Windows in the most targeted operating system mostly because it exists forever and is widely used. The popularity of this OS is the main reason why hackers focus on creating malware for it. It is much easier to attack devices running on Windows apparently because there are a lot of them.
That’s why just avoiding potentially dangerous websites is not enough if you use this OS. You need solid protection for your Windows PC if you want security for your data. Remember, that a virus can not only corrupt your files but give a hacker access to the personal information like passwords and credit card details as well.
Which Antivirus software is best for Windows 10?
To pick the best antivirus for Windows 10, you have to understand what you are looking for. Here are several criteria that should define your choice:
- Full coverage. The antivirus has to protect you from all kinds of malware that exist at the moment.
- The antivirus program has to have a minor impact on the performance of your system possible. If it slows down the computer – it’s not a good option for you.
- Some providers have higher rates, others – lower. Understand your budget and consider only options that fit it.
- User experience. It is important that you don’t struggle setting up the software and interacting with it.
- Look for reviews of the antivirus you’re going to buy. See if in real life it is as good as the provider describes it.
Now, when you know how to choose the optimal antivirus for Windows, we can get to reviewing the most popular and reliable providers.
Bitdefender: best security for Windows
This provider is constantly hitting perfect or almost perfect scores during tests. Bitdefender offers its users a wide range of instruments leaving most other providers behind. And in the new edition, the provider implemented even more enhancements.
Bitdefender has a truly impressive list of features. It protects users from malware, ransomware, and phishing, and the Network Threat Protection component will guard the network and keep an eye on the most vulnerable applications. The TrafficLight feature will show you which websites are safe and which are not when you’re using search systems.
Thanks to the Advanced Threat Defense, Bitdefender will perform the scanning for viruses based on their behavior. Also, the software has a password management feature that will protect your passwords, personal data and credit card details. And the Safepay feature will secure the connection when you’re buying things online.
To ensure you have as many layers of protection as possible, this provider offers you a VPN as a separate program, on top of the antivirus. The list of features Bitdefender has is almost endless. Users can study them all once they install the software.
A number of packages are available:
- Antivirus Plus – $59.99/year
- Total Security – $89.99/year
- Internet Security – $79.99/year
- Antivirus for Mac – $59.99/year
- Mobile Security – $14.99/year
Kaspersky: best for reliable protection of home PC
This is one of the oldest and most reliable antiviruses. Everyone knows Kaspersky, many of us used it. But unlike many old players, this provider gets better over time.
The interface of this software is simple and intuitive. Main features – scanning, database update, reports, and on-screen keyboard – are placed on the left as buttons. Clicking on the Scan button, you can choose whether you want to run a quick or a full scan. Here you can specify areas of scanning as well. Also, you can schedule scans, so that they run automatically.
With an on-screen keyboard, you can protect your passwords and data from stealing. It’s impossible to record anything that is typed if you use this keyboard. Another useful feature is the Vulnerability Scan. It searches for security patches that are missing, wrong system settings, etc. When issues are detected, you can tell the program to fix them.
Additional features are fairly useless. Privacy Cleaner and Kaspersky Rescue Disk can be replaced with any other tool. Browser Configuration Wizard works only with Internet Explorer. And the Windows Troubleshooting Wizard is hard to test, so we couldn’t prove its usefulness.
The cost of Kaspersky Antivirus starts from $39.95 per year for one device. You can choose the number of devices, and for how many years you need your license, and the price will go up accordingly.
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus – $39.95/year
- Kaspersky Internet Security – $59.95/year
- Kaspersky Total Security – $79.95/year
ScanGuard: best for those who value privacy
ScanGuard focuses not just on the protection from viruses, but on the privacy of the user as well. With a quite reliable VPN service and additional firewalls, you will be perfectly safe.
It is a young provider, so no serious tests were held yet. However, users claim that ScanGuard can defeat even the most dangerous and strong viruses without overloading the system. And scans don’t impact the performance of the device which is rare. So even though we have no lab results to prove the reliability of this antivirus, satisfied users are the best proof.
With the simple and easy to use interface this new antivirus will quickly make its way to the top. ScanGuard comes in three packages. The 1st one – Essential Antivirus – provides the user with the protection from malware, ransomware, and phishing. It also has features for the optimization of PC, remote firewall protection, VPN and much more.
The second package – Pro Antivirus – will protect up to three devices. Additionally to the basic set of tools, it has the Safe Password Vault feature. And the last package – Ultimate Antivirus – is packed with premium opportunities. In addition to the features of both previous packages, this one supports five devices and gives you priority customer support that is available at any moment.
There are 3 packages to choose from, and the pricing is as follows:
- Essential Antivirus – $24.95 for the 1st year.
- Pro Antivirus – $39.95 for the 1st year.
- Ultimate Antivirus – $59.95 for the 1st year.
Avast: best for those who love free stuff
This must be the only antivirus provider that offers software for free and doesn’t limit its possibilities. You can install a free version of Avast and enjoy solid protection without paying any money.
The software has a simple and intuitive interface that is really easy to work with. If you want to have an occasional scan, just hit Run Smart Scan – a big green button on the home screen of Avast. The antivirus will go through your files quickly and make no impact on the performance.
This antivirus runs on Passive Mode by default. To decrease the number of conflicts, it doesn’t run a real-time scan and doesn’t perform actions until there is a need. Avast uses this tactic because a native Windows Defender monitors the system. So there is no need to create an additional load for the system.
Avast will protect you from malware, ransomware, and phishing. It will scan your network and find vulnerabilities. It will help you manage your passwords and protect them. If you allow it, the antivirus will even install an extension in your Chrome or Firefox to protect you from malicious sites. In the paid version you will get additional shields. Paid features that improve the performance of the PC are available separately.
Avast packages come at the following pricing:
- Avast Internet Security – $59.99/year
- Avast Security Pro for Mac – $59.99/year
- Avast Premier – $69.99/year
TotalAV: best for basic phishing protection
This antivirus will provide you with lots of features like VPN, ad blocking, and many others. Still, it lacks the main feature – reliable protection from viruses.
As tests show, TotalAV doesn’t recognize quite a lot of malicious files as malware, so we wouldn’t say that this software will protect you from viruses and ransomware. However, it offers pretty good protection from phishing. But still, it’s not enough.
The software has a System Boost section where you can find features that allow you to set up some settings. You can manage the list of programs that are running on the startup, uninstall programs and manage cookies and history of your browser. It is nice, but it can be done with built-in Windows tools. And you can always delete cookies and history in settings of your browser.
Another feature, Disc Cleaner, will scan your PC for trash and delete it. Again, there are programs like CCleaner that can do it. As for extra-cost features, TotalAV offers VPN, password manager, ad block, and Identity Protection.
The pricing is as follows:
- Ultimate Antivirus – $59.95 for the 1st year.
- Antivirus Pro – $39.95 for the 1st year.
- Essential Antivirus – $19.95 for the 1st year.
Do you need an antivirus for Windows 10?
Windows always was a piece of cake for hackers because of the popularity of this OS. It is easy to target a large audience if you choose the most widely-used operating system as a medium. And even though Microsoft works hard on improving the safety of Windows, this OS remains vulnerable. However, it should be said that the security in Windows 10 is much better than the level of protection Windows XP had.
To keep your system protected, you have to update the antivirus database regularly. And, thus, you have to update the whole system. We all know how annoying and time-consuming this process is. That’s why we try to avoid it. But if you want to be safe, you have to go through it once in a while.
So it is still crucial to have an antivirus on your PC, even if you use the latest update of Windows 10. Think about this – Microsoft works on various things improving its OS. Developers improve the performance, make the system more suitable for new apps and, of course, update the database of malware. That’s a lot of work.
Antivirus providers focus solely on protecting their users from attacks. So they, no doubt, give more time and efforts to it. Therefore, they can offer much more reliable security.
What about free Windows Defender alternative?
Windows Defender is not as unreliable as most people think. It existed since Vista and used to show little to no success. Lab tests of Windows Defender have shown very poor results – only 60-70% rate.
However, today it shows much better results – 99.1%. It is not perfect. Its score is lower than most antiviruses mentioned above. But it protects your PC, and it is already installed and enabled. You don’t have to learn how to work with it as well as install anything. The Defender doesn’t take much place, doesn’t conflict with other apps and needs little resources.
Of course, there are issues. The protection is not perfect, but again – it is free. On the one hand, a good free Avast antivirus is also always here for us. But, on the other – if you have Windows 10 you don’t need to worry about protection a lot.
So for sure, you can run without getting any additional antivirus and trust your safe Windows Defender. But we still would recommend getting at least some basic software in addition to the built-in Defender.
More than just antivirus: What best antivirus solutions have to offer?
Another good reason to get an antivirus is that providers try to give users more to win them, due to the harsh competition. Along with protection from malware, most programs would offer additional useful features. It is nice to have tools that will improve the speed of your PC neatly packed along with the antivirus. Usually, you will get features allowing to clean trash, manage apps, so that they take fewer resources and detect what slows down the system in general.
Another good thing providers often would give you with the antivirus is VPN. Today most internet users need such service since they use laptops and often connect to public WiFi. VPN allows to protect the device from hackers attacks and keep your online activity private.
Also, you can usually find a feature that provides you with a safe environment for your data and passwords. It can be a password wallet or an ability to create a folder that will be reinforced with stronger protection. In this folder, you can store files that contain sensitive and important information.
Nowadays antivirus is vital. It is one of the apps you simply can’t ignore. Malefactors are constantly working on new malware and other ways to get what they want. So you can’t just hope your PC will be fine. Especially if you use Windows OS. Sure, other operating systems are far from safe as well. But as we told earlier, since this system is so popular, it is a favorite target of hackers.
The good antivirus doesn’t cost that much for you to neglect it. Trust us, you will spend more money trying to resurrect the data damaged by a virus. And you are lucky if only some data will be the victim of malware. If hackers steal your sensitive information – credit card details, for example – you will lose much more. So just get an antivirus especially including the fact that there are free options.
Also, along with antivirus, you will get some additional useful tools. And it is always nice to have instruments that help you get the most of your PC. So spending money on the protection of your device, you will have a full set of various features as a huge bonus.
To choose the best option for your needs first define your requirements and understand your budget. Then you will have a guideline that will help you pick the right solution that fits your needs and doesn’t leave you with an empty wallet.