Do you own a computer? If you do, chances are you’ve heard of malware before. To put it simply, Malware is a type of disease that can wreck your computer. Thus, like any disease, you need something like an immune system to combat it. That’s where an antivirus software comes in to act as your computer’s immune system. With a free malware removal software on your side, you’re more likely to have fewer problems with malware.
What Is Malware
Before we go into the best free malware removal tools, let’s take a look at what malware is. You have to know the enemy before you create a combat strategy, after all.
Malware is a kind of malicious software that harms your computer. It all started with the basic computer virus that was originally used to tout a programmer’s skills. However, as technology developed, its use case grew more and more sinister to the point that it’s criminal. Nowadays, people create malware mostly for the money they can make by controlling your computer.
Different Types of Malware
Along with the growth of technology came the growth of the different types of malware out in the world. Things expanded from the simple virus to trojan horses, spyware like the one on Facebook, bots, and ransomware. The more advanced the malware became, the trickier it became to locate, block, and terminate.
Viruses And Worms
Let’s start with the first and simplest form of malware: the virus. A computer virus acts similarly to viruses in humans. It has malicious code within it and infects a computer program. The virus’s code replicates only when the infected program is launched. Things get a little more problematic with worms, though. Worms replicate without the need for infected programs to launch.
Things only get more and more complicated after the worm. Trojan horses are a particularly tricky form of malware to deal with. People use the trojan horse way more because it’s a lot more profitable. Trojan horses will disguise themselves as useful programs. Honestly, some of them may genuinely be useful. However, once it gets into your system, your computer may no longer be safe. It can send your data and even your financial information to its headquarters. Not only that, but it can also install programs, track your browsing habits, and more. These things can be used to monetize your computer and compromise your privacy and safety.
Spyware, Keyloggers, Bots & Ransomware
Trojans with specific purposes are classified under different kinds of malware. For example, trojans that transmit your data are classified as spyware. Keyloggers are the ones that record your keystrokes and typing activity hoping to capture key information like passwords. Bots are a type of malware service that uses spam and downloads as it infects computers. These can be used to generate spam, mine for cryptocurrency on your device, and more. All of these already seem very sinister. However, the most malicious type of malware is known as ransomware — more specifically, encrypting ransomware. This type of malware will encrypt all of your files so you can’t access them. Even with the ransomware removed, your files will remain encrypted. The only way to decrypt them is through paying a ransom.
Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)
The last type of malware isn’t harmful per se, but they are unwanted. These are the potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that can penetrate your system. An example of a PUP is adware. Some programs come free to install but are ad-supported, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, some ads can be so bothersome that it’s hard to ignore. That’s why some antiviruses also offer adware removal as a bonus.
Other types of PUPs involve installing bloatware. Some programs require a long installation process where you have to click through many windows to finish. Many times people don’t realize they’ve clicked through allowing the installation of bloatware. More often than not, bloatware is resistant to uninstallation, too.
10 Free Malware Removal Tools
Many people neglect the safety of their devices compared to their physical safety. However, we can see that ignoring computer safety can be almost equally damaging to your life. That’s where these antiviruses come in. Here’s the best free malware removal software that can greatly enhance your computer’s safety.
1. Adaware Antivirus Free
Rarely do free malware removal software have cutting-edge technology. If you’re looking for a robust solution that critically analyzes programs for malware, check out Adaware.
Adaware Antivirus Free is a free malware removal program that covers all the basics. It keeps a log of known threats with regular updates. Once it detects suspicious programs on your computer that matches ones in its database, it swiftly removes the malware. In some sense, its database acts as a sort of vaccine for your computer against known threats.
The differentiating factor in Adaware is that it can critically analyze programs to find new malware. Adaware does this by creating a virtual environment and injecting questionable programs within it. The free malware removal software uses this to detect behaviors that indicate a program is a malware.
Adaware’s only downside is that it’s only available on Windows (Windows 7, 8, and 10).
2. Avast Free Antivirus
If you want a free Malware removal software with lots of bonus features, you should consider Avast Free Antivirus. It’s one of the most prominent brands in the antivirus industry and has a reliable reputation.
With Avast, you get almost everything you could want in a free malware removal software. It identifies and terminates different kinds of malware on your device. It has virus removal, adware removal, and even spyware removal. Avast also blocks potentially unsafe websites with suspicious activity.
This free malware removal software also comes with protection for email and your WiFi network. However, the only thing its free version doesn’t have is ransomware protection. If you’re alright with that, then Avast should be a good free malware removal solution. You can also opt to try out the pro version for free for 30 days. Avast supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
3. AVG Antivirus and Malware Free
You’ve most probably heard of the free malware removal solution called AVG. They have quite a reputation as a free virus protection program.
AVG is a great anti-malware program that’s user-friendly enough for the non-tech-savvy. The free malware removal software even offers a remote virus scan via your smartphone. When it comes to protection, consider yourself free from both sketchy links and malware downloadable from different sources. It’s also configurable as a virus cleaner.
All this is great, but there are a couple of caveats to AVG. For one, it will often litter you with unnecessary pop-ups and notifications. Furthermore, its virus scanning can be a little slow, and it doesn’t have the greatest protection against phishing. However, if you don’t mind these shortcomings, AVG is a great free malware removal software to have.
4. Bitdefender Anti Malware Tool
Bitdefender is a great free malware removal tool that has almost all of the things you’d need. It has virus total detection in real-time with provisions for identifying viruses, worms, malware, trojans, and more. Almost all of the potential threats can be detected on your computer, even rootkits, zero-day exploits, and other malware.
Apart from its well-rounded capability to detect and remove malware, Bitdefender is also user-friendly. You can drag and drop files and folders you think are sketchy to the home screen of the antivirus. It then quickly scans your files and folders to help identify and terminate potential threats.
Being available on multiple platforms, Bitdefender is certainly a versatile free malware removal app. It’s free on Windows, Mac, and Android. However, the iOS version is unfortunately only available with a pro subscription for some reason. The free version also only offers updated virus definitions, but no automatic software updates.
5. Emsisoft Emergency Kit
Most free malware removal software comes with functions that are specifically for malware removal. However, what do you do when your system’s already been infected? Even worse, what do you do when a host of other computers within the household has been infected?
Emsisoft Emergency Kit serves the purpose its name implies. It’s like the paramedics or the emergency kit that you use to cater to infected hardware. The program is very lightweight and can run on virtually any machine. It only consumes 200 MB of RAM so it can even run on a 1 GB RAM computer.
Furthermore, Emsisoft Emergency Kit is portable software. You can put it on a USB stick that you can bring with you. Plug it into any device that’s infected and the problem’s solved. It’s truly like a medical kit.
6. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
Some free malware removal programs come with many features but aren’t very effective at execution. With Kaspersky, you only get all of the basics but with maximum effectiveness.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus focuses on identifying and terminating threats, reversing the actions of those threats, and blocking questionable links. It also has automatic scans, prevention from crypto mining contamination, and good security. That’s pretty much all of the basics down without any frills. However, Kaspersky is very good at those basics. Its constant reception of high scores from AV-Comparatives is proof of that.
To top it off, Kaspersky is also very user-friendly. It has simple instructions to assist users in using the program and has an excellent user interface. If you’re not tech-savvy, this is a bonus.
If you want something user-friendly, reliable, and has a good reputation, strongly consider Malwarebytes.
Malwarebytes has great test scores that are proof of its reputation. It offers some of the best malware protection out there with daily updates about the latest malware. Additionally, Malwarebytes also has systems in place to detect brand new malware.
The only thing Malwarebytes’ free version is lacking is real-time scans for threats. You have to manually scan if you want to be protected. It also lacks added features the premium version offers. However, it’s still a great anti-malware software solution. It’s available on most platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The free version also gives you access to a 14-day free trial of the pro version in case you want to try it out.
8. Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool
If you’re a Windows user wanting the first line of defense, you should go for Mircosoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool. You might even already have it on your computer without you knowing. It’s specifically designed for Windows, and Microsoft updates it once a month.
Microsoft has designed this tool to work best with other antiviruses. However, that doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary software. It’s a great tool that assists other software to terminate potential threats. Microsoft is knowledgable about what goes on in the virtual world so the tool is made to protect against widespread threats. Plus, you don’t even have to think too much because it runs autonomously with Windows updates.
Of course, this tool’s only available for Windows. However, if you’re running something older than Windows 7 then you’re probably unsupported.
9. SpyBot Search & Destroy
Many tools out there offer protection against malicious threats. However, not as many offer the ability to fix and repair damages done by malicious software.
With SpyBot Search & Destroy, you get a veteran soldier against malware infections. It’s been around since the year 2000 and is very-well-established in the industry. However, it doesn’t run any scans on the free version.
With that said, it is a reliable way to search for and repair spyware, malware, and adware-infested programs. Although, be warned that there’s a fake version out in circulation.
If spyware is your greatest concern, the best solution is SUPERAntiSpyware. It offers protection against adware, keyloggers, and others that target your personal information. However, spyware isn’t the only thing it protects against. The software also offers malware removal and even rootkits and ransomware protection.
SUPERAntiSpyware is good as a standalone app but works best in conjunction with other malware protection software. It has daily updates with fast and easy scanning. The app is only available on Windows, unfortunately, but there is a silver lining. It’s supported even in older versions of Windows like Vista and XP.
If you’re looking to protect your computer, there are many free malware removal solutions in the market. All it takes is a little research to ensure that your data and computer are safe from threats. Although it might seem tedious, it’s certainly not something worth skipping out on. Virtual safety, like your physical safety, is critical since a big chunk of our lives are carried out virtually.