Selection of AntiVirus snapshots:
(Click to enlarge)

Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic


AOL Active Shield


Avast! Home Edition


AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition


BitDefender 10 Free Edition


ClamWin Free Antivirus


Comodo AntiVirus


Dr.Web CureIt!


PC Tools AntiVirus


Norton Security Scan

Anti-Virus Edit

Many AntiVirus companies have released "Home Edition", "Personal Editions" versions of their full product (which include real time protection) for free personal use. Add the many on demand scanners available for a second opinion, and the possibility of a third opinion with full disk online scans of practically every major antivirus product, there seems little reason to pay for a commercial product if one doesn't want to.

Memory Resident antivirus Edit

Popular Edit

  1. Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic (nagware)- StarRecommended
  2. VistaAvast! Home Edition - Star
  3. VistaAVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - Star
  4. VistaActive Virus Shield - StarRecommended Discontinued for new users 1st Aug 2007

The big three freeware antiviruses have traditionally being AntiVir, AVAST! and AVG. AntiVir in recent times has dominated some on-demand anti-virus tests, with results rivaling that of even top ranked antiviruses like Kaspersky Anti-Virus (KAV). AntiVir however lacks a email scanner unlike the other two, and the free version does not offer protection against spyware and adware. AVAST! provides additional features like Webshield (HTTP shield), IM/P2P shields on top of the standard resident shields. Experts differ on how important such features are (particularly the ability of http shield to handle exploits) given the existence of a classic file resident shield. AVG is probably the most popular of the three antiviruses, though it doesn't tend to do well in on-demand antivirus tests. AOL Active Virus Shield (discontinued) is based on KAV 6 (note: the latest KAV 6, provides various improvements, e.g PDM), and uses the well known and top rated antivirus engine. However many users have refused to use it on the account that it is from AOL. There is also some dispute over the permissive EULA. NewAOL has now replaced AOL Active Virus Shield with McAfee® VirusScan Plus (see below). This provides a more comprehensive range of protection covering email, IM as well as Buffer overflows and a system guard of various hijack points. There is also an option to install the whole suite including the firewall.

Others Edit

  1. Comodo AntiVirus /Comodo Anti-Viruspyware (CAVS) (betaware) -
  2. ClamAV (open source)- Available with or Spyware Terminator or Winpooch
  3. Vista CyberDefenderFREE - ad-supported (non-intrusive banners in interface) ROGUE (Ref: and
  4. Esafe - Outdated
  5. Malware Immunizer -
  6. McAfee® VirusScan Plus – Special edition from AOL - New 1 year only?
  7. Moon Secure Antivirus (open source)-
  8. PCclear Antispyware with Free Antivirus - unverified
  9. Vista PC Tools AntiVirus (nagware) - based on VirusBuster engine.

ClamAV is an open source project, it probably works best on email gateway servers rather than on host personal machines. The main project does not offer real time protection but there's a project to implement real time scanning or you could use Spyware Terminator with ClamAV. Moon Secure Antivirus is yet another ambitious open source project but currently uses only ClamAV signatures for real time protection.

All the other freeware antiviruses are probably too new and are not mature enough (needs to catch up with databases) to be worth considering. Comodo AntiVirus is still immature, tests by AV-comparatives show it is still far below the levels of most conventional antivirus. It also incorporates executable whitelisting.

Malware Immunizer is an unorthodox (and probably ineffective) approach to preventing malware by creating harmless text files with the same names of files created by malware.

On Demand antivirus scanners Edit

Popular Edit

  1. BitDefender 10 Free Edition - Star
  2. ClamAV (open source)-
  3. Vista Dr.Web CureIt! - StarRecommended
  4. VistaMalicious Software Removal Tool - Star
  5. Vista MicroWorld Free AntiVirus Toolkit Utility (MWAV) - Star
  6. Vista Norton Security Scan (Special version from googlepack that cleans) - New

One problem with running multiple anti viruses is that conflicts can sometimes occur.Some antiviruses will not install if they detect the presence of another antivirus installed. Of course, you can use Online scanners but these have their own problems. Most of the antiviruses here (with the exception of BitDefender 10 Free Edition) are standalone executables that do not install any files or services (all resides in one directory) hence they can be used and removed without any problems. MWAV which uses the top notch KAV engine used to be popular, however it does not infect, and has annoying false positives with registry entries. Three worth considering are Dr.Web CureIt!, Norton Security Scan and BitDefender 10 Free Edition (though BitDefender is heavy and installs a lot of unnecessary services) because they are top notch antiviruses that can be used as backup scanners.

Others Edit

  1. Vista ArcaMicroScan -
  2. Antidote -
  3. F-PROT (Dos) -
  4. Panda commandline scanner -
  5. TT Livescan+ - (Multiple-Engine/Plugin - Open Source)

Mostly second tier or outdated products. F-PROT for Dos is respectable though development has stopped (signature updates are still available). Similarly Panda commandline scanner is meant for "research purposes" /"or those who wish to implement malware scanning in a not-for-profit project" only.

On demand (specific cleaners)Edit

  1. Junk Files Cleaner -
  2. Avast! Virus Cleaner -
  3. AVG removal tools -
  4. Bitdefender removal tools -
  5. Etrust removal tools -
  6. F-secure removal tools -
  7. KAV removal tools -
  8. McAfee Stinger -
  9. McAfee Removal Tools -
  10. Multi-AV (includes Malware removal utility incorporating multiple command line scanners inclucing McAfee, Sophos, Kaspersky and Trend engines.) - , ,similar script(beta) Recommended
  11. Multi Virus Cleaner - New
  12. Norman NGenFix -
  13. Panda repair utilities -
  14. Sophos -
  15. Symantec removal tools -
  16. Trend Sysclean -
  17. Virusbuster removal tools -
  18. See also List of freeware antispyware specific cleaners

Generic tools to remove specific malware or groups of popular/common malware encountered. Use this, if you know what malware has infected the machine and/or you don't want or can't install the full antivirus packages. Multi-AV is particularly interesting since it is a program written that automates the handling of several of the programs listed here.

Bootdisks Edit

  1. Bitdefender Linux Live cd -
  2. Ultimate Boot CD for Windows -

What is there to say? Bootdisks!

Online Scanners Edit

Note: This section is no longer updated, For updated list and more details about online scans including screenshots, file upload limits, ability to clean etc, see Online Scanners .

Online Scanners (full disk, some do not disinfect) Edit

Popular Edit

  1. Bitdefender Online scan - Star
  2. Etrust - -
  3. Freedom net -
  4. Fsecure - -
  5. KAV - - Top notch detector but does not not disinfect
  6. MCafee - -
  7. Panda - - DISINFECTS for virus,worms,trojans NOT spyware, also see Panda Nanoscan Star
  8. Symantec - -
  9. Trend Housecall - and (java based) Star

Others Edit

  1. Arcaonline -
  2. Ahnlab -
  3. Command Online -
  4. Eset Online Scanner -
  5. Pitstop - (based on Panda)
  6. Rising AV - -
  7. (beta)-
  8. Viruschaser (based on Dr web) -,ff99c1?cure=on -
  9. For more online scanners see also List of freeware online antispyware scans and Lists of freeware online antitrojans scans

Online scanner (multi-engine, single file) Edit

  1. Jotti's - Star
  2. Virustotal - Star
  3. spyware scanning -

Online scanner (single engine, single file) Edit

  1. AVAST -
  2. Avert(r) Labs WebImmune (registration required but free) -
  3. ClamAv -
  4. Dr Web (via firefox antivirus link checker) -
  5. Dr Web - ,
  6. Fortiguard -
  7. KAV -
  8. UNA Online -

Online Sandbox detection Edit

  1. Normon Sandbox -
  2. Sunbelt Sandbox - or

Other related utilities Edit

  1. NoSpyZone Security Cente - New
  2. VirusTotal Uploader - NewRecommended

VirusTotal Uploader, enables you to directly send files from your system using the context menu. NoSpyZone Security Center organises various security software into one interface for control.

Information Sources Edit

Testing and certification sites Edit

  1. AV Comparatives - Latest on demand and retrospective testing results Aug 07/May 07.
  2. - Latest May 07 results, Aug 07, pdf
  3. CheckVir -Latest May 07
  4. ICSALabs - List of certified products
  5. Malware-test lab
  6. Shadowserver virus stats
  7. - (currently down, June 07) - Latest May 07 results
  8. Virus Bulletin - VB100 awards needs free registration.
  9. VirusTotal realtime stats of samples submitted by Malware Incident Reporting & Termination (MIRT) + OITC
  10. West Coast Labs checkmark certification - Level and Level 2

CheckVir, ICSALabs, West Coast Labs checkmark certification are certifying organizations but not all antiviruses submit to such testing. Reputable (though this is often a matter of opinion) antivirus tests are generally on-demand tests, where the tester collects an archive of malware and the antiviruses are nade to scan it without running the malware. Examples include AV Comparatives,, . These generally include samples in the tens or hundreds of thousands and are done at monthly or longer periods. Historically the most famous and reputable test is VB100 awards, however this test differs from the others mentioned because of their relatively small sample size as they test mainly against malware that have being reported in the wild.

Malware Incident Reporting & Termination (MIRT) + OITC and Shadowserver virus stats differing from the tests already mentioned in that malware are tested against scanners (loaded on VirusTotal for the former) as and when they are reported as opposed to waiting and testing all of the them at the same time at fixed intervals (monthly or more). These tests appear to favour scanners with aggressive heuristics because most samples tests will be new or rare.AV Comparatives also provide retrospective tests where scanner signatures are held back for 3 months and tested against current malware to see how much is detected.

Malware-test lab actually executes and runs the malware first and then tests to see how much of it is removed. The sample size is obviously much smaller. There are many other adhoc tests down on the net of course, but are of limited usefulness. See also this document.

Technicial details Edit

  1. Antivirus Research and Detection Techniques by Extreme Tech -,3973,325439,00.asp and,1697,367051,00.asp
  2. Who Goes There? An Introduction to On-Access Virus Scanning - and
  3. Heuristic Techniques in AV Solutions: An Overview -
  5. The Evolution of Self-Defense Technologies in Malware -
  6. The WildList—Still Useful?
  7. International Antivirus Testing Workshop 2007 -
  8. Comparing the comparatives -
  9. Counting Spyware Detections Perception and Reality -
  10. From Traditional Antivirus to Collective Intelligence Panda’s Technology Evolution -

Others Edit

  1. Antivirus Blogs
  2. Very comprehensive antivirus resource databases
  3. Very comprehensive security free software lists

This article is part of the Lists of Freeware Security Software: Malware Control series.

Freeware Anti-Viruses | Freeware Anti-Spyware | Freeware Anti-Trojans | Freeware Anti-Keyloggers | Freeware Anti-Rootkits | Freeware Firewalls | Freeware Behavior blockers | Freeware Sandboxes | Freeware Virtualization | Freeware Security analysis tools | Freeware Hardening tools | Freeware Blocklists | Freeware security services (excluding virus scanners) | Freeware Anti-Phishing | List of portable tools | List of unclassified tools

Related : Lists of online scanners

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