7 Best Free Malware Removal Tools 2018

Best Free Malware Removal toolsCyber attacks are increasing in frequency and severity, making protecting your PC more important than it has ever been. Most of us keep our important information on a computer, so keeping data-stealing malware, ransomware, and other infections out of our machines is essential.
Antivirus and malware removal tools are more powerful than ever, so we’ve gathered the best free programs that are available to download in 2018. Our list names the top tools for stopping, managing, and removing spyware, adware, malware, and other kinds of viruses.
Each malware removal program featured in our list is trustworthy and was tested by us to meet the highest standards. The software included is named among the best antivirus software for Windows Home users by AV-Test, which independently assesses software based on protection, performance, and usability.
Most of the programs here are also award members of AV-Comparatives, a nonprofit that seeks to highlight the quality of antivirus software. The only exception is Malwarebytes, which is not included by AV-Test or AV-Comparatives. That’s because the company doubts the validity of independent tests where malware removal tools are subjected to a barrage of zero-day attacks.

1. Malwarebytes

The most complete free malware removal tool
MalwarebytesWhether you are preempting malware or think your machine is infected, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is an excellent, and free, program to get. It offers features to combat malware, including numerous preemptive tools and daily scans. While Malwarebytes is only free during a 14-day free trial, it nevertheless can get a lot done over that trial. You get the full suite of tools, including real-time scanning which picks up any incoming attacks. The security of daily updates cannot be understated as it allows Malwarebytes to identify and quarantine new threats as soon as they appear. Once the free trial ends, you will be demoted to the free version of the program, which is still a powerful tool. However, you unfortunately will lose the ransomware-specific protection from the premium version. That’s a shame considering the increasing frequency of ransomware attacks, but it is a standout feature that most free malware removers do not have.
Also, you still get plenty of top-notch features with the free version, such as real-time web protection and mitigation against zero-day attacks. Our scans are always very quick and result in a complete report showing system information and the level of threat detected.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Free to try, 14-day trial, $39.99
File Size: 79 MB
Our Rating: 9 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Complete anti-malware protection
  • Strong feature set
  • Daily updates
  • Mitigation against zero-day attacks
  • Ransomware protection hidden behind paywall
  • Lack of independent testing

2. Adaware Antivirus Free

Day-one protection and anti-malware boost
Adaware Antivirus Free Adaware is a fantastic choice if you are customizing an anti-malware suite yourself. If you are using multiple tools, Adaware provides a great supplement to another antivirus program. When you first download this free malware removal toolkit, it will detect if there is another antivirus software running on the machine. If there is, Adaware will operate in ‘Compatible Mode.’ Arguably the biggest problem with Adaware is the excessively long setup process. The download process is sufficiently rapid, but then you must go through a registration to even access the free version. It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but a quicker starting process would be welcome.
Adaware’s true power lies in its ability to lock suspicious programs into a virtual environment to be tested for malware. If an attack is present, it is swiftly removed without fuss. This process is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Adaware performs all this seamlessly behind the scenes and is a resource-light program overall. Secondly, it means you are protected against malware of all kinds, even if you happen to be the first person infected by a new strain. Adaware will also serve as a download checker, scanning files before you download them to see if they have malware. It is worth mentioning that Adaware can be used as a sole antivirus solution with real-time scanning, but we found it more potent working alongside another antivirus tool.

OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 2 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Fantastic supplement to existing anti-malware protection
  • Locks suspicious content in a virtual environment
  • Resource-light
  • Not as powerful as a standalone program
  • Long setup process

3. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018

Stopping malware is Bitdefender’s forte
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018While most anti-malware and malware removal programs focus on dealing with an infection once it’s found, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 is notable because it is oriented toward stopping malware. “Prevention is better than cure” seems to be the motto of this program. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 boasts a powerful anti-malware engine that is designed to avoid infection, whilst also taking care of any existing malware. Ease of use is also a major part of the Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 experience. You can simply drag and drop files onto the program home screen for a scan to begin, which is perfect for individual files that you may be suspicious of. The Virus Shield is a handy malware removal tool that automatically scans files before you download them, and it will even test webpages before you enter.
Despite a rich suite of features, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 is held back a little by the fact it does not play well with other programs. It is not compatible with other antivirus programs, so you will have to choose Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 as your sole anti-malware suite.

OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Free to try, 30-day trial, $39.98
File Size: 10 MB
Our Rating: 7 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Focuses on preventing malware
  • Drag and drop files to scan
  • Virus Shield scans files before download
  • Not compatible with other AV programs

4. Comodo Free Internet Security

Established and powerful, Comodo’s anti-malware is big-name protector against attacks
Comodo Free Internet SecurityComodo Free Internet Security is one of the best-known and longest-lasting names in the antivirus market. It remains an excellent choice because of its wide range of tools, making it an all-in-one PC protection program. Among the core features of Comodo is a virtualized sandbox, making it one of the only anti-malware suites to offer such an addition. This virtualized environment is similar to Google’s Chrome browser in terms of aesthetics, and allows users to browse the internet under Comodo’s complete protection on the Dragon web browser.
While Comodo Free Internet Security is a fantastic addition to an anti-malware arsenal, it can sometimes be too eager to please. Notifications are frequent and can be annoying, and the program is quick to flag items even if they happen to be safe. This became problematic when several programs we know are safe were flagged as suspicious for no reason.

OS: Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 220 MB
Our Rating: 6 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Established antivirus protection
  • Virtualized sandbox
  • Wide range of tools
  • Too many notifications
  • Sometime flags innocent files as suspicious

5. SUPERAntiSpyware

Micro manage your scans with SUPERAntiSpyware
SUPERAntiSpywareSUPERAntiSpyware puts virus scanning at the forefront of its experience. Mitigation and detection services are available, but this free malware removal tool is for users who want full control over scans.
Scanning automatically is possible, but really the point of using SUPERAntiSpyware is its granular controls for scanning. Users are able to control which files, how many times, and how often items are scanned. Additionally, you can decide whether the program should check ZIP archives. There is a trade-off for this greater control. When you suspect a file is carrying malware, you need to send it to SUPERAntiSpyware’s threat labs for it to be analyzed. Yes, scanning in a virtual machine is quicker, but this shows the hands-on approach of the suite. However, it is not necessarily convenient.
The program also chases upselling more than its rivals. Like all anti-malware programs there is a premium version. Within three minutes of downloading SUPERAntiSpyware we were greeted by five prompts to upgrade.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 30 MB
Our Rating: 6 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Complete control over scans
  • ZIP archive checks
  • Deeper analysis results
  • Slow scans
  • Inconvenient analysis of flagged files
  • Too eager to sell premium version

6. Emsisoft Emergency Kit

Portable protection in an emergency
Emsisoft Emergency KitSometimes a machine is infected by malware and will not let you download an anti-malware program to flush out the infection. Emsisoft Emergency Kit is an answer to these emergencies as it is a compact program that fits on a USB stick. In fact, at just 591MB it can even be kept on cloud storage. Most antivirus suites have a quick scan feature, but Emsisoft Emergency Kit gets a Smart Scan which burrows into the places where malware likes to hide. This scan is fast and efficient – a perfect place to start. If you need a more in-depth search, a full system scan can be selected.
The one obvious drawback is not really a complaint at all. This app is specifically for dealing with critical situations and is not really robust enough to be an everyday anti-malware solution for your PC.

OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 315 MB
Our Rating: 6 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Emergency protection
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Smart quick scan feature
  • Not suitable for everyday use
  • Lacks features of full anti-malware alternatives

7. Avast Free Antivirus

An oldie but goodie, experience comes good with Avast
Avast Free AntivirusAvast is one of the oldest antivirus providers in the industry and continues to be among the standard-setters today. Very well known, Avast offers one of the most robust real-time malware and virus remover tools on the market. Since Avast acquired fellow antivirus giant AVG in 2016, both services use the same anti-malware engine. One of the things we love about Avast is its partitioned protection. The program has a Behavior Shield, File Shield, Mail Shield, and Web Shield. Each of these is protected and you can scan across them all to look for infections. If malware is detected in one area, you can choose to shut it down. For example, if there is an infection in Mail, you can partition this part of the system and continue to use the rest. You can even tell Avast to keep the infected area sealed indefinitely without the program sending you reminder notifications.
There is no doubt that Avast is a feature-rich experience, but it can also be a muddled one. There are so many settings and features that it is easy to get confused. This makes the program a challenge for beginners or users who are not confident.

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Licensing: Freeware
File Size: 174 MB
Our Rating: 6 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Partitioned system scans
  • Feature-rich experience
  • Cluttered settings and features
  • Slow scanning speed

All of these programs will do an excellent job of finding malware and removing it, and most will also prevent you from downloading an infection. However, the best preventative measures can be taken through your own actions. Malware removal tools should be a last line of defense; you may never have to use them if you follow some basic steps when online. You may also check this guide on how to maintain privacy on the Internet.

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