Last month, we shared the Top 10 Best Antivirus For Windows 7, for those who are looking for the best antivirus solution in the market. However, as you may have seen, those are premium programs so they aren't for those who runs a tight budget. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options when it comes to free alternatives. As you might expect, free antivirus programs does have a limited set of features and the protection it offers would certainly pale in comparison to a paid solution. But for the most part, these free programs would suffice for personal or home use. Here's the Top 5 Free Antivirus of 2012.
Avira Free Antivirus 2012
Another long-time player when it comes to the antivirus protection game and with over 25 years of experience on its belt, Avira has released yet another excellent free version of their antivirus solution. Avira Free Antivirus 2012 boasts good detection and removal rates for malware. The program also scans fairly fast and it doesn't consume much of the system's resources. Includes phishing protection for free which is definitely a good thing.
Notable Features: Realtime Protection, System Scanner, Quarantine, Scheduler, Reports, Events
Pros: Great malware detection rates, quick scanning, prevents Autorun of removable storage medias, free phishing protection
Cons: Less effective against rootkits, false positives, included phishing protection is not that effective
Download Avira Free Antivirus 2012
Microsoft Security Essentials
From the creators of Windows comes Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), a free antivirus solution for your Windows system. Being a Microsoft product, one of the most impressive aspects of MSE is definitely the frequent updates. Additionally, it is very easy to use, has an intuitive interface and essentially runs quietly in the background. It is definitely good at what it does but those who are looking for more features might want to look elsewhere.
Notable Features: Antivirus protection, Rootkit protection, Network inspection system, Windows firewall integration
Pros: Free with no need for registration, always up-to-date, very easy to use, capped CPU usage
Cons: Doesn't have that much features compared to other free antivirus programs, scan times can be slow, scheduled scan is only once a week
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AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012
First, we'll start off with one of the household names in the antivirus industry, AVG. If you are looking for a free solution with impressive detection rates, then you are looking straight at it. And if you are still wanting for more, then you'll be happy to know that it scans rather quickly and utilizes minimal system resources. In some ways, it could be better than other commercial products out there.
Notable Features: Antivirus, PC Analyzer, Email Protection, LinkScanner, Anti-Rootkit, Gaming Mode, Identity Protection
Pros: Fast Scanning, Phishing and Exploits protection, top-notch scores in malware removal and blocking, featured-packed free solution, minimal system resource usage
Cons: Separate rootkit scan, installs AVG Secure Search and AVG Security Toolbar by default (still optional)
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Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.5.1
Panda Cloud Antivirus is one of the first programs to rely entirely on the cloud. If there is no other way for you but to go lightweight, then you can't go wrong with this one. This is definitely one of the best programs out there with regards to impact on system performance, which makes it ideal for Netbooks and the like. Its no-nonsense approach is perfect for users who doesn't want to complicate things with tons of settings.
Notable Features: Antivirus & Antispyware, Anti-Rootkits, Improved offline protection, Behavioral blocking, URL and Web filtering
Pros: Cloud based, good detection rate, quick protection against new threats, minimal system impact, excellent cleanup of scareware, fast install
Cons: Malware cleanup and detection could be better
Download Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.5.1
Avast! Free Antivirus 6
Avast Free Antivirus simply gets a lot of things right. The program has a highly intuitive, uncluttered, easy to use interface, minimal resource usage, healthy dose of features and good performance. It strikes a healthy balance that hits everything positive that makes an antivirus program great. For a free option, it does have a lot of great features, which is never a bad thing. Avast addresses most of the concerns that a modern user has. And for that reason, it stands as one of the best, if not the best free security solution out there.
Notable Features: Antivirus with anti-spyware, Script Shield, Web Shield, File system shield, P2P Shield/IM Shield, AutoSandbox, CommunityIQ sensors, Boot-time scanner, Silent/Gaming Mode, Heuristics engine and tons more.
Pros: Unbeatable when it comes to number of features, minimal system impact, lots of real-time shields, rootkit protection, provides website reliability ratings
Cons: Detection rates could be better
Download Avast! Free Antivirus 6
Any experience using one of the programs above? Which program do you think is the best free antivirus in the market?