Battle Best (free) AV for old XP school computers


Level 5
Thread author
Jun 3, 2015
Hi guys and girls.

So, I was wondering... My previous job was being an IT guy at a secondary school (high school)...

It's quite a large school with over 1500 students and around 200-300 staff. So yeah, TONS of computers are in use there.

When I was asked to upgrade one of their computer labs, I noticed that the budget we got was so tiny, we weren't even able to upgrade everything to Windows 7. So, most of them are still running good old Windows XP.

The AV was MSE, but since XP "died"... It's not supported anymore. So, I removed it and installed Avira Free. The system runs actually faster after I did that.

But I wonder, what free AV would be the best to install on low end XP school pc's. And even what would be the best free AV if they upgrade it to Windows 7?

I choose Avira since it allowed the IT guys to make one account and manage them all from that central account. It also found the adware & malware previous scanners missed. But when I see tests of Avira lately on the forum here, I see a lot of malicious URL's aren't blocked. So, I'm curious.... Would another AV have been better?

Thanks in advance.

(And for the curious, the job there was actually as a volunteer. I work in that school when I don't have a job. Now, I do have a job in the educational system as a planner for exams and such.)


Level 21
Top Poster
Aug 22, 2014
Since I've tested all of them in different machines, I can help you choose considering only the level of protection they offer and their features, but not the way they can be managed from a central account/PC.
First of all, if still using XP, not even the best AV will be able to protect you (the kids).
Considering though that you mentioned Avira, it mostly operates based on signatures. Panda is not that good when offline, so you should think about the remaining solutions. BD, for me, is a little bit outdated (not updated for quite some time now). AVG or Avast would the best choices. They offer more feautures and they're very light on system resources. From personal experience, I'd go with Avast, but both would be decent choices.


Level 5
Thread author
Jun 3, 2015
But here lies the issue. It's a school... Would an IT guy have the time to do that for every single pc /install of Avast? I can say this without even putting much thought into it... Impossible. It would take at least a few weeks before that's done.
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Level 19
Jul 10, 2014
avast contract within high schools require to contact them, most of free AV need that, however you may consider using qihoo´s product, I assume those pc´s are connected 24/7 to the internet so a cloud solution would be a must here since the level of protection is decent (i assume that those pcs are running windows xp in an old harware) also you may consider panda or avg those are good... AVIRA is an excellent choice but keep in mind that while on scanning or updating ram usage is high... as for URL protection you can add bitdefender traffic light to whatever they use as a primary browser (dont tell me that you use IE xD)

PST: a regular scan with EEK is not a bad idea, you can do so, via shared network folders


Level 5
Dec 8, 2014
1. It depends very much on the used CPU. That will limit your choice since SSE2 is required by some vendors.
2. You need a managed solution.
3. You should consider deny-by-default products. AV may not be what you need, especially on low-end computers.
4. Do consider free products & contact the vendor just to check if you are able to use the product in your environment (education).

Hope it helps.


Level 85
Honorary Member
Mar 15, 2011
Avira's Free version license type is automatically updated as long you have an internet connection, meanwhile Avast Free need to register prior for the first time setup and if I'm not mistaken, it should prior do the same thing when there's an connectivity.

But why not implement something Toolwiz Time Freeze (Free version) which you can upon activate on WIndows setup and suggest those staff and students to put all of their important documents in Local Disk D. ;) *

* That's how it implement from our college computer lab, Deep Freeze is activated in Windows.

Deleted member 178

i rather go with Deepfreeze than any AV; whatever students will do on the machine, next boot all is clean , it will avoid you to fix potentially infected or messed machines, you will be able to remove some useless softwares (aka most of the IMs) , lock the browser to reach social sites and so on. The machines are locked and your original setup reappears at each boot.


Staff Member
Jan 8, 2011
2 year old list, but worth looking into

"Other than that, the word “free” does not necessarily mean without limitations or restrictions. If you read the long and boring End User License Agreement (EULA) that is displayed during installation which most of us ignore and blindly click on the Agree button to continue the installation, it contains very important information to where you can install and use their free antivirus software. Most of the time a free antivirus is intended only for non-commercial, personal home use while academic institutions, business, commercial, corporate or government use is prohibited. You or your company can be heavily fined if it’s discovered you’re breaking the license agreement."



You might want to consider freeware options that can be locked by password.

@Umbra recommends ToolWiz Time Freeze - the best freeware option available.

I would also recommend taking at least a look at freeware NoVirusThanks Exe Radar Pro.

Either one can be used stand-alone or combined...

There are advantages and disadvantages to each one . Despite this fact, either one will work on XP through W8/8.1.

The combo of TF + NVT ERP is extremely effective with relative simplicity.

The combo essentially makes reliance upon signatures obsolete.

Very Best Regards,


PS - Comodo Internet Security (freeware) is very likely not a good fit - especially for older, limited resource systems.

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