Free antivirus / antispyware?

So my old hard drive flaked out, and I’m doing a fresh install of WinXP on my new HD.

What’s the current recommendation for antivirus/antispyware stuff these days? I’m a little out of touch – I’d been using Live OneCare, 'cause it was reasonably inexpensive and unobtrusive, but my yearly sub to that runs out this month. I’m guessing there’s better stuff out there anyway.

So – what should I use? My criteria, in order of importance, are:

  1. Free
  2. Minimal performance hit
  3. “Good enough” protection

Thanks, hivemind – I know you won’t steer me wrong!

install free avg without its linkscanner.
or install avast.

I use a combination of the following for security:

AVG Free
AdAware Free
SpyBot S&D
ZoneAlarm Free

With release 8.0, AVG put in a few unnecessary things (like the linkscanner), but for the most part you can turn those off. I haven’t had many problems with that setup, and it’s all free.

AVG Free and Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

AVG Free and Spybot S&D here. (Though I would not enable the Spybot ‘teatimer’; too naggy.)

Another vote for AVG-Free and Spybot S&D. If it’s for you, you can kill AVG’s safe-site add-in. If anyone other than you used the PC, go ahead and enable that. It’s a good dummy check.

TeaTimer (an optional part of Spybot) can be okay as long as you understand what it nags for (changes to the registry, startup, or windows environment) and you can answer questions on it based on what is going on. It performs well in that role and is a great security layer. It can be a bit naggy though, so your mileage may vary.

Avira and Malwarebytes, AVG is crap

I thought AVG went to a full-pay subscription model?

AVG has had a pay product for a while now, but you can still get AVG Free and you still get full antivirus support and everything.

Avira has the best of performance and detection, IMHO. AVG is good but more of a hog and AVAST is just butt-ugly and confusing…

Also this:

A useful place to find and download all sorts of great freeware/shareware apps such as antivirus/spyware stuff.

I was aware that AVG had a sort of rocky patch about a year ago or maybe less but it is usually solid for me and I don’t find it to be a hog.

Avira on the other hand is one I will not use anymore; I have found it to be the mysterious cause behind more than one troubleshooting scenario in which removing Avira makes everything work the way it is supposed to again.

No antivirus, Malwarebytes, and prudent browsing (or using virtual machines for non-prudent browsing) is the way to go these days.

Isn’t that equivalent to the infamous pull-out method of birth control? (Except for the virtual machine part.)

No, using antivirus these days is equivalent to using a condom that has holes in it, if that’s the way you want to go with this. It gives people a false sense of security, as far as I’m concerned, particularly if they aren’t computer noobs.

He speaks the truth.

AVG 8 is actually more bloated than Norton 2009. I wish I was kidding.

Interesting. I just switched to AVG from Norton Corporate, which was pretty thin as far as bloat. I did notice a hit from AVG (and online gaming disconnects) since I got it. It came very highly recommended from alot of people too.

OK, Avira and Malwarebytes it is. I may throw in spybot for real-time spyware thwarting, since I’m too cheap for the pay version of malwarebytes.

Thanks for the tips, all!

You can’t go wrong with Avira. Its memory footprint is one of the smallest, and I don’t even bother disabling it while gaming.

FYI, Avira will throw an ad at you to buy the professional edition. Just click OK and it goes away until the next boot/update.

Avira also has a linux bootable image for scanning outside of your Windows environment. You can download it from their web and it’s updated regularly. Good to have around for emergencies.

I guess it’s not fashionable but I use the free avast and haven’t had any issues with the protection or the interface. I believe when I was looking the comparison tests I saw rated avast as slightly better than AVG. I’m not familiar with Avira, though, and don’t recall seeing it in the comparisons.