I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. I have bought a new laptop with no antivirus installed. I'm wondering how to choose an appropriate antivirus software to install.


7 Answers 7


Measuring real-world antivirus performance is difficult to do because malware risk is hard to quantify.

AV-Comparatives and AV-Test are two independent Antivirus testing organizations. They perform periodic tests from multiple features such as detection, performance, enterprise functionality, etc.

Here is a summary report of AV performance for 2012 split into categories so you can chose what is best suited for you.

Free AVs are good choices too because they provide all the basic features and the same signature database as the premium version. They lack extra features such as SPAM and phishing protection, firewall or parental controls.

  • I personally don't recommend free antivirus. Keeping signatures up to date is very costly for antivirus companies and imho not the right place to safe money. Plus there are tons of bad free av solutions and picking out the good ones can be quite hard. Getting a paid version almost always gives you faster update servers on top of other pro features. Also keep an eye out for performance and and usability. Nothing worse than "having" to turn of av to be able to play a game or having to turn of notification because you're getting spammed with popups
    – mohrphium
    Mar 22, 2014 at 11:50

What you want for software in general is that it:

  1. does the job;
  2. is easy to install and manage;
  3. is cheap.

Windows 8 comes with Microsoft's antivirus already included (it is called "Windows Defender"), which fulfills point 3 (you already paid for it, so it is technically "cheap") and point 2 (the software which is easiest to install is the software which is already installed). As far as I know, it also does the job, and since it is backed by a big company (Microsoft) which has a vested interest into this antivirus keeping on doing its job properly, I tend to think that it is a reasonable choice.

For previous versions of Windows, the same antivirus is known as "Security Essentials" and can be downloaded and installed for free. It is also a reasonable choice.

(I have used other antivirus in the past, but most had some irksome feature, such as "nagging" the user with ads for the full, non-cheap version. Also, this is only for Windows; the main OS on my laptop happens to be a Linux, which can safely operate without any antivirus.)


AVG Free 2013 has received positive reviews and rankings on independent lab tests. The latest Webroot and Norton(I suppose) has also scored well but are around $40 per year. If you're trying to avoid firewalls, stay away from 'Internet Security Suite' software and look specifically for Anti-Virus.

The latest Bit-Defender scores were pretty good according to AV-TEST.


The most effective thing you can do is keep your software, especially web browers+plugins(java, adobe *, etc) up to date and be mindful of the sites that you visit. Try running firefox, adblock, and NoScript if you're really concerned.


You can try http://www.av-comparatives.org/ . I really can't vouch that they aren't paid to make certain companies look good, however they have comprehensive reports that show which AV's picked up on what. Seems bias-free.

Some basic ones that might help: -Microsoft Security Essentials -MalwareBytes -AVG

All free, and will certainly get the job done!


It doesn't matter which antivirus software will you by, but which package. So It all depends what is the type of work that you gonna do on your laptop.

If you just going to surf on the Internet and such stuff then you can install some free antivirus software like Avast or AVG.

But if you are going to work on your laptop and other important things then I recommend to you that you use some professional Antivirus Package or maybe Internet Security (or some Total Protection or how it is called).

So it all depends on your type of work.

Oh and by the way I recommend to you that you choose some antivirus like : Kaspersky, Norton, AVG, Avast, BitDefender, G-Data or McAfee.


Antivirus software should be one layer among many in your computer defense kit.

You will want to search out reviews and keep an eye out for the following criteria:

  • Cost (fixed vs subscription)
  • How many devices can yo install it on for that cost?
  • Does it work on all of your devices? (Laptop, desktop, Apple, tablet, phone, etc...)
  • Current reputation of the company (not the past; a lot of AV software has stuck around long past the hero time and become the villain, at least in some peoples minds. Movie quote)
  • Does the software require an internet connection?
  • Is the software a suite, or a single purpose software: firewall, registry cleaner, hard drive cleaner, secure delete, etc...

Some reputable websites to gather information about software, including security/AV software:

  • Lifehacker
  • Ars Technica
  • Maximum PC
  • GHacks
  • XDA developers
  • EFF.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Antivirus is fine but not too good when it comes to prevent security the right way.

Install a good antivirus (Personally I like Kaspersky, and that is what I am using), and monitor what you really is doing considering there are many 0Day exploits coming which no Antivirus provider would be able to detect early unless it goes into wild.

So :

  1. Install a good antivirus (Kaspersky, or Mcafee)
  2. Monitor your activity on internet. Dont just feel too free to click on anything.
  • I will probably use my old laptop for suspicious internet activities. So I need just antivirus for checking mails, usb's and so on.
    – ttwis
    Jan 12, 2013 at 12:56
  • Essentially you dont need an antivirus. But a antivirus + firewall thing. I use Kaspersky Internet security and its pretty good. Though for nasty things i just use VM (In your case old laptop) Jan 12, 2013 at 12:58

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