Shopping Product Reviews

Best Free Antivirus and Antimalware Solutions for 2015

You might be confused when those who seem to know a lot about this topic use terms like “antivirus” and “malware” interchangeably. Or you may wonder why you need a firewall if you have an antivirus. For the casual reader, these terms can be confusing and certainly unpleasant. This is why so many people trust payment solutions. And money in the pockets of those companies.

For the next few minutes, I’ll lift that veil of confusion and give you the power to make decisions for yourself that will protect your PC from those who might try to harm it for fun or for profit.

First: what is a PC security suite?

A security suite made up of six elements:

1. Antivirus

2. A firewall

3. A malware detector

4. Malicious website or phishing software detector

5. A software uninstaller

6. A cache cleaner and debris removal software

Let’s take a look at each of these aspects.

The best free antivirus

Currently, there are 5 key players when it comes to free antivirus software providers: Avast, AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials, Avira, and Panda.

Avast is my favorite of the bunch. The first install was a bit frustrating as it took quite a while and crashed a couple of times, but it paid off in the end. In many of the reports from other users online, I found it to be a highly regarded solution. In fact, it won bronze in WebUser’s “Best Antivirus 2015”. Not bad at all, considering it was the only free antivirus that was deemed worthy of being included among the paid contenders.

Special mention:

When I first tried Panda, the cloud-based antivirus, I was not very impressed. He tried his best to upload all my files to the cloud and render them inoperable on my PC. Now, two years later, it has matured and does a very remarkable job with very light software. It is cloud-based, so it doesn’t clog your laptop.

Free Firewall

A firewall is used to protect your home network, not just an individual PC. Windows already comes with its own Firewall, but if you want real control over what your computer sends and receives online, Glasswire is awesome!

It’s an all-in-one threat and network monitor, and it can even tell you what your laptop has been accessing online in your absence (or which apps they have accessed).

You will receive a notification the first time a software accesses the Internet so you can see if it is intentional or unpleasant.

Glasswire will even monitor your bandwidth and internet usage for you. Hurry though, Glasswire has stated that this won’t be free forever.

Anti-malware security

Contrary to many people’s ideas about an antivirus, it’s only the first line of defense and doesn’t always guarantee a smooth laptop. From time to time, it is important to run a malware scan on your machine. This is to find malicious software that you downloaded by mistake or that bypassed your antivirus because you were not aware of it at the time.

The best of the free options, in the opinion of most people, based on my research (and in my own experience) is MalwareBytes free anti-malware.

When using this program, always update it beforehand as it is constantly updated to combat new threats. Also, don’t delete anything unless you do your homework on what it recommends you delete.

Always remove a Trojan.

Web Link Malware Detector

When browsing search results, it is not always possible to avoid infected sites that will damage your laptop just by visiting them. Fortunately, there is a way to know whether to visit a link or avoid it.

There are two applicants for this section and both are equally good.

1. The web of trust

2. Avast Online Security for Chrome

They both give a green light (either a circle or a check mark) next to a secure link in search results, or an orange or red if the site link is suspect. The only difference is that Web of Trust has fewer users to report malware, so I would trust Avast more.

Removing leftover software and files

Every now and then you will need to remove old or unwanted software and the best uninstaller I have found that balances the amount of leftover files deleted with the speed of operation is iObit’s rather excellent Advanced Uninstaller.

When you do more deep cleaning, take care to ensure that the registry files you delete are part of the unwanted software. However, this has not been the same problem when using iObit as when using other uninstallers that are more likely to make mistakes – deleting bad registry files can be fatal to your PC or laptop!

CCleaner

CCleaner is short for “Junk Cleaner” and is used to erase cookies, temporary files, and all kinds of junk files which, when accumulated on your machine over time, will slowly reduce its performance to a minimum level.

It is true that I own the professional version of this, but the free version should not be taken lightly. In fact, there is little more in the pro version than extras like automatic cleaning and automatic timing. However, at less than $ 20 for a lifetime license and the ability to use the same license for each laptop in the home, it’s a very small price to pay.

Defraggler

Check out Defraggler from the same people, to help defragment your machine on a monthly basis, so that after deleting files, what’s left remains in one piece to allow smoother hard drive operation.

There you have it – a complete suite of absolutely free software that will rival any paid antivirus security package!

Enjoy the savings and peace of mind.

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