Free & light antivirus for an oldie PC

Should I even bother installing an antivirus?

  • Yes, you must

    Votes: 35 70.0%
  • No, everything is gonna slow it down even more

    Votes: 15 30.0%

  • Total voters


Level 5
Mar 9, 2014
If there will be no more updates for Win 7, then a light, free OS might be better.

If more RAM can be added, then Win 10 might be an option. I just upgraded several PCs (Win 7 and 8.1, from Celeron to i7) to Win 10, and the upgrade's still free. They're all running fine with Kaspersky Security Cloud free, including the Celeron (a branded all-in-one), but that has 4 GB of RAM.

ForgottenSeer 823865

If your grandma has limited software to use with pc, I think moving to Lunux or chromeOS is a better choice than sticking with os just before the loss of support.
+ 1000

Wonder how OSArmor with all settings checked would fare in this situation in terms of usability.
Combined with a scheduled on-demand scanner.

1- Win7 is trash
2- Adding any AV on a obsolete laptop using a trash OS is asking for troubles.

You are visibly not a total noob, so you should be able to setup some easy-to-use Anti-Exe like those mentioned above.

My advice: using a Light Virtualization software (Shadow Defender, Timefreeze, Deepfreeze, etc...) would be a more appropriate choice.
Those kind of softs afford excellent security while requiring little resources and very easy to use (one click and the job is done); there is a reason why public places with computers (libraries, internet shop, etc...) use them, the computers are clean at each reboot.


Level 18
Oct 1, 2019
My grandma uses a 15 year old laptop (Athlon dual core) with:
1. Windows XP Pro
2. Grandma logs in as a Basic User
3. Programs (C) and data partition (D)
3. SRP deny execute in user folders and D partition
4. Time freeze which only virtualizes C partition
5. No dotNet, some sponsors disabled or blocked with SRP, Office trustcenter all macros's plugins, DLL's, Active X disabled

Because grandma found updates confusing, freezing the PC (running as sort of Kiosk PC) was implemented a few months after she got the PC. I remember as a kid when we went to grandma, my father always updated the PC and 'frooze' it again. Never heard her talk about a problem (with malware nor configuration), so light virtualization from my experience is a good solution for old fooks.
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Level 18
Content Creator
May 7, 2018
I too would just get a good decent Linux distro and call it a day. At least they will have a new up to date OS and he will still keep receiving updates. Unless he absolutely needs Windows, Linux will do everything he needs. It's free and since it's not a major target compared to Windows security wise (at least for home users), he should be relatively safe. There's a lot of great distros that run great on older hardware, so he may even get a performance boost too. I've been trialing Manjaro KDE and I am amazed how fast it is compared to Kubuntu and this is in a VM, so I am sure you can use something like that and he will have an up to date and secure system.:)(y)


Level 16
Malware Hunter
Jul 27, 2017
The suggestions from users regarding antivirus software are all well and good. But we don't need to kid ourselves: Even with the most resource efficient antivirus, sitting in front of such a computer is not going to be a pleasant experience.

In one year at least, when the websites become even more complex and heavy, you will be struggling with this "potato PC" again and asking yourself the same questions.

Therefore my tip: Take 100 Euro in your hand and upgrade this PC with more Ram and better Cpu (both can be second-hand) and with a SSD. The socket of the CPU is not the oldest, you will find something :) The PC will run very well and will be able to compete with today's office PCs.

Believe me and save yourself the time and bother.

(P.S.: Linux isn't also a good option although I use it on all my computers. When you start the web browser, the performance on an old PC with Linux is as bad as with Windows. Also I made the experience on old computers that Internet Explorer on Windows works faster than Firefox or Chrome on Linux)
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Level 9
Apr 13, 2014
WiseVector StopX probably works in W7, but currently I don't have any VM in W7 to check it, best bet is to ask to @WiseVector...

Also an alternative may be Panda Dome Free + OSA... or even with less user intervention Panda Dome Free + SysHardener...

1) WiseVector StopX works like a dream on Windows 7. I can verify
2)Panda Dome Free + OSA........ I'll second that. GREAT CALL!!!


Level 18
Content Creator
May 7, 2018
Totally, the problem is not the operating system, for example, Linux with a lightweight desktop works perfectly with 1GB, but current browsers need a lot of RAM and YouTube will stop at all times because there are videos that need a lot of RAM.

That's a good point.

It's quite funny how people sometimes complain about how much ram their security program is using, however most browsers by comparison use significantly way more ram.

I guess the big question for @Robbie is, what is the end goal of this computer. If it's to just get by and spend no money on it whats so ever, then yes, maybe going the Linux route might be better. If your ok spending a little bit of money, then yes, a ram and SSD upgrade maybe all you need to do. You can than either upgrade to W10 and lock it down, or still go the Linux route as well. Something to consider at least.🤔
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Level 23
Sep 13, 2018
I agree with exploring the possibilities of hardware upgrades. It's been suggested here and there to use the Crucial System Scanner to find compatible upgrades. If there are none, you're no worse off for having tried. Because the system seems old, any suitable hardware will probably not be expensive and can be more cost-efficient than replacing the whole thing. 1 GB of RAM is do-able for masters like Sampei Nihira. Me, I would need all the help I can get.


ForgottenSeer 823865

Anyway 1gb of RAM is useless, as people pointed, browsers will cripple the system.
I have an old mini-laptop atom cpu, 1gb ram. I put win7 on it and I can't browse smoothly, had to install some lightweight browser. By using Linux XFCE (lightest Linux desktop), it was slightly better.

So yes a RAM upgrade and an SSD is more than recommended. Then put Linux or Win10 and use its built-in security but not trashy win7.


Staff member
Malware Hunter
Jul 27, 2015
I must say what's on my heart about watching this thread.

What a wonderful joy to see so many people helping out with their parents or grandparents. You should each and one of you be very proud because many seniors sadly runs machines/systems and have no help. Instead of the negative bickering that shows it's ugly face from time to time, this thread show something else and I personal can't help smile and even bookmarked several good posts for a possible use another sunny day.

Threads like this makes me proud being a part of the MT community. Keep it up boys and girls! (y):emoji_beer:

Andy Ful

Level 67
Content Creator
Dec 23, 2014
1. Buy her the Chromebook.
2. Install WiseVector StopX.

If you want more security then use also the H_C on Recommended Settings. Instruct her to use SwitchDefaultDeny (it is very easy) to turn OFF the H_C default-deny anytime she encounters a problem. This will work well if all her applications are installed in the "Program Files ..." folder.(y)

This will also require installing manually Windows Updates from time to time after ending the support by Microsoft.
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