Asked too many times “What is best free antivirus” – without knowing….
What you have failed to understand is that a ‘stand alone’ reactive free scanner has NO real time protection. They do NOT protect the computer from infection. At best, they can only be used as ‘on demand’ scanning after infections have ocurred and all the damages they can do including many viruses and worms that are specifically designed to damage computers and networks. It is too late then – much too late then – to fix damages and specifically to Windows itself.
Other malwares (botnets) and much of spyware installations like to keep your pc running so they can use it to clandestinely send out mass spams and even crimeware sending piracy softwares, media files, music files, etc.
Todays cyber criminal underground goes after the “free line” big time and their crimewares are so sophisticated today that theyare able to COMPLETELY disable ALL free antivirus and antispyware software programs installed – the free stand alone scanners (free home versions).
EXAMPLE (just one of a zillion)
Security software disabler Trojan
Free home versions without Real Time Protection (heuristics) can NOT stop these type threats that can install ‘drive by installations’ at any malicious or infected website on the world wide web – just by visiting them unknowing of the infection – or from malicious emails carrying these infections or files already infected, or downloads of infected softwares. Real Time Protection immediately blocks and quarantines all threats before they can do any damages or installations – the free products DO NOT. There are a couple of exceptions – as have been offered to the community graciously….
GET (first, add other free scanners after)
Microsoft Essentials http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials
Windows OneCare Antivirus is now Free from Microsoft and very highly rated, West Coast Labs Certified and has won the VB100 Award ! Now called Microsoft Essentials….. (highly recommended ! Includes antispyware ! Full shields)
About Microsoft Security Essentials (5* Stars!) (FULL) [wrkx w/ Netbooks]
Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.
Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.
ThreatFire AntiVirus 4-5* (Full)
ThreatFire AntiVirus – Behavioral Virus and Spyware Protection
ThreatFire features innovative real-time behavioral technology that provides powerful protection against both known and unknown viruses, worms, trojans, …
DO NOT install two or more products with Real Time Protection or they may damage the computer or cancel each other out via corruption, but in the least will terrbly bog down the system navigation (navigating the computer by opening files, work multi tasking, playing media etc)
OTHERS / VERY FAIR
Spyware Terminator [working-freeware] (Antispyware and antivirus. Real time protection added ! ) 4* (Full) [wrkx w/ Netbooks, tad heavy]
Millions of users worldwide rely on Spyware Terminator, winner of many awards and high ratings from industry experts and users. Its free comprehensive protection is comparable to competitors’ paid versions!
Spyware Terminator includes: http://www.spywareterminator.com/
* Fast spyware scanning
* 100% real-time protection
* HIPS protection
* Antivirus protection
* Multilanguage Support
View List of All Features »
Note free Comodo has problems you can see in any security news area on the Net. It is frowned upon in some security forums by advanced users….
Make SURE you have a firewall installed to block direct hackers from taking over the pc…
PC Tools Firewall Plus – Free Edition 5* [wrkx w/Netbooks]
Easy-to-use, free software firewall for PC users to protect your computer from intruders and malicious network traffic.
(PC Tools is maker of famous Spyware Doctor)
Online Armor Personal Firewall Free [new/advanced users] [wrkx w/Netbook] 5+*
Online Armor Free provides both a firewall and a whitelist approach to program security for Windows NT, 2000 and XP. It does not show pop-ups for many known good programs, and it scans all your installed programs when it first runs so that you can quickly tell it what to do with apps it doesn’t know about.
Operating Systems: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Vista
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 4-5* (popular)
Protect your PC with #1 Free Firewall