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
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.
The information provided on this page comes without any warranty whatsoever.
Use it at your own risk. Just because a program, book, document or service is
listed here or has a good review does not mean that I endorse or
approve of the program or of any of its contents. All the other
standard disclaimers also apply.
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.
After you clean your computer, you should use a safer browser like Opera or Firefox.
Free AntiVirus and AntiMalware Utilities
- PC Tools Antivirus and ThreatFire Antivirus (Free Editions)
- 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.) Also available on that page is ThreatFire Free Edition, an antivirus product that does not work by using signatures to detect malware (such as virus signatures), but operates by providing behavioural ("behavioral" in US English) protection, meaning that it looks at a program's behaviour to figure out whether it is a virus. This allows it to (hopefully) detect new (zero-day) viruses, that is, viruses that have just burst onto the scene and have not been analyzed by antivirus vendors yet.
- VIPRE Rescue Program
- This is a command line antivirus program that is designed to clean an infected computer. That is to say, it is not designed 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. This is a subset of the full VIPRE Antivirus software (which of course has the complete graphical interface and can protect against viruses and other malware in addition to cleaning up).
- 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.
- 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 Premium version does. (Note that the Premium version is a well regarded anti-malware software.)
- 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.
- 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).
- Comodo Internet Security Suite
- Comodo Internet Security Suite includes both a firewall and an antivirus program. The antivirus software component provides real-time scanning, where it resides in memory and checks your programs for viruses as they are run, as well as on-demand scanning for viruses. You can also schedule your scans. It automatically updates itself through the internet. This is a Windows program.
- 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).