Best Free Antivirus: Windows Defender vs. Avast

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3dward_n1gma

So did you all consider the fact that when I get into your systems that I can turn off all but Windows Defender and/or Windows Security Essentials? I bet no one thought of that fact. Microsoft built that av so that it becomes a required service for the system to continue to function properly Avast, AVG, Symantec, or any third party AV or software can be disable remotely be a crafty hacker. If I attempt to remotely disable MS/E or MS/D you will blue screen the system thus alerting the end user that they have a problem with there system. Either way most good hackers will will obfuscate their executable's so that av of any manufacture will not detect them.

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kook

What are you talking about? "Required service"? Give me a break. It gets disabled under many circumstances.

As far as avast goes, you can keep it. I tried this garbage software very recently. It happily deleted some legitimate software I had been using, and corrupted Task Scheduler entries, so that I could not even add the tasks back in without a hassle. This is the kind of garbage that people are willing to put up with for the price of "Free".

Not me.

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ryan33

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TonyGA

Hey Paul, nice review but why are you showing old screen from avast! version 7? The actual one looks much better!

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wk

as a long time user I must say, Avast free AV is the best free software I had ever used.

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cdn.bubba

Round 6: annoying advertising begging you to upgrade every time you start up, click or just look at your av.
Winner: Windows defender

Just sayin

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Shadow Death

I'd actually consider Avast if they could crank out a version that would work with Windows 8.1

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gerryp58

I have been an Avast fan for a while, but interestingly after installing the Windows 8.1 beta, Microsoft has prevented Avast from running and quotes incompatibility issues. It then prompts to a fix on the Avast site, which then points back to the regular download on Download.com. Quite frustrating.

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Shadow Death

Sadly enough it's not just Avast or antivirus programs. After upgrading to 8.1 my nVidia drivers kept crashing and causing freezes. Turns out nVidia had to write a whole new driver for 8.1. So I suspect that the update from Windows 8 to 8.1 was more than a simple patch and tweak.

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dargon

I've used both and for free I think both are great, though I have not used Avast for a few years now. The main reason for this is the yearly registration, though it's free, it's still annoying to have to give them your email address and then renew it each year.

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JokerProductions

I remember researching free anti-virus software when I built this latest computer. The three choices were AVG, Avast, & Windows Defender. I had previous experience with Security Essentials on my Windows 7 laptop, but I thought maybe there was something better out there.

Upon comparing AVG and Avast they appeared to be neck and neck; apart from one thing. Real time malware protection. One place said they were practically identical apart from AVG offered real time malware protection, but Avast did not. That is why I chose AVG in the end, which has been great so far, but!

Before I came on here and started shouting off misinformation about AVG's superiority I wanted to do some more research only to find that Avast does offer Malware protection in real time.

So adding AVG to the mix where does that fit? Personally I haven't had any issues with it but I would like to have the best.

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tnguy

MPC: "If you’re rocking a solid-state drive with Windows 8 on a relatively modern machine, you’re unlikely to notice a performance impact with either Windows Defender or Avast installed."

Well, what if like millions you are NOT rocking a SSD, and are using Windows 7 on a 3-5 year old machine?

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CaptainFabulous

This. I know this is MaximumPC, but in addition to my kick-ass gaming rig I own a number of PCs of varying ages and functionality, so the performance impact (both in terms of CPU cycles and memory footprint) of an AV program is a big deal on older hardware.

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bjoswald

I use (on Windows 7):

MSE
Ad-Muncher
Network Access Protection
OpenDNS

None of the above have failed me yet, and I haven't used any bloated security suite software in years.

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Xenux

oh yeah I forgot to mention I have my router set to opendns as well.

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Xenux

Here's my recipe for a (mostly) secure windows OS. I say mostly because no pc is truly secure. Antivirus: Avast Free, Comodo Firewall,dd-wrt router firewall, Malwarebytes, Peerblock, Hijackthis, Adblock plus. Used to use ghostery but adblock plus handles those duties now. All of these recommendations were typed on a linux pc which is the best antimalware I know of.

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CaptainFabulous

You might want to take a peek in the mirror. I think your tinfoil hat is crooked.

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Xenux

thanks for the heads up mate.

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bjoswald

Overkill, IMO.

1. Comodo is overzealous with its Permit/Deny prompts, and the Windows Firewall is good enough (when properly configured).

2. PeerBlock is OK if you are downloading a lot of illegal shit via P2P, but unecessary otherwise.

3. MWB and HijackThis are useful after-the-fact, but not necessary for everyday use. (I hate shit running in the background!)

The only one I don't really see a problem with is ABP, but only if you set it to deny "safe" ads that are enabled by default.

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Xenux

1. Comodo does take a bit of training initially that's true but it if configured correctly it's fine. I find it useful at wifi hotspots but when Im at home my dd-wrt firewall on my router is enough.

2. I plead da fif. There are so many amendments to the constitution of the united states and I can only choose one. 1 2 3 4 fiiiiiiiffff.

3. Yeah granted I don't scan with mwb or hijack that often but theyre two tried and true methods of double checking files. (see # 2) Never hurts to have them around.

4. Yep.

Like I said I do most of my computing on linux now but I have my windows box right next to me and I just thought I'd chime in on the security tools I use.

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fygquas

Isn't virtual PC the most secure?

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jgottberg

We are only allowed to find what they allow us to find.

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fygquas

What about Avira?

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bjoswald

If you like nagware, go for it! ;)

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Engelsstaub

Avira's great! 9/10. Kickass!!

...if there's any other ones you'd like to see reviewed after-the-fact just direct your requests to me.

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The Mac

lol

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MarioJP

It's just funny how some of you get so paranoid when it comes to "security and privacy converns" by trying to enforce their opinions to others by saying do you entrust MSE,etc because its MS?..Oh please. Here is a better idea. Disconnect your computer from the internet don't use FB, Linkedin ,Google. I would even go as far of saying cancel your Comcast Services while you are at it. You don't think that your cable box tracks what you watch too? Heck cancel your wireless services too, ditch your smartphone and tablets, they have GPS tracking.

These people need to give it a rest. We are now past that stage. You think "homeland security" is just there just for the sake of being there? I could careless about these things because we're already being tracked in ways you never thought of, And its not just Windows or your computers anymore. Welcome to 21st century. Get over it.

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warptek2010

Get over it? How about doing something about it instead of lying down like a sheep. I for one refuse to be ruled by a bunch of elite masterminds who think they know how to run my life better than me. I say enough is enough. The Federal government has grown far bigger than it is supposed to be and has gone far beyond it's enumerated powers. If we as a people want big government, then fine and dandy (not really) but that's for the people of STATES to decide on the state level and not the Federalists. Time for a new constitutional convention convened by STATE legislatures and we'll settle this shit once and for all.

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MarioJP

And yet this is 2013 and you would think by now people would have taken such actions. Nope its quite the opposite actually. I for one not going to give up what i enjoy for the name of privacy. There's a lot of things that can't be kept private if you want to get ahead.

When one applies for a job. They're data mining you in the process. Whether you get employment or not. The information provided is now theirs. How the hell can you avoid that?? And what about your car that is fully loaded with electronics. Tracking systems automatic braking, sensors etc. You call that private?

And then there's Facebook. They get rich off of your information. You kidding me.. This the government wet dream come true.

Look not trying to say this is over. But can we at least agree that there is more to than just operating systems and PC's? Our privacy went out the window after 9/11. Maybe even before 9/11 lol.

Last thing. A lot of people would have to stand up for that kind of change could ever take place in the constitution, which by no means is easy thing to do. Changes to the constitution is one thing. Getting people to opt in for the change is another.

Heck, People are clueless who they vote for in office during the elections (I believe why we are in this mess in the first place). If we the people can't get that right, never mind trying to make changes to the people in power. We have our own issues that needs to be dealt first.

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warptek2010

"Changes to the constitution is one thing. Getting people to opt in for the change is another."

What changes to the Constitution am I advocating since they won't follow the Constitution WE ALREADY HAVE.

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MarioJP

I am sure they're being followed. Thing is, what they're doing has not violated any rights yet. So far its only been reasoning for that cause. Homeland security was the reason for 9/11.

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bjoswald

You would have to do much more to protect yourself from "elite masterminds" than running Avast and Windows, I'm afraid.

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MarioJP

1+

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methuselah

Sorry guys, in no way would I ever entrust the security of anyone's computer to MS.

Now mind you while my computer does not gets infected w/ Spyware/Malware/Viruses because I'm tech savvy. I cannot say the same about "Joe User".

Would you entrust Defender to keep "Joe User" safe while he's opening email attachments from "UPS", browsing superporn dott com, or downloading his torrent files?

Think about that for a second while "Joe User" is dialing your phone number for free tech support help.

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big_montana

I would not trust Joe User to keep their computer safe with any anti-virus suite, especially a free one. Say what you want but Symantec is still one of best around. Myself, I never have been infect with viruses of spyware so MS product would be good enough for me, but since my ISP offers Symantec for free I install it on all my computers.

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John Pombrio

Sing our praises and make sure to thank your internet provider for charging you extra to pay for our FREE antivirus program which you say you do not really need. TANSTAAFL.
Symantec in the news: Profits at $157 million first quarter with a 9.57% rise in share price.

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big_montana

I pay $35 a month for 50GB, what do you pay?

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big_montana

Sorry that should read 50MB, not 50GB (I wish). Blame it on lack of coffee

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mickey12gauge

$35 per month unlimited at 72Mbs

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thedo114

65$ for unlimited and 30MB/s

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Ashton2091

I like MSE. I've trusted it for quite some time now. Now...WHY MS would choose to use the Defender name is beyond me. I say this because, I remember when Windows Defender was first introduced and it was horrible. When I installed Windows 8 (hey, I have to be familiar with it to support my customers) it was brought to my attention that Win8 comes with security essentials. Except it's called, Windows Defender. This made me shiver. I wanted to turn it off (even though i knew it was still MSE) and never look back. I do fine without antivirus, due to safe browsing habits, but I'd like to give Avast another shot...maybe.

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bjoswald

Common sense is the best AV, IMO. Without it, no software - be it free or commercial - will protect you.

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neoprimal

This is the truth.

I run MSE and Malwarebytes.

I don't go to shady sites, I don't run shady software, I don't pirate or torrent meda or software. I'm not saying that this makes me immune or even necessarily safe. Some day a hacker could feel frisky or I could come across some sort of injected attack through some ad that comes through ad-blocker. For now though, I'm OK and have been OK for quite some time.

I haven't gotten any infections in years (that I know about, lol) ie: I haven't had software go haywire, pop ups, fake AVs or my CC number pilfered (from my PC, anyway). The last virus I was actually infected with was natas sometime in 95 (the net was very new to me) and some malware in 2005 and that wasn't even my fault. Don't let your friends use your daily driver, folks. Always have a "guest" machine with Linux somewhere. When they ask to surf the web and check their email - they can do it from that.

I will say though that I deal with many of my relatives PCs and I put Avast on them all nowadays. I used to recommend Eset but meh....paid AV software is overkill. Avast and Malwarebytes AM for Windows 7/8 systems are solid.

If I do manage to catch something (I pray it's not something super deep rooted), I just wipe Windows 8 and start over. I barely have any desktop apps and everything else is backed up in the cloud or to my NAS.

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Ashton2091

Right! As I stated, I do fine without it. Have for many, many years now. As of late, I've been running it anyways just for a added layer of protection. I've run across legit sites and been infected do to a flash vulnerability. What I'm saying is that crap happens. Not very often...but it does. Also, hey, I have the system resources to burn. My rig doesn't really take a noticeable performance hit from AV.

I've tried my best to teach my family and friends safe surfing habits. I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall :-/

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thedo114

Yup common sense is the best.

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John Pombrio

I have not had a positive hit for malware in years. World of Trust is really helpful in that respect. I will stick with MS for I have no reason to install anything else.
I have a friend who runs no antivirus and has not had any problems. If it wasn't for all the hysterical advertising and "reporting" by Norton, most of us would not bother to run anything either.

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Chad727

John, are you referring to the "Web of Trust" browser add-on or do you actually mean world of trust? I did a quick search for world of trust and didn't find anything relevant.

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big_montana

Then you have either been lucky or unaware of all the infections on your computer. Not every infection sis a popup in your face. For all you know your computer, and your friends, could be a botnet host. All it takes is one mouse over an infected add on a website and your computer is hosed. Hello ICE/FBI ransom ware.

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John Pombrio

No need to justify myself. Paranoia about virus, botnets, malware, keyboard hijackings, identity thefts, etc. are commonplace due to the vast sums of money spent scaring people into thinking "you are too dumb to know what you are doing. TRUST ONLY US" (and spend $60/year to do it or better yet, have your company or service provider pay for it).

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big_montana

It is not paranoia, as I work in IT and see to many computes on a daily basis with just the FBI/ICE ransom trojan. You may think it is all a scam to make money, that is until you are hijacked, if you have not been already.