5 Best FREE Security Software for Your Computer in 2025

I ran each available free antivirus program against thousands of old and new Windows malware files. Through the use of virtual environments for several PC operating systems ranging from Windows 7 to Windows 10, I evaluated each antivirus’s malware prevention capabilities, as well as its user interface and reputation for user privacy protection. This was no simple process, and I discovered that there are just a handful of free antivirus programs that provide adequate protection for Windows systems.

However, there are several excellent free antivirus apps that outperform the built-in defenses in Windows. I eventually discovered five free downloads that each provide free virus protection in addition to a reasonable collection of free internet security measures.

Having said that, any free antivirus will come with a few vexing restrictions. That is why I usually advocate spending a little amount of money each month in premium antivirus software that protects against all known varieties of malware and includes additional functions such as a VPN, password manager, parental controls, and dark web monitoring (Norton 360 has all of these features, is ranked as the best antivirus software for 2022, and is very affordable).

I evaluated and graded each free antivirus program on this list based on its ability to identify malware, convenience of use, and other cybersecurity features. Unfortunately, no free antivirus software contains all of the functions necessary for total security, but it is preferable to protect yourself with the finest free antivirus software than to have no antivirus software at all!

Antivirus Software – Free vs. Paid

While free antivirus programs like as Avira and TotalAV are very effective, their commercial counterparts are far better – for starters, they include all of the internet security measures necessary to be as secure as possible online. And I’m not referring just about anti-malware security.

Premium antivirus software for Windows also contains additional features such as a VPN (which ensures your online anonymity), a password manager (which safeguards your important data, such as banking information), and parental controls (to make sure your child is protected on the internet). These technologies, when used in conjunction with a virus scanner, are critical for establishing a strong online defense against hackers, fraudsters, and predators.

Additionally, commercial antiviruses provide superior customer service, ensuring that you can always obtain assistance eliminating malware, enabling a function, or resolving any other problem with your antivirus. On the other hand, free antivirus software lacks live chat and phone help, leaving users with the option of reading a knowledge base, posting a query on a forum, or submitting a support request.

Avira Anti-Virus Free for Windows

In 2022, Avira Free Security for Windows is my favorite free Windows antivirus – it has one of the greatest anti-malware engines on the market, offers more free features than any rival, and is really simple to use.

Avira’s virus scanner is cloud-based, which means that detection and analysis do not occur on your PC, which makes Avira exceptionally fast, lightweight, and resource-efficient.

Avira’s anti-malware engine recognized all malware files in my tests, and I had almost no delay when using CPU-intensive apps during scans. Paid tools such as McAfee and Norton are as good at finding malware, but their full disk searches significantly slow down your machine.

Panda Antivirus for Windows is a free anti-virus software.

Panda Free Antivirus for Windows is a lightweight, safe, and user-friendly antivirus solution – in my testing, Panda’s antivirus scanner found substantially more adware, malware, and ransomware files than Windows Defender. Panda’s real-time security was also very effective, stopping the majority of malware files that I attempted to download to my PC.

Additionally, I like Panda’s free antivirus’s gaming mode, which automatically suspends alerts while you’re playing a game or viewing a movie on full screen.

Another reason Panda is a smart option for Windows users is its Rescue Kit function, which enables you to download a bootable version of Panda to a USB drive and then use the USB drive to clean and repair an infected PC.

Panda Antivirus’s free version also includes a secure VPN. It offers high connection connections, but only allows you to connect to one server and has a daily data cap of 150 MB — a significant improvement over Avira’s 500 MB per month, but still insufficient for streaming or file sharing. If you want to enjoy limitless streaming or torrenting, you’ll need a more robust VPN (check out our list of the best antiviruses with VPNs here).

Unlimited VPN data (and access to a select number of global servers) is available only on the Panda Dome Premium plan, which also includes a firewall, anti-ransomware protection, anti-phishing protection, advanced system tune-up tools, a password manager, and parental controls for IDR407,660 per year. Panda offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its premium programs.

Antivirus software for free TotalAV

TotalAV Free Antivirus delivers outstanding virus and phishing protection – in my testing, TotalAV’s cloud-based malware scanner found and eliminated more malware samples than other antivirus products, effectively recognizing even the most sophisticated ransomware and cryptojacking files.

TotalAV also provides excellent phishing prevention. It makes use of a massive blacklist to identify known phishing sites and an AI-powered phishing detection engine to discover new threats. During my tests, the anti-phishing tool achieved a near-perfect detection rate, preventing me from visiting more fraudulent websites than Chrome’s inbuilt phishing tool.

Additionally, TotalAV is the most straightforward free Windows antivirus on our list, with simple-to-use and simple-to-understand features and capabilities contained inside a minimalistic, well-designed dashboard. I had no difficulty browsing TotalAV’s interface, and I found it really easy to access and utilize all of the capabilities available.

Having said that, TotalAV’s free Windows plan is lacking in features. The primary disadvantage of TotalAV Free Antivirus is that it lacks real-time protection, which means that you will not be warned if a dangerous program tries to modify your computer in real time.

Upgrading to one of TotalAV’s premium subscriptions provides real-time virus protection in addition to essential extras such as device optimization tools, an unlimited-data VPN, and a password manager. TotalAV’s premium plans begin at IDR272,730 a year and include a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Kaspersky Security Cloud (Kaspersky’s cloud-based security solution) (Free)

Kaspersky’s VPN gives users access to one server location and 200 MB of data per day — more than Panda or Avira — but not nearly enough for streaming or other bandwidth-intensive operations.

Additionally, Kaspersky’s free password manager stores just 15 entries – this covers both logins and critical documents (like credit cards or passport details). I’m also not a fan of Kaspersky’s data breach monitoring – free users can only watch their Kaspersky account’s email (and they have to do it manually, unlike paid customers who get automatic data breach checks).

If you prefer Kaspersky’s UI and want to use its unrestricted VPN, password manager, parental controls, and browser safeguards, you’ll need to subscribe to one of the company’s commercial plans, which start at IDR430,480 per year. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee on all Kaspersky purchases.

Malwarebytes No-Install Malwarebytes No-Install Malware

Malwarebytes Free is an excellent option for individuals searching for a straightforward antivirus scanner they can install and forget about. Malwarebytes’s virus scanner use both a virus database and heuristics to identify all sorts of malware — and it did an admirable job in my testing, finding around 90% of the malware files I concealed on my PC.

Apart from the scanner, Malwarebytes Free includes a browser plugin that protects users against a variety of threats, including malware, advertisements and trackers, frauds, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). One of the features I like the most about this extension is that all safeguards are on by default, which means you won’t have to do anything (but you can easily turn off one or all of the protections).

Malwarebytes’ browser extension banned the majority of hazardous websites that I tried to visit in my testing, achieving a 90% phishing detection rate. However, the plugin proved less effective at blocking adverts – I visited dozens of websites that were dense with advertisements, and Malwarebytes removed only about a third of them.

The free version of Malwarebytes has a basic virus scanning and a useful phishing tool, but it lacks real-time malware protection. To enable real-time scanning, you must subscribe to Malwarebytes Premium, which begins at IDR574,020 / year and includes coverage for up to five devices. For an additional IDR574,020 / year, Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy includes a decent VPN. Malwarebytes offers a substantial 60-day money-back guarantee on both of its premium programs.

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