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Antivirus desktop security software reviews

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Last updated: 11 April 2018

Computer viruses and other malware are ever-increasing threats to security and privacy. We lab test and review the latest antivirus software for Windows and Mac to help you find the best desktop security solution for you. Our buying guide will help you decide which type of desktop security program you need.

Have you considered protection for your phone? See our phone antivirus software reviews.

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Our test covers desktop security programs for Windows PCs, including free software such as Microsoft's built-in Windows Defender solution, and Mac computers.

Our expert testers give every antivirus software program a thorough workout to help find the programs that:

  • are best at protecting you from malware
  • are the easiest to set up and use
  • have the lowest impact on your device performance.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which brands provide key security features such as anti-phishing protection and parental controls. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which programs come out on top.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Price as of March 2018, rounded to the nearest dollar (we paid full price, but check website for discounted offers). Where applicable, prices have been converted to Australian dollars.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 93

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Windows version

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If the program runs on Windows (testing was done using Windows 10).

Mac version

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This software runs on macOS.

Parental controls

Anti-spam

Virtualised browsing

Test results

Ease of use score

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Assessment takes into account the installation, configuration and normal day-to-day use of the product; the clarity and simplicity of the user interface; built-in and online user help such as guidance, help menu and options; and ease of keeping the software up to date.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Protection score

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Testing includes on-demand scanning, both connected to and disconnected from the internet; real-world protection, using known malicious websites including so-called drive-by websites, plus malware infections from connected media such as a USB flash drive; current malware detection, which includes the speed at which software is updated to address emerging threats; URL protection, which includes blocking online malware, especially phishing websites such as false banking and social media sites.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

System impact score

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Assesses the software's use of disk space and memory, plus its effect on boot time and common tasks such as program launch and use, file copying and file compression and decompression.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Features

Can create bootable USB key

Password protection of settings

Checks for OS applications updates

Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Recommended
  • Overall score
  • Protection score
  • Ease of use score
  • System impact score
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Price
  • Number of devices (U = unlimited)
  • Number of years (licence)
  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-spyware
  • Anti-phishing
  • Anti-ransomware
  • Anti-spam
  • Parental controls
  • Virtualised browsing
  • Checks for OS applications updates
  • Password protection of settings
  • Download bootable USB Key file
  • Download bootable CD or DVD file
  • Can create bootable CD or DVD
  • Can create bootable USB key
  • Windows version
  • Mac version
  • Version
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