The term malware refers to any malicious software that can disrupt your computer, gather private information, and be used to hack your computer or flood you with adverts. This includes viruses, surveillance software, or anything that is used to break or gain access to your computer with malicious intentions.
Your computer can be infected with malware in a variety of ways. Whilst most people are internet savvy enough not to download dubious content or open suspicious looking emails, malware keeps finding new ways to gain access to your computer. If you have malicious software on your computer and you don’t know it, it could lead to all sorts of problems.
Malware can be used to steal your credit card information, to find out who you are and where you live, and to break your computer. If you use your computer for business or you don’t regularly run malware scans your work computer, the damages could be even worse.
Even the most technologically literate people can become victims of malware. The best way to keep your computer safe is to regularly run checks and virus scans, and remove anything that looks out of place. To properly detect and combat malware you will need a good malware removal tool, so to make things easier we have compiled a list of the ten best malware removal tools for Windows PC’s. This list covers both free and paid programs.
1. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
Malwarebytes is one of the most popular malware protection programmes available today. Since its début in 2006, Malwarebytes has been at the forefront of removing adware, spyware and malicious software. Malwarebytes is available in 29 languages. You can download this programme onto your PC or your mobile phone to keep you protected across your device.
Malwarebytes comes in free and paid versions.
The free version is run manually by the user.
It can be used to scan files and delete malicious content,
The paid version allows you to schedule scans that will then take place at set times.
The paid version can also be used to block dodgy IP addresses and scan specific parts of the computer.
The paid version can be purchased for $24.95, which is pretty reasonable compared to several other brands.
Malwarebytes is popular with reviewers, who praise it’s simple and uncomplicated interface. In 2013-14 it was awarded an Editors Choice award by PC magazine, and it has been featured on CNET and Network World. The only downside seems to be the lack of instructions, but as the programme is quite straightforward this isn’t that much of a problem.
2. BitDefender Internet Security
BitDefender is a powerful 3-in-1-security package that works on Android and Macs as well as Windows. BitDefender can be used on your mobile, tablet, and PC and it’s easy to manage because you only need one account for all devices.
As well as defeating malware, BitDefender offers many other features
It combats fraud and works to protect your privacy on all devices. This is important, because although most people have some kind of anti malware programme installed on their computer, a lot of people don’t think to do the same to their mobile phones. Most people use their phones more than their computers, and smart phones are often used for work, banking, and storing personal information so it’s important to make sure you’re protected.
BitDefender is a highly regarded company that boasts over 500 million users. Their impressive algorithms can be used to remove even unknown malware,
They offer an all-inclusive programme that protects against annoying and dangerous software alike.
BitDefender won’t slow down or disrupt your device, so you can run scans whilst watching a movie or browsing the Internet with no performance loss.
BitDefender can be purchased for an annual $79.95, which covers three PCS.
3. Panda Free Antivirus
Panda is an optionally free anti-virus programme that is highly recommended by experts. Panda was featured as PC Magazine’s editor’s choice for no-fee anti virus software for the last two years, and according to the magazines score-based tests Panda performed better than it’s more expensive competitors.
Panda is light and won’t disrupt your PC’s performance as it scans your computer files
It updates and configures itself so you don’t have to,
It offers specialist options that are not found on all anti-virus software, such as USB vaccinations, URL filtering and process monitoring.
It is also very easy to use and navigate, so it’s suitable for the computer illiterate and literate alike.
Panda Free Antivirus is free to download and use, and if you don’t mind paying there are various packages available from $4.95 a month. This programme supports home users, small businesses and larger companies. You can use the Panda paid service on your mobile phone or apple Mac as well as your Windows PC, and there are free trial offers that you can use before you make a decision.
4. Spybot Search & Destroy
Early versions of Spybot Search & Destroy were under way as early as 2000. Spybot has built an impressive reputation over the years, it has won several awards such as PC Magazine Editors Choice, and it has been recommended by The Guardian, CNN, the Wall Street Journal among others. There were a few versions of Spybot that received less than average ratings, but as of 2014 things seem to be back on track.
As well as the standard detection and removal of malware, Spybot has plenty of other features.
It can detect homepage hijackers, key loggers, spybots, and trojans,
It can also protect against malicious HTTP cookies and tracker ware,
It can repair your registry and ActiveX objects,
Whilst Spybot wasn’t initially made as an anti-virus programme, it can still detect common trojans and rootkits.
There are several Spybot lookalikes that actually install malware onto your computer. Some of these lookalikes use the same logo and will appear when you search ‘Spybot’ in your browser. The best known one is ‘SpywareBot’, which will appear near the top of the search results along with the real Spybot. You can tell them apart because of the name, and also because SpywareBot asks for payment whereas Spybot does not.
Spybot comes in free and professional versions. The free version is intended for home users, whereas the professional version is ideal for business users who may need to install the programme onto multiple office computers.
5. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
Ad-Aware (developed by LavaSoft) is a powerful anti-malware programme that comes highly recommended by CNET, Softonic and Softpedia (among others). It was originally created way back in 1999, and over the years it has grown in its ability and scored highly on peer performance tests. As well as detecting malware, Ad-Aware can find and remove virus’s, Trojans, rootkits, parasites and tracking devices.
Their website states the programme doesn’t take up a lot of memory so you can still use your computer whilst running the scans, it doesn’t keep popping up when its not being used and it even offers a Game Mode which turns off all notifications so you can play games in peace, and it combines powerful anti-spyware with regular anti virus protection to fully protect your computer from threats.
Ad-Aware is available in four versions.
The free version can be downloaded and used straight away, and will protect your computer from virus’s and spyware.
The Personal Security package is more advanced and offers additional features, such as protecting your credit card transactions. You can download the Personal Security package as a free trial before committing to it.
Pro Security is an even more powerful programme that offers email protection and a two-way firewall in addition to the Personal Security package
Total Security offers complete PC security and includes additional features such as the file shredder and digital lock.
6. AVG Antivirus 2015
AVG is another respected malware/anti virus programme that can be used on your mobile phone, PC and Mac. AVG is available in free and Pro versions.
Features of the free version
Antivirus protection that blocks malware
Remote Protection, which lets you scan and eradicate virus’s on your PC from your mobile phone. So you can use your mobile to control AVG on your PC!
Link Protection, which scans website links to make sure their safe to visit
Mac, Android & PC protection
AVG Zen Enabled, which lets you use one dashboard for all your devices.
Features of AVG Pro
In addition to the free features, AVG Pro offers additional perks to make your computer/mobile/Mac more secure.
AVG Pro offers an Online Shield that protects your PC from malicious downloads
Anti-Spam, to keep irrelevant and malicious emails out of your Inbox
Enhanced Firewalls, which helps block hackers from accessing your banking details
Free 24/7 support
The initial AVG scan may be a little longer than average, but subsequent scans are very speedy. The free AVG service will automatically download the AVG toolbar to your browser and will change your browsers search page. This can be really helpful because it will block ad networks and highlight dangerous pages but it can be removed if you wish.
SUPERAntiSpyware is a powerful malware detector that is very easy to install onto your computer. A simple user friendly interface with optional touch screen capability means even the most technophobic users can navigate this programme. Although this is a malware programme that should not be used in place of anti virus software, SUPERAntiSypware can still detect and remove dangerous applications, including but not limited to:
Adware, Trojan horses and Rootkits
Parasites, Spyware and potential hacking programs
Rogue security products that can steal your information and flood you with unwanted adverts
SUPERAntiApyware is compatible with anti virus programmes such as Kaspersky and AVG, and it is regularly updated to ensure it can detect all the latest malware. It can be downloaded with limited capabilities for free, or there is a more extensive pro package available. The pro package has a lot of additional features, including:
Real-Time Blocking, which lets you prevent harmful software installing or reinstalling itself onto your computer.
SUPERAntiSpyware can repair broken Internet connections!
Schedule weekly or daily scans in advance to make sure your computer remains safe
You can enable email notifications, which will allow SUPERAntiSpyware to email you results from scans and multiple computers, and lets you monitor a PC’s health from another location.
8. Microsoft Security Essentials
If you already have a Microsoft PC, you may as well use it’s free malware detection software! This is a straight forward no nonsense anti virus application with a very simple layout; it does what it is meant to do without wasting time on the frills.
You can use Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) as a fully fledged anti virus software that can detect and protect against
Viruses and rootkits
Spyware and Trojan horses.
It also offers real-time protection, and it is constantly checking and scanning new files for malware.
Anyone is free to download MSE as long as they have a licensed Microsoft Windows PC. Small businesses are also allowed to install MSE on up to 10 computers, but academic and government institutions are still not allowed to use it.
It has a 3.0 rating from PC Magazine, which praises its protection abilities and high scores from anti virus test labs, but unfortunately the scans are longer than average and MSE doesn’t detect as much malware as some other programmes.
9. KasperSky Internet Security 2015
KasperSky is a well-known brand that has performed brilliantly on lab and custom tests.
KasperSky: Features and perks
Performance impact is minimalized, so you can run a scan whilst continuing to use your PC
KasperSky uses cloud-assisted security to find and protect against the latest threats. They can also block adverts and reduce spam
KasperSky has powerful anti-phishing engine blocks to stop hackers stealing your details
They also offer Webcam Protection, to stop hackers using your webcam to spy on you.
KasperSky has a safe money feature, which can help protect your online transactions. The unique Safe Money window that will open before you make a transaction, which opens a special protected mode that protects your card information.
KasperSky offers an award winning Parental Control feature, which helps parents protect their children online and block inappropriate material
Kaspersky has four packages that you can download.
The Basic package has the basic essentials but not many of the extra features,
The Premium package includes the safe money mode and added privacy,
There is another Premium package which can be used for multiple devices such as your mobile and Mac,
The Total Protection package offers all of the above plus additional password and file protection.
10. ESET Smart Security 8
ESET is a powerful all-in-one security system that covers anti virus, Anti-Theft, banking and payment protection and more.
ESET has it’s own secure payment browser which uses encryption to keep your data, passwords and money safe.
This programme offers a unique anti-theft feature, which allows you to track and locate it if it is lost or stolen. This is a pretty amazing feature that can protect you from local or overseas theft.
You can use ESET’s personal firewall option to protect yourself from data loss whilst using Wi-Fi. Hacking a public Wi-Fi spot is fairly easy, and if you are on holiday and need to access your bank details via a public hotspot you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. This personal firewall can protect your mobile phone/tablet as well as your laptop, and ensure that you are protected wherever you go.
Other features include Antispam, parental controls, advanced memory scanner and a vulnerability shield.
ESET is available as a 30-day free trial, after which one licence costs $59.99 a year. There is no limit on the amount of licenses you can get; you could purchase ten licenses for $459.90 a year, although there are cheaper options available if you need multiple licenses for your family or office.
There are also a variety of options you can purchase. The basic anti virus programme will protect you against viruses, spyware and phishing, but doesn’t include the more advanced options. ESET Smart Security offers almost all the additional features including the impressive Anti-theft measures and the personal firewall, and ESET multi-device can be used for your mobile or tablet, and can also be used on Mac and Linux computers.
This brings us to the end of out top 10 best Malware removal programmes, we hope you feel more informed and have all the information to make an informed choice. Protecting your devices from viruses, spyware and other malicious practices is essential to protect your information and make sure your money and security remains safe.
What anti malware programme do you use? Let us know in the comments below.