Free Security Apps for Windows

Apps folderThe most popular Free security apps for Windows

It has often been recommended to use a full paid security app to protect your Windows device, as results show that some full paid security apps score higher in tests - when compared to their free counterparts.

Having said that, since Windows 8, many people have been using the free built-in security app Windows Defender, to successfully secure their Windows 8 and Windows 10 devices.

There are other free security apps available for Windows of course, and this page introduces them below.

(See also Second Opinion Anti-Malware Apps, Malicious Software Removal Tool and Microsoft Safety Scanner.)

Windows 10, 8.1 and 8

For Windows 10, 8.1 and 8 users: If you've just installed, upgraded or purchased a PC with Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 or 8, then you already have the security app Windows Defender - Microsoft's own security, built into Windows. Just keep Windows (and all of your apps) up to date, and for most usage scenarios you shouldn't need to worry about any other security apps.

Here are the main free security apps for Windows.

Windows Defender

Windows Defender is included with Windows 10 and Windows 8. It's Microsoft's built-in security app. It helps protect your PC against malware (malicious software), viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software.

Windows Defender Security Center - Home - Free Security Apps for Windows

Windows Defender Security Center - Scanning - Free Security Apps for Windows

Windows Defender Security Center - Protection settings

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has a very simple and minimal UI, but it does a great job as a free antivirus solution. Knowing that it comes from one of the leaders in paid security apps, should provide some peace of mind, too. I personally use the full paid version - Bitdefender Internet Security 2018, on my main Windows 10 PC.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition - Status tab

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition - Scanning

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition - Protection

SecureAPlus

SecureAPlus uses no less than 12 antivirus engines! So, if you have a favorite antivirus app, the chances are that SecureAPlus uses its antivirus engine. This is one of the newer security apps available and it's growing in popularity. Be prepared for a very slow initial full system scan, while it builds up a whitelist of your apps.

SecreAPlus - Home tab

SecreAPlus - Antivirus Engines

SecreAPlus - Initial Full System Scan

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is Microsoft's free security app to protect computers running Windows Vista, and Windows 7 from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Although it's made by Microsoft, it isn't built into Windows, so you'll need to download and install it.

Microsoft Security Essentials free security - Home tab

Microsoft Security Essentials free security - update tab

Microsoft Security Essentials free security - Settings tab

avast! Free Antivirus

avast! Free Antivirus is a well-known free security app choice for Windows. It has a simple and clean UI, and it works well and does what it's supposed to.

avast! Free Antivirus - Home screen

avast! Free Antivirus - Quick Scan

avast! Free Antivirus - Smart Scan results

Adaware Antivirus Free

Originally serving as an ad-awareness program, Adaware has over the years become a respected security solution for the casual computer user - fighting spyware, adware, viruses and other malware.

Adaware Antivirus Free - Home screen - Free Security Apps for Windows

Adaware Antivirus Free - Scanning - Free Security Apps for Windows

Adaware Antivirus Free - Real-Time Protection - Free Security Apps for Windows

360 Total Security

360 Total Security offers free antivirus and PC optimization. To be honest, I have only tried it, and not used it on a longterm basis. But it has gotten more popular since it was released.

360 Total Security - free security software - Full Check - Free Security Apps for Windows

360 Total Security - free security software - Virus Scan - Free Security Apps for Windows

360 Total Security - free security software - Tool Box - Free Security Apps for Windows

AVG AntiVirus FREE

AVG has been in the Windows security game for a long time. Their AVG AntiVirus FREE is a well-known and respected security choice for Windows users, and definitely worth considering.

AVG AntiVirus FREE - Home tab

AVG AntiVirus FREE - Scanning

AVG AntiVirus FREE - Scan summany

Panda Dome (Panda Free Antivirus)

Panda Dome (Panda Free Antivirus) is a light and easy-to-use free antivirus for PCs, which provides real-time updates.

Panda Dome (Panda Free Antivirus) - Main screen - Free Security Apps for Windows

Panda Dome (Panda Free Antivirus) - Scanning - Free Security Apps for Windows

Panda Dome (Panda Free Antivirus) - Settings - Free Security Apps for Windows

Sophos Home

Sophos Home is a simple-to-use free and effective security solution, allowing you to protect up to 10 computers per account. For me, the install and initial full scan both took a while, compared to other apps.

Sophos Home - Main screen - Free Security Apps for Windows

Sophos Home - Dashboard - Free Security Apps for Windows

Sophos Home - Scan - Free Security Apps for Windows

Comodo Internet Security Premium

Comodo Internet Security Premium has a clean and simple user interface and does a good job of protecting your Windows PC. It's not as popular as the other free security solutions here, but the name Comodo is well known in security.

Comodo Internet Security Premium - Main - Free Security Apps for Windows

Comodo Internet Security Premium - Update - Free Security Apps for Windows

Comodo Internet Security Premium - Scan - Free Security Apps for Windows

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira Free Antivirus is another well-known security app, with a simple and easy-to-understand interface, but it does contain some ads.

Avira Free Antivirus - Status tab

Avira Free Antivirus - Scanning

Avira Free Antivirus - Events

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So there you have it, most of the popular free security apps for Windows.

With most Windows 10 devices, I'm happy to use the built-in Windows Defender, which is regularly kept up to date. Alongside Windows Defender, I run a copy of Malwarebytes Premium, which I mention on the computer maintenance page. I also do a scan with HitmanPro from time to time.

For the ultimate protection (in my opinion) on my main Windows 10 PC, I use the full paid version of Bitdefender Internet Security 2018, which in tests usually scores higher than most other security apps.

If you're looking for dedicated or second opinion anti-malware apps, see the second opinion anti-malware apps page.

For some interesting security software comparisons, try visiting channels like The PC Security Channel on YouTube.

Which free security apps do you prefer, and why?