With so many top antivirus products available, it’s hard to know which one to buy! We’ve put together this complete round-up of the highest rated internet security for Windows!
As an IT support business, we know virus removal software, malware and how to prevent it. Check out our top picks for the best rated antivirus software of 2017! We recommend you install at least one of these products for the very best virus protection against malicious attacks, annoying popups and identity theft.
Buying and comparing the leading antivirus products online is as easy as picking it up in the retail stores. All antivirus recommendations below allow you to purchase and automatically renew online, most even come with money-back guarantees.
- Devices Protected
- Tech Support
- PC & Mac
- Mobile Device Support
- System Optimizer
- Trial Available
- Priced From
- A leading all-in-one antivirus and & tuneup product for unlmited devices!
AVG Ultimate stops viruses, spyware and other malicious software. It also blocks unsafe downloads and email attachments. This is a great option to consider amongst the top antivirus products.
AVG can scan for PC performance problems as well as assist you to shop securely online all whist getting real-time security updates.
AVG is a top performer when it comes to antivirus software to protect your family.
Norton saw, analyzed & stopped the most online threats in our tests!
- Defends against viruses, malware, spyware, ransomeware + more!
- Helps protects your privacy, finances and personal info everytime you browse the web
- Utilizes one of the largest global threat intelligence networks to remove threats faster
- Protects faster and better than other top antivirus programs
- 100% refund guarantee! Norton's tech support can help for a virus free PC or your money back!
- Bitdefender protects just over 500 million machiens wordwide and is one of the best antivirus products out there.
Bitdefender detects threats in as little as 3 seconds. It features awesome malware detection capabilities as well as webcam protection. With its multi-layer ransomware protection so your files are in safe hands.
This software is optimised for speed and cross platform performance. It includes all the standard features like parental advisor, anti-phishing, anti-fraud, privacy firewalls, passwords managers and more!
- Avast Internet Security scored quite well in our antivirus testing. It is an award winning antivirus software that is easy on your system performance whilst providing top end virus/threat detection.
Featuring a firewall, anti-spam protection, DNS protection, WiFi inspector, password management, browser cleanups and many other anti-malware measures it's a one-stop-shop for protecting your mac or PC.
- Kaspersky is a great antivirus product for the family that helps guard against threats relating to your privacy, passwords, files and photos. It turns up the security when you bank or shop online as well as featuring some parental controls to keep your kids safe online.
Kaspersky is simple to set up and use as it has an easy to follow user interface where you can toggle advanced or simple malicious software detection features.
- Trend Micro
- Trend Micro has been a household name for many years now and truly offers some of the best virus protection for windows, Mac & mobile devices.
Trend Micro scored well in our top antivirus comparisons. It offers complete protection for all online activities. It works on all devices to secure your online transactions, avoid web threats such as ransomware, shields your privacy from websites that may try to exploit you, optimises performance and helps keep your kids safe online with easy to set up parental features.
- Malware Bytes
- Malwarebytes is a great cleanup tool if you've been infected with viruses or other malicious software on your PC or Mac.
This antimalware software scored really well with its high malware detection and removal rates. The software claims to be able to detect malware that antivirus typically cannot. Whilst this software is a free version with full functionality, it's a great idea to pick up the premium version to ensure your software is always up to date!
- You probably haven't heard of Panda, but it's a top antivirus software thats worthy of our making our list.
With great protection on all devices available at terrific value, it's worth considering.
Our favorite features were the external device control, resue kit and Wi-Fi protection.
- Bullguard is one of the highest rated antivirus products out of the UK for its awesome antivirus features such as:
Parental control to block access to suspicious websites. High malware detection firewalls as well as a super refreshingly easy to user interface where you can manage your best antivirus features.
Featuring all the standard malware preventing tools like spam filters, safe browsing, firewalls, encrypted cloud backups, parental controls and identity protection, it's worth your consideration.
”Computer Malware is growing faster than ever and fortunately for us, the latest antivirus software products are equipped to handle the vast majority of malicious attacks. Simply put, you get what you pay for when it comes to free internet security vs the premium best antivirus for PC. If you’re asking yourself the question – What is the best antivirus for either Windows or Mac? We’ve done the hard work and reviewed the top 10 antivirus for you. Every paid or free antivirus program we recommend below in our list is worth your investment. The differences between these best security software are minor and they all perform extremely well in our tests.”
Top Antivirus Software Compared In More Detail
Editor's Top Pick!
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Common FAQs Regarding Windows Antivirus Software
My Windows system comes with a pre-installed antivirus program. Do I need to install additional antivirus software?
Yes. The antivirus program that comes with Windows, called Windows Defender, is just a basic program that does not offer comprehensive protection. In multiple tests, Windows Defender fails to catch viruses and generally has less user-friendly features such as on-demand scanning.
Does it matter what type of Windows operating system (Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, or XP) that I have for the antivirus program I choose?
The type of Windows OS that you have won’t change the efficacy of the antivirus software that you install. Anything before Windows 8 will not have an antivirus software program in place, so users will need to install a software program. With Windows 8 and 10, the pre-existing Windows Defender antivirus program is designed to get out of the way when the user installs a more comprehensive antivirus program.
It’s always a good idea to do some research of your own before purchasing any antivirus software. For the most part, the main features are common to all antivirus programs. However, these software programs can differ in how easy it is to use the interface, how expansive their virus definitions are, and more. Some programs also offer additional bonus features, such as vulnerability testing, that alerts users to potential security risks. Check out the Computer Fixperts reviews of the best Windows Antivirus software for more in-depth analyses and testing results.
The differences between the free and expensive Windows Antivirus software is going to depend on how much protection you require. Many of the free antivirus programs actually do a decent job of providing virus protection and alerting users to potential threats. However, the free programs don’t always come with the options for on-demand or full scans. In other words, they don’t provide the depth and coverage of antivirus protection as the other programs that cost money. This doesn’t mean that you need to pay an arm and leg to get good antivirus protection, but getting an antivirus service with a subscription does provide more bonuses and comprehensive services, such as additional security protection.
This depends on the program that you install, but for the most part, Windows Antivirus software should not take up that much space. Some programs can take up as little as 300 MB of hard disk space.
Overall, your computer should function at normal speeds after installing any antivirus programs. When opening files, you probably won’t even notice that the antivirus software is running a scan and checking it for viruses. After you first install an antivirus program, you may even notice the computer runs faster as the program detects and deletes any viruses that may have already been infecting the computer. During full scans, the computer functions may slow down as the full scan requires more CPU usage and disk space, but once the scan is over, your computer should be up and running as usual.
The Internet & Malware – Put In Perspective
The internet is an amazing, endlessly open network where people come together to socialise, read and share about various topics or even transfer billions of dollars a day between bank accounts all around the world. It’s ever changing and is the absolute centre of what’s become our digital lives.
When we think about the Internet, viral videos of cats come to mind on YouTube or our favourite cooking recipes that we find on Google. What most people browse every day on the Internet is mostly harmless. However, there’s another dark and gloomy side of the Internet that just isn’t found on Google that lurks around in the background just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on unsuspecting users. The delivery of such bad encounters is carried through what we know as malware or malicious software.
Most people think, “why would someone want to create such destructive software with the aim of ripping people’s identity and stealing their money?” I guess the same could be said about robbing banks. The fact is, we live in a world where model citizens are taken advantage of by criminals out to get what they can.
With all this in mind, we have to be vigilant with our online activities. That said, no matter how careful you are, chances are you’ll get malware on your computer at some time in your life. A lot of the time the malware is harmless, but sometimes you’re not so lucky. Overnight you could lose your identity or have your computer completely wiped out. Therefore, It’s important to be vigilant and employ the best virus protection for Windows 10. Not to worry, as our antivirus comparison and reviews can point you in the right direction for achieving the best virus protection possible.
To protect computers and important information, Windows users should make sure they have installed Windows Antivirus software. With the amounts of viruses and malicious software that come with Internet browsing, even the most cautious computer users require Windows Antivirus software. The number of viruses lurking on the Internet in browsers, plug-ins, URLs, and e-mails, just to name a few, make it absolutely essential for computer and laptop users to protect themselves and their devices with a robust antivirus program. Windows Antivirus software is the first line of defense in ensuring your computer or laptop does not get infected.
What is Windows Antivirus Software and What Does it Do?
Simply put, Windows Antivirus software protects computers and laptops from computer viruses, in addition to other destructive software like trojans, adware, worms, and more.
For the best Windows Antivirus software, the recommended action is to install a third-party program. Windows has a pre-installed antivirus software for anything starting with Windows 8 and onward called Windows Defender. Anything prior to Windows 8, such as Windows 7 or Vista, did not come with antivirus software, leading to annoying built-in reminders from the operating system to install an antivirus program.
The problem with relying on Windows Defender is that its defense is weak. When it comes to antivirus protection, there are other programs on the market that are more robust and do a better job overall in providing comprehensive protection. Installing a third-party Windows Antivirus software will not interfere with Windows Defender in any way, which is one way that Windows was thinking ahead. Windows Defender is designed to disengage when a third-party program is installed. If that same program is uninstalled, Defender will re-engage.
All the top-ranking Windows Antivirus software programs have a few shared features:
- Scans files and directories for virus, malware, trojans
- Detect incoming or downloaded viruses and warn the user
- Provides ongoing automatic and/or scheduled scans
- Enables user to initiate a scan at any time
- Removes malicious viruses and unwanted software
- Displays files being scanned
- Shows an overview of computer health
Windows anti-malware software programs do some complex and extensive work, but the good news is that they don’t require users to have in-depth knowledge of computer viruses. All users have to do is run the scan. Occasionally, the software program may warn the user if an attack or suspicious files, or it may prompt the user to confirm or reject the removal of malicious software. Aside from that, the Windows Antivirus programs make it easy for computer and laptop users to protect their devices.
How Does Antivirus Work On My PC?
The way Windows Antivirus software works is through a multi-layered procedure involving scanning, virus definitions, and heuristics.
The term “scan” covers a number of procedures performed by the Windows Antivirus software. For the most part, users can rely on the antivirus program to perform its ongoing, routine scan. Such routine scans have different names—quick scan, on-access scanning, real-time protection, background scanning—according to the program itself. These scans run any time you start up the computer, open files, or browse the Internet.
Users can also initiate a quick scan. These quick scans don’t take much time, although that also depends on how many files are on your computer. Routine scans are faster because they only scan the files most likely to be infected with viruses or malicious software. The antivirus program will check these files for known virus codes to ensure that none of the files are infected.
The more extensive scan that a Windows Antivirus software program can perform is what is known as a full scan. Full scans check every file on the computer, which means they can also take a long time to complete. Users typically don’t need to worry about performing full scans because the antivirus software program will run one routinely, about once a week. There are times, however, when a full scan is preferred, such as when first installing the Windows Antivirus software to check for extant viruses, or when a user suspects the computer has become infected.
To perform both the quick and full scans, a Windows Antivirus software relies on virus definitions. Virus definitions are the coding information of known viruses and malicious software. A comprehensive antivirus program has a database of virus definitions that it cross-references during scans. These virus definition databases are kept up-to-date to ensure the program can catch the newest viruses.
If the antivirus program comes across data that matches a known virus, it stops the file from running and essentially puts it into quarantine. At this point, depending on how the user has set up the scan preferences, the antivirus program will either delete the file automatically or prompt the user for permission to delete the file.
On top of using virus definitions, a Windows Antivirus software program will perform what are called “heuristics.” Heuristics allow the program to identify a possible virus, even if the data for that malicious software is not in the database of virus definitions. Any unusual activity, such as a program attempting to open or infect a file in the background, the program will flag that as a possible threat. The user will receive notification of the possible threat and be asked to decide to delete the file.
When performing heuristics, it is possible for the program to make an error and falsely flag a file with what is known as a false positive. These minor imperfections occur because heuristic alerts must rely on suspicious activity rather than known malicious activity. But it is better to err on the side of safety than risk the health of the computer.
Who is Windows Antivirus Software for?
Windows Antivirus software is for anyone who uses Windows operating systems. Even those who have the extant Windows Defender pre-installed on their Windows 8 or Windows 10 operating system should still consider installing antivirus software. Antivirus programs are for any type of user, especially anyone who uses the Internet. If you have children and want to make sure they’re also protected, it might be wise to choose antivirus that includes useful internet filter or parental controls. Often people who use antivirus couple it with an added layer of protection such as a VPN or Virutal Private Network. The best VPNs encyrpt, anonymise and un-block you geographically online.
Why Do I need AV Installed on Windows?
The primary reason to install a Windows Antivirus software program is to protect the health of your computer. Without it, a computer or laptop owner risks losing important files, having important information stolen (such as credit card information, passwords, etc.), or suffering a computer crash.
There are many ways a computer can become infected with a virus, and an antivirus program protects against these numerous points of invasion including SPAM email phishing. Any type of internet activity, from browsing to downloading, makes a computer vulnerable to infection. Viruses can sometimes piggy-back onto legitimate programs, and when these legitimate programs are downloaded and run, they will also launch the virus. Viruses can also lurk on websites that the user visits. Plug-ins can also open the computer to viruses. Plug-ins come as an addition to some programs, including internet browsers, and they generally provide useful perks or additional features. However, these plug-ins can also end up being carriers for viruses.
The abundance of viruses on the internet is why antivirus programs are constantly updating their virus definitions and why it is essential to have a hardy Windows Antivirus software in place to protect your information and your computer.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Windows AV Protection?
There are numerous benefits to using a Windows Antivirus software, but there can be some disadvantages as well. Overall, computer experts agree that the pros far outweigh the cons.
- Protects computer health
- Runs automatic quick and full scans
- Alerts user to viruses and security risks
- Removes malicious software
- Maintains up-to-date database of virus definitions
- Flags potential viruses through heuristics
- Prevents file and disk corruption
- Safeguards user data (credit card information, passwords, etc.)
- Cheaper than buying a computer to replace an infected one
- Might create false positives
- Might flag files that are actually not infected
- Can cause some lag, especially during full scans
- Potentially expensive depending on the program
- Takes up disk space for the program
What Are the Main Features to Look Out for With Microsoft OS Based Antivirus Software?
When shopping for Windows Antivirus software, there are many features that are common to all programs, and some features that only the best software programs offer. The main features to look out for are ones that protect any type of user, from those with minimal knowledge about computers to those with extensive knowledge. The features below include those that are standard across most antivirus platforms in addition to features that are highly beneficial that users may want to keep in mind.
- Quick and full scan availability—this is standard for most antivirus programs
- On-demand scanning—this allows users to initiate scans immediately after installation or for diagnostics check
- Behavior-based/ heuristic scanning—catches new or unknown viruses
- Malicious URL blocking—blocks user from visiting sites that spread viruses
- Phishing blocking—prevents user from opening phishing e-mails that ask for important user information (such as social security number, address, bank account information)
- Website rating—warns users of potentially risky websites that may contain viruses
- Vulnerability scanning—alerts users to flaws or weaknesses in the security system that may need to be repaired
Further Information For Protecting Your PC With Antivirus
Antivirus looks for and detects, and then prevents and further disarms or removes malware software often referred to as a virus. No antivirus offers a perfect one-stop solution at safeguarding you from online threats, but it is an absolutely critical first step to take for securing your PC or mac from malicious software. Internet security is not so much now about countering virus attacks, but more now more than ever about protecting the security of your personal data. This includes banking details and personal emails and password management etc. The modern criminal that is hell bent on capturing your personal information doesn’t need to be a hard-line computer hacker either. They can purchase special software from the dark web or even Ebay with fully functional email lists that can infect your computer turning your misfortune into their financial gain or otherwise.
With the rise of technological advancements among personal computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, consumers are prone to online threats including viruses, worms, malware, or spyware. The increasing rate of these threats is at an all-time high, encouraging consumers to provide their electronic devices with adequate care and protection, ultimately, an antivirus program or software. If consumers do not take appropriate action in protecting their devices, these infections can spread, resulting in damaging effects in devices, leading them to become dysfunctional, slow-paced, or unresponsive.
The purchase of a laptop, mobile phone, or a tablet can be quite an expensive price range, from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Consumers usually save up to make a purchase as big as this one whether they need it for leisure or business purposes. The process of selecting the right device requires an abundant amount of time and research because consumers know they will highly depend on their device to search the web, save important documents and files, all while communicating with friends and coworkers. The resources these smart devices provide are necessary for work as well as school environments, but the online threats they bring are unavoidable, placing your device in a dangerous situation.
Upon the purchase of their desired device, consumers are encouraged to purchase an antivirus software to protect and detect any threats to the life of their computer. Many times, an antivirus software is offered at the time of purchase, but consumers decide to do without it, making a huge mistake. A large problem arises when consumers decide to skip the investment of antivirus software because they believe they are capable of staying away from harmful sites. While this may be true, it is extremely difficult to avoid online threats and malware because of how common they have become and their intricate nature. Customers don’t always understand that an antivirus software makes all the difference in the lifespan of their device, by protecting and solving any malicious malware found within it. With circumstances such as this one, it is better to be safe than sorry.
A Computer Technician’s Perspective On Virus Protection
Every day our mobile computer technicians visiting homes and businesses in Brisbane come across all types of malware and viruses ranging from ad pop-ups and other simple malware to the most malicious strains of computer virus like the CryptoLocker virus. Virus removal is massive business and it forms a large part of what Computer Fixperts does on a weekly basis.
With so many different products available on the market, our computer technicians are always asked. “What is the best antivirus software out there”? Well, that question can be answered in many different ways depending on how highly you regard your online security and your willingness to invest in decent antivirus protection. Most people don’t actually appreciate the threat of malware on their lives and often overlook the need for “paying for antivirus”.
You have free antivirus products offered as well as paid retail products that you can purchase from your favourite computer department stores like Harvey Norman or JB Hifi. Let’s talk about the differences between these antivirus products from a computer technician’s point of view.
The Best Free Antivirus Software
Still wondering what the best anti virus protection is? From our top 10 reviews, we found free antivirus products to certainly be effective and actually offer great protection over the standard offering from Windows being Windows Defender. But in our opinion, you truly do get what you pay for.
Free products such as AVG and others simply just don’t provide the frequency of database updates and effective malware prevention when compared to their premium paid counterparts. In saying that, there are plenty of free versions of the paid retail products that you can take advantage of a free 30 day trial of the full version before buying.