Which free anti-virus for Windows XP would you recommend?

Dr.Sunil V June 21, 2013

Which free anti-virus for Windows XP would you recommend? I want one that’s able to cover phishing which has become common. Though full free versions may be rare you may include 1 year free trial versions in your recommendations.

  1. Capagira
    July 2, 2013 at 8:13 am

    How about Immunet?
    (powered by ClamAV)

  2. DalSan M
    June 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    There are quite a few people that might disagree with getting the paid version of Malwarebytes AntiMalware since it offers little more protection than the free version. The free version is better for most prior because it does not run in the background, slowing the computer's performance. It is best suggested for manual scans every so often for extra protection because what one security software misses, another might find and get rid of the issue (virus, malware, spyware, etc.) http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2415302,00.asp gives a better idea on why the paid version may not be worth getting.

  3. Francis Pillow
    June 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm


  4. Mauricio A
    June 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I recommend using Microsoft Security Essentials and combine it with the free version of MalwareBytes. That way you have Security Essentials monitoring and blocking for you in Real-Time and MalwareBytes is playing as a second defense. Inexpensive and protectedl sounds like a win to me.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:49 am


      Pl note on this url , that another respondent mentions with a link about Microsoft Security Essential's AV certification failure

    • Mauricio A
      June 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      That's why i recommended combining it with MalwareBytes; Being the primary protection, MalwareBytes; keeps the system in check and managed - of course the best choice is to buy it for $19.99 then the free version which is great and protects thoroughly and efficient. Microsoft Security Essentials is only meant to be used for the real-time protection that won't over use the system, won't take up much space nor will it take control of the system as seeing that it's the same system.

  5. Taylor_Dover
    June 25, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Get a Mac ;)


    Run Linux.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:50 am


      That then would have been a different question

  6. danielooi
    June 24, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Microsoft Security Essentials is always my first choice. You need at least Windows XP SP3 to install it.

  7. Lync
    June 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I'mhht! :-) telling you it's Comodo Dragon Pro. Best anti-virus and firewall out there. In the 4 years since I switched nothing has ever got through! :-)

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:52 am


  8. Ron
    June 23, 2013 at 7:53 am

    And a great addition to anti-virus is MalwareBytes http://malwarebytes.org

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:53 am


      Appending a sub-question : Does antivirus also identify malware as virus?

    • susendeep dutta
      June 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Antiviruses reports things as they are.For example,Avast will display message that ~ 'a Malware was found and the file has been successfully repaired'.Similar message would be displayed for trojans and worms too.

  9. Ben W
    June 23, 2013 at 6:06 am

    For most Windows XP systems, they are the old, secondary computers, and either aren't as important as their newer, main systems, or simply have aged hardware.
    In this instance, I prefer Panda Cloud Antivirus (Free) simply because how little resources it takes to run.

    It's just one of those cases where its a toss up between security, and whether you're having enough trouble running a simple web-page, or have room to spare.

    • dragonmouth
      June 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      You make Win XP systems sound like they were 64KB RAM and a 8086 CPU. While Win XP machines may no longer be bleeding edge, the are still the primary workhorses for many people and corporations world wide. They can comfortably run ANY of the AV programs mentioned so far.

    • Ben W
      June 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Of course, XP itself doesn't make them slow, but a majority of the XP computers I've seen weren't the best when they were new 5-10 years ago, and either hasn't aged well, or haven't been taken care of as well as they should have been.

      I suppose if OP simply left out his OS in his question, and I would have recommended MSE, but since they specified XP, I assumed it was on the slow end.

  10. Ishan Lankage
    June 23, 2013 at 5:35 am

    i think microsoft security essential is better.& i recommend avast, avg avira are not bad.

  11. albert
    June 23, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Comodo Internet security or Sandboxi
    Bitdefender free version
    Bitdefender Safepay
    Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET)
    Kaspersky Free Malware Removal Tools
    Norton ConnectSafe for Home
    Secunia Personal Software Inspector
    Blocking Unwanted Connections with a Hosts File
    Security extensions for Google Crhome.:
    HTTPS Everywhere,DoNotTrackMe, AdBlock,WOT,FlashControl, VTchromizer.and Safe Script.
    Reboot Restore Rx™

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:57 am


      That is many!

      Pl customize your list as to which is most reliable and does not use much resources. If it covers malware and phishing would be added advantage

    • susendeep dutta
      June 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      The long list mentioned by albert are tools to make your working in PC secure.All are not a list of Antiviruses.

    • albert
      July 9, 2013 at 1:51 am

      Internet suite:
      Comodo Internet security

      Bitdefender free version
      Panda Cloud Antivirus

      Other security apps:

      Norton ConnectSafe for Home

      Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit

      Stand-alone malware and virus removal tools

      McAfee Stinger
      McAfee GetSusp http://mcaf.ee/fj1qs

      [Broken Links Removed]

  12. Jaypee Cruz
    June 23, 2013 at 5:16 am

    i always use Microsoft security essentials.. .. had have no problems with it.. just keep it updated and it'll do it's job :)

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:59 am


      Sounds nice

      Pl note on this question page , that another respondent mentions of failure of antivirus certification for MSE

  13. Muhammad Ahmad0
    June 23, 2013 at 3:45 am

    In recent tests of Antivirus labs, bitdefender scored higher rating than other competitive. I suggest you to use bitdefender free antivirus.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:59 am


  14. Paul Pruitt
    June 23, 2013 at 2:59 am

    Bitdefender has a freee version now: http://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html. That may be the best of both worlds...

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:01 am


      Appending a sub-question : Is it true that there is not much difference between free and paid versions of Bitdefender except that Paid offers features in addition to antivirus coverage?

    • Paul Pruitt
      June 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Here is a possibly useful breakdown. Basically it has the same power as the paid version but everything is automatic. There is little configuration available. Infections are immediately deleted or quarantined without the possibility of asking:


      Being an Antivirus product of course it is not like an Internet Security one that has a firewall. So you have to use Microsoft's or download one, which is not so bad.

  15. DalSan M
    June 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    For extra phishing and malware protection through DNS servers, try using either the suggested Norton DNS, Comodo DNS: http://www.comodo.com/secure-dns/ (how to change the settings in XP:http://www.comodo.com/secure-dns/switch/windows_xp.html), OpenDNS (which allows blocking and whitelisting content asking with phishing protection): http://use.opendns.com/#winxp, or other secure DNS provider.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Shall check

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:30 am


      I checked the web-link for configuring DNS server

      Appending a question to this procedure : Would changing of the configuration of numbers affect the network data access and original settings?

    • DalSan M
      June 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      Changing these settings should only affect the internet addresses since the DNS providers would carry the cache of IP addresses associated to each website name and page. This would change virtually nothing as far as network settings for a home or business network for device to device connectivity, only outgoing internet access connectivity.

      Since the above suggested DNS providers try to keep track of questionable and dangerous known sites, the protection from these sites is performed on the DNS server end before even reaching your computer.

  16. Chinmay Sarupria
    June 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Always ensure to protect your PC with the best Antivirus available whether it is free or not and the best antivirus is Bitdefender and even better, MakeUseOf is giving it away for 600 points. You can't get anything better than that.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:31 am


  17. susendeep dutta
    June 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Most of the Antivirus vendors offer trial versions of their paid products for a maximum of 30 days.The don't offer it free for 1 year.If they did,then it would be equivalent or equal to their free edition of their product.

    Why not exchange your points to get BitDefender Internet Security 2013 from MUO by going to rewards section under "For Windows" section.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:32 am


      Other than period some avs differ by features in free and trial?

    • susendeep dutta
      June 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      In trial mode,most of the products would offer you full features for a certain period of time whereas a free version cuts those and makes that free product available for 1 year or more.

  18. Aniket Singh
    June 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

    you should try norton or bitdefender ....but they are not free

    • Paul Pruitt
      June 23, 2013 at 2:58 am

      Bitdefender now has a free version!


    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm


      What is diff between free and trial?

    • dragonmouth
      June 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      "What is diff between free and trial?"
      FREE is forever (or until the corporate policy changes)
      TRIAL is free for only a predetermined amount of time, usually 30 days. After the trial period expires, you pay for the product.

      If a company makes free and pay-for software, free usually has some features turned off.

    • Aniket Singh
      June 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      that's why i told that they are not free...........and thnx dragonmouth to explain the difference between free and trail version to de.sunil.....hope he understand what u have told to him......and Paul Pruitt its a free trail version that does'nt mean that it is free fore ever

    • Paul Pruitt
      June 24, 2013 at 4:18 am

      No it's not a free trial version. Its free forever. Its something new...Its called Antivirus Free Edition:


    • Paul Pruitt
      June 24, 2013 at 4:26 am

      Use the Windows Firewall and Bitdefender free edition. Then install Super Anti-Spyware or Malware Bytes and periodically do updates and manual scans and you should be fine. All for free.

      Here is another link which proves there is an a Bitdefender version which is free: http://www.bitdefender.com/toolbox/freeapps/desktop/.

    • Aniket Singh
      June 24, 2013 at 5:13 am

      ya Paul Pruitt i agree with u its not trail version...it is free edition ....i have downloaded it and using free edition of bitdefender...so dr sunil here u go....u got what u want a free anti virus.....so mark ur question resolved....and thnx to Paul Pruitt to provide this link.....

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:37 am


      Yes I would mark resolve this question

  19. Badrul Lasker
    June 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I would go for avira.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Is it memory hogging?

    • DalSan M
      June 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Of the recommended antivirus software, Panda Cloud uses the least amount of resources, Avira would use a little more, Avast even more, Norton about the same as Avast, Bitdefender near the same as Norton, and AVG would probably take more resources than the rest of the recommended. I had a system with a 2.4GHz Celeron and 768MB RAM using Avira and it did not seem to slow the system down. Panda Cloud requires internet access to be effective, which is part of the reason it uses so little resources.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 10:45 am


      That is very clear details about memory comparison of different anti-virus softwares.

      Very talented way of presenting the reply too

      Sharing a concept in context of Talent : Talent is God Given GIft. Talent is best used in God's service ., for eg,working in technology departments of Church,Temple or similar institutes , donating part of earnings ( even small quantity is ok ) to the institutes or to any activities which help spread the Glories of our Creator. Such channelizing of talent leads to peace and bliss and to further flourishing of talent

  20. ha14
    June 22, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Panda Cloud Antivirus

    Added security Zemana Antilogger

  21. yudics
    June 22, 2013 at 5:07 am
    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm


      I shall check

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Thank you

      I have checked the page and it looks v.informative

  22. Harshit J
    June 22, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Use Norton DNS for phishing protection. Use instructions from here: https://dns.norton.com/
    For antivirus, you can try Malwarebytes as well as other ones recommend here. You can also get 6 months trials of many antivirus programs from Facebook. Search it on Google.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:39 am


  23. Oron Joffe
    June 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    If I were you, I would first try AVAST. AVIRA is also good (that's what I'm using at the moment), and uses significantly less resources. However, it has a problem with false positives for behaviour-based detection, and has nag screens, promotions etc, both of which make it a bit more of a hassle to use. AVG, as DaSan correctly says, it competent enough, but a resource hog.

    • DalSan M
      June 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Have you tried to change the security settings to "avnotify.exe" for all users (everybody) in order to keep it from running? It should disable the nag screen so you don't have to see it anymore. MajorGeeks.com uses to have a program that automatically disables the nag screen, but I don't know if there are any updates for the newer editions.

    • susendeep dutta
      June 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      If you see in the link below,Avast doesn't offer Phishing protection in free edition -

      [Broken Link Removed]

      But I agree with you that one must go with Avast first.

    • Oron Joffe
      June 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks for the tip DalSan!

      Susendeep, regarding phishing, there are many other features which are not available in the free version (after all, the paid-for version must offer something!), but most major browsers have some form of phishing protection built in, so this seems like a fair compromise.

    • Samit Tandukar
      June 23, 2013 at 3:19 am

      avast free does have phishing protection....you need to have avast webrep add on installed on browser......also avast free blocks malicious website and has many more features like sandbox.....I think avast is the best free AV out there which provides best protection as well as a lots of features for free.....

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      How to make avast from repeatedly notifying on net log in, but automatically add virus definitions?

      It is asking to upgrade

    • Oron Joffe
      June 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Dr Sunil,
      With the exception of Microsoft Security Essentials (which is going through a rough patch at the moment and not recommended by us), all free AV products are essentially promotional tools. They hope that for every thousand downloads, SOME will convert into actual sales.
      Therefore, don't be put off by the recommendations. You can continue to use AVG, AVIRA or AVAST (or many other free AVs) for as long as you like without paying!

      Note that tis is different from "Trial versions", such as you may get with a new PC (Norton and McAfee are the most common ones), which will stop working after 90 days or so, and you would HAVE to pay to keep them running.

    • DalSan M
      June 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      To disable to notification for updates and non-important information, check out this site to find out how: http://pctonic.net/disable-crazy-sounds-popups-avast.

    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Thanks to all respondents : Oron , Susendeep , Dalsan M , Samit

      Pl tell : If avast free asks for upgrading or it would stop working then would it be better to uninstall and try new av?

    • susendeep dutta
      June 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm


      Avast is a good antivirus and it very less often asks you to upgrade.It would be better for you to go to settings and tick on option saying that ~ " I'm always connected to internet". This will make sure that the Avast auto-updates automatically without nagging you.

      In order to keep it working,you would need to enter license key(whether paid or free)

    • null
      June 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      Short version: I agree with Susendeep.
      Long version: AVIRA is a real nagger. AVAST, in my experience, hardly nags at all. It pops up messages when it's finished a task (e.g. after updating virus definitions, or scanning), or if there's a problem, and it also speaks some of these messages over the PCs speakers (this can be switched off). In terms of upgrading, it _ocassionally_ brings up a "splash screen" promoting their products, but at that point, you can simply close it. This does not happen often (not sure about exact frequency, but I'd imagine around once a month). For most people, that's acceptable.

    • DalSan M
      June 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      There really isn't a time that Avast would require an upgrade or else functionality would cease to work unless the free trial version was installed. The freeware version wouldn't really "nag" that much for upgrading, not like Avira would. There are some ways to get rid of most of the nag screens in Avira, but not sure with Avast (other than what I already posted above). As Oron said, Avira also gives off false positives more often than the other suggested AV software, making Avast a better option for many users.

  24. DalSan M
    June 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    I don't think it is so much about the operating system as is it the system resources like processor type and speed as well as memory. Disk space can be an issue if you are low in storage. Avira is good and requires lower amounts of resources than some of the others, though the nag screens are a pain. Avast is highly recommended and also does well with lower resources systems. I would stay away from Microsoft Security Essentials since it had failed antivirus certification at least a couple of times, even though the integration with Windows is great and uses little resources. AVG does well for protection, but is a bit of a resource hog. Even though it can be a little more difficult to understand to use for some people, Comodo firewall would be good to use for extra protection. As always, install and use Malwarebytes AntiMalware free occasionally just for ensuring your system is clean is highly recommended (Malwarebytes free does not run automatically in the background, only when you open and use it to scan your system).

    • Vinod
      June 22, 2013 at 10:50 am


    • Dr.Sunil V
      June 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Why do free av ask to upgrade after 1 year to continue using?

    • DalSan M
      June 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      All of the free versions of antivirus (not free trial version) will request the user to upgrade to the paid version in some way, mostly with popup banner ads. As long as the freeware version of these software is selected, it should require the user to purchase a license to continue using it; free trial versions usually will either request the user to purchase a license or else use a reduced functioning software. I haven't heard of any of the suggested free version antivirus programs ask to upgrade after 1 year in order to continue using it.

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