How to secure your PC. Remove virus from your laptop or PC with these best antivirus for Windows. The best free antivirus, and best antivirus you can buy.
Every Windows PC and laptop needs to have security software to prevent viruses, destroy spyware and remove all types of malware. In this article, we explain how to make your PC more secure by installing antivirus software. See also: Best antivirus for Mac.
Best antivirus for Windows: antivirus buying advice
Not all antivirus is made equal, however. If your laptop or PC runs a recent version of Windows it comes with Microsoft’s own antivirus baked in. This may be enough to ward off all but the evilest or recent of internet nasties. But it might just be those threats that catch you out.
Virtually all modern antivirus will catch virtually all known threats. But only the best products kill brand new threats based on how they affect your PC or laptop.
The other key factor in deciding what is a good, bad or indifferent is the negative affect the security software will have on the general running of your computer. All software takes up resources that might be used elsewhere, and the intensive process of checking both your PC and the internet to make sure your protection is up to date can cause even the quickest laptop or PC to perceptibly slow.
In the past, all security software was a drain, more or less. But modern packages tend to be much more light-footed. Still, in our assessment of the best antivirus for PC or laptop we are judging based on how well it protects, how much impact it has on your PC, and how little it will cost you.
Best antivirus for PC
We review the five best antivirus programs for Windows PC and Windows laptop. These best antivirus programs are ranked from one to five, but represent the very best you can buy. Any one of these antivirus packages comes with the TechTop100 seal of approval.
5. Best antivirus: Avira Antivirus Pro
Avira gets into our best antivirus list because in AV-Test’s lab it produced better than average protection against both known threats, and those nasty zero-day threats that fox less stellar packages. Avira Antivirus Pro successfully disabled 99 percent of known threats and 99 percent of unknown threats. This is excellent.
Moreover, the Avira package was excellent in terms of its impact on performance, slowing down even a low-end PC only rarely, and hardly ever on frequently used applications. And, critically, it turned up only one false positive when scanning an infected PC.
Avira Antivirus Pro costs from £29.99 for a one-year licence. Click here to find out more.
4. Best antivirus: Trend Micro Internet Security
Trend Micro’s antivirus product offers similar levels of protection to Avira’s, dealing with 99 percent of known threats but ‘only’ 97 percent of the unknown threats chucked its way in AV-Test’s lab. This is an excellent level of security.
Things remain great in terms of system overhead, with Trend Micro’s software slowing things down to a similar extent as does Avira’s (not very much).
We favour Trend Micro ever so slightly simply because it produced no false positives. Not a single one. That is a superb result.
Trend Micro Internet Security currently costs on £34.99 per year, which is more than Avira Antivirus, but as a full security suite offers great value. Click here to find out more.
3. Best antivirus: Kaspersky Internet Security
Kaspersky is a well-known antivirus brand for your average consumer, and its most recent AV-Test results suggest that this popularity is well earned. Kaspersky Internet Security 2016 offers excellent protection, in tests killing off 97 percent of zero-day threats and 99 percent of known threats. There is no room for complacency here, but Kaspersky is most likely going to keep your PC and data safe.
System overhead is as light as a feather, with AV-Test finding the program had exactly zero effect on download of frequently used applications. That is about as good as it gets.
The same could be said of Kaspersky’s performance in AV-Test’s false positives test, with not a single rogue notification in the lab. These are truly excellent results from a security software package on which you can rely.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2016 costs just £34.99 for a one-year licence, which represents excellent value for a full-featured internet security suite. Click here to find out more.
2. Best antivirus: Norton Security
Norton is probably the biggest name in internet security software, and in times gone by you would see its distinctive yellow box in every high street PC store (remember them?). This most recent set of AV-Test results suggests that Norton Security 2016 lives up to the company’s reputation for excellence in securing PCs and laptops.
Norton’s results suggest it is market-leading in protection, detecting 100 percent of even unknown zero-day threats, as well as 99.9 percent of known threats (don’t you just hate that 0.01 of all threats?).
In the past Norton products had a reputation for slowing down PCs. That hasn’t been the case for some time now, and in this set of tests Norton Security 2016 had virtually now recognisable effect on Windows performance.
In fact the only thing that keeps Norton from being top of the shop is a single measly false positive during a scan. Just the one, so this is far from a bad result. Indeed, it is a great set of scores: Norton Security is brilliant.
You can pick up a copy of Norton Security for £39.99 (although it seems to be permanently on discount if you buy direct from Norton). Click here to find out more.
1. Best antivirus: Bitdefender Internet Security
Our number on best antivirus comes from Bitdefender. It is all but perfect in terms of protecting your PC without you knowing about it. In AV-Test’s latest lab testing Bitdefender managed to see off every piece of malware thrown at it, including all known threats and even those new net nasties chucked in the mix. Needless to say, this is the best protection on the market.
The impact on system performance is similarly market-leading, virtually no effects felt in tests. Literally no other antivirus can match Bitdefender in this regard.
Indeed, the only area in which Bitdefender isn’t demonstratively the best is in the arguably less important aspect of false positives. Here Bitdefender did cry wolf three times in all tests.
Bitdefender offers top-class protection without hitting your system performance. Bitdefender Internet Security costs £39 for a one-year licence. Click here to find out more.
Best antivirus for Windows: verdict
The main thing to consider: this year’s crop of antivirus products are great. If you need to protect your PC or laptop any one of these five best antivirus packages will do a great job. Bitdefender does the best job of all, Avira is the cheapest.
See also: Best antivirus for Mac.