Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.2.1 - Free download and software reviews - CNET

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition

CNET Editors' review

The bottom line: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 gets impressive marks for its detection rates, making it a solid dark-horse candidate even though it could be lighter on system impact. However, it still lacks some of the features in other free security suites.

When it originally debuted, Panda Cloud Antivirus was notable as a free security solution for two reasons: Panda traded on its reputation as a solid security suite vendor making its first foray into the realm of freeware, and the program attained its goal of freeing up system resources by putting much of the program's heavy lifting in the cloud. Now we can add a third reason to the list: it's now known as an effective alternative to the security powerhouses.

Editors' note: Portions of this review are based on CNET's review of Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro 2.0.

Panda Cloud Antivirus' installation is a simple, trimmed-down affair. The installer could load faster, and takes more than five minutes to install. Part of this is because it's downloading local files for stronger offline protection than before, but that doesn't change that it's not a quick procedure.

You can customize the installation folder, but like many security suites, it also opts you in to several system changes. These include a toolbar, changing your default search provider to Google, and a home page change. While we understand the financial reasons for doing so, that doesn't make having to opt-out (or revert the changes if you didn't notice them) any less annoying.

Cloud AV's interface retains its gray color scheme and modularized presentation of features for a usable, uncluttered combo. It's easy to navigate, and is blissfully distraction free. However, if you're looking for a suite that exposes a lot of security data in a visually interesting way, you're going to have to look elsewhere.

Your security status sits at the top, a blue shield indicating that your computer is safe, a horizontal green bar graph indicating real-time protection, a magnifying glass to indicate scanning, and indicators for viruses detected and files in Panda's recycle bin. This is all flash, though: it's one big link to the scan utility.

Below that, there's the link to the Firewall, which is grayed out in the free version, the Panda-provided process monitor that uses crowd-sourcing to determine a process's safety, and the USB key "vaccine," which scans USB sticks for threats.

A small globe in the lower right corner lets you configure a proxy connection for the program.

Cloud Antivirus doesn't have the world's most brilliant layout, but it is undeniably clean, simple, and usable without looking archaic.

Features and support
The uncluttered Cloud AV interface belies some useful security tools that make this version much more competitive than before. In version 2.0, Cloud Antivirus Free gets access to the behavioral analysis engine that had previously been only in the Pro version. Other improvements in both versions include a better exposure of how Cloud Antivirus protects you when you're offline, a cloud-based disinfection protocol, and dramatic improvements in scan benchmarking.

It works as other antivirus solutions do, offering a semi-quick scan (called Optimized Scan,) a full scan (called Scan My Computer,) and a custom scan for specific folder, files, and drives. Where ancillary features used to be exceptionally light, they've now begun to fill out -- even in the free version.

You can customize the scans to detect potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), toggle off behavioral detections and analysis, archive file scans, and how the scan reacts to detected threats. There's an exclusion list, and quarantine management, which is the "recycle bin."

As noted above, the process manager uses Panda's crowd-supplied data to help determine if any running processes are malicious. The spreadsheet layout tells you if a process is safe, if it's been signed, and when it was last detected. It'll let you know when a program last accessed the Internet, if it has any restrictions placed on it, and you can double-click on a process to see the list of URLs that it's visited.

Meanwhile, the USB key vaccine can control autorun, a common source of woe, and automatically scan USB drives when connected. It's a simple and effective tool available to both free and paid customers.

Removed from this version of Panda Cloud Antivirus is a global settings window. While you can configure settings on a per-feature basis when you access each one, there's no single settings clearinghouse as there are in most other programs. We didn't find this to be problematic -- once we realized it wasn't there.

If you've paid for a Pro license, you'll get access to Cloud Antivirus' firewall, which supplements the default Windows one. If you're on Windows 7, you won't notice much -- it'll only help with outbound connections, because the default supplies excellent inbound protection -- but on older Windows machines the firewall ought to be very attractive. It comes with program controls, intrusion prevention controls, and presets for Home, Work, and Public Internet connection profiles.

Cloud AV also comes with a browser toolbar for simplified secure searches, browsing data removal, and toolbar cleaning. This last feature will uninstall unwanted toolbars. During our tests, it would not work on removing itself, though.

The free version of Cloud AV 2.0 is a bit light on features when compared with other free suites, while Pro will get you somewhere between an basic and mid-level paid competitor. So why recommend Free at the same level as Pro? It's been surprisingly effective at stopping threats.

We have to confess that Panda Cloud Antivirus 2.0's benchmarks surprised us. We expected it to leave a small footprint on the system, but not be particularly effective at stopping threats. In fact, the benchmarks tell the opposite tale.

Two independent testing organizations placed Cloud AV 1.5.2, the most recent version for which test results are available, much higher on its efficacy charts than we expected it to be. AV-Test gave Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.5.2 a 14.5 out of 18, a very respectable score. It was made even more noteworthy because it outperformed its cousin, Panda Internet Security, which only earned a 13.5 out of 18.

AV-Comparatives gave the same version of Cloud Antivirus a "Advanced" rating, finding it 97.1 percent effective at blocking threats with minimal false positives.

These positive marks for efficacy stand in contrast to CNET Labs' benchmarks, which found Cloud Antivirus 2.0 to have a more noticeable impact on system performance than previous versions. Computer startup was sluggish, to be mild about it, and shutdown impact was slow, too. Antivirus scans were slow, which tracks with our experience on a real-world computer, and in-program performance was sub-par. Only our Cinebench test found Panda Cloud Antivirus 2.0 to be above-average.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 66.3 18.8 1,510 410 125 349 17,190
Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro 1.3 99 16.7 1,493 401 124 346 17,175

Note: All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, higher numbers are better.

We'd be willing to forgive some of these numbers if our real-world experience didn't track with them, but unfortunately Cloud Antivirus 2.0 presents that rare situation where it's much more effective at keeping you secure than it is at staying out of your computing. While it may not be noticeable during basic browsing tasks, chances are if you're doing any heavy lifting the performance hit will reveal itself.

Had the company decided to make the firewall available in the free version, then it would be easier to see people taking a chance on Panda. It's a good product, but it still feels a bit anemic when compared with more established free suites like AVG and Avast, and Panda's cloud-based thin client doesn't have the name recognition of Microsoft's comparable Security Essentials.

We're glad to see that it's an effective program for keeping you safe, and that ought to attract a lot of people because it's an essential for a security suite. But a small impact on your system is also key, and sadly it's just too large this time around.

Panda Cloud Antivirus - Scan for viruses using the cloud - Download Video Previews:

Publisher's Description

More Products to Consider

  • Malwarebytes Anti-M...
    Detect and quickly remove malicious threats to your computer.
    Download Or, Learn More About Malwarebytes Anti-Malware


    Smart Install
  • IObit Malware Fight...
    Scan and remove the deepest malware that your antivirus/antispy...
    Download Or, Learn More About IObit Malware Fighter


    Smart Install
  • Spybot - Search & D...
    Search your hard disk and Registry for threats to your security...
    Download Or, Learn More About Spybot - Search & Destroy


    Smart Install
  • Avast Free Antiviru...
    Protect your PC against the latest viruses and spyware.
    Download Or, Learn More About Avast Free Antivirus 2014


    Smart Install
  • AVG AntiVirus Free ...
    Protect your computer from viruses and malicious programs.
    Download Or, Learn More About AVG AntiVirus Free 2014


    Smart Install
  • SuperAntiSpyware Fr...
    Detect and remove spyware, malware, rootkits, trojans, hijacker...
    Download Or, Learn More About SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition


    Smart Install
  • Hotspot Shield
    Provide secure, anonymous, and private browsing on Wi-Fi hotspo...
    Download Or, Learn More About Hotspot Shield


    Smart Install
  • Ad-Aware Free Antiv...
    Protect your personal computer against virus and spyware attack...
    Download Or, Learn More About Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +


    Smart Install
  • RoboForm
    Login everywhere automatically, so you'll never need to remembe...
    Download Or, Learn More About RoboForm


    Smart Install
  • Avira Free Antiviru...
    Detect and eliminate viruses, get free protection for home user...
    Download Or, Learn More About Avira Free Antivirus


    Smart Install
  • Comodo Internet Sec...
    Protect PC from viruses, Trojans, worms, buffer overflows, zero...
    Download Or, Learn More About Comodo Internet Security


    Smart Install
  • Comodo Firewall
    Guard your Windows PC from malware and Internet based attacks.
    Download Or, Learn More About Comodo Firewall


    Smart Install
  • AVG AntiVirus 2014
    Download and exchange files safely, enjoy games and Web surfing...
    Download Or, Learn More About AVG AntiVirus 2014


    Smart Install
  • Hotspot Shield Elit...
    Secure your connection to public Wi-Fi networks with premium VP...
    Download Or, Learn More About Hotspot Shield Elite


    Smart Install
  • Avast Internet Secu...
    Protect your Windows PC from online threats.
    Download Or, Learn More About Avast Internet Security 2014


    Smart Install
  • Anvi Smart Defender
    Protect computer against viruses, Trojans, adware, spyware, or ...
    Download Or, Learn More About Anvi Smart Defender


    Smart Install
  • Kaspersky Anti-Viru...
    Protect your PC against viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, rootk...
    Download Or, Learn More About Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014


    Smart Install
  • AdwCleaner
    Search and remove unwanted adware and toolbars from your comput...
    Download Or, Learn More About AdwCleaner


    Smart Install
  • Spotflux
    Stay anonymous, change your IP address, and protect your comput...
    Download Or, Learn More About Spotflux


    Smart Install
  • Trend Micro HijackT...
    Scan your Registry and hard drive for spyware.
    Download Or, Learn More About Trend Micro HijackThis


    Smart Install
  • Comodo Antivirus
    Detect and destroy malware and viruses.
    Download Or, Learn More About Comodo Antivirus


    Smart Install
  • SpywareBlaster
    Prevent Spyware and Malware running from your PC.
    Download Or, Learn More About SpywareBlaster


    Smart Install
  • Kaspersky Internet ...
    Keep your PC protected from all Internet threats, never slowing...
    Download Or, Learn More About Kaspersky Internet Security 2014


    Smart Install
  • Remove PowerPoint P...
    Modify locked Microsoft PowerPoint 2007/2010/2013 presentations...
    Download Or, Learn More About Remove PowerPoint Password to Modify


    Smart Install
All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    3.6 stars

    out of 525 votes

    • 5 star: 220
    • 4 star: 123
    • 3 star: 42
    • 2 star: 42
    • 1 star: 98
  • Current version:

    4.0 stars

    out of 3 votes

    • 5 star: 1
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 0
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-3 of 3

  • 5.0 stars

    "My first choice for free AV"

    October 27, 2013  |   By dono08111

    Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.2.1


    - Small download, quick to install
    - Easily configurable
    - Definitions and program updates install automatically (I think, last update was a while ago)
    - Works well even when offline
    - "Data Shield" function is not a gimmick, actually useful (meant to protect against ransomware)


    - Free version does not include firewall, need the PRO version
    - PRO version is a bit expensive. I think I can buy Bitdefender and Norton for less money.
    - Sometimes (not always), Exceptions get dropped (Win7 64-bit). Not sure why.


    This is my preferred free AV. I hope Panda keeps updating the free version.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 4.0 stars

    "Impressive little AV"

    October 19, 2013  |   By tydicea

    Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.2.1


    A lite, very capable Av with great detection


    On Win 7 desktop, added exclusions get dropped after every system restart.


    This is one underrated but extremely capable AV. In the recent AV-C comparatives of 'real world tests' it detection rate out of the box was an impressive 100%. Clearly, this company has made great strides to improve the performance of this AV. I would've given it 5**** had it not been for the fact it still has some kind of bug issue with exclusions, at least on Win 7 PCs. Exclusions worked fine on my XP desktop. Panda Cloud is minimalist in approach and design, but does a tremendous job without all the flash and glitter. Highly recommended.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (1)

  • 3.0 stars

    "Does slow browser"

    September 15, 2013  |   By Johnny_S

    Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.2.1


    Install was simply, did not require a lot of choices.


    By default it wants to install toolbar, search defaults.
    Does seem to cause browser to hang while it checks a site.


    After having a mess with Microsoft's Security Essentials. Having several rootkits it never found. I had to try a different solutions. Panda seem like a choice I had tried before and thought I would try again. So far my biggest complaint is that it causes IE 10 to pause when loading some web sites. I suspect this is a scanning feature to check a web site through the cloud with Panda.

    Reply to this review Read replies (3)

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

Results 1-3 of 3

Add Your Review

Log in or create an account to post a review.
You are logged in as . Please submit your review for Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.2.1
Add Your Review

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

Submit your reply


The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.


E-mail this review

Submit cancel

Report offensive content

If you believe this comment is offensive or violates the CNET's Site Terms of Use, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the comment). Once reported, our staff will be notified and the comment will be reviewed.

Select type of offense:

Offensive: Sexually explicit or offensive language
Spam: Advertisements or commercial links
Disruptive posting: Flaming or offending other users
Illegal activities: Promote cracked software, or other illegal content
Submit cancel

Previous Versions:




If you think this is an error, please contact CNET TechTracker Support for further assistance.


Running Request



Smart Install Software


CNET TechTracker will now automatically install software without requiring further action by you. (Note: This feature automatically accepts associated EULAs and third party applications on your behalf.)

You have selected the following software to Smart Install:

CNET TechTracker will attempt to install this software without interrupting you again. If an application requires manual installation, CNET TechTracker will download the installer and prompt you to take further action.

Proceed with Smart Install?

Confirm Standard Install Cancel

Submit a problem report for Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition


Please describe the problem you have with this software. This information will be sent to our editors for review.


The CNET Installer isn't working as expected

The download link does not work

The software has a newer version

The software contains malware



Please select a feedback type.

Please enter a description.

Submit Problem Report

Problem Report submitted


Thank you for submitting a problem report! The Download team is committed to providing you with accurate software information.


Or, Learn More About Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition


Smart Install
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition