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I've had bad experience with my Windows Vista OS, because hackers usually get viruses on my computer. I don't want to pay a lot for a program like Norton, so I'm wondering if there's an antivirus program that's free that can:

  1. Detect webpages/downloads that will get a virus on my computer, so it can warn me when visiting a site that installs harmful malware

  2. Protect against hackers when they try to hack and invade my computer through server requests, etc. (I don't know how they do it, so whatever)

Sometimes hackers can be sneaky, so I don't always know when there's malware on my computer when hackers don't make it obvious that there's malware that reads when you type bank passwords, etc.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Olli, Undo, Seth, Michiel, hims056 Feb 5 '14 at 7:17

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I would always recommend a combination of approaches (different types of AV tools), if feasible. From my experience, use one program and quite a bit still gets through. – demongolem Feb 5 '14 at 1:58
  • "hackers usually get viruses on my computer" Given that malware defence #1 is your own behavior, how can this happen? An answer to that question could be more important than an antivirus program. – Jan Doggen Feb 26 '15 at 11:21
  • @JanDoggen Literally all I did was turn on my computer, create an account, and login after I re-installed the OS and there was already malware – Cilan Feb 26 '15 at 13:14
  • I agree with Jan Doggen. As a rule of thumb, the most (free) so called anti-malwares or pc optimizer you see on a computer, the higher likehood of virus/malwares. Many people download Windows. You will notice that on microsoft.com, no official/partner download site for Windows is mentioned. Unless you have an official CD of Vista, the problem could come from your installation source. Another possible explanation is defective hardware like hard drive with bad sectors, partly unsoldered GPU chip, hard drive with weak circuit board, a.s.o. – OuzoPower Dec 19 '17 at 9:36
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AVG Anti-Virus, it can add a plugin to browsers to allow your search results to tell you if a site is safe or not and it picks up attacks and blocks them and it has your normal Anti-virus scanning and secluding but that's kinda standard.

A nice feature about it that if your offline for a long time it will notify you that your definitions may be out of date and it tends to auto-update the moment you connect to the net

There are 2 versions, a Free one which provides good protection but you can get the paid version which has even more features. I tend to use the free one on every PC i set up and have had no problems, this ranges from my XP Laptop to my mum's Windows 7 PC so it should work for Vista.

  • Seems good, and it's usually a fake convincing-looking "AVG Security" (fake) that pops up when my computer gets a virus – Cilan Feb 5 '14 at 1:50
  • @TheWobbuffet i've added a link to the free version which is where i always get the installer from so you can be sure that it's the correct site, the .au at the end must be a Geolocking system – Memor-X Feb 5 '14 at 1:55
  • @TheWobbuffet as for the fake popups, maybe your computer has developed an AI and is trying to tell you something lol – Memor-X Feb 5 '14 at 1:56
  • I got the Vista because the Operating System on XP literally wouldn't start up from so many Security Breaches :P – Cilan Feb 5 '14 at 2:02
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I use Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free, comes from the maker of the operating system (who ostensibly knows more about the OS than anyone else), integrates nicely, and doesn't bug me too much. Note that as @mirabilos mentions, Microsoft Security Essentials is only free if it is for personal use or less than 10 seats within a company.

Microsoft has a vested interest in you keeping your operating system virus-free, and they have made great strides in recent years to be both more security-conscious and proactive in helping you stay safe.

Also check out Microsoft Safety Scanner for instances where you need to take a quick look to see if you have any viruses currently running. It is a small scanner that expires 10 days after download so the virus definitions are never more than 10 days old. It is for use on demand, rather than protecting your system during day-to-day operations.

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I like Avast!, now "Avast! 2014". The basic AntiVirus is free with additional features like the "SafeZone" available in a paid-for "Pro" version.

I used to used AVG Anti-Virus, as mentioned in another answer, but I had one or two conflicts with other software (although that was a couple of years ago now). I installed Avast! through a friends recommendation and it did feel better.

I've never had a problem with Avast! and never been infected. It has trapped (at least reported that it has trapped) several malware attempts from web pages.

Frequent updates and runs quietly in the background. It doesn't appear to hog resources.

(However, the British English voice that informs you that the virus definitions have been updated is awful! I mean, who speaks like that! ;) But you can turn this off or change language if you want to.)

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