Software to Compare
All free antivirus
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  1. Ease of use
  2. Impact on hardware performance
  3. Most Features
  4. Core protection (AV engine, Heuristic engine)
  5. Internet protection (Web filtering, Anti-Phishing, Antispam, Browser extension)
  6. Proactive protection (Behavior blocker, HIPS, Sandbox)
  7. Network protection (Firewall, Botnet protection)
  8. Ransomware protection
  9. Banking & Payments protection
  10. Machine Learning and A.I. capabilities
  11. Privacy protections (VPN, Anti-Tracking)

jackuars

Level 26
Verified
Hello and we are back for 2020 :)

2015 Winner - Qihoo Total Security
2017 Winner - Avast Free Antivirus
2018 Winner - Kaspersky Security Cloud
2020 Winner - ???

Last time Kaspersky won the nominations & the final round. This time are we expecting anything different? Let's wait and watch :)

To make these nominations/results more constructive for the end-user, I will start a Pro & Con section for each antivirus in their respective sections. Please state what you found best in each antivirus to help other users.

WINNER DECISION: 2 Phases

NOMINATE ONLY: 2 Products (AV/IS/TS)
NOMINATION PHASE: 31st Oct- 7th Nov

FINAL POLL: 5 Products (most nominated)
POLL PHASE: 8th Nov - 14th Nov

WINNER DECLARATION: 15th Nov​


CURRENT NOMINATION STANDINGS (votes) - Till @security123 there may be more votes
Note: If I can't edit this post anymore, please check for my following posts for latest standings

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1. Microsoft Windows Defender (11)
2. Comodo Internet Security (3)
3. WiseVector StopX (2)
4. Bitdefender Free Antivirus (2)
5. Avast Free Antivirus (1)
6. Kaspersky Security Cloud (1)
7. SecureAPlus (1)
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
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Gandalf_The_Grey

Level 38
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
My nomination is Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
Pro's:
Good protection.
Built in.
No need for a root certificate and therefore doesn't break HTTPS.
No nag's or bloatware.
Con's:
Needs a lot of knowledge or the programs of @Andy Ful for maximum protection.
Protection is highly dependent on the mark of the web and therefore weaker for files coming from flash drives or unzipped by an archiver that doesn't keep the mark of the web.
Slowdowns on some systems especially the ones without an SSD and when opening folders with a lot of exes.
Controlled Folder Access still even blocks some Microsoft programs like OneDrive and is therefore not recommended for the average user.
 

Nightwalker

Level 21
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
My recommendation is Microsoft Defender and the Pros and Cons are similar from @Gandalf_The_Grey list.

Pros:
Default, native Windows 10 solution
Very good protection considering Block at First Sight and the combination of local and cloud-based ML models
No nags, ads or bloatware
Doesnt do MITM attack in SSL connections
Low impact on browser speed because there is no "web antivirus" module
Does use Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI)
Good signatures and full spectrum malware protection
Low false positive rates (at least in my system)
Not prone to conflict or break with Windows major updates

Cons:
Can be heavy on some systems
Needs internet connection and Mark of the Web in downloaded files to have full protection potential
Needs software like Andy Ful's ConfigureDefender to have maximum protection potential


Everything considered it is my choice of Free (and paid) antivirus solution of the year; bravo Microsoft, you finally done it.
 

EndangeredPootis

Level 8
Verified
Windows Defender, almost always been my favourite.

Pros:

Relatively low performance impact and resource usage
Simple to use, easy to navigate user interface
Extremely configurable
Fast to detect and block malware
Good ML/BB
Has an process/memory scanner
Very good at detecting PUA/PUM/PUP's, only beaten by malwarebytes/adwcleaner
Good and clear privacy policies
No nagging asking you to upgrade etc

Cons:

Internet connection crucial, without it WD doesnt have access to the cloud and thus loses most of its potential of detecting malware
Maxing out the configuration causes it to have an noticable performance impact
BB and ML while good, is not up to par with other AV's like Kaspersky and Bitdefender
No behavior based ransomware protection
A bit too easy to disable

Though I still find it sufficent for most surfing habits.
 

Andy Ful

Level 65
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Windows Defender, almost always been my favourite.

Cons:

Internet connection crucial, without it WD doesnt have access to the cloud and thus loses most of its potential of detecting malware
Maxing out the configuration causes it to have an noticable performance impact
BB and ML while good, is not up to par with other AV's like Kaspersky and Bitdefender
No behavior based ransomware protection
A bit too easy to disable

Though I still find it sufficent for most surfing habits.
Maxing out the configuration causes it to have an noticable performance impact
Not for most daily tasks like web browsing, playing media, or document viewing/editing. I can confirm an increased performance impact when running executables for the first time and when installing applications.

BB and ML while good, is not up to par with other AV's like Kaspersky and Bitdefender
This was true two or more years ago. There is no evidence for that nowadays.

No behavior based ransomware protection
Like many AVs (for example Kaspersky) WD mostly uses deep learning and heuristic-based behavior detections to fight ransomware. Furthermore, WD has additional features: Controlled Folder Access and ASR rules.
https://malwaretips.com/threads/win...on-–-but-should-you-use-it.103184/post-899794

A bit too easy to disable
Not so easy with Tamper Protection.

Edit.
It is hard to see any real difference in the protection of most popular free AVs on default settings. I am sure that WD/MD with ConfigureDefender MAX preset is stronger than any other free AV (except tweaked Comodo Internet Security). Of course, such a setup has to be maintained by an experienced user.
 
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RoboMan

Level 32
Verified
Content Creator
Malware Tester
As mentioned by many, my vote too goes for: Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Pro's:

  • Built-in
  • Free Parental Control
  • PUP Protection
  • Browser protection and isolation
  • Core Isolation
  • Controlled Access Folder
  • Ransomware Remediation with OneDrive
  • Network Protection
  • Block at First Sight
  • Can make use of ASR
  • Anti tamper
  • Doesn't interfere with Windows Updates like many competitors
Con's:
  • A bit too many FPs
  • Can be harsh on resources on low-specs PCs
  • UI can get buggy when detects threats
 

Andy Ful

Level 65
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
As mentioned by many, my vote too goes for: Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Pro's:

  • Built-in
  • Free Parental Control
  • PUP Protection
  • Browser protection and isolation
  • Core Isolation
  • Controlled Access Folder
  • Ransomware Remediation with OneDrive
  • Network Protection
  • Block at First Sight
  • Can make use of ASR
  • Anti tamper
  • Doesn't interfere with Windows Updates like many competitors
Con's:
  • A bit too many FPs
  • Can be harsh on resources on low-specs PCs
  • UI can get buggy when detects threats
One can notice that 1/3 of the mentioned security features are Windows built-in (not dependent on WD) and a few require some additional skills. But, I also share such opinion, because WD has been made just to be a part of Windows built-in protection and most MT members have enough skills to use ConfigureDefender or PowerShell.
Anyway, choosing between the above and Kaspersky Cloud Free or Avast free will be not obvious for many users due to individual preferences and performance impact (can differ much on different computers).:)(y)
 

imuade

Level 12
Verified
#1. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free

#2. Comodo Internet Security

In my opinion they are the only free AVs which can safely be used without any other add-on (such as Hard_Configurator) and which can give you nearly 100% protection.

Wise vector Stop-X could be another one as soon as it integrates in Windows Security Center (until then I won't consider it as an AV)
 

ErzCrz

Level 7
Verified
Windows Defender when accompanied with Hard_Configurator.

Alternatively Comodo either as Firewall alone with CruelSister configuration or full CIS.

WD and H_C is my current preferred configuration I just wish ATP was part of Win 10 Home.
 
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