ClamWin AntiVirus offers free protection

Protect your PC with this simple but effective open-source antivirus freeware.

ClamWin Antivirus is a free antivirus solution for Windows PCs. This open-source freeware integrates with Windows Explorer and Microsoft Outlook, schedules scans, and automatically updates virus definitions. It offers good, basic protection without the bells and whistles of premium antivirus packages.

ClamWin's installer let us choose to integrate the program with Explorer and install the Outlook module, both of which we selected. Right-clicking the program's system-tray icon let us configure and update ClamWin as well as schedule scans, display reports, manually check for updates, and attend to other matters. The program's main interface is utterly basic but efficient, with a simple tree view for selecting directories to scan. We selected our C drive, and ClamWin performed a thorough scan, turning up a variety of potential issues for us to review, some of which weren't problems but were worth verifying anyway. However, it did turn up a suspected Trojan horse. While it probably wasn't dangerous since we knew its source, we opted to remove it anyway. We could set ClamWin to report findings for manual cleaning, delete suspected files as they're found, or quarantine them. When we opened Outlook, ClamWin opened with it, and it showed up on Outlook's Add-In ribbon; Outlook worked normally under ClamWin's protection, too.

Good protection is cheap at half the price, and antivirus software is certainly one aspect of PC ownership you shouldn't scrimp on. Free tools like ClamWin offer basic but viable alternatives to the subscription-based premium tools, many of which rely on automatic conveniences and extras to justify their price tags. As with any antivirus tool, we strongly recommend reviewing your options and doing some research before you commit to protection of your primary PC. For second PCs, infrequently used machines, and tight budgets, we can recommend ClamWin without hesitation since any decent antivirus freeware is better than no protection at all.

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