What is the best LIGHTWEIGHT, free antivirus?

  • Total voters
    96

anoukq

Level 1
I have a fairly old, slow computer (albeit souped up a bit with a 1 TB Barracuda SSHD): a Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241, 8GB RAM, i5-5500u, and am running Windows 10 Home x64, everything current/updated. I use Chrome and/or Vivaldi as my browser, if that makes a difference.

I've been using Avast free for about a year and while I like the interface, I keep getting handle leaks and other problems that are really slowing me down, especially on the internet (and I've repeatedly totally uninstalled and reinstalled). It might be some incompatibility with something on my system, although I've seen in a lot of the most recent AV rankings that Avast is no longer considered lightweight compared to Avira, etc. In any event, I'm fed up with troubleshooting and just want to ditch it.

My main priority is, of course, good real-time protection, but also something as lightweight as possible (especially when on the internet). I'm also totally broke (unemployed) and not looking for much beyond standard web and file protection, preferably with heuristic/behavioral analysis--Windows firewall is fine, I use web mail so don't need spam filtering, etc.

But again, the main thing is that it be as light on resources as possible. Top contenders:

  • Avira (I know the pop-ups are pretty irritating, but if it is significantly lighter, I can definitely deal); a little concerned because I thought I read somewhere that it doesn't have any sort of behavior shield/heuristics;
  • Bitdefender, although what I've read really varies in terms of reports on how system-intensive it is;
  • Others I've seen with varying reports of being lightweight and/or effective: Norton (remember years ago when it was really, really slow); F-Secure; Zone Alarm... or open to other suggestions!
  • Or is Webroot an option I should consider? Is it actually secure? The concept sounds great, and it would definitely not slow my system down (right?).
Sorry, I've just spent several hours reading everything I could find about different programs, scraping/compiling to try to find the "perfect program," and there is so much contradictory info (other than that Avira is lightweight) that I thought I'd go to some unbiased experts :).

Thanks much.
 

shmu26

Level 83
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Webroot should not be considered as a serious option. It has gone downhill a lot and has had very unpromising results lately.
If I was you, I would ask for help with troubleshooting Avast, because most people consider it pretty lightweight and pretty effective.
 

pablozi

Level 23
Verified
Trusted
If you're on Windows 10 then you have already AV and FW in place - Windows Defender and Firewall so you can better try a VoodooShield Free (or pro if you don't mind to pay) which will put a lock on your system while using vulnerable applications like web browsers and PDF readers.
 

Evjl's Rain

Level 43
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Malware Hunter
The strongest, perhaps the lightest if properly configured, can be buggy or very buggy for some: avast free
Strong, worry-free, best behavioral blocker of those: BitDefender free
The weakest and highly not recommended: avira free

There is no free version of norton, f-secure unless you get them for free

Webroot: just don't like it. Don't like almost everything except its lightness

I don't understand why there are some votes for avira. Avira free is bad and nowhere near the others. You can vote for avira pro, I can understand but this is about free products

overall, I recommend Avast and BD
 

Janl1992l

Level 13
Verified
I have a fairly old, slow computer (albeit souped up a bit with a 1 TB Barracuda SSHD): a Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241, 8GB RAM, i5-5500u, and am running Windows 10 Home x64, everything current/updated. I use Chrome and/or Vivaldi as my browser, if that makes a difference.

I've been using Avast free for about a year and while I like the interface, I keep getting handle leaks and other problems that are really slowing me down, especially on the internet (and I've repeatedly totally uninstalled and reinstalled). It might be some incompatibility with something on my system, although I've seen in a lot of the most recent AV rankings that Avast is no longer considered lightweight compared to Avira, etc. In any event, I'm fed up with troubleshooting and just want to ditch it.

My main priority is, of course, good real-time protection, but also something as lightweight as possible (especially when on the internet). I'm also totally broke (unemployed) and not looking for much beyond standard web and file protection, preferably with heuristic/behavioral analysis--Windows firewall is fine, I use web mail so don't need spam filtering, etc.

But again, the main thing is that it be as light on resources as possible. Top contenders:

  • Avira (I know the pop-ups are pretty irritating, but if it is significantly lighter, I can definitely deal); a little concerned because I thought I read somewhere that it doesn't have any sort of behavior shield/heuristics;
  • Bitdefender, although what I've read really varies in terms of reports on how system-intensive it is;
  • Others I've seen with varying reports of being lightweight and/or effective: Norton (remember years ago when it was really, really slow); F-Secure; Zone Alarm... or open to other suggestions!
  • Or is Webroot an option I should consider? Is it actually secure? The concept sounds great, and it would definitely not slow my system down (right?).
Sorry, I've just spent several hours reading everything I could find about different programs, scraping/compiling to try to find the "perfect program," and there is so much contradictory info (other than that Avira is lightweight) that I thought I'd go to some unbiased experts :).

Thanks much.
Hey there. U can try to run comodo firewall with tweaked settings. U dont need a av than other than build in windows defender that is more than enough. This combo is maybe lighter than any "real" av u can get and gives u almost bulletproof protection. If u search something light i would go with SecureAPlus. Anti-exe with Cloud av.
 
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Malware Person

Level 4
Verified
if you are looking for the lightest system impact, use bitdefender free. i recommend that you upgrade to a better pc if you are choosing antivirus by lightest peformence impact
 
Last edited:
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Razza

Level 2
The lightest free av which also give you good protection would be BitDefender free.

The lightest paid would probably be Eset.

I don't think your laptop spec is that bad, i got a older laptop too with i5-2520M 8GB ram with ssd, its run's most antivirus without any issue currently got Kaspersky on it with minimal slow down.
 
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jadinolf

Level 4
I have a fairly old, slow computer (albeit souped up a bit with a 1 TB Barracuda SSHD): a Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241, 8GB RAM, i5-5500u, and am running Windows 10 Home x64, everything current/updated. I use Chrome and/or Vivaldi as my browser, if that makes a difference.

I've been using Avast free for about a year and while I like the interface, I keep getting handle leaks and other problems that are really slowing me down, especially on the internet (and I've repeatedly totally uninstalled and reinstalled). It might be some incompatibility with something on my system, although I've seen in a lot of the most recent AV rankings that Avast is no longer considered lightweight compared to Avira, etc. In any event, I'm fed up with troubleshooting and just want to ditch it.

My main priority is, of course, good real-time protection, but also something as lightweight as possible (especially when on the internet). I'm also totally broke (unemployed) and not looking for much beyond standard web and file protection, preferably with heuristic/behavioral analysis--Windows firewall is fine, I use web mail so don't need spam filtering, etc.

But again, the main thing is that it be as light on resources as possible. Top contenders:

  • Avira (I know the pop-ups are pretty irritating, but if it is significantly lighter, I can definitely deal); a little concerned because I thought I read somewhere that it doesn't have any sort of behavior shield/heuristics;
  • Bitdefender, although what I've read really varies in terms of reports on how system-intensive it is;
  • Others I've seen with varying reports of being lightweight and/or effective: Norton (remember years ago when it was really, really slow); F-Secure; Zone Alarm... or open to other suggestions!
  • Or is Webroot an option I should consider? Is it actually secure? The concept sounds great, and it would definitely not slow my system down (right?).
Sorry, I've just spent several hours reading everything I could find about different programs, scraping/compiling to try to find the "perfect program," and there is so much contradictory info (other than that Avira is lightweight) that I thought I'd go to some unbiased experts :).

Thanks much.
I am sworn to never recommend the ideal antivirus program but read on.
Download and install some programs that appeal to you and spend at least a few days with them.
THEN, get back and tell us your choice.
Thanks
 

AtlBo

Level 27
Verified
Content Creator
Always a difficult question to answer to me. Your system as @Arequire says may respond unfavorably to one program or another, and they all have settings that can turn people off (or other issues). One thing that is more or less hands off and can help immensely is VoodooShield as mentioned by @pablozi. Avast mentioned several times is possibly the best, but I don't think it's all that great without some serious settings adjustments. It can be really good though. I also don't think it's all that light, but not bad that I have noticed.

For me, the choice is Qihoo 360 TS. This is mainly because the program is being developed by obviously ([it appears] to me) very competent software engineers and computer security engineers. However, Qihoo is also following an aggressive marketing strategy. Only install 360 if you are ready to go a small amount beyond the 100% established a-vs to get beyond this issue. The development process of 360 over the last 4 years has been very enlightening for me, and the program is o so good underneath.

I like to think the best answer to the a-v question is a question too, "What will you add to support the a-v?" Most of them could use a little bit of support from something that gives you the default deny attribute you get from VoodooShield. Then there are good programs like AppCheck Anti-Ransomware and a new program from Qihoo called Document Protect. 2 or 3 programs and you can have good layered protection with low system usage.