Best Free Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware Solutions

Apr 17, 2019 | General

We get asked all the time from friends, family and even clients, “whats the best anti-virus program?”. Before the person asks however, they usually already have a problem. Therefore, this post will serve as a place to refer them when they need to prevent and/or remove pesky viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, or other malware. I’ll update this post as needed – as I change my recommended software preferences.

If You Already Suspect a Problem Exists…

If you think you have an infected computer, the first thing you should do is run your current AV or AS program, even if it is not up-to-date. If you do not have anything installed, or if it doesn’t work, then try an online scanner. Always run an online scan prior to installing any of the software below, as many threats can hide from newly installed scanning programs. Note you should also disable Windows System Restore and run your anti-virus program again in “Safe Mode”.

Anti-Virus – Real Time Protection

A single real-time anti-virus application is a necessity on any PC that connects to the internet.

Windows Defender

Formerly ” Microsoft Security Essentials”, Windows Defender provides real-time protection from threats like viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. The free program is easy to use, keeps itself up-to-date and runs quietly and efficiently in the background—without interruptions or long computer wait times. Best of all, it’s already installed on most Windows (8+) systems.

Alternative: Avira

Anti-Spyware / Anti-Malware

Unlike most anti-virus applications, the following programs can be run on the same machine, and are not usually run in real-time. I tend to use several of these while cleaning a system.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

An easy-to-use, simple, and effective anti-malware application designed to quickly detect, destroy, and prevent malware – such as viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkits, dialers and spyware.


Online Scanner

Note an online scanner should not be considered a substitute for a real-time detection virus or malware scanner.

Trend Micro HouseCall

A highly popular and capable on-demand scanner for identifying and removing viruses, Trojans, worms, unwanted browser plugins, and other malware. It performs fast scans that target critical system areas and active malware.

Trend Micro HouseCall

Other Tools & Utilities

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth A Pound of Cure.


AdwCleaner is a free removal tool for : Adware (ads softwares) PUP/LPI (Potentially Undesirable Program) Toolbars Hijacker (Hijack of the browser’s homepage) and more.



Deletes unnecessary files to free valuable disk space, maintain privacy, and remove junk. Rids your system of old clutter including cache, cookies, Internet history, localizations, logs, temporary files, and broken shortcuts.