Thursday, March 13, 2008

Free Online Virus Scanners

Free Online Virus Scanners [run inside the web browser to scan your hard drive]

Trend Micro HouseCall - An online virus scanner that's absolutely free and scans your PC hard drive for any sort of viruses or even spyware. HouseCall allows you to remove detected infections. Works with Firefox and IE. Requires Java.

McAfee Freescan - This free virus scanner from McAfee is based on the McAfee VirusScan engine. Should viruses be found, FreeScan prepares a list of infected files and links to information about the viruses on your computer. It also gives you an option to clean your system. Requires IE with ActiveX.

Windows Live OneCare Scanner - A free antivirus online scanner from Microsoft that cleans your system from viruses and also recommends ways to improve the overall performance. Part of Windows Onecare.

Symantec Internet Security - An online virus scanner from the developers of Norton Antivirus 2007 can detect most virus threat but there is no option to delete the virus infected file or repair it. Does not examine compressed files. Requires IE with ActiveX.

BitDefender Online Scanner - Their Free Online Virus Scanner version 8 scans your system's memory, all files, folders and drives' boot sectors - the default options automatically cleans the infected files. Requires IE with ActiveX.

Free Anti Virus Software for Windows [Requires Installation]

Avast! Home Edition - One of the most popular antivirus software, can also be run from Explorer context menu. You can either scan the entire hard drive or selected folders. Ships with an Antivirus screen-saver.

AOL Active Virus - a free virus scanner from AOL based on Kaspersky Antivirus that doesn't require an AOL account to download the software. The software can be configure to check only new and modified files thereby reducing the memory requirements. Also support scanning of incoming and outgoing email messages.

ClamWin Virus Scanner - An opensource antivirus software that is great for running routine antivirus checks on your PC. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware.

AVG 7.5 Free Antivirus - One of most popular free virus scanning software is AVG 7.5 Free Edition (read comments). Initially, there was confusion whether AVG 7.5 would be free like AVG 7.1 but the good news is that AVG 7.5 Free edition is already available for non-commercial, single home computer use.

Conclusion: Which one should I choose ?

Unlike Desktop antivirus software, online virus scanners do not proactively protect your PC against new virus infections.

But if viruses have already entered your hard drive and taken control of your existing desktop scanner program, any of the above listed online virus-scanning services can save your day.

If you are a fairly experienced web user who doesn't need an antivirus software to run in the background 24 hours, scan you drive at regular intervals using HouseCall. Others may install the AOL antivirus software which uses the Kaspersky virus definitions database.

Related: How to Trick the GMail Virus Scanner

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Published on Friday, November 24, 2006 at

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Reader Comments:

How can you miss AVG from this list?

Impossible man, i've been using it since 2 yrs, i find it even better than the paid ones.

Amit - I have to agree with Mark above. AVG should be at the top of your list when considering free (or commercial) AV software. I've used it for years on a number of PCs I maintain and it has always been a solid performer - much less memory and resource intensive than the big dogs - and updated on a near-daily basis.

OneCare is a good solution but not free (although it is very affordable and a license covers three PCs). I've ben testing it on one of my PCs and, combined with Windows Defender, it has kept that PC clean of any infection.

You forgot the best of show, AVG

No mention of Grisoft's AVG? Ive had the free version for years on 3 machines and never had a problem.

You missed AVG!

Thanks everyone for writing about AVG.

I did consider including AVG in the free anti virus software list but the vendor website says that AVG 7.1, the free version, will be discontinued in Jan, 2007.

"AVG Free 7.1 version will be discontinued on 15th of Jan 2007."

The next version, AVG 7.5, will cost $29.95.

Hi Amit,
AVG Free 7.1 Anti Virus is going. But 7.5 is going to be there and there is a free version of it. I have upgraded to it. Check out

Great Post Amit,

I was considering writing a post regarding this matter but you beat me to it.

Even if you are fairly experienced web user, you do need Antivirus running 24 hours along with a firewall.

There are worms that can exploit "zero day" vulnerabilities that require no user action to infect your computer.

The most damaging of these was the "Witty Worm" that targeted servers running the BlackIce firewall. It is ironic that a firewall that was supposed to protect you was the reason many servers got wiped out.

Another really cool service is VirusTotal. They let you upload a file that is less than 10mb in size and it will scan it with all major AV engines, and give you the option of distributing the file to all those same vendors to check it and add it to their signatures if it is in fact a malicious file. Now, almost anytime I download some software from somewhere, I always run it through VirusTotal first just to make sure it's really clean. You'd be surprised how many different responses you'll get from all the AV products!

You get what you pay for. Free=no support, no quality assurance.

Detection scoring for Free AV products:

Threats are now blending spyware/malware with viruses, so you need to employ layered defenses. Of all the commercial products out there, F-Secure Internet Security 2007 has the best feature set for stopping viruses and malware, along with rootkit detection and zero-hour protection.

Just my two cents.

I did a post for newbies on free products I recommend for PC security. Besides AVG Free Antivirus and Zone Alarm, I've got Defender on my list too.

I some how deleted AVG free home edition off my puter a few days a go..I have tried to re load it about 10 times..each time takes more than 1 will NOT work for me..:(
Does any 1 know why?
I LOVEDDD AVG....well..when I had!!
Many thx!!

AVG is overrated. It was the last antivirus that can detect W32.Brontok and Kangen virus... and also "Hacked by Pokemon". I prefer Avast! .. in my opinion only...

Avast is the useless antivirus tool ever. It's open for so many viruses. Just scan your pc from internet and you will see. Download some sample virus test pack, then scan it with your s**t avast and after scan it with any online scanner. Results may open your eyes :D

"AOL Active Virus Shield is no longer available" - check the's gone, they try to sell you McAfee now.

Written by Anonymous at 18/3/07 1:06 AM
I some how deleted AVG free home edition off my puter a few days a go..I have tried to re load it about 10 times..each time takes more than 1 will NOT work for me..:(
Does any 1 know why?
I LOVEDDD AVG....well..when I had!!
Many thx!!

RE: above entry by someone else.
I agree! Mine got where it would no longer update. Trying to download AVG comes back with..."some files are corupt, can not download. Try downloading a fresh version. Please HELP!

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