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I’m helping a friend installing and setting up Windows 7. As I have no experience with Windows, I wonder which antivirus software (real-time protection) I should install.

  • It must be gratis.
  • It needs to be compatible with screen readers. While I expect that most tools should comply here, there might be some tools that try to be smart and implement their own menu (not using Windows APIs), which (if done wrong) can’t be accessed by screen readers.
  • There should be no advertisement pop-ups (AFAIK the gratis version of Avira AntiVir had those, at least on Windows XP). Other kind of advertisement is okay.
  • Updates should happen automatically (preferably in the background), without requiring user interaction.
  • Cmon, just say "free", everyone knows what you mean. Why "gratis"? – Pacerier Apr 12 '15 at 17:59
  • @Pacerier: Because "free" can mean two things for software, see gratis versus libre. – unor Apr 12 '15 at 19:04
  • Yet people usually aren't confused when the term is used outside of coding. E.g. "I want a free program", Or "I want a free laptop". You said you want this thread to have more eyeballs, so Do you seriously think someone will Google / Bing for "gratis antivirus software" or "free antivirus software"? – Pacerier Apr 13 '15 at 12:26
  • @Pacerier: "You said you want this thread to have more eyeballs": Not that I’m aware of. --- The title is foremost for this community, not for search engines, but yes, I expect people to search for both variants, if at all (and besides that, search engines typically would not exclude the result if the other term is used, unless you explicitly wish so). I don’t see the point in using a term that can be ambiguous if a non-ambiguous term can be used instead. – unor Apr 13 '15 at 12:42
  • However "gratis" is pretty much an obscure term when compared to "free". Search engines will understand the words, But it's going to be people who are going to decide whether or not to click the links based on the title they see. And I'll guarantee you to have more clicks if the title is ".....free antivirus software....." vs ".....gratis antivirus software...."...... – Pacerier Apr 13 '15 at 13:14
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Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) would be my recommendation for simple but effective tool for those who don't want to know what they're doing/have to do anything. Configuration is annoyingly limited for someone like me but it is what I use on all my family members computers because it needs basically no user interaction to run and provide quite good protection. Also nice is unlike for example Norton/Symantecs system resource hogging ways, MSE has very limited resource requirements and doesn't hog it all. I would have to say that it's rate of detection is not as good as Norton but given it's unobtrusiveness and ease of use I still prefer it for most users.

Works for all supported versions of Windows - ie Vista and above, don't know about below but probably not. To go over your requirements:

  • It must be gratis: Yes - as MS says 'for the low, low price of free'.
  • It needs to be compatible with screen readers. While I expect that most tools should comply here, there might be some tools that try to be smart and implement their own menu (not using Windows APIs), which (if done wrong) can’t be accessed by screen readers: Should be fine though I've never used any screen readers so I can't hard confirm that.
  • There should be no advertisement pop-ups (AFAIK the gratis version of Avira AntiVir had those, at least on Windows XP). Other kind of advertisement is okay: No advertisements of any kind.
  • Updates should happen automatically (preferably in the background), without requiring user interaction: Yep - usually automatically from MSE, otherwise automatically or manually with Windows update.
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    It's even built into Windows 8 out of the box. – GalacticCowboy May 27 '14 at 18:24

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