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Where can I get free anti-virus and anti-spyware software for Windows?

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Article SummaryA few places you can get free anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Caution - free software may come with unwanted toolbars and adware.
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​Having a virus protection suit running is important to ensure that your computer is defended from harmful files or malicious programs. College computers come with ESET Nod32 anti-virus software installed. For all other cases, there are a number of free virus protection solutions available.

Windows Defender - Windows Defender comes preinstalled in Windows 8 and above. Users running Windows 8 may not need any other virus protection, though a different antivirus can be installed and Windows Defender will turn itself off.

Microsoft Security Essentials - For versions of Windows earlier than 8 (7, Vista, XP, etc.), users can download Microsoft Security Essentials to get much of the same functionality as Windows Defender.

Avira Free Antivirus - Avira provides quick scanning and good detection rates for malicious files.

avast! Free Antivirus - avast! features strong malware detection and effective removal of contaminated files.

AVG Free Antivirus - AVG provides very effective blocking of malware and very up-to-date virus definitions.

In most cases, normal users should not have to buy expensive antivirus suites.

Some free anti-spyware/anti-malware programs include Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware. There are others, but be careful - many that purport they will help "clean" your system will actually do the opposite. Make sure you are downloading the program from a trusted, well known site.
Better still is to research the software online before downloading it to be sure it is legitimate.

CAUTION! In recent years many companies have turned to installing unwanted toolbars, adware, or even malware on your computer when you install their "free" anti-virus software. They do this to make money. Before installing free software, research it on the internet to find out if other people have had problems with it.

Note: Algonquin College is not responsible and does not endorse these applications. Use your own judgement or get professional advice when evaluating third party software. 

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