Our Top Picks

Avast Free Antivirus, though free, is excellent in imitating the security of premium, paid solutions. It is compatible with the latest Windows operating systems on the market and offering great seat of features.

AVG Free antivirus is generally easy to use, with low system requirements. The software offers you above average protection from malware, and the interface is appealing to the eye.

McAfee generally has good protection capabilities even for its cheapest products. The file shredder for instance. Normally only available on costlier versions for other vendors. With McAfee it is available even on the cheapest version of McAfee.

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus is a computer security software developed by Avast Softwares headquartered in Prague. The company was launched in 1988 by Eduard Kucera and Pavel Baudis who are still on the board today.

Avast started developing anti-malware in 1995, and by 2001, they produced the first fremium antivirus. 2018 statistics indicate that Avast commands 17.04% of the anti-malware application market. 

Comparison of Avast Free Antivirus with premium plans

Anti-malware is a software that is designed to detect and remove malicious software from your computer. They include trojans, viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, and worms. A virus is a contagious form of malware that infects one software on your computer and spreads to other software just like the biological virus.

Avast Free Antivirus, though free, is excellent in imitating the security of premium, paid solutions. It is compatible with the latest Windows operating systems on the market.

Protection Capabilities

The Avast Free Antivirus method of protection comes in two layers. The first layer involves scanning all the files and comparing the files to known malware. The second layer involves monitoring of activities and detection of any malware attack. Suspicious files are then sent to the Avast lab to get analysed. If the suspicious item is found to be malicious, it’s signature as malware is sent to all the other avast users.

Avast shares the malware detection engine with AVG – another antivirus software produced by AVG technologies which was acquired by Avast in 2016.

The free antivirus has browser add-ons that will protect you from accessing suspicious websites on your computer. The add-on is also responsible for scanning all downloads and email attachments. These scans are conducted before an item is downloaded to prevent the user from downloading malicious software.

Avast Free Antivirus has pretty high lab scores. Unlike many free antiviruses that don’t test their free products in the lab, Avast does test and even releases the results. Independent antivirus testers, AV-Comparatives, test antiviruses and give a standard rating to products that pass their tests while those that show advanced capabilities are given an Advanced or Advanced+ rating. We followed 4 of the tests on Avast and 3 of them earned an advanced+ while one earned an advanced rating which is impressive.

In 2018 Avast Free Antivirus won award “Product of the Year” by AV-Comparatives – read the full report here.

Features of Avast Free Antivirus

Avast software seeks to create a powerful protective antivirus software. In this article, we are going to look at the features offered by the 2018 version of Avast free antivirus.

Cybercapture

Unlike the threat detection engine that detects programs that are similar to malware and eliminates them, the cybercapture feature is different. Cybercapture detects suspicious items and sends them to the avast lab for analysis. The results of the analysis are sent back to you. If the analysis discovers that the said program is a virus or malware, it is added to the virus signature library and will be detected as a virus and eliminated by the avast antivirus if detected. This is a protective mechanism that helps eliminate viruses before they spread.

Smart scan

With a single click, you can choose from the scan options including the smart scan, targeted scan, boot time scan, and custom scans. After scanning, programs detected as harmful are quarantined while those that are suspicious are flagged.

Shields

Avast free antivirus protects files via an array of shields including:-

  • Behavior shield – Accesses the behavior of programs and stops it and notifies you if it finds something suspicious.
  • Web Shield – This analyses data from your computer network and stops any suspicious files before they enter your computer.
  • Mail shield – this one analyses email attachments and prevents them from being downloaded if it detects anything suspicious from them.

Virus Containment

Harmful files and suspicious files are stopped and flagged. They are then moved into the virus chest where they are dormant, non-operatable and inaccessible. Here you can review them and choose to submit them to the avast lab, delete them or restore them. The feature that does this is called virus containment.

Detect WiFi issues

This feature helps secure your WiFi by detecting:

  • Weak passwords
  • Obsolete and vulnerable firmware
  • Open network ports
  • Non-encrypted wireless networks
  • DNS hacking

Automatic updater

This feature scans your computer, detects the version of your software then scans the internet for the availability of later versions. If it finds another version, it will notify you or automatically update the software depending on your settings.

Password management

This feature provides:

  • A password generator
  • Synchronization across your other devices with avast antivirus.
  • Imports passwords from your browsers.
  • Provides a login form filler
  • Password saving (automatic)
  • Saves encrypted notes.

Private Networking

This feature will encrypt your data that is exchanged across the public network and prevent access and monitoring by unauthorized persons.

Computer Cleanup

This helps in freeing up space and deleting residual files hence improving your device’s performance. It replaces the obsolete Avast Grimefighter app although this is a premium feature not available in a free version.

Game Mode

This shields the computer from threats while playing online games and also improves performance by freeing up memory and prioritizing CPU focus on the game.

Pros and Cons of Avast Free Antivirus

Zero Price

Avast free antivirus may not offer all the features Avast premier, security and ultimate offer but you don’t have to pay anything for it. The services you’ll get are definitely worth way more than the zero pricing.

Easy to Install and use

The installation and use of Avast free antivirus is easy and straight forward. All you have to do is ensure you have the administrator privileges with no other antivirus installed in your device prior and you are good to go.

Below are the steps of installing the antivirus in your device.

  1. Download the antivirus from www.Avast.com/free-antivirus-download.
  2. Double click on the installation file. You’ll be presented with an option to change the language of installation where you’ll click a drop-down menu at the top right-hand corner and click on it.
  3. Click install.

A user-friendly interface

The Avast free antivirus interface is so simple anyone who can use a computer can use it. There is a lot of space on it and no numerous icons that could confuse anyone or force you to call their customer care. The interface is quite appealing too with its beautiful theme color.

Low system requirements

It is a generally light software that can work on any device without slowing it down. It has a low memory usage too – It flushes it’s a memory at 10 second-intervals thus freeing the memory for other applications during scanning.

Virus protection

The Independent IT-Security Institute’s website gives avast a score of 5.5 out of 6 on protection. The Avast antivirus scores very highly in comparison to other free antiviruses.

Pros

  • Zero cost
  • Low system requirements
  • User-friendly interface
  • Real-time protection.
  • High scores in virus protection
  • It protects your device from WiFi hacking
  • Automatic software updates

Cons

  • Only for home use
  • Advertising for premium version is sometimes too obtrusive

Summary

Avast free antivirus is generally better than many premium antivirus software available today, so they say. Based on tests done by AV-comparatives, there is a lot of truth in it.The free version of Avast is very similar to the paid version save a few features. Avast claims it provides the minimum protection a computer should have.

Avast free antivirus is available in 37 languages – no other free antivirus offers that. It, however, can’t be used at work as it is meant for home use only. It also can’t run on multiple devices. Avast Free Antivirus also doesn’t offer one feature that the Avast Pro, which is the paid version offers. The feature is the SafeZone technology. This feature keeps the users account information safe when online.

Avast Free Antivirus is closer to the paid Avast Pro than any other free antivirus is to their paid version. It is a good choice for your personal computer at home and better still if you don’t use your computer for highly classified work. However, for a work computer, the Avast Pro version is recommended.

AVG Antivirus Free

AVG Antivirus began life as Anti-Virus Guard, but this was later abbreviated to AVG. AVG is an antivirus produced by AVG technologies and is currently owned by Avast Software. The antivirus was developed in 1992 in the Czech Republic.

It was launched in Germany and the UK in 1997 and introduced later in the US in 1998. The main aim of introducing the AVG free version was a marketing strategy to create an awareness of the AVG product.

In 2006, Ewido Networks – an anti-spyware group – was acquired by AVG technologies. This allowed AVG to expand its service offerings to include anti-spyware. Additional acquisitions followed further expanding the services available:

2007 of XPL (Exploit Prevention Lab) led to the incorporation of XPL’s LinkScanner safe search and surf technology. 2009’s Sana Security acquisition allowed AVG to incorporate identity theft features into the product. AVG was then acquired by Avast Software in 2016 for a cost of $1.3 billion. Currently, over 200 million people use AVG all over the world.

In this article, we’re going to look at the features, protection capabilities, advantages, and disadvantages of AVG. We are also going to give you some recommendations on why, when and if you should use AVG free antivirus.

Protection Capabilities

Before we look at the AVG free antivirus, let’s look at what the paid versions of AVG offer that is not available on the free version.

With the paid version of AVG, you get internet security for an unlimited number of devices – usually $70 per year for the AVG internet security. This version also offers better webcam and anti-ransomware protection plus a mobile app version.

A more expensive version is the AVG ultimate package that goes for $100 a year on unlimited devices. This provides:

  • extra file encryption,
  • disk cleaner,
  • remote system lock & unlock feature,
  • email protection, and
  • startup optimizer.

AVG free antivirus can work on all Windows operating systems from Windows XP, Windows Vista through to Windows 10. Capabilities range from the scanning of potentially harmful programs to blocking them entirely. Apart from protection AVG free antivirus also offers a performance optimizer and a file shredder. The file shredder is quite useful in removing all your unwanted photos from a device.

The malware detection technology of AVG is shared with its sister company Avast. AVG still retains its interface and unique feel and look.

Just like Avast, the detection engine operates by comparing programs with malware signatures in its library database. The engine also detects suspicious programs and uploads them to the AVG lab where the program is analyzed, and reports are sent back. If an application is found to be a virus, it is added to the virus signature database and tracked appropriately for all subscribers.

The free version doesn’t offer much protection against ransomware other than monitoring. It does, however, offers protection against spyware and email attachments.

Features

AVG has a host of features that help recommend it. Here are some of the most significant selling points.

  • Zero cost: AVG anti-virus comes at no cost unlike the AVG internet protection and AVG ultimate. Even though the latter two offer extra features that are not available on the free version, it is a worthy alternative for basic protection. Especially considering it comes at zero cost.
  • Schedule Scan: This feature allows you to schedule when to perform a quick scan on your computer (daily, weekly or monthly). It also allows you to set when not to scan – for instance, when running on battery power. You can also further personalize it to pause at the beginning of battery mode and even turn off your computer when scanning is done.
  • Antivirus and Antispyware Engines: The AVG free antivirus has fully functional antispyware and antivirus engines for detection and subsequent removal or containment of the malware.
  • Link Scanner: The AVG free antivirus has the LinkScanner feature that scans links to websites that contain malware or are suspicious and blocks your device from accessing those websites.
  • High Compatibility: AVG free antivirus can be used on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10 and Mac OS. This makes it highly compatible since most PCs run on those operating systems.
  • Email Scanner: This feature scans emails for malicious attachments and blocks the computer from downloading them.
  • Regular Updates: The AVG lab keeps adding new virus and malware signatures to its database library on a daily basis. More clients keep sending suspicious programs and some of these programs after analysis are found to be harmful. A well-updated software has all the latest signatures hence enabling it to detect more harmful programs in your computer. This feature automatically updates your antivirus to ensure it has all the latest malware signatures in its database.
  • Specific Scanning: This feature allows you to exclude certain files and folders from the directories you want to be scanned. This feature can be used to protect files and folders that are erroneously detected as malicious by the antivirus.

Advantages of AVG free antivirus

Here are some benefits of AVG free antivirus over other antivirus and the paid versions of AVG.

  • Zero cost – unlike the AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate, the AVG free antivirus comes at no cost.
  • User-friendly interface – the AVG interface is simple to use and pleasing to the eye with its dark background and white and green font.
  • Offers the most crucial protection features – through one misses out on features such as anti-ransomware protection and webcam protection, the very basic protection one needs on their PC are offered at no cost. This includes scanning for potentially harmful programs, blocking harmful programs from entering your device, performance, and file shredder.
  • It is easy to install and run – simply launch the installer, and it will automatically download files from the internet. You can only install when the computer is connected to the internet though.
  • It is easy to switch from the free version to the paid versions.
  • It requires minimum system resources hence ideal for home computer use.

Disadvantages of AVG Free Antivirus

  • No comprehensive protection – though offering basic protection at no cost, the user misses out on strong firewall protection and other features such as anti-ransomware, webcam protection, extra file encryption, disk cleaner, remote system lock & unlock feature, email protection, and startup optimizer.
  • Upgrade prompts always popping up.

Recommendations

AVG Free antivirus is generally easy to use, with low system requirements. The software offers you above average protection from malware, and the interface is appealing to the eye. You, however, miss out on some features such as extra file encryption, startup optimizer, anti-ransomware, webcam protection, and others.

Despite this, you still get a pretty good quality normal everyday protection at no cost.

Unless you’re using your device for high-security jobs or feel your device is very likely to be targeted by scammers and schemers, AVG free antivirus is a decent antivirus for you. It is best suited for a home computer. The good thing about it is you can easily upgrade to AVG Internet Protection or AVG Ultimate in case you decide to change the way you use your computer and the kind of data you save on it.

McAfee Antivirus review

McAfee Antivirus is an anti-malware product developed by McAfee, LLC. McAfee was founded in 1987 by John McAfee. John McAfee later resigned from the company in 1994. It was initially known as McAfee Associates, Inc. McAfee, LLC is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. In its over 30 years of existence, McAfee, LLC has grown to be one of the world’s top cybersecurity companies.

In 1992, the company was incorporated in the state of Delaware. It later merged with Network General, Helix software and PGP Corporation to form Network Associates.In 2004, Remedy, a subsidiary of BMC software, acquired Magic Solutions which was part of Network Associates. It also sold Sniffer Technologies, to a different company also known as Network General. It then changed its name back to McAfee, once again choosing to focus on cybersecurity.

Intel acquired the company for $7.68 billion in 2010 renaming it Intel Security. This pleased John McAfee who no longer wanted his name associated with the company. However, in 2017, the company was spun off by Intel and was renamed McAfee once again. Currently, McAfee commands 11.5% market share of Windows Anti-Malware Applications.

McAfee Products

Some of the McAfee cybersecurity products include:

  • McAfee Network Security Platform – prevents intrusion into the computer while connected to the internet.
  • McAfee 6000 Anti-Malware Engine
  • McAfee Change Control – this product monitors the integrity of files on Windows and Linux OS.
  • McAfee WebAdvisor 
  • McAfee VirusScan – this is a package of three products:
    • McAfee Total Protection,
    • McAfee Antivirus Plus, and
    • McAfee Livesafe

In this article, we are going to focus on the McAfee Antivirus 

Protection Capabilities of McAfee Anti-virus

McAfee generally has good protection capabilities even for its cheapest products. The file shredder for instance. Normally only available on costlier versions for other vendors. With McAfee it is available even on the cheapest version of McAfee.

The McAfee Anti-virus will crawl the internet and detect websites with malicious programs. The software will warn you or block your computer from accessing them.

McAfee Antivirus also provides 2-way firewall protection to your computer while surfing the web. Firewall protection monitors incoming data from untrusted sources. In addition it will also block any suspicious files from entering the computer.

McAfee Anti-virus protection basically involves scanning the files to detect any programs that match the antivirus signatures stored in its database. It monitors file behaviors in a simulated environment, known as the sandboxes, to determine how they would affect other files in the computer. If they are found to be malicious, they’ll be contained. If they are suspicious, they are uploaded for analysis to the McAfee lab.

McAfee Anti-virus Features

Being the basic antivirus version of McAfee, McAfee Anti-virus lacks some of the features available in the other products. However, it has most of the basic features that one could live with on a home computer.

McAfee employs the heuristic engine – this type of engine can contain unknown malware by running them in a simulated environment to see how they will interact with other files in the computer. While in the simulated environment, known as a sandbox, the file cannot affect other files in the computer. If the file is found to be malicious, it is deleted or contained. McAfee greatly improved its engine in 2017 – initially, it had a bad reputation of being ineffective. Currently, though, it ranks well with other top anti-malware vendors.

McAfee offers live tech –support to its customers. The support is available 24/7 via live chat or call. McAfee however no longer responds to emails.

McAfee Anti-virus comes with the file shredder tool. This tool shreds unwanted files – it permanently deletes them beyond recovery.

There is also the game mode. The main purpose of the gamer mode is to increase performance during gaming and still provide security. McAfee has ensured that you don’t have to choose between security and performance during gaming. The McAfee game mode optimizes the CPU, GPU and RAM to provide better performance. It also blocks notifications to avoid interruptions during gaming.

The consumption of computer resources by the antivirus is also greatly reduced to improve performance.

The McAfee System Optimizer is another feature that comes with basic McAfee Antivirus. The McAfee PC optimizer will analyze your McAfee performance and give recommendations.

McAfee Features not Available on McAfee Anti-virus

The basic version of anti-malware by McAfee definitely lacks features that are available on other McAfee products. Let’s look at some of those features.

  • Bundled Platforms: this is the capability of the same software to run on different operating systems. The McAfee Antivirus Plus, McAfee Internet Security, McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe can run on Android, Mac and iOS devices.  The basic McAfee Antivirus can only run on windows.
  • McAfee Antivirus can only run on a single device. The other superior versions can run on more than 10 devices.
  • The McAfee Antivirus and McAfee Antivirus Plus do not come with the anti-spam feature which the others come with. Anti-spam blocks incoming unsolicited messages and adverts.
  • The McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet security, and McAfee Antivirus Plus do not come with File Encryption which the other two software come with. File encryption protects confidential data from attackers.
  • The McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet security, and McAfee Antivirus security also don’t come with the identity protection feature.
  • The McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet security, and McAfee Antivirus don’t come with the parental control feature.

Advantages

From our research, these are some of the advantages we found using McAfee Antivirus:-

  • Enjoy improved anti-malware technology that now ranks among the best in the market. Since 2017, the anti-malware properties of all McAfee products has greatly improved. Better still, the basic McAfee Antivirus offers just as good protection as the superior, more expensive versions.
  • 24/7 free customer care – McAfee offers a live chat and call customer care 24/7 for all its products including the basic McAfee antivirus.
  • The latest version of McAfee Antivirus is easy to use. The latest version also consumes minimal resources hence does not slow down your computer.
  • Though it does not offer a free version, the basic version of McAfee Antivirus is quite cheap.
  • It offers Artemis – real-time protection that scans all files at a very fast rate and blocks malware within seconds.

Disadvantages

Although McAfee has undergone lots of improvements lately, it was once a very unpopular antivirus. It still holds some of those disadvantages. They include:-

  • McAfee is said to not fair very well among competitors in speed and efficiency.
  • It uses lots of space during scanning hence its hard to do other tasks while scanning.
  • With the McAfee Antivirus, you’ll miss out on many features available on the other versions of McAfee such as parental control, bundled platform etc.
  • You can only use it on a single computer.

Frequently asked questions

How to get McAfee free trial for 180 days?

McAfee doesn’t offer a free antivirus, however, you can download a free 6-month trial of McAfee Antivirus Plus officially via this link We do not recommend downloading McAfee antivirus on torrent sites or downloading a cracked version as these are often infected with viruses.

Is McAfee a free anti-virus?

No. McAfee doesn’t currently offer any free version of its anti-virus software. There’s a free Security Scan however it doesn’t have all the proactive capabilities for protection as a full antivirus solution.