Popular Free Antivirus Programs
Anyone looking for a free antivirus download this year faces an overwhelming sea of choices. From old antivirus download giants like Norton Antivirus and McAfee, to the new generation including Avira antivirus and the stellar Avast Antivirus, how do you narrow down these choices and find the best anti-virus software out there? We’ve compiled a concise list of the 5 most popular free antivirus downloads in recent years, along with some brief observations on their effectiveness and functionality.
Norton antivirus by Symantec corporation is still the industry leader when it comes to antivirus software. While Symantec features a line of Norton Internet Security products, its Norton Antivirus software is still the best-selling antivirus software on the planet. This massive suite of internet security tools has been streamlined for 2012 and is sure to impress users of Norton’s older antivirus suites with its fast operation and smooth installation.
One thing to note is that while Norton Antivirus offers a free 30 day trial, it is not a true free download as it expires in 30 days, forcing you to either purchase the software or go unprotected. However, at $39.99, you should strongly consider making the purchase if you want serious protection from the long time industry leader.
McAfee, like Symantec, doesn’t offer a true free antivirus download. You have the option of taking a free trial of its various internet security suites, or download its barebones security scan plus product. While McAfee is an industry leader in the anti-malware business, we recommend one of the 3 options below for those looking for a true antivirus free download, not a temporary free trial.
AVG Antivirus (Free Download)
AVG Anti-Virus offers a true free antivirus download. This isn’t a free trial that expires after 30 days. In fact, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is currently the most downloaded antivirus software on the planet.
The drawback of course is that AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition doesn’t come with a lot of the full featured internet security options available with paid software. However, if all you’re looking for is reliable protection against internet security threats, then the free edition of AVG Anti-Virus is one of the best choices available.
Avast Antivirus (Free Download)
Avast Antivirus 6 contains a new Auto Sandbox feature, which allows potentially risky programs to run in a safe, virtual environment, ensuring that your system stays safe. Avast is a pioneer among free software options in this regard, being only the 2nd company to offer this feature in a free antivirus download.
While not the fastest antivirus program around, Avast Free Antivirus 6 still performed above average in benchmark tests. It is a highly recommended download for anyone looking for a top of the line free solution.
Avira Antivirus (Free Download)
Like AVG and Avast, Avira is another truly free antivirus software. Its most recent iteration – Avira Free Antivirus 12 – boasts fast scanning while also providing solid antivirus protection. Its new 2 click install is the simplest installation process of any of the major free antivirus solutions and makes installing Avira 12 a breeze.
One of the main drawbacks of Avira 12 is that it lacks some of the features of the other free antivirus solutions. While Avira offers web protection with its WebGuard feature, it requires you to also install the Avira Toolbar, which may slow down system performance. All in all, Avira Free Antivirus 12 offers simple installation and blazing fast performance, albeit with fewer features than some of its competitors. Nevertheless, it offers an above-average level of anti-virus protection, and is recommended for those who would value its minimal use of system resources.