Having an Antivirus active is easy but is your Antivirus letting you down?

Should you use a FREE Antivirus? An Antivirus is a must for any computer, regardless of whether your machine is a PC or a Mac.

it is the first piece of software we install when working with new customers, you never know when you may be attacked so it is essential to have the necessary protection.

Even the most careful user can find themselves infected and then the infection can spread like a wildfire. Should you use a FREE Antivirus? We explain why we don’t recommend it.

The idea that Macs don’t get viruses also needs to be squashed, as the Mac becomes more popular it is becoming a target for Malware and other malicious software.

Consider Email that could be infected with Malware that may not damage a Mac but it may be possible for the Mac user to unknowingly pass that infection on to a Windows user.

Should you use a Free Antivirus?

A free Antivirus could sound like a good idea, free means no subscriptions,

free updates and protecting those Pennies.

In reality, though free does not usually mean better.

There is an old saying ‘You get what you pay for and it is important to remember.

Let us run down a few things to consider before answering should you use free antivirus software:


A free application will typically repeatably show popups pestering you to upgrade to a new package,

frequently you may see alerts that look like virus infections pushing you to upgrade to rectify the issue (typically Adware disguised as an Antivirus).

Browser forced changes that can then change your browsing experience and allow popups warning you to upgrade.

Free is often subsidised by advertising and uses this ability to make money and not necessarily to offer suitable protection.

Effective Protection

Installing an Antivirus you expect to be protected from Malware and Viruses,

this goes without saying but a Free Antivirus package is not likely to be maintaining a database of new viruses as quickly as a paid Antivirus.

With a Managed Antivirus that CHTSI offers not only are virus definitions updated constantly,

but they are managed by engineers and alerts are sent to an engineer to quickly resolve.

Would you expect the same level of service with a free Antivirus?

The decision has to be made by you or your business if you should have the best level of protection or run free software.

Features & Usability

Using a free version often means a stripped-down version of a paid product, the popups mentioned earlier often offer to unlock the features available in the app.

Paid Antivirus will often include advanced features such as spam protection, web protection, firewalls and more.

Free products often offer up-sells to add on these features but during the free use you have no control over what features are available, and whether the upgraded version would actually offer enough protection, not all products offer the same level of features.

When using free products often you can perform scans and they can show various infections/issues but they will not let you remove them without upgrading. Sometimes the scan results seem a bit dubious as to whether they are legitimate issues or not.


FREE products can be very popular and easy to choose as it is FREE. Do you think they will offer any or the right level of support?

Free often means no support at all and when looking for support they will offer an upgrade to gain the support. Experiencing a conflict that prevents your protection from working?

With a free product, you can’t always call or email asking for support or if they do reply it will often be delayed by days or weeks causing frustration and possibility leaving you at risk of infection.

What do we recommend?

A free Antivirus is great to use if the machine is not connected to the Internet. We always recommend a paid Antivirus from a trusted provider, a paid Antivirus will offer protection from new attacks and there is a greater chance the product will offer Malware and Ransomware protection.

We use Bitdefender, a top-rated Antivirus that offers protection from Malware, Ransomware, and Viruses.

Bitdefender includes a Firewall, however, we always recommend a Hardware Firewall where possible or additional protection.


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With over 20 years in the IT industry and a vast amount of experience and author of 303 posts and many more waiting to be published.

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Published On: January 16th, 2021 / Categories: Security, Business Security, Buying Guides, Cloud, Gadgets, Microsoft, Microsoft 365, Tech, Windows /