Free Antivirus Software and Online Virus Scan
Free computer virus scanning, prevention and removal
Free Antivirus Software, Free Online Virus Scan
The free antivirus programs listed on this page allow you to detect computer viruses, remove or repair infected files, prevent infection, detect and remove email viruses, etc. There are also free online virus scanning services available for those who prefer (or need to) scan for virus that way.
Note that a number of the free antivirus software listed have limited support for scanning spyware and other types of non-virus malware that their commercial equivalents provide. If you are looking for commercial antivirus software, one that comes highly recommended by security-conscious people is the Avira Antivir Premium (which is very light on resources and consistently has a very high detection rate). Also popular among many computer users is Norton Antivirus, which also has a Mac OS X version.
If your system is already infected, you may also want to take a look at the Free Antivirus Rescue CDs and DVDs page.
Incidentally, you should not install more than one antivirus or antimalware product on your computer. Even if the software does not complain and all seems fine, there may be underlying conflicts that cause one or more of the software to miss viruses and other malware. That is to say, you may end up with a system that is less secure and more unstable than if you were simply running a single product.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
The software listed below are supposed to be free. Not trialware. Not paid software. If you find that the links go to pages which require you to pay money to get the software, it means that your computer is badly infested with spyware and adware. You can no longer trust any link you see in your browser. The malware or spyware loaded in your computer has modified the addresses of every page you visit so that you are redirected to the spyware site. You may have to revisit this page from a clean computer to get the real software that is listed on this page.
Free AntiVirus and AntiMalware Utilities
- Microsoft Security Essentials
This is a free antivirus / anti-malware tool from Microsoft that is reported to be lightweight and generally unobtrusive. It works on XP, Vista and Windows 7 (both 32 and 64 bit). It handles viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits and other types of malware. Note: the above leads to the Security Essentials main page, from which you can download a stub downloader, which will, in turn, download the actual antivirus software. If you prefer to download the complete software instead of going through the intermediary software, try the download page. (If the download page link is broken, or even the main link above, please let me know. The webmasters at Microsoft frequently change the addresses of their pages without automatically redirecting users to the new locations.)
- Avira AntiVir Personal Edition
Avira AntiVir Personal Edition is a free antivirus program for Windows computers. It has a resident component that monitors file movements for signs of viruses. It also allows you to scan your computer and repair files that have been infected. The program comes with a facility to automatically check the AntiVir website for updates to the virus definitions and download them. The free version pops up an annoying banner each time it updates, and may not have the full range of capabilities that the commercial Avira Antivir Premium version does.
- AVG Anti-Virus
The AVG Anti-Virus software comprises a resident program that works in the background, an email scanner (checks your email for viruses), an on-demand scanner (eg, you invoke it to scan your system), the ability to repair certain infected files, and automatic updates of the virus definitions. A more fully-featured commercial version is also available.
- VIPRE Rescue Program
This is a command line subset of the full VIPRE Internet Security antivirus software. It is designed to clean an infected computer. That is to say, it is not meant to be used in place of your normal antivirus program that you run in the background on your computer for your daily work, but it's for systems that are already infested with malware. The latest virus definitions are bundled into the program itself, so only download it when you actually need it so that you can get the latest updated version. The program can be copied to a USB flash drive and plugged into an infected machine and run there (see the instructions on their site for more information). It is a self-contained program (ie, everything you need is bundled into the file you download) and can handle rootkits in addition to the usual malware.
- Microsoft Safety Scanner
Microsoft Safety Scanner is an on-demand virus/malware scanner. That is to say, you have to run the program manually to check your system for viruses (in contrast to "real-time" antivirus programs that automatically work in the background to make sure no viruses enter your system). It was designed to be one of those one-time tools that you download to check a system (for example, your friend's) that you suspect has been infected by some sort of malware. Since it does not auto-update itself (to get the latest virus definitions), it will expire 10 days after you download it (since by then the virus definitions built into the program would have been outdated). When that happens, simply go back to the Microsoft website and redownload it again. (Actually, if you're scanning a friend's computer, you may prefer to use a free antivirus bootable CD instead.) Important: For newcomers who are not security professionals, get a proper antivirus program, such as one of the others listed on this page. The Microsoft Safety Scanner is NOT meant for you. You'll end up with a false sense of security, thinking that your computer is protected.
- avast! Home Edition
avast! Home Edition is free for home users on non-commercial computers. You have to register your copy and supply them your email address (get a free email address here if you wish) so that they can send you a license key to activate the program.
- Rising Antivirus
Rising Antivirus is a new antivirus software that guards against virus, trojans, worms and rootkits. Besides the usual resident scanner, it also checks your incoming and outgoing email (POP3/SMTP), watches out for hidden processes and malicious behaviour, and has application access control and program startup control (probably meaning some sort of host intrusion prevention system).
- PC Tools Antivirus
This vendor provides a free edition of its commercial PC Tools Antivirus program that protects your system against viruses, worms and Trojans. It includes a real-time scanner that checks files that you run (etc). The program detects, quarantines (places infected files in a safe location where it won't infect anything), disinfects (removes virus infections) the malware. Regular updates are free and there is no time limit. (The paid version adds priority updates as well as support.)
- Clam AntiVirus
ClamAV is a free command line antivirus scanner for Unix systems. You can also integrate it with your mail server for scanning your email messages and attachments. It is able to scan inside archives like RAR archives, Zip archives, Gzip and Bzip2 archives (that is, it has unpacking engines for those types of compressed archives). If you are a programmer, you can even integrate the antivirus scanner into your own programs. This free antivirus program comes with source code that is released under the GNU General Public License. Prebuilt binary packages are available for numerous Linux distributions (Debian, RedHat / Fedora, PLD Linux, Mandrake), Microsoft Windows, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, AIX, OSF and Solaris 8 (Sparc).
Free Online Virus Scan
- ESET Online Scanner
This online virus scanner requires you to use Internet Explorer since it installs an ActiveX component on your system. It uses the same virus signatures as the full ESET NOD32 Antivirus program.
- Jotti's Online Malware Scan
This site scans any file that you upload to it with a variety of antivirus programs. It is particularly useful if you are suspicious about a particular file, and want to see if different antivirus software detect anything in it.
- avast! Online Scanner
The avast! online scanner site lets you scan any file not bigger than 512k by uploading it using your browser. Given the size limit, it's probably not very useful to most people.
- Trend Micro Free Online Virus Scan
Scan your computer for viruses free with Trend Micro's online service. For Windows users, it requires you to have either Internet Explorer, Firefox or the Mozilla browser. Mac users need to be using Firefox on OS X. Firefox/Mozilla users will need to have Java installed while Internet Explorer users need to have ActiveX enabled and the browser security set to Medium (not High).
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