16 Best Free Antivirus Programs for 2016

Complete Reviews of the Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows

One nasty virus could expose your financial information or stop your computer from working at all. What you need is the best antivirus software possible on your computer. Fortunately, some of the best are also completely free!

Many companies offer free versions of their popular antivirus programs for home users. My favorites are avast! Free AntivirusAVG Anti-Virus Free, and MSE (in that order) but be sure to look through the alphabetical list below to find the best free antivirus for you.

Important: I've included no trial or shareware antivirus programs in this list. These are the best antivirus programs that are completely free and work similarly to, or better than, expensive programs from companies like Norton and McAfee.

See my Free On-Demand Virus Scanners list if you're interested in free antivirus tools without constant virus protection or my Free Online Virus Scanners list if you're interested in a free online-based antivirus scan of a file.

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+

Best Free Antivirus
Steven Puetzer/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Lavasoft's Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ program is different than the "Ad-Aware" you may already be familiar with. This program is a true, always-on, completely free antivirus program.

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ supports Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

If my list was anything other than alphabetical, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ probably wouldn't head up the pack, mainly because email scanning isn't supported. However, if you love Lavasoft's other free products, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ is a pretty solid choice. More

Amiti Antivirus

Screenshot of Amiti Antivirus in Windows XP
Amiti Antivirus. © NETGATE Technologies s.r.o.

Amiti Antivirus is a free antivirus program that includes heuristic scanning and supports 4 different scan types, including one that can check for viruses that are currently running in memory.

Amiti Antivirus can be used with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

I really like how easy Amiti Antivirus is to use. All the settings and options are organized on the left side of the program in their respective areas without being overly cluttered.

There's also a tool included in Amiti Antivirus that can be used to quickly clean temporary system and Internet Explorer files to free up disk space. More

avast! Free Antivirus 2016

Screenshot of avast! Free Antivirus 2016 v11 in Windows 7
avast! Free Antivirus 2016. © AVAST Software

AVAST Software's avast! Free Antivirus 2016 most certainly deserves to be on any list of the best free antivirus programs. avast! Free Antivirus has fully functioning antivirus and antispyware engines protecting your PC from threats from the Internet, your files, emails, and even instant messages.

One big reason I included avast! Free Antivirus 2016 as a best free antivirus program is because of its "heuristics engine" which can detect previously unknown viruses and other malware. I also like the fact that AVAST has been making this antivirus product since 1988 and is often cited as the most installed antivirus product.

avast! Free Antivirus 2016 supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. More

AVG AntiVirus Free

Screenshot of AVG AntiVirus Free v16.81.7640 in Windows 7
AVG AntiVirus Free. © AVG Technologies

AntiVirus Free from AVG is one of the best free antivirus software tools available and is probably my personal favorite.

AVG AntiVirus Free is a full-fledged antivirus and antispyware tool, includes an email scanner, link scanner, scheduled scanning options, automatic updates, and more. There is no need to pay for an antivirus program when one this good is just a download away.

The huge number of premium features, ​the frequency of updating, and install-it-and-forget-it aspect of AVG's AntiVirus Free really do make it one of the best of the best free antivirus programs available today.

AVG AntiVirus Free works on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. More

Avira Free Antivirus

Screenshot of Avira Free Antivirus in Windows 7
Avira Free Antivirus. © Avira Operations

Avira Free Antivirus protects you from viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and various other kinds of malware, making it a fully functional antimalware tool and one of the best free antivirus programs.

The scope of malware that Avira Free Antivirus can keep you safe from is alone enough to make it one of the best free antivirus software programs but the heuristics and ease of use add to its value too. The only things I didn't like about Avira Free Antivirus was the configuration you have to complete after installation which might be intimidating if you're a computer novice.

Avira Free Antivirus works on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Avira can also be used on a Mac and Linux computer. More

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Screenshot of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. © Bitdefender

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is on par with any of the arguably better-known free antivirus programs ​on my list.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is incredibly easy to setup and configure, uses very little system resources (it won't slow down your computer), and doesn't constantly suggest that you upgrade to their premium offerings.

The sheer simplicity of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, both during installation and use, make it, in my opinion, one of the better of the best free antivirus programs.

Antivirus Free Edition by Bitdefender fully supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Though it's not officially compatible, it may also run just fine on Windows 10. More

Baidu Antivirus 2015

Screenshot of Baidu Antivirus 2015 v5.4.3 in Windows 7
Baidu Antivirus 2015 v5.4.3. © Baidu, Inc.

Baidu Antivirus 2015 is lightweight and fights malware via its cloud-based virus database.

It has an anti-hacker firewall, anti-phishing protection, anti-keylogger, webcam protection, automatic download protection, quarantine sandbox, and other extremely useful features.

It automatically updates, scans USB devices and the Windows registry, can have its settings password protected, has a built-in cloud file scanner to upload suspicious files to Baidu to be scanned, and supports several other useful tools like a traffic monitor and private browser tool.

Overall, Badiu Antivirus 2015 ran quickly, using little system resources, and functioned just as good as the other antivirus programs in this list.

Baidu Antivirus 2015 works in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. More

Comodo Antivirus

Screenshot of Comodo Antivirus v8 in Windows 7
Comodo Antivirus.

Comodo Antivirus from Comodo Security Solutions is another excellent program, easily one of the best free antivirus options out there. Comodo Antivirus protects you from several threat sources, just as most of the other free antivirus programs on this list do.

Comodo Antivirus ranks as a best free antivirus solution almost solely because of its Defense+ technology that, by default, assumes unknown files are threats instead of safe. That sounds like it might cause problems but Comodo Antivirus utilizes some other technologies to make the whole process silent but still very effective.

Comodo Antivirus officially supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. More


Screenshot of FortiClient

FortiClient is an antivirus, web filtering, firewall, parental control, optimization, (and then some) program that's powerful enough for a business to use. It's more accurately referred to as a "threat management" tool.

While that might all sound really complicated, especially considering that you probably only have one computer you're worried about, FortiClient is really easy to setup, automatically updates its virus definition files, does a full system scan once per week, and much more, all without you ever having to worry about it.

FortiClient supports Windows XP and newer Windows operating systems, which includes Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. It can also run on Mac OS X. More


Screenshot of Immunet 5 in Windows 8

Immunet is a unique, cloud-based antivirus program, much like Panda Free Antivirus and Kingsoft Antivirus. Immunet protects your computer from bots, worms, viruses, Trojans, keyloggers, and spyware.

I think Immunet is one of the best free antivirus programs for several reasons: you never have to update it, it has completely free telephone based support, and it can be run alongside some of the other best free antivirus tools in this list, increasing your overall protection.

Immunet is said to run only on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP, but it may function normally on Windows 10 and Windows 8 too. More

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012

Screenshot of Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 in Windows XP
Kingsoft Antivirus 2012.

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 is a cloud-based antivirus program like Panda Free Antivirus and Immunet. Kingsoft Antivirus keeps an eye out for malware locally, when downloading files, while chatting on IM, and more.

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 ranks among the best free antivirus programs, especially among the cloud-based ones, because it also protects you when you're not online, a premium offering with some of the other cloud services. I also really liked how quickly the program seems to work.

Kingsoft Antivirus 2012 supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. More

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)

Screenshot of Microsoft Security Essentials v4.8 in Windows 7
Microsoft Security Essentials.

Security Essentials from Microsoft is definitely one of the best free antivirus programs available right now. Microsoft is relatively new to the antivirus game but don't let that scare you - Security Essentials is a fantastic antivirus program that protects you from all sorts of malware, updates automatically, and is incredibly easy to use.

Two of the biggest reasons I added Microsoft Security Essentials to this list of the best free antivirus software is because it's available directly from Microsoft and also because it's very easy to see if your computer is secure from threats: if the icon next to your clock is green, you're good; if it's red, something is wrong.

Microsoft Security Essentials supports Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The anti-malware protection in MSE is part of the built-in Windows Defender tool in Windows 8 and 10, while Windows XP is no longer supported. More

Panda Free Antivirus

Screenshot of Panda Free Antivirus v16 in Windows 7
Panda Free Antivirus. © Panda Security

Panda Free Antivirus protects you from several kinds of malware threats - viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and more - just like all the other free antivirus programs in this list.

What makes Panda Free Antivirus one of the best free antivirus programs is that it does its job from "the cloud" meaning the hard antivirus work that typically slows down a computer is done on computers elsewhere on the Internet, freeing up your computer to work like it should and protecting you from malware even better.

Panda Cloud Antivirus FREE supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. More

Rising Antivirus Free Edition

Screenshot of Rising Antivirus Free Edition in Windows 7
Rising Antivirus Free Edition.

Rising Antivirus Free Edition is the free antivirus offering from China's largest antivirus maker, Rising Software.

While I doubt that Rising Antivirus Free Edition would top anyone's list of the most attractive antivirus software interfaces, it does appear to work like any other antivirus program.

I tested Rising Antivirus Free Edition in Windows 7 and it worked without any issues. More

UnThreat AntiVirus

Screenshot of UnThreat AntiVirus Free Edition 6 in Windows 8
UnThreat AntiVirus Free Edition 6.

UnThreat AntiVirus offers standard malware protection, including threats via email. I found nothing too impressive about this program aside from its price... or lack thereof, I suppose.

For the most part, I found the installation and use of UnThreat AntiVirus on par with most of the other best free antivirus programs I've profiled here. My favorite thing? UnThreat didn't try to install extra software or toolbars during installation, nor were any of my browser settings changed. While that should be commonplace, it's not, and it was appreciated.

UnThreat AntiVirus officially supports the following Windows operating systems but may work for others too: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. More

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015

Screenshot of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 in Windows XP
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015.

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 is just that - a combination free antivirus and firewall tool.

Check Point Software, the makers of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015, have been in the firewall business for a long time. They make good software and this program is no exception. While I didn't notice anything spectacular about the antivirus portion of this program, having an antivirus and firewall tightly integrated has its benefits.

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 should work with all recent versions of Windows. More

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