The Best Free Antivirus Software (2020 Edition)

With technological advancements being made every day, it may be difficult to keep up with the trends. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by how many different antivirus programs there are, fret not. This article will update and inform you of the best free antivirus options available now.

Table of Contents:

How Do Antivirus Programs Work?

Antivirus software works in many different ways, but one of the most important is scanning all programs and files that are opened by an unsuspecting user for viruses and other malicious code. Called “real time scanning,” an antivirus program can detect and block these types of threats in real-time and can even wipe out a threat before it causes a problem on the computer. In other words, antivirus programs can stop dangerous malware from getting into your computer when it’s still relatively confined in the first place. This is extremely useful because once the virus escapes the confinement of a file downloaded onto your computer, it’s very hard to get rid of.

Antivirus programs are also capable of full system scans, meaning the software will scan every file, program, etc. on your computer. These scans will wipe out any viruses that may have already infected your computer prior to the installation of a protective antivirus software.

Regardless of whether your antivirus software is conducting a real-time or full system scan, it works by comparing each file to several known viruses. Even in the worst-case scenario where your computer safety becomes compromised by a brand new type of virus, a good antivirus program will be able to detect bits and pieces of activity typically found in malware, and effectively eradicate the threat.

Do Antivirus Programs Really Keep You Safe?

In short, yes! The internet is a useful tool that has become a key part of many peoples’ everyday lives, however, it can also be used as a weapon. Without protection from an antivirus program, you are put at high risk of your computer being compromised by spyware (you or your web activity will be monitored), adware (unwanted advertisements will pop up on your browser), various types of scams where your passwords for social media and even your online banking accounts may be hijacked, and more. It is crucial for you to take precautionary action by installing an antivirus program in your computer that can fight against these threats.

What Are The Most Popular Free Antivirus Programs?

Avira Antivirus

This antivirus offers protection for your computer hardware and browser. Its browser extension will warn users about sites with dangerous activity. Avira operates primarily on a cloud rather than on your actual computer, meaning it will not take up much space on your computer. As a result, your computer will never lag because of the program running. This can be especially helpful for those with older computers that may not be well equipped to handle much multitasking. The application is also designed so that it can not be compromised by an attacker who has gained access to the host machine, meaning the antivirus itself will always be safe from the hands of a hacker.

AVG Antivirus

Like Avira Antivirus, AVG provides protection for both your computer and your browser. AVG’s browser extension even has AD blocking capabilities, which can be extremely helpful in preventing scams or automatic file downloads popping up on your screen. AVG collects data on viruses from all of its users and uses that data to detect threats on your software. As AVG has an immense user base, its antivirus detection program will always be updated and capable of wiping out even the newest of viruses.

Avast Antivirus

This antivirus has been available for several years now, and it has kept improving itself over time. Avast comes with the basics discussed in the past two antivirus programs: computer and browser security. However, Avast offers extra protection that cannot be found in the previous options. Avast can examine your network security, which is extremely important as hackers getting into your computer through unsecured Wi-Fi connections has become growingly common in recent times. It also offers a secure password manager, which will help you keep track of your login credentials and update your passwords to fight against hackers on a regular basis.

What Is The Best Free Antivirus Software According to Reddit users?

After examining recent Reddit threads on computer protection, there seems to be two highly praised antivirus software that has yet to be mentioned in this article.

Bitdefender

Bitdefender was probably recommended most frequently by Reddit users. The core of Bitdefender’s antivirus system is the same in the free version as the paid version. Meaning, you will be getting a quality system that many people pay for without having to splash out on it. Though it lacks layers in cybersecurity that the paid version has, it will still keep your computer well-protected. Bitdefender promises to run at full speed without slowing down your computer, meaning those with older tech that is prone to lagging will benefit from using Bitdefender as opposed to other heavier programs.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is highly recommended by many Reddit users as it scans for malware at unparalleled speeds. However, there is a downside to this program that may be a deal-breaker for some potential users. It lacks a real-time protection system. In other words, it can eradicate malware that has already infiltrated your system, but it cannot detect viruses before they are exposed to your computer. As a result, many Reddit users recommended pairing this antivirus software with another one. Through this, you can get real-time protection from another program, but also have the perks of speedy malware eradication with Malwarebytes in the case that one slips past your defense system.

What advantages do paid antivirus programs offer?

While free antivirus programs offer baseline protection, paid programs provide total protection for your computer. Paid programs tend to have better real-time protection. Threats that you may come across through online interactions may be better addressed through paid programs, as paid programs usually have better security for your sensitive information (such as your online banking accounts, online shopping transactions, etcetera). If you can afford to spend money on a paid program, it may be wise to do so. However, if spending money on online security is not something you can/want to do as of now, a free program should offer adequate protection.

Antivirus FAQs / Recap

How to disable Avast antivirus?

If you want to disable Avast Antivirus, simply click the Avast logo, click on the Avast shields control and select “disable,” then set a time frame for how long it will remain idle if applicable. Finally, confirm that you wish to actually disable Avast in the window that pops up when you finish the prior steps.

How to uninstall Avast antivirus?

On Windows 10
Click on the Windows start button and select “Apps and Features,” then find Avast Antivirus and select “uninstall.” The Avast Setup wizard will appear, and you will once again click “uninstall.” Confirm that you wish to delete the program from your computer, and it should be gone after the proper procedure.

On Windows 8
For Windows 8, press the Windows key and the “X” key at the same time, then click on “Programs and Features.” Locate Avast Antivirus and click on “uninstall.” The Avast Setup wizard will appear, and you will once again click “uninstall.” Confirm that you wish to delete the program from your computer, and it should disappear after the proper procedure

On Windows 7
Click on the Windows start button and then pick “Control Panel.” Go to “Programs,” and select either “uninstall a program” or “programs and features.” Find Avast Antivirus and choose “uninstall.” The Avast Setup wizard will appear, and you will once again click “uninstall.” Confirm that you wish to delete the program from your computer, and it should successfully leave your computer after the proper procedure.

On MacOS
You can uninstall Avast on Mac by opening the Avast Security application. Click on it again in the Menu bar and select “uninstall.” Make sure that all related Avast applications such as Avast Passwords and Avast VPN are selected as well, and then follow the procedure to get rid of the program on your computer.

How to delete McAfee antivirus?

McAfee can be deleted from your computer in the exact same way that Avast can be. Refer to the section above to find out how to uninstall this program (just replace “Avast” with “McAfee” while following along).

McAfee also offers a convenient removal tool. This tool can be found on the McAfee website. Simply download the tool online, then run it once it finishes downloading. The tool will delete everything for you without any hassle.

What is the best free antivirus for Windows 10?

According to Reddit, Bitdefender is the best free antivirus for Windows 10. When considering other sources, it seems like Aviva and Avast are highly popular and recommended by many.

Do I need antivirus for Mac?

Definitely. Though Macs are known to protect themselves quite well, they are not immune to all cyber threats. There are hackers and viruses that target Macs specifically nowadays, and thus installing an antivirus system in your computer (even a free one!) is a great addition to your security that you do not want to miss out on.

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