Antivirus programs can be helpful but they’re not a guarantee of internet security. They look for malicious files online and on your computer to deter malware from infecting your computer and stealing your personal data. Typically, they can also scan archives, look through email databases for attachments, perform a deep scan which checks CHM executables and files, skip scanning certain file types (e.g. video files) or use data room software comparison heuristic scans, block auto-run on removable devices, protect your password settings, and enable gaming or silent mode to disable notifications.
Free antivirus programs don’t come with extra features such as identity protection or advanced web security features, as you’d expect from premium security suites. However, it’s important to know what you need from your cybersecurity tool prior to choosing a free antivirus.
Most of the free antivirus programs we tested offer excellent malware detection capabilities and offer basic protection. Some of them offer some extra features like a free VPN service (upto 100MB per day) parental controls, a password manager and storage optimization features.
The majority of free software, but not premium antivirus software collect information about your device or your online activities to encourage you to purchase their paid plans. This could include pop-up ads or messages that urge you to purchase their partners’ products and other methods. But this shouldn’t deter you from making use of an antivirus program for Windows. The antiviruses we examined are easy to use, come with user-friendly dashboards and provide excellent customer support.