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Best Free PC Antivirus Software 2014

Best Free PC Antivirus Software 2014

For Windows PC users, a good antivirus program is a necessity to ward off malware attacks, keep your computer running efficiently, and safeguard your online identity and personal information. Premium antivirus suites have additional features to protect you from malicious Web pages, help you manage security on mobile devices, and monitor your computer's firewall, software updates and other features. But some just don't want to — or can't — pay a yearly subscription fee for those extra features.

If that's you, you've come to the right place. We've evaluated the most widely used free antivirus programs based on ease of use, features, protection and overall system impact.

So which free PC antivirus product is right for you? We reviewed Avira Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, Avast Free Antivirus, AVG Antivirus Free and Microsoft Windows Defender. Each was tested on the same Windows 8 Acer Aspire E1 laptop, which featured a Core i3 processor and 4 GB of RAM.

Our malware-detection data comes primarily from independent German evaluation lab AV-TEST, which regularly tests all major security software for the ability to detect zero-day malware and other threats.

We also conducted our own tests on how each security suite affected a laptop's performance, running the PCMark7 benchmark software and our own OpenOffice productivity test to assess the system's baseline. We ran the tests again while each security product did a quick malware scan, and then again during full system scans, and compared the results.

Ease of use is also important, which is why we assessed each program on its user interface, and also on how insistently it nags you to upgrade from the free version to a paid edition from the same company.

MORE: Best PC Antivirus Software Overall

Related Buying Guides:
Best PC Antivirus Software
Best Mac Antivirus Software
Best Android Antivirus Software

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  • 0 Hide
    blackmagnum , June 17, 2014 1:44 AM
    Windows Defender FTW! The no-effort-needed win.
  • 0 Hide
    Dependable , July 18, 2014 11:52 PM
    Avira is the worst antivirus by far. i installed it to try it and nuked it the second day it keept poping up with super annoying japaneese ads that will never go away while you are gaming!
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