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Free antivirus scanners for Windows PCs

Here are six top-quality scanners that will help you clean up systems and keep them safe in the future. There are tools here for systems ranging from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.
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Introduction

Is your system riddled with viruses? Your antivirus program out of date?

Need a decent – but free – security program for a loved one who doesn't see the point in paying for protection?

No one wants malware on their PCs, so antivirus and antimalware scanners are a must, but a quality scanner need not cost the earth. In fact, there are a number of free solutions out there that will help keep your digital empire safe.

Here are six top-quality scanners that will help you clean up systems and keep them safe in the future. There are tools here for systems ranging from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.

See also:

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avast! 2015

A product with a heritage going back over a quarter of a century, avast! is used by more than 220 million people.

The free tool comes with:

  • Antivirus protection
  • Antimalware protection, including anti-spyware and anti-rootkit technology
  • Remove annoying browser toolbars or extensions, and restore your hijacked search browser

More info.

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Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free, easy to use security tool that helps guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It provides real-time protection and updates in the background automatically.

It's a no-nag, no hassle solution for anyone running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

More info.

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aswMBR rootkit scanner

Rootkits can be hard to detect, but aswMBR from avast! Uses a number of clever tricks, including virtualization technology, to root out and remove TDL4/3, MBRoot (Sinowal), Whistler and other rootkits.

Don't be fooled by the command line interface of this tool – it's a powerful and very effective anti-rootkit tool.

More info.

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Comodo Cleaning Essentials

Comodo Cleaning Essentials (CCE) is a set of powerful security tools designed to help users identify and remove malware and unsafe processes from Windows computers. Designed as a portable application, the software requires no installation and can be run directly from removable media such as a USB key.

CCE features:

  • KillSwitch - an advanced system monitoring tool that allows users to identify, monitor and stop potentially unsafe processes that are running on endpoint systems.
  • Malware scanner – fully featured malware scanner capable of unearthing and removing viruses, rootkits, hidden files and malicious registry keys hidden deep within a system.

More info.

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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Looking for an industry-leading scanner detects and removes malware like worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, spyware, and more, for free? Look no further!

The free version features:

  • Antimalware and antispyware protection
  • Anti-rootkit technology
  • Advanced malware removal

More info.

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Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Think there's nothing that Bitdefender can bring to the table that isn't covered by one of the alternatives? What about:

  • Optimized for Windows 8
  • Game Mode that pauses system scans while you are playing
  • Auto-configuration, so no options and checkboxes to mess with
  • Uses a combination of Cloud scanning and behavioral analysis to detect new or unknown threats

More info.

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