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AVG AntiVirus Free (2017) Review Rating PCMag.com

AVG AntiVirus FREE is AVG’s brand new product for ensuring your safety and security online. It is powerful, feature rich, and has a newly designed, fresh looking interface.

AVG AntiVirus FREE is once-again a powerhouse of an antivirus. This essential security suite will protect your computer against viruses, worms, trojans, root-kits, and other spyware when browsing online or checking your email.

AVG AntiVirus FREE is designed for those that want the best security, without the hassle and complications that come from more advanced tools available on the market.

AVG AntiVirus FREE is able to block infected links as you browse, checks files before you download them, and help you protect your personal data online and on your PC with an solid set of privacy features.

Key features include:

  • Computer Protection:Real-time protection helps keep your computer free of malware, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, and Trojans. It uses advanced AI and real-time analysis tools to stop threats from ever reaching you.
  • Web and Email Protection:Block any unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments.

AVG AntiVirus FREE has a fresh, clean design with an intuitive feel to it. It does not come with a solid firewall, however, as this is included in the more advanced suite, AVG Internet Security–Unlimited.

The great thing about AVG AntiVirus FREE is that whenever the suite encounters an unknown threat, AVG then quickly analyze it, creates a cure and then pushes it out to millions of users, so everyone is better protected. All security updates are automatically pushed to you, along with any new features, to always keep you as up-to-date as possible.

Overall, AVG AntiVirus FREE has a low impact on system resources, it has an intuitive feel to it and it is easy to use with a simplified design. This coupled with free online support, and a robust cloud-based threat detection method, makes AVG AntiVirus FREE a good overall security suite to have installed on your system. If you are looking for a simple antivirus, which packs a powerful punch and won’t slow you down your system, then you can’t go far wrong with AVG AntiVirus FREE Bunny Quest FiNAL

MajorGeeks.com - These are not the droids you are looking for.

AVG AntiVirus Free Edition provides a reliable tool to protect your PC against many of today's viruses.Rapid virus database updates are available for the lifetime of this product, thereby providing the high-level of detection capability that millions of users around the world trust to protect their computers. AVG Anti-Virus FREE is easy-to-use and does not slow your system down due to the low system resource requirements.AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single home computer use only.AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition lets you surf, and search with confidence, while LinkScanner keeps you safe from harmful sites.AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition has both online and offline protection from viruses, spyware, and other nasties with consistent high-speed performance as well as automatic signature or virus definition updates to make sure you're current.
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Download Avira Free Security Suite Avira

Everybody needs antivirus protection. Everybody! And I don't mean the antivirus built into Windows—it just doesn't measure up. Fortunately, you can get that protection without spending a penny. AVG AntiVirus Free (2017) looks a bit different from its previous edition, and it includes some new technologies. In our own tests and tests by the independent labs, it earned very good scores.

Last year, Avast acquired AVG, but fans of either company needn't worry, as both product lines continue their separate existence. Why would a company want to acquire such a similar competitor Both AVG and Avast have huge followings, but globally each is strong in different areas. The combined company has a worldwide reach.

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Of course, AVG only makes money if somebody purchases the for-pay security suite. There's a certain amount of upsell when you go to install the free antivirus, but it's much more laid back than, for example, Comodo. You can choose the free antivirus or start a 30-day free trial of the suite. You don't have to enter a credit card, and if you do nothing, at the end of the trial it reverts to the free antivirus. It does offer to install a plug-in for all of your browsers, and replace your home page, new tab page, and default search. However, as I'll explain below, installing AVG in the browser gets you a ton of useful security features.

Management by Zen

Like all AVG products, the antivirus includes AVG Zen, a management and launching utility that offers an overview of AVG security on all of your devices. It's similar in many ways to the component that helps you manage McAfee AntiVirus Plus and other McAfee products.

Four panels dominate Zen's main window, devoted to antivirus, PC tuneup, VPN, and Web Tuneup. Each panel contains a circle that can be fully or partially colored, depending on whether or not you've installed all possible protection in that area. If all is well, the circle glows green; if your attention is needed, it changes color.

When you install the free antivirus, you see a three-quarter circle in the antivirus panel. That becomes a full circle only if you upgrade to the paid edition. If you followed the installer's instructions regarding Web Tuneup, that panel displays a full circle. As for the VPN panel, that one remains empty unless you separately install the Hide My Ass VPN.

Likewise, you won't see anything in the PC Tuneup panel unless you install AVG PC TuneUp. You do get a one-day trial of the tuneup product along with the free antivirus; I'll discuss that below.

New User Interface

Last year's edition of the antivirus looked extremely similar to AVG Zen, with the same color scheme and the same circle-based status indicators. This year, the color scheme hasn't changed, but almost everything else has.

The main window has two main panes. The Basic protection pane includes icons for computer protection and for Web and email protection, both enabled. The Full protection panes icons represent protection for private data, protection during online payments, and protection against hack attacks, all three disabled. To enable those, you must upgrade to AVG's non-free security suite.

In the middle, below the two panes, is a big button labeled Scan Computer. Clicking it launches a full scan, which does more than just scan for malware. It also scans for junk files, revealing browser traces, system logs, and Registry problems—but if you want to fix those you must start your short-time trial of AVG PC Tuneup.

In testing, the full scan finished in just six minutes, which led me to peruse all the scan options. I found another option called Deep Virus Scan. This scan took over an hour, quite a bit longer than last year's edition of AVG. However, because the scan flags safe files that don't need to be looked at again, a second scan goes much faster. I found that a repeat scan finished in just a few seconds.

Lab Scores High and Plentiful

It may seem counterintuitive, but in most cases antivirus makers pay for the privilege of having products included in testing by the independent labs, but they do benefit. A high score gives the company bragging rights; if the score is poor, the lab lets it know what went wrong. When the antivirus doesn't bring in any income, a company might be tempted to avoid the expense of testing. Not AVG. I follow five independent testing labs that regularly release reports on their results; all five of them include AVG.

Testers at AV-Comparatives run a wide variety of tests on antivirus and other security products; I follow five of those tests closely. As long as a product meets the minimum for certification, it receives a standard rating. Those that go beyond the minimum can receive an Advanced rating, or even Advanced . AVG participates in four of the five, and received two Advanced and two Advanced ratings. Note, though, that Kaspersky and Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition both rated Advanced in all five tests.

Lab Test Results Chart

AV-Test Institute reports on antivirus capabilities in three areas: protection, performance, and usability. With six points possible in each category, the maximum score is 18 points. AVG took six points for usability, meaning it didn't screw up by flagging valid programs or websites as malicious. It came close in the other two categories, with 5.5 apiece.

A total of 17 points isn't enough for AV-Test to designate AVG a Top Product; that requires 17.5 or better. Bitdefender, Quick Heal, and Trend Micro earned the necessary 17.5 points, while Kaspersky and Avira Antivirus managed a perfect 18.

AVG scored 81.05 percent in Virus Bulletin's RAP (Reactive And Proactive) test, just a hair below the current average. SE Labs tests products using real-world drive-by downloads and other Web-based attacks, assigning certification at five levels: AAA, AA, A, B, and C.

While most of the labs report a range of scores, tests by MRG-Effitas are more like pass/fail. Half of the products tested failed at least one test; 30 percent, including AVG, failed both. Since not-quite-perfect and epic failure get the same rating in this test, I give it less weight when coming up with an aggregate score.

Avast Free Antivirus, AVG, ESET, and Kaspersky are the only products in my collection that currently have results from all five labs. AVG's aggregate score is 8.7 of 10 possible points, better than many commercial products. At the top is Kaspersky, with 9.8 points, followed by Avira and Norton with 9.7.

Very Good Malware Protection

Malicious software from the Internet must get past numerous defenses before it can infect your PC. AVG could block all access to the malware-hosting URL, or wipe out the malware payload before the download finishes—I'll discuss those malware protection layers shortly. If a file is already present on your computer, AVG assumes it must have gotten past the earlier protection layers. Even so, it checks one more time before allowing such a file to execute.

To test AVG's malware-blocking chops, I opened a folder containing my current collection of malware samples and tried to execute each one. AVG blocked almost all of them immediately, wiping them out so fast it left Windows displaying an error message that the file could not be found. It wiped out most of those that managed to launch before they could fully install.

Initially I determined that AVG detected 94 percent of the samples and scored 9.0 of 10 possible points. However, upon checking with my company contact, I learned that for full protection I should enable detection of potentially unwanted applications, sometimes called PUAs or PUPs. With that setting enabled, AVG's scores rose to 97 percent detection and 9.5 points, better than many commercial programs. I wish, however, that AVG either enabled detection of PUAs by default or, like ESET NOD32 Antivirus 10, made the user actively choose to enable or disable this protection.

Webroot and Comodo Antivirus 10 scored a perfect 10 in this test. However, when I checked Comodo against hand-modified versions of my samples, it missed quite a few.

When AVG detects a file that's completely new to the system, never before seen, it prevents that file from launching and sends it to AVG headquarters for analysis. I managed to invoke this feature using one of those hand-modified samples. AVG killed the process, triggering a Windows error message. To show it wasn't really an error, AVG attached a CyberCapture tab to the error message.

A few other files merited special scrutiny. AVG displayed a message stating, "Hang on, this file may contain something bad," and promising an evaluation within 15 seconds. All of my hand-coded testing utilities triggered this warning; all three got a clean bill of health.

Malware Blocking Results Chart

Detecting my months-old samples is one thing; protecting against the very latest threats is quite another. My malicious URL test uses a feed of URLs detected within the last day or two by MRG-Effitas. An antivirus product gets equal credit if it prevents all access to the malware-hosting URL or if it eliminates the downloaded malware immediately.

I test URL after URL until I've recorded data for 100 verified malware-hosting URLs, then tally the results. AVG blocked access to more than half of the URLs and eliminated almost another quarter at the download stage, for a total of 73 percent protection. That's quite a bit better than Comodo, which lacks URL-based blocking and scores just 37 percent. However, others have done quite a bit better than AVG. Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic holds the lead, with 98 percent protection; Avira managed 95 percent.

Antiphishing Disappointment

Trojans and other malicious programs must successfully infiltrate your compute in order to steal data. Phishing websites, by contrast, only have to trick you, the user. If you log in to a fraudulent site that's pretending to be your bank, or your email provider, you've handed over your account to a crook. Such sites get discovered and blacklisted quickly, but the crooks simply set up new ones.

The most dangerous phishing sites are those that haven't been analyzed yet, so I scour the Web for sites that have been reported as fraudulent but not yet verified. I discard any that don't pretend to be some other site, and any that don't include fields for username and password. I launch each URL in a browser protected by the program under test, and in another protected by long-time phish-killer Norton. I also launch the URL in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, relying on the browser's built-in protection. If the URL returns an error message in any of the five browsers (and they often do), I discard it.

Antiphishing Results Chart

Because the URLs themselves are different every time, I report each product's results as the difference between its detection rate and that of the others. In last year's test, AVG lagged Norton's detection rate by 28 percentage points, which is still actually better than the majority of competing products. This time around, it lagged Norton by 70 percentage points, putting it near the bottom. My contact at the company checked with the developers and confirmed that they know about the problem and are working on speedier updates.

Even though Norton is my touchstone for this test, it doesn't beat every single competitor. Check Point ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus 2017 tied with Norton in its most recent test. Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Webroot actually beat Norton by a few points.

Bonus Features

The AVG Web TuneUp plug-in installs in all your browsers and offers several useful and important security benefits. First off, the Site Safety component warns when you visit a website that's risky or actively dangerous. You can click for more details, and click again for a full website report online. However, the full report isn't as detailed as what you get from Norton and a few others. And where Norton marks search results with red, yellow, and green icons, AVG only offers a rating once you try to visit a site.

Advertisers love to track your Web surfing, so they can show you ads they think you'll like, and avoid showing the same ad too often. But tracking by advertisers and others is a bit creepy, enough so that there's a header in the HTTP standard specifically designed to tell websites you don't want to be tracked. Alas, the header has no teeth. Your browser can send a Do Not Track header, but sites and advertisers can ignore it.

AVG's Web TuneUp includes an active Do Not Track component, one that checks each page you visit for trackers and optionally cuts off their tracking. It's disabled by default; I suggest you turn it on. A similar feature in Abine Blur uses its toolbar button to display the number of trackers on the current page and let you fine-tune its tracker blocking. AVG just blocks all trackers when this feature is turned on.

The last tune-up feature, Browser Cleaner, doesn't add a lot to your security. It tracks things like browsing history, saved Web form data, and cookies, and lets you click to delete them. But in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, you can simply press Ctrl Shift Del to do the same, with finer control over what gets deleted.

As noted, you can at any time install a one-day free trial of AVG PC TuneUp. Don't do this until you have a little free time, so you can make full use of your short-term trial.

The final bonus feature is a little hard to spot. Buried in the right-click menu for files and folders, you should find a new item titled Shred using AVG. If you choose this item, AVG overwrites the file's data before deleting it, thereby foiling any attempt to recover the deleted file's data.

An Excellent Choice

With the Avast acquisition, both the outward appearance and the technology inside are changing for AVG AntiVirus Free, and that's not a bad thing. The antivirus gets very good marks from all of the independent labs that I follow, and also did quite well in my malware-blocking test. It wasn't quite as good at blocking malicious downloads, but still beat many competitors. Yes, its antiphishing performance wasn't great, but phishing protection isn't a central antivirus component. Overall, it's an excellent choice.

But don't just take my word for it. Go ahead and give the program a try; it's free, after all. While you're at it, have a look at Avast Free Antivirus and Panda Free Antivirus, our other Editors' Choice products in the free antivirus realm FL Studio 11

AVG Anti Virus Business Edition 2013

Many antivirus companies have dropped the idea of version updates, or yearly updates, opting instead to continually hone the product's skills and slipstream in new features. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus has hardly changed visibly since my last review, but as an Editors' Choice it merits a new review, comparing it with all the latest products. It's still a winner.

Like Bitdefender and Kaspersky, Webroot charges just under $40 for a one-year subscription. But Webroot charges just $10 more for a three-license subscription, while the other two ask $20 more. Norton doesn't have a multi-license plan, and one license will run you $49.99. As for McAfee AntiVirus Plus, it looks like the most expensive, at $59.99 per year, but that subscription gets you unlimited licenses for all your devices.

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You can use your Webroot licenses to install antivirus on both PCs and Macs. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (for Mac) hasn't changed since my review earlier this year. Feel free to read my review of the Mac product for details.

The actual installation of this product takes hardly any time at all. However, the installer performs a raft of other tasks, checking each one off as it finishes. Among these are analyzing installed applications to reduce warnings and prompts, establishing a system baseline; and optimizing performance for your unique system configuration. It also runs an antivirus scan. Even with these added tasks, the process goes quickly.

The green-toned main window features a lighter panel that includes statistics about recent antimalware scans and a button to launch an immediate scan. Even if you never click that button, Webroot makes a full scan during installation and runs a scheduled scan every day. Another sizeable panel offers a link to view the product's User Guide. A panel at the right manages access to the rest of this product's significant feature collection.

Absent Lab Results

Webroot's malware detection system is very different from most competitors. It doesn't use the typical antivirus signature database, but rather works on metadata and behavior patterns. It also calculates a simple numeric hash for each file, and checks its online database to see if that file has already been identified as good, or as bad. After that simple test, it worries only about unknowns.

When an unknown program launches, Webroot monitors it closely, noting its behaviors and journaling its actions. It suppresses actions that aren't reversible, like sending data to an unknown server. And it transmits details about the program's behavior to Webroot's servers for analysis. In some cases, the analysis algorithms kick the program to human malware experts for a deeper dive. If analysis determines that the file is malicious, the local Webroot app kills the process and rolls back its actions.

Webroot's local program is utterly tiny, because most of its intelligence is in the cloud. If you somehow introduce a new file to the system when it's offline, the local heuristic detection system might identify it as malware. Otherwise, Webroot treats it as an unknown, and monitors its behavior. When the system regains its internet connection, the local app checks with the cloud. If the file turns out to be a known good or bad program, it treats it appropriately. If not, it just keeps monitoring until a verdict is reached.

This detection style doesn't fit very well with standard antivirus tests, especially those just using static samples. Even in a test that launches malware for observation, the researchers expect detection right away. As a result, Webroot simply doesn't participate in most independent lab testing. In the past, it did pass the difficult tests performed by MRG-Effitas, and my contacts at the company tell me it will appear in that lab's reports again.

Excellent Malware Protection Scores

With nothing from the labs, my own hands-on tests become more important. To get the ball rolling, I downloaded my current malware collection from Dropbox and extracted the files to a folder on the desktop. This file collection also includes a bunch of old PCMag utilities—valid files that are rarely in the wild. That ensures that an antivirus can't just decree that if a folder contains malware, all files in that folder are malicious.

At this point, Webroot detected and eliminated 54 percent of the samples. This represents all the samples whose hash (a simple numeric fingerprint) was already in Webroot's cloud database.

I maintain a second set of samples, modified by hand. Each modified edition has a different name from the original, and a different size, thanks to zeroes appended at the end. I also reached in to change some non-executable bytes in each. Looking only at the tweaked files corresponding to ones whose original got whacked on sight by Webroot, I found that it missed about a quarter of them. That's quite normal. This little test just checks the flexibility of signature-based detection systems. Trend Micro missed 45 percent of the modified files, and Kaspersky missed 44 percent.

I noticed something weird, though. Looking at the modified files corresponding to the ones Webroot did not eliminate on sight, I found that it wiped the modified versions of almost half. My Webroot contact explained. These hand-modified never-before-seen files could not appear in the database, and their absence was a suspicious circumstance, suggesting the possibility of polymorphic malware. That possibility triggered an extra level of scrutiny.

I proceeded to launch the surviving samples. After each detection, Webroot wanted to run a scan, which would be entirely appropriate in a real-world detection situation. To save time, I had it wait until I had tried all the samples. It caught all of them either at launch or soon thereafter. I also installed all the valid PCMag utilities that I had mixed with the malware samples; Webroot correctly left those alone.

When I did permit it to run a full scan, it took about 15 minutes before reporting the system clean. It then ran another intensive scan, just to be sure. That scan finished in seven minutes. Next, I used my hand-coded analysis tools to verify that there was no trace of any malware. Webroot, like Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic, detected 100 percent of these samples and earned a perfect 10 points.

For scan speed comparison purposes, I tested again on a completely clean system. This scan, too, finished in seven minutes. That's a bit longer than when I last tested Webroot, but still the fastest full scan among current products. Yes, Malwarebytes 3.0 Premium finished in 2.5 minutes, but its full scan is what others would call a quick scan. The current average is 45 minutes.

Malware Protection Results Chart

It takes me a week or more to gather, select, and analyze a new collection of malware for testing. Those samples remain in use until I can go through the process again, so it's no surprise that many of the files were already in Webroot's database of hashes. My malicious URL blocking test, on the other hand, always uses the very latest files, from a feed supplied by MRG-Effitas. These are typically no older than the previous day.

I work down the list, launching each URL, discarding any that give an error message, or that don't point to an executable malware file. Looking at the valid ones, I note whether the antivirus prevents browser access to the dangerous page, eliminates the malware during or just after download, or does nothing. When I've got 100 data points, I figure that's enough.

Webroot's web protection kicked in to keep the browser from visiting 16 percent of the dangerous URLs, stating that visiting this page could subject you to danger. The real-time antivirus eliminated another 72 percent, for a total of 88 percent protection. That's better than the 84 percent Webroot managed when last tested, but others have done better. Norton tops the list, with 98 percent protection, and Trend Micro Antivirus Security is close behind with 97 percent.

Ransomware Protection

The journal and rollback system Webroot uses can even roll back the effects of encrypting ransomware, though the company does warn that limitations such as available drive space can impact this ability. In truth, it would be very unusual for a ransomware attack to get past all the other layers of protection. Webroot wiped out all my ransomware samples, most by recognizing them as known bad programs, a few by noticing bad behavior after launch. So how could I test this product's ransomware protection

I could, of course, write a brand-new encrypting ransomware specimen for testing. Well, no, I couldn't. I don't have that level of programming skills, and I wouldn't if I could. Instead, I wrote a very simple ransomware simulator. When activated, it finds all the text files in the Documents folder and encrypts them using reversible XOR encryption. I had used this program last time I tested Webroot, so I recompiled it with a few changes, to make sure it wasn't in the Webroot database.

I launched the program and let it do its job, verifying that it encrypted those text files. I opened Webroot's Active Processes list and verified that it marked the fake encryptor as Monitored, meaning that Webroot kept a record of all its actions. I marked it as Blocked, and confirmed that I wanted to kill the program right away. Finally, I ran a scan. The scan correctly returned the encrypted files to their plaintext originals. Nice!

Webroot's monitor works with all malware types. A similar feature in Trend Micro focuses just on ransomware. It kicks in at the first sign of ransomware behavior, backing up the important files ahead of the malware. If its behavioral detection verifies a ransomware attack, it terminates the attacker before it can do any more damage, and then it restores the backed-up files.

Good Protection Against Phishing

Phishing websites are frauds that masquerade as secure sites in order to steal your credentials. PayPal, banks, gaming websites, even dating sites—I've seen them all. Once you fill in your username and password on such a site, your account is pwned.

Of course, these sites quickly get detected and blacklisted, but in the time between a site's appearance and its demise, the perpetrators victimize as many saps as they can. The very best antiphishing tools don't just rely on blacklisting, but they also perform real-time analysis to detect brand-new frauds. Webroot is in the real-time camp. Often, you can see the page start to load, only to be replaced by a page that warns "Phishing attack ahead." A fraud that Webroot detects goes into Webroot's own blacklist, to protect other users that might encounter it.

Phishing Protection Results Chart

For this test, I gather URLs that have been reported as fraudulent but not yet blacklisted. Typically, they're no more than a couple of hours old. I try to visit each URL in five browsers simultaneously, one using the product under test, one using Norton, and one apiece relying on protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Over half of recent products scored lower than at least one of the browsers, and almost one in five displayed worse protection that all three built-ins. Hardly any products beat Norton's detection rate. In my previous test, Webroot edged out Norton's detection rate by 1 percentage point. This time it lagged Norton by 5 points, but that's still a respectable score. Of recent products, only Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and Trend Micro have outscored Norton.

See How We Test Security Software

Firewall Bonus

Webroot includes firewall protection, even in the standalone antivirus, but it's not the same as what many others do. This firewall doesn't attempt to put your system's ports in stealth mode; it leaves that task to the built-in Windows Firewall. You'll want to double-check that you have Windows Firewall enabled.

It doesn't attempt to fend off network-based exploits. I hit the test system with about 30 exploits generated by the CORE Impact penetration tool and it did nothing. Since the test system is fully patched, the exploits also didn't do any damage.

Webroot classifies programs as good, bad, or unknown. Like Norton, it leaves the good ones alone, eliminates the bad ones, and monitors the unknowns. As mentioned earlier, if a monitored unknown program tries to exfiltrate your private data, it won't succeed.

The firewall really kicks in when Webroot detects an active infection, which causes the main window to turn from green to dramatic red. At this point, it clamps down on network traffic by unknown programs, without keeping you from normal activities like Web browsing.

If you a glutton for punishment, you can tweak the firewall's settings to enable old-school behavior, where the firewall pops up a warning every time an untrusted program tries Internet access. You can even go a step farther, setting it to block all access for untrusted programs.

One thing's for sure, a malware coder isn't going to disable Webroot's protection. It doesn't expose any settings in the Registry. Its two processes are protected against termination. And I couldn't stop or disable its single Windows service.

Expert Features

There's quite a bit more to Webroot's tool, if you're interested enough to poke around. If you'd rather not, no problem! You don't need to view, use, or configure these expert features at all.

Identity Protection acts to prevent a wide variety of typical malware attacks including man-in-the-middle, browser process modification, and keylogging. It can apply protection to specific applications that you choose; Internet Explorer is on the protected list by default.

A set of antimalware tools lets you repair collateral damage, like malware-modified wallpaper, screensaver, or system policies. You can also use it to quickly reboot into Safe Mode, or to perform an instant reboot. Those with tech skills can manually remove malware, along with its associated Registry data. And if necessary, you can run a removal script created by Webroot tech support.

You can even view all active processes and see which ones Webroot is monitoring. If you really want to see what Webroot is doing, you can open the Reports page and check its current activity, or history. You probably won't want to read the available scan log or threat log, but tech support may ask for them. And hey, Webroot tech support is available 24/7, with call centers in the US, Ireland, and Australia.

There are expert features, and there are beyond-expert features. SafeStart Sandbox is among the latter. If you're a trained antivirus researcher, you can use it to launch a suspect program under detailed limitations that you specify. If you're not, just leave it alone.

Who's the Lightest of Them All

For years I've referred to Webroot as the smallest, lightest antivirus around. Just what does that mean

If you open the folder containing a typical antivirus or security suite, you'll find a boatload of files and folders. When I checked, Norton's program folder contained over 1,250 folders and 130 files, and occupies 702MB of disk space. Bitdefender's files and folders didn't take quite as much space on disk, but they ran to more than 4,500 files and 200 folders. And these aren't even among the biggest!

Check Webroot's folder and you'll find exactly one file, WRSA.exe, weighing in at 1MB. Like I said, tiny!

According to Task Manager, Webroot has just two processes, one running in the current user's memory space and one at the system level. The same is true of Norton. But I found 16 active processes for McAfee. Checking Bitdefender in the same way, I found nine active processes

In addition to processes visible in Task Manager, most security utilities rely on one or more Windows Services. I found just one for Webroot and Norton, and three for Kaspersky Anti-Virus. McAfee AntiVirus Plus had 13, almost all of them running, and Bitdefender relied on six.

Just because a product uses a greater number of processes or services doesn't necessarily mean it's using more of your system resources. It's conceivable that a program with just one resource-hungry process could bring your system to a screeching halt. That's conceivable, but not likely. By every measure I've found, Webroot is the lightest of them all.

A Tiny Dynamo

Most of the independent antivirus labs don't quite know what to do with Webroot, as it doesn't jibe with their testing methodologies. However, in my own hands-on testing it proved a big success, with a perfect score for malware protection and very good scores for blocking malicious URLs and phishing sites. I couldn't test it with zero-day ransomware, but its journal-and-rollback system proved effective against my ransomware simulator. For experts, it packs some advanced features into its tiny package. It remains an antivirus Editors' Choice.

Like Webroot, Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic aced my malware protection test, and beat all others, even full security suites, in my exploit protection test. Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus routinely earn perfect or near-perfect scores from all four of the antivirus testing labs that I follow, and both include useful bonus features. McAfee AntiVirus Plus doesn't always score quite as high as the others, but it's a fantastic bargain, offering protection for every Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS device in your household. These four are also Editors' Choice antivirus products, each with its own special merits WinRAR 4.0 32bit 64bit

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