5 Popular Free Anti virus – Compared and Tested [ Windows ]

Here goes the third part of the series on compared and tested and this time we picked up 5 Popular Free Anti virus softwares. Windows users and viruses are like chums, who keep playing Hide and Seek, with each other, and somehow the only tool to win this battle is, Antivirus Softwares. In this post I am trying to compare the five most preferred free anti virus softwares available on the Internet

AVG Free Edition


AVG is the well-known antivirus. AVG is available free-of-charge to home users for the life of the product. It is easy to use and will not slow your system down i.e. low system resource requirements.

Features of AVG

  • Automatic update functionality, update files can be downloaded and transported to a computer which doesn’t have an Internet connection.
  • The AVG Resident Shield, which provides real-time protection as files are opened and programs are run
  • The AVG E-mail Scanner, which protects your e-mail
  • The AVG On-Demand Scanner, which allows the user to schedule and perform manual tests
  • Free Virus Database Updates for the lifetime of the product
  • AVG Virus Vault for safe handling of infected files

AVG Options

The best things about AVG Free Edition are “Easy to Use” and “Lightweight”. Scheduler has few options as compared to other Antivirus Softwares, but sufficient enough as far as home use is concerned
Drawback of AVG

I have realized that at the time when AVG is downloading updates, it consumes the max speed of your Internet connection for itself, leaving you face a substantial decrease in your connection, but that’s just a matter of few minutes i.e. 2 to 5 minutes

Download and Watch Video for AVG Free Edition.

Avast! Home Edition

Avast! Home Edition is the free antivirus for home noncommercial use – scans for viruses, worms and Trojans. It has a media player-like interface. Updates are incremental and frequently made available for manual or scheduled download.


  • Simple User Interface-Memory test during the program startup, Simple and easy working with the scan results – actions with infected files etc.
  • Standard resident protection-Generic SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 scanner, Specific MS Outlook plugin
  • Network Shield-analyses all network traffic and scans it for malicious contents.
  • Automatic updates
  • Virus Chest – The Virus Chest can be thought of as a folder on your disk drive, having special properties that make it a safe, isolated place suitable for storing certain files. You can work with the files in the Chest, though with some security restrictions.
  • System Integration- integrates with the Windows Explorer right click menu and also includes a special screen saver which is able to scan your system while your computer is not in use
  • Support for 64-bit Windows


According to my experience its not as lightweight as AVG, but still is quite lightweight and smooth. Scanning the whole drive takes longer as compared to AVG.

Avast Options

You can download a 60 days demo, if you would like to continue free usage beyond that time, just register from the home page to obtain a free activation key by email, this key expires after an year, then again you can get a new key.

Download and Watch Video for Avast! Home Edition.


Clam Win

ClamWin is another free antivirus on this list. It comes with an easy installer and is open source code at no cost. The user interface is quite simple to use, being very lightweight is another virtue of this tool.

Features of Clamwin

  • Scanning Scheduler.
  • Automatic Virus Database Updates. ClamAV team updates Virus Databases on a regular basis.
  • Standalone Virus Scanner.
  • Context Menu Integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer; Addin to Microsoft Outlook.


ClamWin does not include an on access real-time scanner, that is, you need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus, which reduces its fan-following, as compared to its counterparts

Clam Win Options

Download ClamWin

Avira AntiVir



Avira AntiVir is effective protection against computer viruses. It constantly and rapidly scans your computer for malicious programs. Actions include repair, delete, block, rename and quarantine programs or files. AntiVir also features enhanced protection against unknown boot-sector viruses.

Through the permanent update of the detection engine, the protection is ensured constantly: the user can set the product to download any updates when available, thus keeping you clean and safe.


  • Extensive Malware Recognition of viruses, Trojans, backdoor programs, worms, etc.
  • Automatic incremental updates of antivirus signatures, engine and entire software
  • Permanent virus protection, with Virus Guard real time monitoring
  • Install and configuration in just a couple of steps, setup to protect your PC in minutes
  • Virus protection against known and unknown threats, using an advanced heuristic system
  • Scheduler where you can set the scanner to make automatic virus scans or updates on your system
  • Forum and phone support, Knowledge Base with virus descriptions available on web site


You might find the configuration settings a little complex, in that case use the defaults.

Download Avira AntiVir


Threat FireThreatFire ( formerly known as Cyberhawk) is a powerful, full-featured antivirus, which saves your system from malicious programs.

It works on a different mechanism, doesn’t just react on the basis of predefined signatures which protects you with the highest level of out-of-the-box accuracy. It keeps you safe between antivirus updates so you are always protected, no matter how new the threat.


  • Immediately Effective with No Complicated Set Up
  • Proactive Defense against Both Known and Unknown Threats-it uses intelligent behavioral analysis to proactively hunt down and paralyze any activity or behavior that might compromise the security of a PC.
  • Rootkit Scanner Seeks Out Deeply Hidden Files, Objects and Registry Keys
  • Complementary to Your Existing Antivirus Software- no need to uninstall your pre existing antivirus.
  • Advanced Custom Configuration Options and Rules Settings
  • Virtually No Impact on System Performance
  • Built-in Web Search Provides Additional Threat Details
  • Continuously Improving Protection Technology with Technical Support


As it keeps training itself with programs behavior it might slow the system a little but its on lower side.

Download ThreatFire

Special Thanks to Nirmal whose post on  7 Free Anti-virus Software for Windows, was a good resource

A Quick Comparison

NameUpdatesLaunch TimeEffect on Resources and System SpeedReal Time ScanningProtection Against Zero Day Threat
avg antivirusAuto and Offline2Doesn’t require much resources, hence doesn’t hamper your system’s performanceAvailableNo
Auto3Takes much resources as compared to AVGAvailableNo
Auto1Almost no impact on System PerformanceNot AvailableNo
Auto3Slightly heavy on resources as compared to AVGAvailableNo
Auto1Quite lightweight.AvailableYes


  1. Thats a well comparison chart
    ncely quoted move by author..

    a good techincal stuff..
    i do agree with author

    i prefer avg antivirus as compared to other
    antivirus..avg is good in terms of virus detection
    and easily updatable..and free virus dcan..

    well comparison above for normal user..


  2. I rather prefer avast than AVG because i tested AVG, Avast, a full version of Bit Defender and the free version also in detecting a certain program i made. That program was a report-to-maker type of hidden keylogger, scratch-coded so that my code is unique. I tried to spread it to my classmates, taking into account that each one of them had a different AV program from the other.

    Of course, Bit Defender (full version) killed my program upon download because of its keylogger nature. The free one didn’t even detect because it lacked resident scanning. But comparing AVG and Avast, Avast detected suspicious activity after brooding a day or two inside my classmate’s PC and even stated which program was doing it (my program) while the one with AVG didn’t even suspect anything.

    It goes to show, Avast is more secure than AVG but sacrifices a little resource in doing it. But it doesn’t hurt to take a little resource right?

  3. @ kreuz, That was definitely an awesome piece of information, pretty useful, well its like, assessing any AV program, just on the basis of one threat, or one file, is kind of not doing justice to it, because researches have already proved that none of the AV program present in market gives you a detection rate even close to 80%, so, naturally overall detection rate is the only criteria to judge.
    As far as resource taking is concerned, the above post was written with a test on P3 processor system, with 160 MB ram (128+32), however the configurations which most of us using these days dont even need to be thought of resources been taking by and AV software

  4. Symantec™ Endpoint Protection v.11.0.4014.26 – 32bit
    Stops malware such as viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, bots, zero-day threats and rootkits.
    Prevents security outbreaks thus reducing administrative overhead.
    Lowers total cost of ownership for endpoint security.
    Key Features:
    Seamlessly integrates essential technologies such as antivirus, antispyware, firewall, intrusion prevention, device control.
    Requires only a single agent that is managed by a single management console.
    Provides unmatched endpoint protection from the market leader in endpoint security.
    Enables instant NAC upgrade without additional software deployment for each endpoint.

  5. avg resident shield is turned off when no updates for 3 days so the viruses spread …
    avira is the best!!!

  6. nice review 🙂
    well im not using avg free edition since 2007 because when i update it its corrupt the real time protection
    well now i use NOD32 get it free from my isp 😀

  7. recently there are an attact on my IM. virus spreading thru IM. my avira couldnt detect it even with latest update or optimum protection. then i downloaded avg and walaaa… it has been detected and been healed.. now i’m using avg. thanks avg.

  8. Avast all the way man.

    If you are installing Symantec, get ready to have it the rest of your computer’s life, like it or not.

    Avast is the most non-invasive AV there is out there. It gives you the ability to EASILY disable it’s shields. It has 7 different real-time active shields scanning every in/out in your computer. It has the ability to detect potentially unwanted programs (adware, spyware, junkware, etc.) Most of all, because Avast scans in real time, there are no full scans to wait for. Not to mention, very few system resources go into the scanning it actually does.

    I have yet to find an anti virus setup that does what Avast does.

    Avast is a ‘set it and forget it’ program.

    I <3 Avast.

    Seriously, AVG can bite it. Too many false positives. You don't want to delete important program files right?

  9. Whoops, btw, Avast is in V5 now.

    What I was boasting about was V5 not V4.7.

    If you tried V4.7 of Avast and did not like it for some reason, try the new version. At least you know you will be able to uninstall it completely if you still don’t like it.

  10. @Dan I fully agree with you Avast 5 Rocks for sure, even I am using it these days, and in my opinion its is better than AVG now, Have been hearing some good words for Avira too. In case you looking for a paid option, nothing beats Nod32.

  11. mm good ones but I’m currently using ZenOK Free Antivirus and Im quite happy with it… it has it all in one, backup, automatic, ultra-light scann,protection Against Zero Day Threat, real Time Scanning and its for free

  12. Than you for your valuable testing. I would not put AVG on any more computers for the rest of my life. Reason: free version is all I can afford but the nag ware that wants us to buy, buy buy is obnoxious and obtrusive.

    AVG search that is a plugin to Firefox placed 103 different files on my computer and my sister PC and each time it took me 2 1/2 hours to remove. That reason is enough for me NEVER to install anything that has to do with AVG.

    Since I’ve tested via usage all of the listed antiviruses with on demand scanning, so I have moved to Comodo Internet Security Suite FREE 32bit.
    Have been using this for 6 years and all I had to do is delete “Geek Buddy” folder in programs to stop that nag screen from doing it’s popup intrusions.

    It is lower on CPU /memory than Avast which would be my second choice if something happened to Comodo.

    Again thank you very much for your article.

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