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Free Anti-Virus Comparison Review

Category: Software, Bugs / Virus
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Computers are great and useful tools, but the cyber world is not an entirely safe one. Particularly unscrupulous programmers out there will create pieces of malicious software, or malware, with a variety of intended purposes. Sometimes they just want to annoy you with pop-ups or changing your homepage, but other times malware is meant to compromise your privacy and your PC. Luckily there are a variety of tools freely available for download to protect you and now we are going to take a look at some of them.

As we do not have a collection of malware to test an antivirus' detection capability, we are instead going to look at 'Full' or 'Complete Scan' performance, as well as some other characteristics of the security programs. Any remarks I make about a scanner being able to detect threats is based on the data available at AV-Test.org. These programs may offer Real-Time Protection that scans files as they are accessed, but thanks to the power of modern computers I feel it is not necessary to compare the performance of this capability. The only time I have ever seen a computer operate slowly because of real-time protection was when I tried running three antivirus programs at once on my old AMD Athlon 3000+ CPU (single core, 32-bit CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz). As there is really no need to run that many antivirus programs at once, this special case is hardly worth examining.

Unlike the previous articles I have written, the tests for this one have been performed on my laptop. The reasons for this are that it is easier to run such tests on a secondary computer, it has an SSD with a greater read-speed than my desktop's HDD, and the SSD is only 60 GB; less than a tenth the size of my desktop's HDD. The laptop has 3 GB of DDR2 RAM and an AMD Turion X2 RM-70 CPU clocked at 2.0 GHz and runs Windows 7 64-bit, Home Premium. Of course malware scan times depend just as much on the files being scanned as on computer hardware, but now you know what the tests were run on, in case you are curious. Also, to measure how many resources the scanners took, I used the built in Performance Monitor and collected data from before a scan started to a couple minutes into it.

With these preliminaries taken care of, let's get to the software!

  1. Introduction
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials
  3. AVG Antivirus Free Edition
  4. Avast! Antivirus
  5. Immunet (ClamAV)
  6. Panda Cloud Antivirus
  7. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  8. Comparison & Conclusion
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