Free Security Apps for WindowsThe most popular Free security apps for Windows
It has often been recommended to use a full paid security suite to protect your Windows device, as results showed that many full paid security suites scored higher in tests - when compared to their free counterparts.
However, 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, and this page introduces them.
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 software Windows Defender - Microsoft's own security app, built into Windows. Just keep Windows and all of your apps up to date, and you should be fine.
Here are the main free security apps for Windows.
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 is my preferred main security app, and I use it on all of my PCs.
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.
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.
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.
Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
Originally serving as an ad-awareness program, Ad-Aware has over the years become a respected security solution for the casual computer user - fighting spyware, adware, viruses and other malware.
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.
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 trying.
Panda Free Antivirus
Panda Free Antivirus is a light and easy-to-use free antivirus for PCs, which provides real-time updates.
Sophos Home is a simple-to-use free and effective security solution, allowing you to protect up to 10 computers per account. The install and full scan both took a while, compared to other apps.
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.
Avira Free Antivirus
Avira Free Antivirus is a well-performing security app with a simple, and easy-to-understand interface, but it does contain some ads.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has a very simple and minimal UI, but it does a good 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. Truth be told, if I were to go with a paid security suite I'd choose Bitdefender Internet Security.
So there you have it, most of the popular free security apps for Windows.
With Windows 10 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.
If I chose to go the paid option route, I'd probably go with Bitdefender Internet Security, which in tests usually scores higher than many other security solutions.
If you're looking for dedicated or second opinion anti-malware apps, please see the second opinion anti-malware apps page.
For some interesting security software comparisons, try visiting channels like The PC Security Channel on YouTube.