Best Free Antivirus Software

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Introduction

Antivirus software provides an essential layer of protection from viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, dialers, keyloggers, and rootkits. However, don't let the name antivirus confuse you. These days every good antivirus has good detection rates for all forms of malware, not just viruses. The term malware includes viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, dialers, keyloggers, rootkits, and any other software which performs malicious activities on a computer.

 

Sadly, the amount of malware currently in circulation is so large that no antivirus could possibly detect all of it. Despite vendor's claims, no single antivirus solution can detect nearly all new malware. There are some products out there, including some in this review, which include technologies which are able to adequately protect a computer, but any product which relies mainly on detection is statistically doomed to fail eventually. Also, using more than one real-time antivirus at the same time uses much more system resources, can cause system errors, and can even reduce protection due to unintended conflicts. For my advice on how to compensate for these weakness of antivirus products please see my other article about How to Stay Safe While Online. Having a good antivirus product does go a large way towards adequately protecting your computer, but in this day I would highly recommend that you add additional layers to your security arsenal.

 

Below I have reviewed some of the most effective Free Antivirus products currently on the market. In order to make this review more unbiased, although I do of course admit that my own intuition and experience does affect my judgment as well, I came up with a particular methodology for comparing these products. This methodology is described in the following section.

Recent Changelog:

10/6/2014-Major revisions, re-ordered two antivirus products, and added an additional product to the review.

10/7/2014-Re-inserted explicit statement mentioning that I am a volunteer moderator (not employee) on the Comodo forums.

10/9/2014-Linked to instructions on how to make sure Bitdefender Free can be installed in English, and added MSE to list of unsuitable AV's.

 
Methodology For Comparing Products

The main motivation behind why I came up with this particular methodology for this review is that I value system protection against real world threats above all other categories by which an antivirus is commonly judged. It does not matter to me whether an antivirus protects the user by detecting malware, blocking dangerous sites, behavioral analysis, sandboxing, or any other approach. The most important thing is that at the end of the day your system is safe from infection. Thus, that is the attitude I have taken towards reviewing these products. My criteria is entirely based on protection, not cleaning. Therefore, if you believe your computer may be infected please first see my article on How to Know If Your Computer Is Infected before continuing to read the rest of this article.

 

I have located reputable Antivirus testing organizations which claim to test products against situations which resemble real-world situations. I narrowed these down by further requiring that the organizations have a relatively long record of producing good, seemingly unbiased, results. The organizations I ended up with, and therefore used for this review, are:

AV-Test

AV-Comparatives

Dennis Technology Labs

From here I looked at all tests spanning back over the last two years. However, if there were more than three tests within that range I used only the most recent three. Also, if given the choice between results from different operating systems, I chose that for the most popular operating system. At the moment Windows 7 is the most popular operating system.

Also, I only considered results if it was specifically the Free Version which was tested. This is because the results for the Paid Version of the products in this review, with the exception of Comodo Antivirus (which has the exact same protection for its Free and Paid versions), are often quite different from those for the Free versions. Many marketing teams try to cloud this difference, but for the purposes of getting the most reliable information I am strict about this. Unless it can be explicitly proven that every protection mechanism is exactly identical to the free version the results for paid products are not considered in this analysis.

In addition, I did not count it against any of the products if they were not tested by multiple organizations. As long as they were tested by at least one, within the above-mentioned period, they were considered. This criteria was chosen because there are many reasons to choose not to participate in a test. Thus, it should not be held against the product if they were not tested by multiple agencies. However, if they were not tested by any, this makes it impossible to compare them in an unbiased fashion.

 

Once this data was collected, I then looked at the overall results for the Free Antivirus products discussed in this review, and ordered them mainly according to the quantitative results. However, my own knowledge of the products, and the reviews and experiences of others, were also considered. The results are presented and discussed below.

Discussion And Comparison

Comodo Antivirus is my top pick for advanced users, or for Intermediate users who are okay with an antivirus software which will occasionally ask them for input. However, if you do not fall into those categories, or for any other reason find it to not be a good fit for you, then you will likely find my next pick suitable. Also, for those who prefer a complete solution, there is always Comodo Internet Security (CIS), which is also free and includes a firewall in addition to all other components which already come with Comodo Antivirus.

Firstly, I will note that I am a volunteer moderator (not employee) on the Comodo forums. However, this is certainly not the reason I chose this for the number one position. The reason I made this my top pick for advanced users or users who are okay with a somewhat talkative antivirus software, is because it is the only product which I feel confident saying that it will protect you against nearly 100% of real-world threats. This is because it maintains a white-list of known safe applications. Then, all unknown applications, which include all unrecognized malware, will be sandboxed and isolated from the rest of the system. Thus, this product provides very strong protection against even zero-day malware.

Comodo Antivirus also uses the cloud to facilitate the detection of the most recent malware, as do many other Free Antiviruses reviewed in this article. It will also analyze unknown applications for suspicious behavior, and alert the user accordingly. However, as mentioned previously, users who do not want a somewhat talkative antivirus should continue to my next pick. Also, by default Comodo Antivirus has small advertisements (which can be disabled as shown here). Also, please see my notes in the Quick Selection guide for advice on how to avoid unwanted software during installation.

 

Panda Cloud AntivirusPanda Cloud Antivirus is an excellent choice for average users, who may find Comodo Antivirus too confusing. It has a simple interface, completely automated features, access to cloud-based protection, and has been shown to be very good at protecting a computer. Panda Cloud Antivirus has a behavioral blocker, web protection, and access to cloud-based protection, all of which will help increase your security. The protection offered by this product is very strong.

 

 

 

 

Avast! Free AntivirusAvast! Free Antivirus has very good protection rates. Avast has many different protection shields, boot-time scanning, a behavioral blocker, an internet site ratings plugin, script malware protection, and access to cloud-based protection. It's arguable whether their ratings plugin offers comparable levels to Web of Trust, but the script malware protection can prevent certain browser exploits, a feature not available in any of the other free AV's reviewed.

However, do note that Avast requires a free registration to function after 30 days, and the default installation installs the Chrome browser unless you uncheck it. Also, note that the OpenCandy advertising component is integrated into the Software Updater tool in Avast. More information about OpenCandy can be read here. Thus, if a user selects this option during the install they will end up with OpenCandy on their computer. My advice would be that if you want to install Avast you should not use the Software Updater tool.

 

AVG Anti-Virus Free EditionAVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is also a good choice for average users. My analysis of the results, as discussed in the methodology section, does show that it does a decent job of protecting your computer. However, it appears that the above Antivirus products tend to do better. Also, it comes with advertisements (but they can be disabled).

 

 

 

 

360 Total Security is also a good choice for average users. Although it has gotten some very stellar reviews, the results I found from looking at the results from the testing agencies referenced earlier in this article show that the protection it provides is roughly the same as AVG, but certainly not as effective as Comodo, Panda, or Avast. This product uses multiple antivirus engines to detect malware. It has cloud protection, and also uses the Avira and BitDefender engines, although these are not enabled by default. For more information about this antivirus, see the separate article on this page.
 
 
 
 
 

Avira AntiVir Personal EditionAvira AntiVir Personal Edition is another product which has a very good reputation. However, the free version was not tested by any of the three testing organizations I referenced in my methodology. Therefore, I cannot currently recommend it above any of the previously mentioned products.

However, other comparative tests do show that it has very high detection rates for malware. Also, many users have used it and found that it is very effective. Also, Avira provides access to cloud-based protection. AntiVir is certainly a good choice for a free antivirus, but due to the lack of real-world testing, at this time I cannot recommend it above the other products in this review. Hopefully in the future they will have the free version tested by these organizations as well.

 

 

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is another free antivirus product which has a very good reputation. However, the free version was not tested by any of the three testing organizations I referenced in my methodology. Therefore, I cannot recommend it above any of the previously mentioned products.

The engine for this product appears to be very similar the commercial product, although there are some tweaks. However, the level of protection provided has not been shown conclusively to be identical with the paid version, which is why I did not use the results for the paid version in my analysis. "Bitdefender Free has both local and cloud-based definitions. Thus, users always have access to the most up-to-date definitions. It also has an effective heuristics engine, and uses a component called the Active Virus Control to monitor applications in real-time for suspicious behaviors. In addition it also has a webshield, which seems quite effective at protecting users from both malware infested and phishing sites.

The user interface for this product is very minimalist. Thus, it may be attractive for novice users, although more advanced users may be frustrated at the lack of customization. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a good choice for a free antivirus, but due to the lack of real-world testing, at this time I cannot recommend it above the other products in this review. Hopefully in the future they will have the free version tested by these organizations as well. Also, note that if you are having trouble getting Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition to install in English please follow the steps in this post.

 

Please help us by rating this review

End-Note: Please note that I also looked into Forticlient , Kingsoft, and Microsoft Security Essentials. However, I found that the protection offered by these products is subpar. Thus, if you are considering using Forticlient or Kingsoft I would strongly recommend that you instead consider another of the products reviewed in this article.

 
Related Products and Links

Other Articles By Chiron

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Related Security Articles

 
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Quick Selection Guide

Comodo Antivirus
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
This has full real-time protection capability, including real-time antivirus, behavioral blocking features, cloud-based protection, and an automatic sandboxing function which protects users from nearly all malware.
The automatic sandboxing function, although not very intrusive, may be too talkative for some users. Also, by default non-intrusive advertising is enabled (although it can easily be turned off). Also, Comodo Secure DNS, which is offered with Comodo Antivirus during installation, tends to have many false positives. Thus, I would suggest that you untick the option to Enable Comodo Secure DNS during installation.
Version 6.x
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x

Take care to avoid the installation of unwanted software during installation. To do this use the customized installer button, which is on the lower left-corner of the screen during installation. Additional software, including a browser, an ad-blocking addon, and an option paid service which would allow Comodo technicians to help you with computer problems, are all included by default.
Also, I would suggest that you untick the option to Enable Comodo Secure DNS during installation. It tends to falsely block many safe pages.
Also, note that although the download page linked to above does not list Windows XP as being supported, Windows XP x32 is fully supported, although Windows XP x64 has significant limitations.

Panda Cloud Antivirus
5
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
High detection rate of malware, web protection, some behavioural blocker features
Detection rates of real-world malware is slightly lower
http://www.cloudantivirus.com
Version 2.x
32 and 64 bit versions available
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x
Avast! Free Antivirus
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
This has full real-time capabilities, behavioral blocking features, script malware protection, and a low rate of false positives.
Default settings require certain user interaction. It is bundled with Chrome browser by default, and if not carefully avoided during installation the user may accidentally install OpenCandy (see discussion for clarification).
Version 9.x
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x, Mac OS

Take care to avoid the default inclusion of the Chrome browser and OpenCandy during the install process by using the custom install option. The attempt to install these will also be repeated at the program update if the automatic option is chosen.
Quick Start Guide: http://www.avast.com/download-documentation
Forum: https://forum.avast.com/

AVG Anti-Virus Free
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Behavioural blocker
Slightly lower signature detection rates
Version 2013.x
32 and 64 bit versions available
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x

Forum for support

360 Total Security
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Contains many engines for malware detection.
Avira and Bitdefender engines are not enabled by default.
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x
Avira AntiVir Personal Edition
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Outstanding detection of malware
Not the most user friendly
Version 14.x
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
High detection rates, very user friendly
Lack of customization
Version 1.x
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private or educational use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.x

 
Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Chiron. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

 
Tags

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Comments

by MidnightCowboy on 24. March 2014 - 12:39  (115251)

Now corrected. Thanks Geert for pointing it out. Demonstrates admirably one of the failings of built-in spell check. MC - Site Manager

by Chiron on 24. March 2014 - 13:06  (115252)

Thanks for pointing that out. If you see any more errors please be sure to let me know.

Thanks again.

by Geert on 24. March 2014 - 14:35  (115256)

@Chiron @MC
You're welcome.
Thanks for the work you put into this site.

by George.J on 24. March 2014 - 14:55  (115257)

The only pain with Comodo Antivirus is with manual updation of definition files. After downloading the bases.cav file, ther's no easy way to update the definitions. Although I tried moving the file to /Comodo/Scanners, the program failed to detect the definitions file, and upon checking for updates again, it started downloading the whole 170MB file.

Previously using Avast, everything was quite easy. Anyway I'm still happy with Comodo IS. :D

by Chiron on 24. March 2014 - 15:20  (115258)

Instructions on how to manually update Comodo Antivirus can be found here:
https://forums.comodo.com/antivirus-faq-cis/where-can-i-download-the-lat...

Let me know if it works correctly for you.

Thanks.

by naren on 24. March 2014 - 22:42  (115261)

If you are not sure of the details then I think you shouldn't mention "protection level is not identical with paid".

Get the details & put it in the review. The wilders thread link I mentioned in one of my previous post, you will get all the info about BD free by BD staff i.e Iulika0069.

by Chiron on 25. March 2014 - 1:02  (115262)

Thanks for pointing out the confusing wording. I have now updated it to read that "the level of protection provided has not been shown identical with the paid version, which is why I did not use the results for the paid version in my analysis".

If anyone can show that the level of protection is absolutely identical then I can use the results for the paid version. This can be done for Comodo Antivirus. However, until someone can show me that the free version of Bitdefender offers exactly the same level of protection, not just the same components, I cannot use those results.

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks.

by blueboxer on 25. March 2014 - 4:08  (115263)

A few months ago I tried Comodo on my XP machine, and found I had to turn off the internet connection before I could boot it. Otherwise Comodo took over the machine, and just sat there doing who knows what (my guess: a download of the whole malware signature database, followed by a full-scale scan) that monopolized my computer and did not respond to any interrupts for hours on end. Fortunately that computer has a mechanical wireless on/off switch on the front so I was able to break in and try and tweak the thing into proper behaviour, but the mitigation was slight; I eventually wiped it in disgust. My experience with avast was nearly equally bad, just enough less offensive that, faut de mieux, I elected to tolerate it for now given the oncoming demise of MSE for XP.

Obviously, I need the best fortifications available constructed around my XP facilities. Equally obviously in the past few months there have been major changes in all the anti-virus offerings and how they work. Maybe things have improved.

Clarification is needed, too. I got an "update" notification from Comodo offering added features. But a close reading suggested (the weasel=wording and misdirection is shameful) that they were trying to sell me an upgrade, likely at exorbitant subscription expense. I could be wrong - but why are they playing this game in the first place?

I just want an antivirus that works, and don't mind running a selection of separate anti-malware programs should these be necessary. I know the internet is a dangerous place and will defend as best I can. But programs that take over and run away with my computer, or try con games with me, are not things I'm eager to take on - even with your recommendation.

by George.J on 25. March 2014 - 5:09  (115264)

Protection level is not just about the percentage of samples that an antivirus can identify, other features are added to a paid antivirus solution to keep you safer.

Although a home user doesn't need all those "extra's", except for large business where data security is of utmost concern.

by George.J on 25. March 2014 - 5:10  (115265)

Thanks a lot :D

But who keeps import function inside "About" :{

by Chiron on 25. March 2014 - 12:48  (115271)

Now that you mention it, that is a strange place. However, now that you found it is everything up and running correctly?

by naren on 25. March 2014 - 17:41  (115276)

What I am trying to say is........

For example - AVG free autoupdate is not often like paid. This too can affect the protection. No Webshield/Online shield in free like paid.

For example - VB RAP test - You can see there is difference in protection by Avira free & paid. Avira free doesn't provide Webshield like paid. Avira Browser Security in free is not like Webshield in paid, there is no HTTP scanning in free like paid. Avira too doesn't autoupdate often like paid.

I know there are tests available for these AVs & that can be put in the review. But the same thing can be said about these free AVs i.e protection not identical with paid. You didn't mention this for these AVs but you mention this for BD free, that kind of looks unfair to BD free.

About BD free - I am little busy, when I will be little free, I will try to scan Wilders links & provide you the facts/confirmation about BD features/protection by BD staff. If you have time, you too try to do so.

I have tested & compared BD free with paid & other free AVs too & I find it an excellent free AV especially for average users. I find it better than all the free AVs mentioned here in terms of protection & everything for average users, not including CIS as CIS is way better than all the AVs mentioned here & recommended for advanced-intermediate users. I know my tests doesn't count, just sharing my test experience.

by Arrow1234 on 25. March 2014 - 18:31  (115277)

After trying comodo antivirus for only two days, i had no choice to uninstall it before my PC had had a heart attack. While running a full scan Comodo Antivirus brought my machine to a halt, the Quad core CPU was 100% most of the time. There is no doubt the spec of the software is pretty impressive for a free product, but be aware it may take over your machine while it takes an eternity to scan your drives . I have reinstalled AVAST which i have been using for years combined with comodo firewall. The CPU hardly moves during a FULL Scan allowing you to go about your business.

by sicknero on 25. March 2014 - 18:50  (115278)

I run Comodo CIS on two fairly low-end machines (single-core 2 and 2.3 CPUs) and I've not found this problem myself for several versions now. Running a scan typically fluctuates between 10 and 40% rising sometimes to about 90. Later versions have the option to run scans as a background task as well. I've not found it to be noticeably slow compared to other scanners.

by Chiron on 25. March 2014 - 23:30  (115285)

From my experience this is likely due to some sort of interference, or a problem which somehow occurred during installation. Please try reinstalling it by following the advice I give in this post:
http://forums.comodo.com/install-setup-configuration-help-cis/most-effec...
and let me know if that solves this problem. If it doesn't let me know.

Thank you.

by Chiron on 25. March 2014 - 23:35  (115287)

The reason I did not mention that the protection offered was not the same for many of the other Free AV's is because the Free versions were tested by the testing organizations I used for this analysis. Thus, there was no need to compare the Free to the paid versions. I could just look at how the free versions compared.

However, I cannot do this for BitDefender because the Free version has not been tested by those tests. The only reason I mentioned it is because if I didn't many users may mistakenly think I could use the results for the Paid version. Thus, this is just an explanation to prevent confusion about why this particular methodology was chosen.

Also, I have no problems with Bitdefender Free. It does seem like a very good product. If I didn't think it was I would have removed it from the review altogether. It's just that I'm trying to keep this review more factual. Thus, as I have no definitive data on how it compares to the others (using the real-world tests I referenced) I cannot recommend it over them. I'm sorry if my wording suggested otherwise.

Thank you.

by Chiron on 26. March 2014 - 0:11  (115290)

Which version was this? I know that for V6 and V7 it only requires an initial update and then a quick scan. V5 used to require a full scan. Also, if the initial download takes a long time you can always manually update the definitions (directions are here)
https://forums.comodo.com/antivirus-faq-cis/where-can-i-download-the-lat...

If you are having other problems, which it sounds like you were, I would advise reinstalling by following the advice I give in this topic:
http://forums.comodo.com/install-setup-configuration-help-cis/most-effec...

If you wish, you can try it again. If you run into any new problems, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I can assist you with this.

Thank you.

by naren on 26. March 2014 - 4:50  (115296)

You have mentioned in the review that it is not tested yet by any testing organization so you cannot recommend it above others. I totally agree here.

But I do think "protection level has not been shown identical with paid" is not required.

Collect facts/info about BD free & put it in the review would be better.

I am defending BD free coz..........
Before using it, I read all the posts i.e above 100 pages in the Wilders links that I have mentioned in one of my previous post so I know the facts/info about BD free. I can mention here but that would not be enough so I asked you to go through the Wilders thread & get all the facts/info.

Thats all I have to say about BD free topic.

I know you will do an excellent job maintaining this section as I know you very well from Comodo forum. I dont know if you know me but I too am at Comodo forum with the same ID i.e naren.

by jko on 26. March 2014 - 12:01  (115303)

Just my 2p-worth of experience with Bitdefender Free AV. After I installed it I could no longer print to my networked printer. The documents just sat in the queue and never printed. Uninstalled BD and all was well. I even tried reinstalling the printer after BD, but it still didn't work.
Decided to put Avira on instead and have had no problems.
I did a quick web search for problems, which only threw up issues with the full Internet Security Suite and its Firewall - which, of course, isn't part of the free AV prog. I guess I could have dug around some more, but life's too short.

by Chiron on 26. March 2014 - 16:36  (115315)

That is a strange issue. I suppose the best approach, assuming you would like to try Bitdefender again, would be to ask that question in their forums. However, if you're happy with Avira then I suppose there is likely no need.

If you have any questions about any of the other AV's listed in this review let me know.

Thanks.

by Chiron on 26. March 2014 - 17:32  (115318)

In the review I mention that the only reason I even bothered to say that the protection level has not been shown to be identical with the paid is that I cannot use the results for the paid in my analysis. I think that makes sense to put that there. Without it many users would accidentally compare it with the results for the paid version.

As mentioned previously, I do believe that Bitdefender Free is a very good product. If I did not believe that I would have removed it from this review. I did that with MSE, which was previously recommended. As for putting in additional information about Bitdefender Free, please provide me with your recommendations about the type of information which could be added. This sort of information will likely be very helpful for my next re-write.

I did assume that you were the same naren from the Comodo forums, although I was not certain until you just confirmed it. I do appreciate your comments, and I also hope you are beginning to better understand my position. Comparing AV products is a very difficult task, and there is no one perfect approach.

Thank you.

by naren on 27. March 2014 - 6:24  (115335)

Chiron,

I gathered few posts by Bitdefender staff about Bitdefender Free AV at Wilders.
Hope you will take time & check the posts.

Bitdefender Free AV
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=338408
Posts by Bitdefender staff about Bitdefender Free AV.

Posts - Pages
54, 66 - 3
147 - 6
327, 333 - 14
381 - 16
471 - 19
545 - 22
551, 564 - 23
603, 605 - 25
683 - 28
758, 773 - 31
910 - 37
942, 943, 945 - 38
993 - 40
1491 - 60
1592 - 64
1808 - 73
1886, 1888 - 76
2190 - 88
2226 - 90

by mono_demon on 27. March 2014 - 13:20  (115348)

I have been testing a few antivirus above and having a slow laptop (C2D 2.0ghz, 4gb RAM), I really care about the performance. And here is my take on each antivirus.

Since Avira implemented the cloud service, I have noticed some slowness (boot time and overall response time) compared to previous experience. Uninstall, and reinstall with cloud service ticked off seems to make it more responsive however it is not as fast as before.

For Avast, there is not much performance degradation on the new program update, everything seems working fine.

For BitDefender, it is very slow, and I still wonder why would people rate the performance as "high". My boot time increase for about 20 seconds compared to no antivirus installed after switching to Bitdefender. Try to give it a whirl, but the responsiveness is worse than Avira (high i/o activity).

AVG as usual, still slow however the recent version seems quite improve than before. Much better than Bitdefender but slower compared to Avira.

Machine with Panda Cloud seems to have the fastest overall response, with boot time only increase for about 3 seconds compared to no antivirus installed. However, my laptop is not 24/7 connected to internet, thus I have trust issues during offline operation.

Currently, in terms of overall performance and boot time impact would be:
Panda > Avast > Avira > AVG > Bitdefender

I have not tested latest COMODO due to time restriction (the last time I evaluate COMODO antivirus is in 2012), can somebody shed some light?

How much is the RAM usage and the boot time increment compared to other AV listed above?

by lauriowayne on 27. March 2014 - 13:45  (115349)

well the avast 2014 is not that powerful in my experienced than the avast 2013 in terms of detection rates specially on worms! i have recently installed newly and updated version of avast 2014 on 3 different pc's however, the 2014 edition does not detect worms and their behavior on the computer. So why would I trust this antivirus program? worms are sometimes a kind of destruction to your files specially in flash-drives for it has a auto delete and auto hide components. fortunately I have been using Microsoft Security essentials for detecting almost all kinds of worms.

by Chiron on 27. March 2014 - 20:34  (115355)

Each AV will run somewhat different on different computers. Thus, I would advise checking Comodo Antivirus yourself and seeing how it fares.

However, in general, I was planning on trying to locate somewhat reliable performance statistics for the AV software listed in this review for one of the upcoming updates. Once I have done that I will be able to supply more detailed information.

Thanks.

by Chiron on 27. March 2014 - 20:36  (115356)

Every AV will have good days and bad days in terms of detection. However, I can tell you that nearly every test will put Avast far above MSE in terms of both detection and protection. That said, it is possible that Avast's detection of certain types of malware is not as good as that for others.

Please let me know how you tested it against worms. How many samples did you use, and what was your methodology?

Thanks.

by Chiron on 29. March 2014 - 18:23  (115392)

Thank you. I will update the Bitdefender information during my next rewrite.

by BillR on 2. April 2014 - 14:20  (115451)

COMPARATIVE PERFORMANCE - Performance (speed/load/overhead; not detection rate) on a specific system with slightly tweaked antimalware settings will _not_ necessarily match the performance on a reference test system, however performance is one of the easiest tests to run and quantify so many reviews focus on those results (though the methodology may be slightly lacking). Anyone interested might start by looking at the reports from the organizations Chiron lists and then add reviews from several major magazines. A few bloggers and themed sites also appear to have reliable results. 30 minutes of focused(!) review probably will suffice to supplement Chiron's summary. Just remember that sometimes changing a few settings can have a tremendous affect on performance (and detection).

REVIEW CHANGELOG - Please consider adding a very brief changelog (perhaps truncated by a major rewrite). Your exemplary research and maintenance of posts make a changelog even more useful because you do make both small and large revisions and some of us would like to know when your evaluation changes.

REFERENCES - Please consider adding a few additional references to supplement this review. The references might provide supplemental/supporting details, offer a radically different opinion, or address areas not covered. The first four that come to my mind are some other performance reviews, reviews that you rejected for inclusion (perhaps annotated), a list of free antivirus products that are available for commercial use, and a list of (some) other products that have not been included in the review because of lack of comparative quantitative tests (or a link to the big AV list?).
Broader licensing example:
http://www.raymond.cc/blog/free-antivirus-for-corporate-commercial-and-e... (2013?)
http://www.geekomad.com/2013/09/5-free-antivirus-software-for.html (Sept. 2013)
Other comprehensive comparative reviews example:
[testing-org-xyz.org] (Recent reviews are only available via expensive subscription and dissemination is restricted)

REGARDING BitDefender AV Free: "lack of customization" --> virtually no customization or control.

FALSE POSITIVES: I concur with Chiron's emphasis on prevention then detection however achieved but so far I've had much more frequent problems with FPs than infections (that I know about). Of course, one major infection can be catastrophic (e.g., recent disc encrypting ransomware).

by MidnightCowboy on 2. April 2014 - 14:32  (115454)

Performance tests are meaningless because there are just too many variables between machines. I currently have two desktops and a laptop installed with Qihoo 360 and the program behaves very differently on each as you would expect considering the different hardware. Even knowing this however has no bearing on how well protected someone might be using any particular antivirus, and this should always be the focus of our review here.

We are also not interested in referencing the opinions of other sources except those with a proven track record in independent testing such as AVC and AV-Test. The amount of bias shown in some media reviews towards commercial programs for instance is laughable and I wouldn't risk trusting my security to some blog or a YouTube review that chucks 50 samples at a program and then says it's either good or bad. Even Wilders banned the publishing of such amateur results because as with performance tests they are meaningless in terms of reliability and security. MC - Site Manager.

by Chiron on 2. April 2014 - 16:16  (115458)

I do not want to overwhelm the reader with too many more AV software. The ones I have listed are all very good, and have good track records. I may be adding another in the future, but only because of results from testing organizations. I am still working on that.

The reason I have not listed other testing organizations is because most concentrate on detection and removal. To me I do not care about detection or removal. What I care about is preventing removal from being necessary, regardless of how it was prevented. Sadly, there are very few with a proven track record.

As for performance, I would like to add performance information. However, as MidnightCowboy mentioned, there are too many variables to make this really useful. However, if I could find multiple reviews from organizations with a proven track record, and they all happened to find more or less the same sort of thing, I may include that information. That said, I am not confident I will be able to find that. If you find tests such as that, from reputable organizations, please let me know.

I have not added a changelog to this article, although I will now that you have asked, as it is still very much in flux. I will add that once I have gotten this article more or less the way I want it.

As also noted by MidnightCowboy, the problems with the majority of reviews is that they are not very quantitative, or if they are they use only one source. There is a reason I chose to reference three organizations for this review. It helps to make my recommendations more neutral. It seems that many tests just rank them in the order they particularly like them. I would like to use more tests. The problem is finding ones which are relatively real-world and from testing organizations with a proven track record. If you know of more please let me know and I will look into that.

Also, I am planning on adding false positive information in a future version. However, like I said, this article is currently in flux. It will always be providing you the best information I currently have, but it will not be entirely complete for a while.

If you have any other questions, or suggestions, please feel free to ask.

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