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I'm looking for a free (gratis) antivirus program for Windows XP that runs silently.

By silently, I mean that I want a program that will automatically start, update itself, and scan without bothering the user unless something is detected.

I'm running Windows XP inside Windows 7's XP Mode (Windows Virtual PC). I was using Microsoft Security Essentials, and up until the end-of-support day, it was working great. Now Security Essentials is anything but silent, nagging me several times to stop using XP every time I start up the virtual machine.

Required Features:

  • Free (gratis)
  • Runs on Windows XP
  • Updates and protects with no user interaction, and does not bother the user for anything other than a positive detection.
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Avast will do this, set up appropriately. On my dad's system I turned off the audio-prompts (which annoy the heck out of me) and set it for silent/gaming mode (which prevents it launching popups). This should disable any inappropriate user interaction

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    Avast used to be a great antivirus, but now it continuously shows pop-ups advertising its products. This annoying behavior can be fixed blocking Internet connections of AvastUI.exe using your firewall. – Oriol Jun 9 '14 at 19:12
  • As I've set it up, I hardly know its there. You need to turn off stuff manually for it to be truely silent, but its effective enough that this is the first I am hearing of ads – Journeyman Geek Jun 10 '14 at 0:05
  • Ah sorry, I didn't try silent/gaming mode, so I guess you are right. But without it, just unchecking "Show additional recommendations" and "Show social networks" isn't enough to disable ads :( – Oriol Jun 10 '14 at 2:00
  • I've not seen a single ad so far. Nor have I gotten any complaints about it. – Journeyman Geek Jun 10 '14 at 2:07

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