By now, most Windows users have upgraded to Windows 10 (Although Windows 7 retains a loyal following). And most agree that it is hands-down better than Windows 8. However, one thing that neither version of Windows does particularly well is to protect your computer against viruses and other malicious programs. This is where having the best antivirus software for Windows comes in.
Today, the most common dangers to computer users include spyware, malware, Trojans, and adware. If you don’t protect your computer, you could end up bogged down by malicious programs. Now, you might be thinking that you can get virus protection for free, and that’s true. Windows Defender is included with your Windows operating system, and there are other free virus tools available. However, you’re not going to get the same level of protection or peace of mind with free antivirus software as you will with a comprehensive paid protection program.
Best Antivirus Software for Windows: Things to Consider
- All of our picks for best antivirus software for Windows offer protection that is close to 100%. So close, in fact, that protection should not necessarily be your top concern when choosing the right one for you. Rather, you should be concerned with how easy your antivirus program is to install and run. You don’t want a program that is complicated to get up-and-running. You don’t want one that takes up a lot of space or slows down your system. And, you don’t want a complicated user interface. The best antivirus software for Windows should be simple, yet effective.
- Most users prefer an antivirus program that works “behind the scenes,” so to speak. In other words, the best antivirus programs operate in the background without constantly bugging the user to acknowledge their existence. That doesn’t mean that these programs aren’t doing their jobs or that they won’t alert you when a real problem arises, but that they take care of minor day-to-day issues unobtrusively.
- Most of the best antivirus software for Windows makers offers multiple levels of their software. Normally there are two or more tiers to choose from, with the higher-level tiers being more expensive. Keep in mind, however, that a higher tier doesn’t necessarily mean better protection. More likely, paying more for the higher-level version of a particular program will give you more features with comparable protection. The best antivirus programs give you near-perfect protection as well as additional features to suit your needs. Choose the best antivirus software for you, but don’t spend more than you need on a program that offers functionality you won’t use.
- Most of today’s antivirus software is available as an annual subscription rather than a one-time download. You can often save a bit of money by purchasing a 3-year subscription. Don’t forget that a lot of companies will automatically renew your subscription if you don’t cancel it.
- We’re only talking about protection for Windows here, but many of the best antivirus software programs protect multiple types of devices, including IOS and Android phones and tablets. Choose an antivirus software that will work with as many different devices as you want to protect (normally you’ll have the option of 3, 5, 10, or unlimited devices).
Top 3 Best Antivirus Software for Windows Reviews
PC Matic tops our list of best antivirus software for Windows because, in addition to advanced malware protection, it includes several other features to keep your PC running smoothly and efficiently. The advance registry cleaning and Driver Matic automatic driver update technology (patent pending) prevent lockups and crashes. You also get PC Matic Nitro, which can speed up internet download times by up to 200%. This is an easy-to-use product, but should you run into any problems, the company has great tech support.
Overall, PC Matic is one of the best, if not the best, antivirus and internet security programs for Windows. There are only two real downsides. One is the price as this is one of the most expensive security suites available. The other is that it is only available for download in the U.S. at this time, so if you live in another country you are out of luck. However, if you live in the United States and are comfortable spending a little more money to get the very best protection, along with added features for convenience and performance, then PC Matic is definitely one of the best antivirus software for windows programs you can buy.
Webroot offers a range of antivirus and internet security products, but its Internet Security Complete makes our list of best antivirus software for Windows because it offers some additional security and performance features without slowing down the computer system. One convenience feature appreciated my many customers is password manager, which facilitates access to all your online accounts using just one master password. Smart tracker allows you to track and/or lock a missing device, and intelligent wipe lets you protect your privacy and information by remotely wiping a device.
With Webroot Internet Security Complete, you get 25 GB of cloud storage to back up your files. That’s one big advantage of going with this product over a lower-tier option such as Webroot AntiVirus. You probably won’t ever need your backed-up stuff, but it’s always nice to know it’s there – just in case. You’ll also find that the software doesn’t take up much space, it runs lightning fast, and the scans are frequent but unobtrusive. In terms of features, usability, and effectiveness, Webroot is definitely one of the best antivirus software programs available for Windows. You do need to be aware that Webroot automatically renews your subscription after one year, but they have great customer service and will normally refund any charges if you decide you’d rather not renew.
Norton Security with Backup is one of the pricier antivirus programs available, but it comes with a host of extra security features that many users will appreciate. Like many of the other top antivirus programs, this product gives you cloud storage (the ‘backup’ in Norton Security with Backup). Parents will appreciate Norton Family Premium, which lets you control what your children are allowed to access. Another cool feature is the ability to locate your phone from your computer if both have Norton installed.
This program is very easy to install and has a simple user interface. Previous versions tended to bug users with popups and reminders, but Norton has made a move toward making its programs less intrusive. A few users report problems of compatibility with other installed programs, but most never experience this issue, and if you do, Norton has very good customer service. Norton Security with Backup is definitely one of the best antivirus software for Windows programs available, especially if you want a simple way to set up parental controls and protect multiple devices.