Top 4 Free Antivirus Software

An overview of free antivirus from AVG, Microsoft, Comodo and avast. Which one's the best?

Free antivirus software is a very handy addition to your PC. But the operative question is: which free antivirus package is the top choice? Eric Geier looks at the leaders.

While AVG, Microsoft, Comodo and avast aren't the only providers of free anti-virus software they are some of the most popular so if you are sick of paying every year for antivirus protection, we'll help you decide which free program works for you. Let’s check them out:

avast Antivirus 6

First, let’s take a look at the free offering from AVAST Software for home users: avast Antivirus 6. It includes virus, spyware, and rootkit protection. In addition to the basic functionality, here are some of the advanced features you’ll find:

Real-time shields: The file system shield monitors and scans files you open, save, and store on the computer. It serves as the main component of protection and is similar to other real-time scanners. However, avast also provides additional shields that monitor specific connections to potentially detect infections before they actually get to the file system. These shields monitor mail, Web, P2P, IM, and network traffic. The script and behavior shields also provide detection of scripts and suspicious behavior.

Auto sandboxing: Automatically runs suspicious files in a virtual isolated environment so no damage can be made to the actual system. Manually running files in the sandbox is only provided in the premium editions. However, when avast detects a suspicious file the user is prompted with info about it and asked whether to run it in the sandbox, normally, or not at all. If ran in the sandbox, the program will have a red border. You can play in the sandbox with a test program.

Boot-time scanner: Can be enabled to run a scan before Windows loads the next time you reboot. Since it has direct drive access, it may be able to better remove rootkits and other stubborn infections. Site blocking: Optionally list URLs to block users from visiting. Though only a basic filter, it’s a great bonus feature.

Virus alerts: Can notify others of any viruses that are detected, sent via email, printer, or network message.

Password protection: Protect the avast components and settings with a password, so your children and others can’t play with or disable it.

No matter which antivirus solution you use, it’s best to run weekly full scans to make sure no infections have made it through. Some antivirus programs auto schedule this for you, but avast doesn’t. But don’t fret, simply click Scan Computer, click More Details for Full System Scan, click Settings, and select the Scheduling tab.

Read the rest about free antivirus software - the AVG, Microsoft, Comodo packages at eSecurity Planet.

Tags: security, antivirus software, anti-virus

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