and also changes the search engine to and probably that’s why the number 1 ranked security software lost its charm and came down to number 4. The SearchFree toolbar can be uninstalled later, or opted out during installation with the cost of disabling the web protection feature. Another annoying this is the daily pop-ups asking you to upgrade the Avira Free Antivirus.

Download Avira Free Antivirus from Here

5. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall

This security software is now owned by Check Point. Known for its firewall applications, this AV software also won an award for its Antivirus engine by Kaspersky. As we know that Kaspersky has been a shareware, staying on the top of independent detection rate tests, although they never won the first place, ZoneAlarm gets the credit for using Kaspersky’s excellent engine.

Mostly free AV software offer very nominal functionality except for the real time virus detection and protection, ZoneAlarm takes the point here by providing really good AV engine, identity protection as well as a firewall. The settings and user interface are straightforward and not confusing. It also has game mode, with an additional feature called ‘password protect’ an application from unauthorized access.

Download ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall from Here

6. Microsoft Security Essentials

Security software developed by Microsoft, this AV software can be downloaded by Microsoft’s Licensed Users for free. Microsoft Security Essentials has real time malware protection with automated scheduled scanning. The default settings are ‘not to disturb the user’ as it starts only when your PC is not in use, and when running it uses 50% of CPU, with options such as ‘exclusion of files, locations, file types and processes.

It is recommended to users for its compatibility and stability, but still the detection rate on testing was 64% on recent AV-Test. This security software has been integrated into Windows 8 but the name has been changed to Windows Defender. So you cannot rely completely on this AV software, as there are other better free options.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials from Here

7. Panda Cloud Antivirus

Usually traditional antivirus programs put load on the computer, but this cloud antivirus program is different as it puts the analysis load on the antivirus infrastructure, rather than on local computer. Panda in this regard is the first company to provide cloud based antivirus program for the first time, that too for free. It comes with antispyware and antivirus, behavioral analysis, process monitoring and web filtering.

So when the last time I used this security software on an infected test PC it detected all the virus samples, on the other hand its competitors missed a few, so you might want to replace your current AV software with Panda Cloud Antivirus. For usability Panda Cloud Antivirus has been ranked number 1. During Installation it will install a toolbar, also changing your homepage and search engine.

Download Panda Cloud Antivirus from Here

8. Rising Antivirus

This AV software is from China, claiming to have the largest user base from China compared to local competitors. There are Chinese versions, and also English versions for International users. The only difference in Paid and Free version is that the free versions show ads and news on InfoCenter tab. Also with its Antivirus service, it provides six other defense mechanisms to protect your system to a next level. You can also make your own custom installer for Rising Antivirus, using the Installation Package Making from the Tools tab.

On their website they still provide the 2011 version while the official website for Chinese has the latest release which is V16 2012. The virus definitions are still being updated daily besides the fact that the English website has not been updated for over a year now.

Download Rising Antivirus from Here

9. Kingsoft Antivirus

Having its headquarters in China, Kingsoft Antivirus is famous for its office applications and could be used as an alternative to Microsoft Office. It’s been 10 years since this company is in the AV industry. It is capable of scanning and cleaning viruses from your computer, providing defense to your web browser, scans IMs (instant messages), videos, downloading files and USB flash drives. It has anti-hacker module (which is not a firewall). Trojans that will try to access your PC remotely, and do actions quietly in the background, the Anti-hacker from Kingsoft Antivirus will make it almost impossible for hackers to do that. It also has vulnerability scanner, scheduler, process manager, silent mode etc.

It got me confused during the research on Kingsoft Antivirus as I found only the office product on their main page and later I was able to find where I found one page for Kingsoft AV and community support forum. But anyways, their antivirus software is up-to-date. It is available in 2 versions; the cloud based and also locally based definition version. This AV will have the Avira Antivirus engine in its new version to be released soon in 2013.

Download Kingsoft Antivirus from Here

10. FortiClient

The company Fortinet which is leader in providing network security applications has come up with its great AV software; the FortiClient. It’s free and can be integrated or registered with FortiGate or can be ran as standalone having no generalized features that are found only on enterprise networks. The free version comes with features like VPN, Two Factor Authentication, antivirus, web filtering, web optimization, application firewall, vulnerability scanning and client certificate support.

So basically it’s a great free security program that has the additional features, easy to use and configure. On testing it passed 10 tests out of 11, and 1 was false positive. The only turn off is a pop up message on tray, saying the definitions updates need to be downloaded, even when it’s up-to-date. Please be informed that FortiClient 5.0 by default runs eleven different processes.

Download FortiClient from Here


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Meet the author

author avatar Ehsan
Ehsan is a Technology and Medical Science related analyst. He has been into Freelancing since 2006, and is helping to promote knowledge in a comprehensive way.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Feb 2013 (#)

Very useful share and tips to select AV software to suit our needs. Thanks for the links too for free download - siva

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author avatar Lucs1
23rd Feb 2013 (#)

I always check out this website before buying anti-virus software - - My personal favourite is AVG because it does what it says and i like the fact that it's as unobtrusive as possible.

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author avatar Sarah
24th Feb 2013 (#)

Thanks for the list, why didn't you mention Unthreat Antivirus? I think it outperforms many of the ones you mentioned. I've been using it for a while and I'm really happy with it.

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author avatar Januwicak
7th Jun 2013 (#)

long live avast !

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author avatar Ehsan
17th Jan 2014 (#)

@Sarah I will test it and then write an article about Unthreat AV. Thanks for letting me know.

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author avatar Davidmartin
22nd Mar 2014 (#)

Your is second article (first is which has given me an insight to know what are the benefits of installing antivirus software. However, I have a question, which is the best option to go with - a free version or paid version antivirus software?

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