If you’re using a Windows PC or laptop, it’s a good idea to install antivirus software to keep it safe from viruses, spyware and malware.
Windows 10 includes basic antivirus software called Windows Defender, but if you want more advanced protection from online dangers, you’ll need to pay for an antivirus security suite or install free antivirus software.
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Free antivirus software vs paid-for security software
Antivirus software is available either as a paid-for security suite that costs around £40, or as free antivirus software.
Paid-for software, such as Symantec Norton Security and Kaspersky Total Security, offer excellent protection, as well as a range of extras, such as PC tune-up tools.
Free antivirus software concentrates on one task: stopping viruses and malware from infecting your PC, without the added extras.
The good news is there are some great antivirus packages that are completely free to download and use. If you don’t need the extras offered by paid-for security suites, then it’s worth trying free antivirus software – and here are three of the best antivirus tools to download for free.
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1. Avira Free Antivirus 2016
Avira Free Antivirus 2016 offers award-winning protection against viruses, worms, Trojans and malware, including the ability to scan files in the background to detect previously unknown threats – keeping you safe from emerging new viruses, known as ‘day one’ threats.
A browser extension warns against visiting potentially harmful websites, and its interface is easy to understand with clear threat and status indicators.
You can perform manual and automatic scans, and scanning speeds are decent.
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2. BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition 2016
If you prefer more of a hands-off approach to protecting your PC, BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition 2016 is a good option.
Once installed, it quietly performs scans in the background with minimal fuss, protecting your PC from any threats it detects.
It also scans website links to ensure you’re using your credit card only on secure trusted sites.
The interface is compact and housed in the Windows taskbar, and it doesn’t nag you with ads or other intrusions.
As it runs scans when your PC is idle, it won’t slow down your PC’s processor while you’re working on other tasks.
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3. AVG Free Antivirus 2016
If you’ve a mix of Windows PCs, Macs and Android devices, then AVG Free Antivirus 2016 is a real timesaver as it works across all your devices to keep all your family’s devices secure.
Protecting against viruses, spyware and malware, it has a single dashboard that lets you control virus protection across all your devices – you can even run scans of your PCs via your smartphone.
If you spend a lot of time on social sites, AVG Free Antivirus 2016 will scan links on Twitter, Facebook and the web to detect potentially harmful or phishing sites.
Its interface is simple to use with clear indications to threats, and it will scan emails for dangerous files. A secure digital file shredder is included for safely erasing files from your PC.
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