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5 Best Antiviruses for Windows

While some people continue to debate whether an antivirus product is a true necessity for Mac computers, for Windows users the need for a good security package is essential. This is despite the inherent improvements to security that Microsoft has built into the operating system since Vista and Windows 7.

Windows antivirus products have recently gone through a period of evolution, marked by the following key changes:

  1. There is now (at least from most vendors) a clear focus on lightweight products that don’t slow down the day-to-day use of a computer. This focus follows on from a period, some years ago, when antivirus packages became increasingly bloated, making low-spec machines painfully frustrating to use.
  2. The selection of products available is wider than ever before, and a significant reason for this is that vendors of firewall and anti-spyware products have started to make antivirus packages as well.
  3. Antivirus programs have had to adapt to a changing threat landscape. To be truly effective, a modern antivirus program has to deal effectively with spyware, phishing attacks and rootkits, as well as traditional viruses.

At Best Antivirus, we have reviewed all of the major consumer antivirus products at the time of writing. This article provides a round-up of what are (in our opinion) the five best products for Windows. We are continually updating our reviews and league tables, so our opinions are subject to change based on new developments.

One rigid principle we have stuck to throughout our review process is not to be swayed by impressive-sounding features lists. Many of the major vendors attempt to blind people with science, using terms and buzzwords like “sonar monitoring,” “photon technology,” and “DeepGuard.”

Some of the best-known brand names are the worst offenders when it comes to using these frivolous names. While some of the products perform well (such as Norton, which makes it onto this “top 5,”) other vendors would have been better putting more effort into the basics of their software!

Similarly, some vendors fall into the trap of including features that duplicate those typically found within modern Web browsers. Examples of this include search extensions and toolbars that spot compromised sites, and plug-ins that pre-scan software downloads. As most people are probably using Web browsers that already do these things, we’ve not placed too much weight on features like these when coming to our conclusions on certain products.

So, without further ado, please find below a table listing our current top five antivirus products for Windows. Further down the article, you can read a little about why each one did so well.


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

Winner – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

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Positives: Feature-packed, low resource use, great interface

Negatives: A little more pricey than some competing products

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus began to emerge as one of our favourite products quite early in our initial review process, and continued to impress us when it was updated and revamped. It’s not the cheapest product we have reviewed, but value improves if you buy a multiple-PC license.

SecureAnywhere has a distinctly “next generation” feel, with an interface that feels clean and modern, and makes the large range of features accessible to those of all skill levels. Below the surface, experts will find all kinds of advanced features, allowing them to bend the product to their will.

We also liked various little touches, such as the social networking security features and the easy access to live chat as soon as you browse the vendor website.

None of this would mean much if it weren’t for the fact that Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus also dealt perfectly with all of our real life threats (as, in fact, did all of the products on our top five). The icing on the cake is that it did so with a tiny, unobtrusive system footprint.

Visit Webroot


2. VIPRE Antivirus 2014

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Positives: Fast and effective, great value for multiple PCs

Negatives: Not that many “bells and whistles”

VIPRE Antivirus 2014 is a rather different product to our winner, with a slightly less packed features list. However, if you read the introduction to this article, you’ll know that we try to look beyond the superficial!

VIPRE is perfect for those people who just want a lean antivirus product that really works. This is the ideal package for an enthusiast with several computers (or even virtual machines), especially given the bargain price of a 10-PC license.

VIPRE has only been on the market for five years, but it uses the same antivirus engine as GFI’s popular enterprise antivirus products, making it a product you can really trust.

While our winning Webroot product overtook VIPRE on features, some people would probably prefer the latter’s lightweight approach. This is a worthy product that won’t let anyone down.

Visit Vipre


3. ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall

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Positives: Great features, free online backup, firewall included

Negatives: Install a bit laborious

ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall is one of several products we reviewed that includes a firewall with the basic package, but it stands out a little more as ZoneAlarm is a household name in personal firewalls.

It was pleasing to see that ZoneAlarm have managed to branch out into antivirus with so much success. The antivirus part of the software had no problem with any of our real-life tests and was agreeable to use, once we had passed through a couple of installation teething problems (which we think were probably just one-off issues).

ZoneAlarm PRO may not have scored quite so highly were it not for two other factors: a below average price and the free addition of 5GB of online backup space. All-in-all the makes for a compelling package, and a gives ZoneAlarm a well-deserved place in our top five.

Visit ZoneAlarm


4. Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus

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Positives: Nice user interface, includes anti spam

Negatives: Slightly slow scans, above average pricing

It’s perhaps a bit of a surprise to wait until fourth place to find the first true “household name” in antivirus, but that’s where we find Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus.

It’s still a very worthy position for a product that cruised through all of our tests and has a sensible and well-rounded set of features.

Trend’s product also includes anti spam functionality, something that most vendors hold back for their more expensive “Internet Security” ranges, which is a notable benefit.

It was only a slightly above-average pricing structure that held Trend back from a position further up our league table. Even so, this is a reliable product that we heartily recommend, and one that deserves its strong reputation amongst many IT professionals.

Visit TrendMicro


5. Norton AntiVirus 2014

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Positives: Innovative features, low system footprint

Negatives: Slow updates, may baffle novices

We were pleasantly surprised to find Norton amongst our top five.

Over the years, the product has received plenty of bad press, especially a few years ago when the software had fallen into the “bloatware” trap, and was known for slowing down the PCs it was installed on.

Symantec have clearly taken the criticisms on board, as this is a product that’s very focussed on low resource usage. People can now be confident that Norton won’t impact the performance of their PC.

Furthermore, Norton Antivirus 2014 did really well on all of our tests. It also provides an extensive set of features – in fact so many that our only minor criticism is that some of them may seem a little confusing to technophobes.

Even so, Norton has clearly moved beyond the bloatware days, and is once again a product we can happily recommend.

Visit Norton


Summary

Rank Provider Score Review Link

1

Logo 95% Read Review Visit Site

2

Logo 93% Read Review Visit Site

3

Logo 92% Read Review Visit Site

4

Logo 91% Read Review Visit Site

5

Logo 90% Read Review Visit Site

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