Best Free Anti-Virus for Home users?

Collection of Anti-Virus Company LogosI was recently asked for my opinion on the Best Free Anti-Virus product available for Home PC’s. We’re talking products that are free to use for Domestic personal use at home – not for Commercial or Small Business work as usage in a Commercial environment is often strictly prohibited in the License terms (although my top pick allows free use in a Commercial environment too!)

With that in mind, here are my top three picks:-

3. Panda Cloud Anti-Virus

Unlike traditional Antivirus products, Panda Cloud is slightly different in that it stores the latest virus definitions online. This means that when a new virus threat is detected, and a virus definition produced, Panda is automatically protected against that virus by always having the latest definition available to it, with no requirement to download or install any updates.

In theory, this also means a very lightweight Anti-Virus client on your PC.

In practice, I didn’t notice any real difference in performance between Panda and any other AV client, even on a low-spec Netbook – but Panda have made an interesting move forwards in “Cloud Computing”.

2. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

The most recognisable and popular free Anti-Virus product available. AVG Free Edition v9.0provides Basic protection against Viruses and Malware, and is easy to use and reliable.

The Free Edition also has e-mail scanning (for POP and SMTP, no IMAP support available) and the AVG Security Toolbar automatically lets you know if you’re about to visit a dodgy web page, with the LinkScanner highlighting malicious web-pages amongst search engine results to help protect you.

1. Microsoft Security Essentials

It’s taken a while for them to get there, but Microsoft now offer a free Anti-Virus solution that is quick and very easy to install, integrates with Windows very well, and well… just works!

In my experience, Microsoft Security Essentialsis the least intrusive of all the free Anti-Virus products available – rarely popping up to ask you to download updates, and being noticeably light-weight in use and not slowing your PC down. I’ve also observed that Security Essentials does not block as many applications from functioning properly as other AV products (including Panda and AVG) – which might take additional configuration to enable those apps to work.


So there you have it – my Free Anti-Virus of choice for home users is Microsoft Security Essentials! As always, I’m interested in your opinions and experiences – do leave a comment, reach out to me via Twitter, or drop me an e-mail!


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


3 Responses to “Best Free Anti-Virus for Home users?”

  1. 1 Hilton September 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    You didn\’t mention Immunet Protect (http:/ which works really well. I now install that on all systems alongside NOD32 as an added layer of protection. It is also free for commercial use, unlike the other products you mention here. And yes, there\’s a $30 pro version available, too.

  2. 2 Richard September 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Hilton – thanks for the heads-up. I\’d honestly not heard of Immunet Protect, so it\’s good to be aware of another alternative product!

  1. 1 The Tools I Use… Productivity Tips « TubbBlog Trackback on June 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

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