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Best of the Free Anti-virus Choices?

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the protect-yerself dept.


iamjoltman writes "I've been looking to replace the McAfee anti-virus on my parent's XP machine. So, I've been looking at the three free anti-virus choices, AVG Free Edition, avast! Home Edition and AntiVir Personal Edition. I know there are other options, but I believe any others are only on-demand scanners, and that's not an option. So, what does the Slashdot crowd think is the best of these choices? Keep in mind, I'm only looking in anti-virus, I'll go elsewhere for firewall or malware protection."

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Oblig: ClamAV (2, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380552)

I'd reccommend clamAV for windows [] or clamwin [] , both are windows ports of the excellent GPLd clam AV [] .

But I'm also going to make an obligatory [] dig at windows. Consider downloading some software that means you wont have to run anti-virus software.

(Staying true to my username, I would also like to reccommend os x, but as it's not available for download [] , and requires new hardware, I won't).

RTFSummary (2, Informative)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380590)

He wants scanners that provide real-time protection, not just on-demand scanning.

And I've often wondered why Clam doesn't make a real-time protection piece. With all the other stuff they have I figure they're already 97% of the way there, with the AV signature databases and all. I'd use it, or at least give it a try.

AVG by grisoft is where its at though.

Re:RTFSummary (2, Insightful)

elmuhfuh (942644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380788)

on top of that he links pirated software.

Re:RTFSummary (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380797)

He wants scanners that provide real-time protection, not just on-demand scanning.

Fair enough, I read it too quickly. However, clamwin can be integrated into outlook & ie (two major vectors), and be setup to run periodically.

As every 'real time' protection anti virus scanner I've ever reccommended has been more trouble then its worth (high resource usage, memory leaks & false alarm pop-ups causing the user to turn it off every single time), I would still go with my reccommendation.

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (3, Insightful)

essdodson (466448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380601)

And you've ignored everything that the requestor said he wanted in a product. Good job.

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (4, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380635)

I think you missed: I believe any others are only on-demand scanners

ClamAV is an on-demand scanner. Do not despair: with WinPooch [] , you can make it a resident scanner. Alas, I only read about it here on slashdot and didn't try it myself. Anyone here knows how good it is?

I personally use AVG Free Edition and it works just fine. It's non-intrusive and does its work well. That's the reason why I didn't uninstall it to try out WinPooch.

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (1)

umeboshi (196301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380838)

I think you missed: I believe any others are only on-demand scanners

But, it's not the scanner's job to schedule scans, or monitor changed directories/files. There are other programs for that. The scanner could just as easily scan the results of an IDS. The OP probably doesn't see the benefits of have a collection of more "narrow-minded" tools that can work together.

I apologize for not knowing windows enough to suggest a solution using a scheduler and filesystem monitor. I think this is a more ideal solution, because you are not putting all of your eggs in one basket. I personally would not trust any scanner that wasn't open source.

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380654)

Problem ClamAV for windows does only triggered scans and will not do an active on access scan yet.

I also would be all over it if it did the Processor sucking on access scanning that the other virus scan products do.

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380752)

I use ClamAV when I'm on windows, but I find it's quite slow to do a scan compared to the other propriotory (read symantic) AVs.

ClamAV also lacks (I think) "real-time" protection, whatever that means. Of course this "real time" protection makes your PC go slower all the time.

I'm also not sure how good the scan is on ClamAV for viruses that hide themselves. While ClamAV won't put a rootkit on your PC (unlike the propriotory model), I'm not sure if it'd pick up a virus hidden in one or in the BIOS or something.

Of course ClamAV is FREE, which is important considering how much the alternatives are.

Finally, by far the best protection is education, at least with viruses. Don't trust anything on the net, don't just click yes, blah blah.... That's worth at least 100 AVs

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380789)

I don't mean this to be a flame, but since detection rates are generally more important than software license in these cases due to the risk one would take with a subpar AV, I wonder if there's any statistics on detection rates that include clamAV?

Again, I'm not looking to discredit the tool, because I love OSS as well. Actually, one could say it would be a way to in the future credit it. :-)

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (2, Informative)

dunxd (976419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380879)

Research documented at Linux Pipeline showed that ClamAV did a lot better at responding to new viruses than any of the paid for apps [] , which is pretty cool. I have tried WinPooch and ClamWin on my PC. Gave up after a week. It gave so many warnings when I ran anything that I couldn't tell what was legitimate and what was nasty. Too many false positives means you end up ignoring all warnings. The lack of documentation just had me scratching my head. It seems to me that WinPooch does much the same as Spybot's TeaTimer, but a lot more intrusive. Can't really say whether the on-access av scanning worked. I didn't find much to have faith in with WinPooch. Shame as ClamAV would clearly be the best option if only it did on access scanning. Who can rely on on-demand scans in these days of 500Gb hard drives anyway? DunxD

Re:Oblig: ClamAV (4, Informative)

i621148 (728860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380847)

after you install clamwin:

open notepad and paste the below,

# Save this as C:\Program Files\ClamWin\bin\freshclam.conf
MaxAttempts 3
then do as the first line suggests and save it in the location.

then open notepad and paste the below,
echo off
echo Clam Scan Open Source Virus Detection and Removal Script
chkdsk /f /r
cd C:\Program Files\ClamWin\bin
freshclam --datadir="C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\.clamwin\db" --config-file="C:\Program Files\ClamWin\bin\freshclam.conf"
clamscan --database="C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\.clamwin\db" --recursive --verbose --bell --remove C:\
echo .
echo beginning hard drive maintennance...
defrag c: -v
shutdown -r

save this as tune_up.bat somewhere and click on it when you
are done with your work everyday.

Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (0, Offtopic)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380554)

This [] is the best free anti-virus product by far.

I'll go elsewhere for firewall or malware protection.

No need...the above link has that covered, too.

Seriously, though, what exactly do your parents use the XP machine for? Is there a particular reason an alternate, less susceptible OS wouldn't suffice?

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (0)

murrdpirate (944127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380602)

Lol, yeah you're parents should totally use Linux.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380679)

Lol, yeah you're parents should totally use Linux.

And why not? They couldn't understand it any less than they understand XP...and since they don't understand how to defend themselves from viruses and malware either Linux makes more sense for them.

The only reason they aren't on Linux right now is because they're still connecting via dialup (They live in northern lower Michigan), and to date, I've been unsuccessful in getting their dialup to function reliably under Linux. If I can resolve that issue, or if they make the move to DSL (recently made available), they will run Linux, and I will sleep better at night.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380700)

Lol, yeah you're parents should totally use Linux.

If my mom didn't need Windows for work, I'ld totally put Linux on her PC. I gave Linux to my technology-clueless best friend, and she's doing just fine. Linux has really made big stides in usability over the past few years, and I'ld recommend anyone who's clueless about Windows (and thus likely to download massive amounts of malware) to switch to Linux.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

manusmc (802916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380812)

...and you should totally use a dictionary

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380640)

I know this is OT but though I think your post is amusing, I personally cannot run linux. I'd rather go to a MAC first. I do a ton of music and linux doesn't cover things like Cubase or Professional sound editing software.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380808)

Regardless of what some people love to say, linux - or any other option - is NOT for everybody.

On the other hand, it is for a lot more people than those people believe, I'd say.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380642)

If it's anything like my mum then it has to be Windows i'm afraid. Yes Ubuntu or another noob distro (No disrespect meant, i use Dapper) would solve the virus/malware problem - but my mum wants to learn how to use a pc. She can learn Windows for Free at the local library &or community centre. If she wanted to learn linux she would need to pay for books and wouldn't have anyone but myself to ask about it. Maybe one day, but for lots of people in the same boat it has to be Windows.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380651)

My mother and brother can't handle using Firefox instead of IE; I really can't see them coping with Linux rather than Windows. (My father, on the other hand, is perfectly happy with FF, as is my fiancée now that she's stuck with it for a while)

Is there a particular reason an alternate, less susceptible OS wouldn't suffice?

Blah blah only a matter of time blah blah no OS can save your machine from a rogue user with the root password blah blah.

Seriously, the vast majority of viruses and other malware are user-initiated; true worms (that exploit holes in server/daemon processes) are very rare. Linux will save you from the former only as long as it's obscure. Security through obscurity, and all that...

(Cue over-rated and troll mods)

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380780)

I do some volunteering work teaching people how to use the free computers we're giving them. Unless the user has requested them to be blank, the machine they receive runs a linux distro. (Mandrake 9.1 for some mysterious reason, but still...) Every single user seems to get along fine.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380813)

How many of them are still running the OS you sent them out with?

He did imply either (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380738)

Many of the responders argue the parents can't use Linix - fine, let's say that's true (though I think it's much less true than they imagine with the right distro). Why not a Mac then?

Then they would be safe NOW. Of course there could be exploits later but that does not really address the core point that they would be safe NOW, and if they run updates when they come up they'd probably be safe for a good long time.

I cannot stress enough how much time it saves YOU getting your parents a Mac. That the original submitter is asking about AV solutions for the computer is a hink of hoe much time is sunk into helping maintain the box. With my parents Mac I help install new versions of the OS, and that's pretty much it.

Re:He did imply either (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380773)

Because it means buying a whole new computer.

Re:He did imply either (1)

Beelub (252407) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380860)

"Why not a Mac then?"


Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1) (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380761)

Mac perhaps. Linux no.

People love shinies, Flash gives them those shinies, Linux's Flash plugin is bollocks. That and mplayer and xine both having terrible, eye splitting guis make it a nono.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380845)

People love shinies, Flash gives them those shinies, Linux's Flash plugin is bollocks.

That's funny...Flash is one of the few things on Linux that hasn't given me grief.

That and mplayer and xine both having terrible, eye splitting guis make it a nono.

You might want to take a look at some of the flashier frontends out there, like Kaffeine [] and amaroK [] . Both of these were available in my OpenSuSE installation, and they look great and work great.

Re:Obligatory (this *is* Slashdot, after all): (0, Troll)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380772)

this [] isn't too bad either.

Linux? (1, Interesting)

Who235 (959706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380560)

But seriously, I like Antivir. I think it makes catches that others miss. The newest version seems a little bloated, but I have always liked their product.

Re:Linux? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380683)

Antivir is quite nice, but until recently it suffered from the update servers not being capable of handling the load of the requests - it was next to impossible to update your virus definitions during the day.
It seems to have improved a bit, but OTOH they added nag screens in the recent releases.

Re:Linux? (1)

koweja (922288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380687)

AntiVir is good, though the pop up you get everytime it updates is rather obnoxious. Is there a way to disable it?

Elsewhere.. (5, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380561)

So, what does the Slashdot crowd think is the best of these choices? Keep in mind, I'm only looking in anti-virus, I'll go elsewhere for firewall or malware protection."

You going to ask on Digg about those two then? :-)

AVG here.. (5, Informative)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380567)

I've been using the free (as in gratis) version of AVG on all the Windows computers in the family for a long time and have been very pleased with the results.. No successful virus attacks in 9 computers over a period of at least 3 years. The hard part, and this is not specific to AVG, is getting the family members who still use dialup to stay current with updates since some of the downloads take quite a while.

I can't comment on the other free antivirus programs as I've not tried them.

Re:AVG here.. (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380621)

I'll second that. I recommend AVG to most people I know and haven't had any complaints about it.

I even know of several instances where it stepped in and prevented potential infections so I would say it has been doing it's job.

Avast vs AVG (5, Informative)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380719)

Avast has an excellent feature that nobody else has, which is the ability to scan in command line mode on reboot before major services load, similar to running chkdsk. This enables you to kill a lot of things that fire up as a wndows service. They get a gold star for this.

AVAST also has plugins for about a dozen IM and p2p services. This is excellent for a number of reasons.

On the other hand, the free version does not seem to have a scheduled scan feature, not that I've noticed.

AVG is more user friendly, does have a scheduled scan feature that Avast does not seem to have. It does not seem to have a plugin for IM and p2p networks.

Re:AVG here.. (1)

OhRicky (258544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380753)

I can also attest to the effectiveness of AVG. I haven't tried the others, mainly because of that fact. My experience includes a period of time when I used Kazaa heavily (a practice that I would never recommend to anyone). It did catch viruses and trojans regularly, and my computer has never had damage from virus infection. I've also supplemented that at times with the free online Trend Micro HouseCall scanner, but it never caught anything that AVG didn't.

Re:AVG here.. (4, Informative)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380881)

I'll third this comment also. I use AVG Free at home, my parents use it on their computers, my siblings use it (at my insistence), and the church I run IT for uses AVG Network edition.

The client is very light and non-intrusive as opposed to some well known others *COUGHNORTONCOUGHSYMANTECCOUGH*. I actually like that every email, both incoming and outgoing, gets a stamp that it was scanned. Lets me know that yes, it's still working properly and lets everybody else know that the email was definitively scanned.

The corporate network edition we use at the church is definitely VERY nice to work with. For $250 we got 10 licenses, 2 years of updates, and a central administration program. Installation is the easiest I've ever done on any networked antivirus:

1) Turn on all machines
2) Install AVG network admin tool on your file server (or any other machine)
3) Click Services > Install Antivirus, put in the relevant info, click Scan Network, and it will find all the active computers on your subnet.
4) Select the workstations you want done and click Install.

It's that simple. I think I installed all 8 workstations in under 5 minutes (and that includes turning them on and waiting for them to boot). You can also very easily set the server admin to download updates and push them out to the clients however often you want so the clients aren't bogging your network down with update requests.

I haven't used Avast but I've heard both good and bad things about it from other people, but I have yet to hear true negative feedback about AVG (true as opposed to fanboy whining).

AVG is good (1, Redundant)

whizkid042 (515649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380571)

I've always had good luck with AVG, but YMMV.

Avast! (2, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380575)

I see no need to repeat myself, so I'll just link to my previous post on this subject [] .

Re:Avast! (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380644)

I can only speak of Avast! antivirus in the Windows XP X64 Environment, and I have to say I don't like it.
It is one of the few AVs that actually support Win XP x64 (at least when it came out) and it was bloated. There were constantly pop-ups and it was a memory hog (again, can't speak for x86 Windows & Avast).
I mainly got rid of it for the pop-ups, even with notifier off it still told me things that I really didn't care to know, mainly that it was running.

A good antivirus (IMHO) should start, update and run on its own. Tell you when there is a threat/infection and tell you how to fix it. It isn't the Weather Channel, I don't need the constant updates.

Re:Avast! (1)

fruity_pebbles (568822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380653)

Avast! is good stuff.

Antivirus? Who need an antivirus?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380579)

I haven't used an antivirus and I haven't a a bL*&$^&@5c#&

Segmentation fault

AVG (4, Interesting)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380582)

I like it. I've used commercial AV before, but the free AVG is as good, or better than those. And it can be set to auto-update and auto-scan.

I haven't used the other free ones; AVG has never given me a need to switch.

AVG Camp (1, Troll)

karrde (853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380591)

I don't know if it's the best, but I'm in the AVG Free camp myself. Auto-updating was big. nice side effect that you can't really turn that part off. I work on family and friends computers, and I've started dropping this on thier computers. Espically when I'm working on them because of a virus. That way I know if I have to work on the computer again, it shouldn't be because they've contracted another virus.

Re:AVG Camp (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380626)

Same here - I alays setup AVG Free and Zone Alarm Free for family and friends. I used to buy Norton Internet Security for my own machine but their 2006 edition was so bad, I moved my own machine to AVG Free and Zone Alarm Free. Much better now. Not as much control on the firewall as I had before, but that's ok.

AVG (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380595)

I use AVG at home and would recomend the free version to anyone.

Re: AVG (1)

kb0rwi (896026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380869)

I have used AVG and probably was one of the few sites to recommend AVG along with several other mal-ware applications before the general computer community took note. After 5 years, and many installs on others systems, it runs nicely on all systems and is the least intrusive on your RAM. You can't go wrong removing McAfee and Norton AV - they control your system resources for you.

Viruses? People Still Get Those? (-1, Flamebait)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380597)

Seriously, I still have one machine which I haven't upgraded from Windows to Linux yet. It has been running AGV Free for several years now and has yet to be truly compromized - in spite of my wife's best efforts. AGV does a good job of realtime scanning and system wide scheduled scans. The virus definition is continually up to date and automatically downloads on a periodic basis.

I'd highly recommend AGV Free.

Of course, the best solution is to simply upgrade from Windows to a real OS like Linux. :)

<troll mode>
By the way, SUSE 10.1 is now out and better than ever!
</troll mode>

AV Comparison (4, Informative)

OneFix at Work (684397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380599)

I would say according to this [] comparison, AntiVir is the best...and of course, this is the only comparison that really matters...

Re:AV Comparison (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380779)

You aren't allowed to say that! From the site:

It is forbidden to provide the tables or results in full or in parts on other sites! Please just refer a link to

You also aren't allowed to link to anything but the front page, so you are in double-dutch.

"forum/site admin", please remove the parent post.

What a crock.

Re:AV Comparison (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380826)

Thanks, that's a pretty nice website, and being updated too!

The AntiVir suggestion goes well with what I've heard too.

Generally I think many suggest AVG because it's what they've tried, and it works. It somehow seem to be the most used free AV, but I'm not convinced that's founded in detection rates, resource usage, etc. It could be the ZoneAlarm case -- the by far most popular one, but from my experiences, e.g Kerio has interfered with other system/network-close tools far less. I can't count how many times I've heard people complain about Kerio, but this is steering off-topic. :-)

Re:AV Comparison (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380853)

1) that comparison tested PRO not FREE versions

2) antivir did NOT have the highest score

AVGfree (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380611)

I use ezAntivirus, the AVGfree thing, but there was recently a 1 year free promo of the registered version - I dont have the link atm, but that might be worth checking if it's still an active promo.

It was listed on if that helps.

It's MUCH less ressource craving than the norton package it replaces for me ... :)

Does Free Achieve the End Goal? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380612)

That of not only protection but saving the time wasting recovery from infections?

I don't know the answer on that one.

Free anti-virus choices? (-1, Troll)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380629)

Linux and FreeBSD are the best.

OS X is not free, but I believe it is the better choice.

I just investigates this this week. (5, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380631)

I was using AVG and my system had been very sluggish. After several spyware scans with Spybot S&D, Ad Aware and Windows Guardian I was comfortable that I had no spyware or adware on my system. So, I decided to try a different virus scanner. I tried Avast first, it located one infected file that AVG did not.

I removed the file and my system immediately began to run faster. I wondered if AVG missed something, could Avast miss something, so I downloaded and installed AntiVir. AntiVir drove me crazy with all kinds of false positives. AntiVir picked up many security audit tools that I was evaluating as trojans. I'd never be able to use my system if I left it installed. I went back to Avast. For the time being, Avast is my personal virus scanner of choice. Apparently no false positives and it found a virus that AVG did not.


Re:I just investigates this this week. (2, Informative)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380712)

I've also seen Avast find things which both Symantec and AVG had missed.

Re:I just investigates this this week. (3, Informative)

btrain (235160) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380832)

I had the same experience with AVG. Sluggish and not finding anything, I used Trend Micro's online housecall and found viruses. I ditched AVG for Avast and have been pleased with it so far.

I would be like to hear about the OP other ideas for firewall and malware.

ClamWin (1, Informative)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380645)

I'm sure that this will be covered, but I have installed ClamWin [] on my Mom's and Mother-in-laws computers to cover their anti-virus needs. Every now and then I'll get a call or glance at it when I'm over, but the most complicated thing for them is when they get a 'new engine available, click to download' link; which the click, it's installed, and they're done. All virus updates happen daily and it'll report that to them so they know things are working via the icon in the taskbar. At home on my FreeBSD mailserver I trust GPLd clam AV [] and BitDefender [] in parallel, so I know it works, no reason for this 40$ a year McAfee with the all the bloatware you'd never need! ;)

AntiVir (5, Insightful)

whysanity (231556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380656)

I've recommended AntiVir [] to a number of family and friends. The usability increases with each iteration, and gives you options to schedule automatic updates. The only downside is during updates, it sends up a single advertisement for thier full-featured product. So far, I've installed it for my girlfriend, sister, mother, and grandmother. No one has yet had a virus breakout - of course, the promotion of Firefox to Default Browser(TM) and a little user education goes a long way.

As a sidenote, check out the Anandtech Consolidated Security Thread [] for great commentary on a slew of security products. As of version 6, (now version 7) AntiVir is rated [] at a 84.5% detection rate.

As for myself, I just use good ol' common sense and a router.

AVG here (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380658)

If you want an open source product, I think Clam AV is the only option. I am a pragmatist and have found AVG free edition fine for personal use. It has pretty good detection and does not destabalize the system like some well known non-free antivirus products. It is not the best for virus removal, but I concentrate on prevention.

Consider Clamwin (0, Redundant)

wherrera (235520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380660)

Open source. Not realtime, but does integrate with email applications. Check it out at []

Firefox? (1, Informative)

rizole (666389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380670)

I've installed AVG and Avast on other peoples systems and for the non-technical, AVG seems to be the least scary and easy to use for them. It's the one I use and it's done the business for me for 4 or 5 years. Of course, some of the best anti-virus software I've used is Windows update, Firefox and Thunderbird. (I'm not quite linux/mac troll yet)

BitDefender (1)

Digital_Mercenary (136288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380677)

BitDefender 8 free edition, lacks real time scanner but has scheduler, auto updates and so on.

again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380693)

can't these people just search slashdot? i swear i've seen this same question in the past... it doesn't belong on the main page (or anywhere since it's already been asked in the last year).

AVG requires periodic reactivation (0, Redundant)

stankulp (69949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380714)

AntiVir doesn't, which is why I prefer AntiVir.

Re:AVG requires periodic reactivation (2, Informative)

Spaceman40 (565797) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380778)

I've never had to reactivate - how long are the periods?

Re:AVG requires periodic reactivation (2, Interesting)

ultramk (470198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380841)

Hmmm, yeah I've had AVG installed and running for 3 years, without having to reactivate.
Is it every 4 years or something?


Re:AVG requires periodic reactivation (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380873)

I have never had this.

Firewall? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380725)

How about firewalls? Now that Kerio has sold out to Scientology (Sunbelt Software), a good firewall has become suspect. Any newer suggestions?

Best of the Free Anti-virus Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380733)

A better operating system. (In extreme cases, you might have to change users also.)

Go with Antivir (5, Informative)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380736)

A while back, I did some testing of my own using the three above scanners. The test was done using a virtual PC VM that could be rolled back and reset, that way all three were tested with an exact PC image and system. Then they were subjected to an IE attack from a known malicious site (which I wont mention since I don't want you infecting your PC)

AVG was dead last, and could not stop even simple web attacks from propagating, even with the highest settings, although it was the least intrusive and fastest of the three, and didn't nag you to upgrade or anything.

Second was Avast. it stopped a lot of the malicious code, but some still got through and started to drop spyware into the system. It supposedly has guards similar to Windows defender, but didn't seem to do anything to stop the unknown propagations from occurring even on maximum settings.

Antivir was the best out of the three, catching most of the viruses at it's default setting, and all of the malware at it's maximum (it has definitions for questionable programs like VNC, Jokes and the like, but it's turned off by default) It's biggest problem is that it is the naggiest AV of the three, which constantly asking you to upgrade to the paid version. It also has a tendency to be very sensitive to programs that do virus like behavior at maximum settings, so expect some false positives from time to time.

AVG (1)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380740)

I would have to say that I recommend AVG Anti-Virus. I admit, at times, the free version has difficulty removing certain virus components, but at least it always detects. I've always had a problem with Avast anti-virus and it's annoying user interface. And Antivir did not look that great to me either. We use AVG Anti-Virus here in the computer repair center I work for and everyone seems to love it just fine. But if your computer has a good bit of memory and you have the money and/or you're a Comcast/AOL user, I would probably recommend installing McAfee Anti-Virus over it just because of the better detection/removal of viruses and such. Just note that both Comcast and AOL users get access to McAfee for free.

Free? (1)

grouchal (59752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380747)

There are a few things that I wouldnt take for free, and a few that I would. I am much happier paying for independent fincial advice with someone who has no interests but my own to think about. As for virus software if I want to really know that my computer was safe and the data on it couldn't be compromised I'd pay. If all I was really bothered about was doing an adequate job and making sure most stuff is caught I look at the free scanners available. Always ask this though - if I'm not paying them - why is it in their interest to help protect my computer? I know there are lots of people who want to help protect your computer - but is there anything to actually make them continue providing a level of service etc?

Avast Rocks (1)

Unreal One (21453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380756)

I've been using Avast! for the past year and love it. Free software, free virus definition updates, and best of all there's a native x64 build for those of you using Windows xp x64 Edition.

The interface is simple and integrates with the xp shell making individual file scans fast. Its modular, and scans Outlook, e-mail attachments, P2P apps, web, etc. by default, and each module can be enabled or disabled on the fly.

I've not tried the other apps you listed, but I'd imagine they don't have 64-bit builds which was the selling point for me.

check with yourt ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15380757)

I get McAffee free with Comcast, so if your motivation is eliminating your subscription fee, you might find that you're already paying it via your ISP.

XP or 2003? (or "other")? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380758)

I use AntiVir on 2000 Workstation and XP boxes. I chose it specifically because it catches viruses the big names (Symantec and McAfee) deliberately ignore, such as the FBI's "Magic Lantern" (or whatever they've renamed it this month). As a perk, it really does run well and consumes a minimum of system resources.

Unfortunately, AntiVir refuses to run on any "servers" (meaning NT4 server, 2000 server, and any form of 2003). On those, I run AVG, which works almost as well, IMO, but has a slightly less friendly updater.

AVG (1)

AMABITxS (722694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380760)

I've never had any trouble with AVG in the last 4 years. But I don't open unfamilier attachments either... so take that for what you will.

AVG experience with heavily infected machines (1)

binarstu (720435) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380771)

In my work for a college IT department, we've seen MANY student machines that are heavily loaded with all sorts of malware. We recommend AVG Free as part of a solution for these students, and we've had very good luck with its ability to clean things up.

Avast (1)

meijad (607608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380774)

Avast, I've found is the better of the three. Catches the virii and identifies alot of trojans (spyware etc). It also has a boot scanner, which makes cleaning up a nasty infection easy.

AVG All the way (1)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380775)

I've tried AntiVir and AVG. They are both excellent in terms of protection from viruses, but I find that AVG is quicker to update and the interface looks more modern. Antivir's interface looks like something out of the Windows 3.1 era.

Antivir also requires you to re-run their setup program each time you have to update the engine, which in my experience could be at least once a month. This is cumbersome and can be confusing to computer illiterate users. Since I've switched to AVG I haven't run into these problems and in fact I convinced my mother to ditch Norton AV for AVG. So far she's really happy with it.

Re:AVG All the way (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380851)

AVG is quicker to update and the interface looks more modern

I'll say. That monster that pops up when you get a virus is so scary, you'll never want to surf shady websites again. Now that's what I call modern.

Why use an AntiVirus? (1)

Sh!fty (972372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380785)

The best choice would be to explain to them what programs to use and what they should stay away from. There is no need for antivirus if you use your computer properly, even for non-experienced users. However I would recommend a good spyware program like spybot and such.

Ubuntu? (1, Offtopic)

davebgimp (849855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380792)

If all they're doing is basic email, web browsing and other simple applications, you might want to try switching them over Ubuntu Linux. Try popping in a live cd, available for download on the project's site [] and that will give you a good idea as to hardware compatibility. If all is well, try it out or do a dual-boot and have them give it a test drive. If they like it, run that as their sole or primary OS. No more viruses. Other than that, I'd go Mac if I were you.

BitDefender (1)

papercut2a (759330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380798)

I've been using BitDefender (by SoftWin) for a little while, and while AVG and avast! are good, I like BitDefender better. It's more user-configurable, and I think the interface is less obnoxious. I haven't yet had it fail to detect a virus that makes it through my ISP's e-mail filters.

Other options. (1)

NeoSlash (974486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380803)

If your parrents have broadband there is a good chance that they also have free commercial antivirus software available through that provider. And what ever you do don't listen to these trolls that want you to downgrade your parents computer to Linux or replace it with a Mac. Linux is a fun toy, I enjoy my LBox very much. But it is not for your parents.

FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X... (1, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380810)

The best antivirus protection is not to be exposed to viruses.

Like the guy in the first part of Egan's "Distress" who was converting himself to use a different set of amino acids in his DNA/RNA to render himself immune to all viruses (except for rogue versions of the ones used to implement the conversion, which seemed to be a rather obvious hole in his clever scheme to me), the best protection is to be a different species, genus, phylum, or kingdom than the infected population.

Failing that, I've fallen back on "Don't use Internet Explorer or any other application that uses the Microsoft HTML control, damnit". That at least turns the antivirus clock back to 1995 or so, when the biggest exposure was still shareware and local network exploits. I can live with that.

avast! (1)

immorak (904819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380820)

avast! Home Edition works great for me.

PCMag Did This Review (5, Informative)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380821)

PCMag looked at these three last September. []
Most new computers come bundled with a free antivirus solution, but sooner or later you have to start paying to get the latest virus-definition updates. When the subscription lapses, your protection evaporates. Don't let that happen! If you don't have the funds or inclination to maintain a subscription, try a free antivirus utility. We looked at three that provide full system scanning and also scan all files on access. (Two others, BitDefender 8 Free Edition and ClamWin Free Antivirus 0.86.2, were omitted, because they lack real-time scanning.)

You didn't actually say it had to be free (2, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380830)

Just that you have looked at free ones.

Nod32 from eSet has been running hassle-free on my Windows machine for quite a while and has scored 100% detection rates in third-party testing.

AVG for me (2, Informative)

randomErr (172078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380837)

AVG Free Edition - Use it, Love it. Our curch used the commercial version.
avast! Home Edition - Had install problems. Many of my firends live by it.
AntiVir Personal Edition - Ran good, but I have had problems with random freezes when used on a system with an accounting package writen in VB 6 that used SQLBase. Not sure which cause which.
clamAV for windows - Haven't used it.
clamwin - Haven't used it.

AVG and Avast with Zone Alarm (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380846)

I have successfully used AVG and Avast for several years. Zone Alarm (free) has a warning with Avast, but I've never seen problems.

Also recommend Spybot Search and Destroy (especially with TEATIMER as a resident watch on registry) and Ad Aware.

AVGOLD ! (1)

xmorg (718633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380850)

the best virus scanner ever is AVGOLD! It will always tell you you are infected, even when you are not. No need to go looking for it. Chances are, you already have it. it []

Sometimes the cost is worth it ... (1)

dmt99 (123849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380852)

I have no experience with the free variety, but when securing my parents machines, I went with Norton. I was able to configure the mahcines for auto update. Its easy...They dont have to touch a thing to be up to date. To be honest, Im more worried about their system's getting a virus than most people (they are the perfect malware/phishing/virus targets).

AVG (1)

Robo210 (548438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380858)

AVG would be my choice, and is what I run on my parent's computer. I have had problems with it in the past though that make me not use it on this machine, specificly the computer will sometimes refuse to load Windows unless I uninstall the program. I don't know why this happens, but it has made me wary of using it again (this has happened three times now on two different computers). My parents have never had such a problem, so your results may vary.

avast! Pro (1)

malachid69 (306291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380863)

After getting tired of Norton AntiVirus "couple hundred per year" and "won't work if you choose a newer OS without buying an even newer version", etc.... I installed avast! Pro. I have to say, I am liking it. Works on different platforms, $40/year, etc...

My wife got a notice at work that some webpage she tried to go to contained a virus... I purposely went to it to see if avast! would catch it - and it did.

And, you can try it for free :)

Best Virus Checker For Windows (1)

JamieKitson (757690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380867)

I once asked a friend of mine what the best virus checker for windows was, his answer:

format c:

AntiVir is going downhill (3, Interesting)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380871)

I've used AntiVir since the late 1990s or thereabouts. The most recent version has taken to spamming me with an ad for the pay version every time it updates (once a day). The ad pops up and interrupts whatever I'm doing. It doesn't go away until you click it. So this nice freeware seems to have become nagware. I'll be reading others' responses to find out what I should be running instead of AntiVir.

NOD32 kicks ass (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15380872)

At least as much as an anti-virus package can. Just use google [] to find it ;)
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