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Update: Here’s the list of Best Free Antivirus Software [2012 Edition]

We’ve reviewed a number of Anti-malware programs on Windows Guides over the years but it seems some programs soon become bloated, include stolen definitions from other products, or just get outshined by new (or improved) competition. In this guide, I share the top five free anti-malware programs for 2010.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)

We love Microsoft Security Essentials around here and for a good reasons:
  1. It’s free.
  2. It detects most malware.
  3. It’s free…
  4. It uses relatively no system resources (the most I’ve heard/seen is 38MB RAM.)
  5. It just works really well.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows Genuine Validation Required)

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

Harry reviewed Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware before. He and most others like it because of the following:
  • The program is effective at finding malware.
  • The program uses little memory and wont bog down your machine.
  • Malwarebytes constantly update their definitions (which temps other companies *ahem* Iobit to steal them.)

Avira AntiVir

I must confess I haven’t used this software much but I know a lot of people like it. I had no problems when testing it and it passed some simple tests. Sitting behind MSE and Malwarebytes is tough but this definitely makes my top 5 because it’s free and works well.


We also like Avast around here. The biggest complaint is that is nags you to upgrade to the paid version but it’s a solid performer. Here’s a list of the features in the latest version (version 5.)

Download avast!

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Panda Cloud Antivirus provides real time protection by networking the PCs back to servers that analyze threats and proactively protect you from the latest exploits. The program is free and I tested it for some time and was very happy with it. I still use MSE but if you like the idea of community-based protection, give this one a try.

Download Panda Cloud Antivirus

Which free anti-malware programs do you use that I missed?
Update: Here’s the list of best free anti-malware programs for 2012.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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43 thoughts on “Best Free Anti-malware [2010 Edition]”

  1. Maltoids says:

    How are you going to leave out AVG antivirus? Cmon, I know you've heard of it…

  2. Moritz Huettich says:


    The new ClamAV for Windows is the result of a partnership between Immunet Corporation (http://www.immunet.com) and Sourcefire, Inc. (http://www.sourcefire.com). It is designed to provide the ClamAV community with a free Windows-specific Anti-Virus (AV) solution using an advanced Cloud-based protection mechanism.
    You can use ClamAV For Windows as a stand-alone, host-based AV solution, or in conjunction with your pre-installed AV solution to provide enhanced detection for the latest malware threats.

  3. Haze says:

    who said that Avira or Avast could do anything ,,
    they are just a load on the system
    this page is very abusing for an award winning Antivirus called

  4. Bleuscyther says:

    can you plase check the comodo internet security 2 ???

  5. Davidjflanders says:

    I like Fortinet’s FortiClient (free version), with powerful AntivVirus, AntiSpam, Firewall and a useful (for some) VPN client.

  6. Warrior says:

    Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is junk. It can not scan into archives and does not respond to the Eicar Test Virus, so no testing is possible. Avira AntVir uses too much resources and updates only once a day.

  7. Inflames2361 says:

    Super antispyware free edition? That's my favorite.

    1. Rich says:


  8. Ben says:

    I would definitely recommend AVG Antivirus. It uses less memory than MSE(At least on my pc), and seems to block threats fairly well.

  9. archpope says:

    Another point in MSSE's favor is that it's one of a very few that's not vulnerable to the Matousec Exploit: http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/05/09/matouse…

  10. Rich says:

    I'm just not a big fan of it anymore (I used to use it for about 6 years.)

  11. Rich says:

    Thanks Moritz!

  12. Rich says:

    Unfortunately NOD32 is not free so it didn't make the list.

  13. Rich says:

    Thanks for the suggestion :)

  14. Rich says:

    Thanks for the feedback Warrior.

  15. Rich says:

    Last time I used it, it was a hog, but I'm hoping they've put it on a bloat diet since then.

  16. Ang087 says:

    ITA, Rich. Thanks for sharing about these great anti-malware programs. I really love MSE and how well it protects my OS. :)

  17. Rich says:

    David, this is the first I've heard of FortiClient. I'll check it out.

  18. GoodBytes says:

    We can't ignore the cool fact that Microsoft Security Essential is also available in 64-bit, which should provide a performance boost over the 32-bit version, in scanning.

  19. Rich says:

    Good point. I'd like to see a comparison. .

  20. venkat says:

    AVG free anti-virus missing from the list.

    1. NK says:

       the reason AVG is missing  because it is one of the worst.   It slows down the comp and it is not all effective.  I  use Avira and malwarebyte after testing various anti-virus software for 6 years.

  21. Lpjamestl says:

    What about kaspersky

    1. Acacarrera says:

      No es ni libre ni gratuito

      1. Rich says:

        All five are free.

      2. Rich says:

        All five are free.

  22. Gururaj Hatti says:

    I love avast……………………….

  23. Lincro38 says:

    we have used AVG a lot but we don't anymore since they upgraded to the newer versions which have taken a toll on our older systems especially our laptops. We switched to either microsoft security essentials or Avast. We use Malware bytes regularly and would recommend it in a heartbeat…

  24. JOHN PENA says:

    Free Antivrus it is not enough,,, You need a full component like Norton Internet Security,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, or Mcafee Internet Security.

  25. Jedimmj11 says:

    MSE also is community based. It uses Microsoft SpyNet.

  26. GoodBytes says:

    For XP or older user or Small size company, yes.
    Medium, Large, use hardware level firewall for the best protection.

    For Home PC running Windows Vista or 7, you don't need such software. The advance security feature, including a real, fully functional inbound/outbound control software firewall provided in Vista and Win7, surpass or provide the same (depending on which security software you compare too), the software you are looking at.

    Moreover, McaFee Anti-Virus isn't a good solution at all. As a developer, I have all my McaFee users who get false positives coming form my software, because I include a library dll file, that one virus used. The solution was to rename it. Yup.. that was the fix. This shows you how idiotic McaFee is.
    Not mention once where this anti-virus deleted critical system files for all it's users. This shows that no one there test their software.

  27. GoodBytes says:

    Agree, but I suspect that it will only be a little bit faster, mainly due to the HDD speed restriction. My guess, is that it will shine more on fast SSD.

  28. Artfulldodger33 says:

    I would be extremely worried about leaving My Security to a free AV/Security Suite.

    I have used all of the Above including the suggested Commodo, SAS and ClamAv, and would recomend MSE (For real-time Heuristic Protection) to anyone without funds to buy an Internet Security Suite. MalwareBytes and SAS are also usefull malware scanners (will identify malware which MSE may miss)

    also Google “Eset Online Scanner”

    More Importantly in my opinion is a Good Firewall like Commodo or My Free Favourite: Online Armour (which can run any program in “Safe Mode” (Sandboxed like SandboxIE or Kaspersky “Safe mode”)

    So use MSE as base with MalwareBytes and SAS (I also like the free Eset online Scanner (NOD32 based) as an alternate) alongside any one of; Online Armour, commodo(without AV attatchment) or possibly ZoneAlarm

  29. Jack Benton says:

    Avira is one of the BEST, if not the Best antivirus programs out there! I've used it for 3 years ($25.00) 1 year licensed program and have never had an infection. Great if your a Facebooker, a lot of the ads on the side of the pages have malware which Avira stops!

  30. Noman says:

    Microsoft Security Essentials is the best because it is free and developed by Microsoft on his own. They have most reports of all windows based computer which is not available for any other Antivirus programmer. Most important fact is, in my real life experience (since last one and half year almost) I never saw it (Microsoft Security Essentials) to be failed to detect attack and remove. Thanks Microsoft for this, also it does proves that Microsoft cares its customer and there safety not for money always.

  31. Drakman says:

    I avoid MSE at all costs now – after witnessing first-hand what it can miss. I've seen how a virus can slip past this software completely undetected (it took MBAM/Stinger and a sys.restore to make things right again).

    Personally I'm astounded at how light and effective Norton Internet Security is (I never thought I'd endorse any Symantec product because of their despised cpu-hogging clunkers of yesterday). It is the best single suite I've ever employed – with Kaspersky coming in a close second.

    Avira has always been my favorite freebie.

  32. Bpschandi says:

    I have been using Avast since long time. It is good. Besides this I also used Avira, which is also good. Where as Avast can do boot time scan also.

  33. Admin says:

    could you add this Wormblaster of http://www.wormblaster.net this AV also works and a big help to clean the computers from infections

  34. Edintabakovic01 says:

    i decided to install Malwarebytes, it s free, and how i can see best antimalware,even better than avast ?! i used google chrome as my webbrowser, but 1 malware destroj chrome, and i simply can t open any web site !! i have avast 5 antivir, io bit security 360 , but nothing too help. how i use SRWARE browser everything looks ok.

  35. Psykopath08 says:

    I use MSE 2.0 for two years and nothing happen. stay green so long time.

  36. CoreStylerz says:

    use avast. But sometimes dont know trojan into html page asking for download

  37. Michael says:

    Use avast. and run a scan with another program such as malwarebytes…1 program might have a tiny possibility for viruses or malware to get by..2 programs, impossible for two to linger..

  38. D Vendy says:

    I think Avast is the best, because it has many feature, free, and hog free .,.
    also, there’s a powerful feature., it’s boot time scanning,. it used to delete virus that can’t be deleted normally.,
    and also, the Real Time Protection give u 8 super cool shield……for free !!! :D

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