Best free antivirus 2014: What is the best free internet security software?

If you want security software for your computer but don’t want to pay for it then take a look at this article as we go through the best free antivirus packages available in 2014.

They say you don’t get something for nothing, but when it comes to protecting your PC against online threats there’s no need to spend a penny. There are numerous completely free antivirus tools out there that can automatically block malicious code, and actively scan the files on your PC to make sure you’re not unknowingly harbouring something nasty stuff. In this article we bring to you the best free antivirus packages of 2014 to keep your PC safe.

For many, the default option is Microsoft Security Essentials (rebadged in Windows 8 as Windows Defender). Depending on the version of Windows you’re running, this will either come preinstalled or will be offered to you through Windows Update.

As antivirus programs go, Security Essentials is as straightforward as things get: most of the time you won’t even know it’s there, and it has almost no impact on the responsiveness of your system. In independent tests, however, it’s allowed the odd bit of malware to slip through the cracks – so it’s worth considering picking a third-party alternative.

Best free antivirus 2014

One well known option is AVG Free, which has been providing free virus protection since the 1990s. The modern AVG client actively detects and blocks viruses, and also integrates with your browser to warn you away from known dangerous websites. On low-power hardware, however, its scanner may have a measurable impact on the responsiveness of your PC, and although it’s free to download and use, the trade-off is a certain amount of in-program advertising.

Our favourite free antivirus tool therefore is Avast Free Antivirus 2014. In our tests this package blocked 95% of our malware samples – more than any other free security package, and ahead of several paid-for security suites as well. It includes secondary tools to remove unwanted browser extensions, keep your applications up to date with security patches and even build a bootable CD or USB flash drive from which you can boot and disinfect your system from outside of Windows in the event of a major malware attack.

Although it has a decent range of features, Avast shouldn’t noticeably slow your PC down; and although, like AVG, the front-end includes advertisements for paid-for products, these are presented in a less in-your-face manner. For all these reasons, Avast Free Antivirus 2014 is our recommended free antivirus software.

Best free antivirus 2014

1. Avast Free Antivirus 2014

Best free Antivirus - Avast Free Antivirus 2014

The cream of the free security suites, Avast's likeable offering brings effective virus protection in a lightweight yet well-equipped package.

2. AVG Antivirus 2014

Best free antivirus 2014 - AVG Antivirus 2014

A free virus scanner with more adverts than useful features, but its malware protection is respectable.

3. Microsoft Security Essentials

Best free antivirus 2014 - Microsoft Security Essentials

Security Essentials covers only the bare basics of malware protection. Seeing as this is a group test looking at free software, it is our recommendation to opt for Avast Free Antivirus as it’s the best you can get according to our tests.

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