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Your PC is likely filled with countless vital files, documents, images, and videos. Keeping all of it well-protected should always be your top priority, as even the weakest malicious program can easily erase and corrupt it all.

The only way to up the ante on your online security is by using reliable antivirus software for your Windows 11 PC - and while a good antivirus is priceless, it doesn't have to be pricey.

Take a look at some of the best free antivirus for Windows 11 and enjoy some peace of mind knowing you're always protected.

In this article
    1. Avast
    2. AVG
    3. Microsoft Defender
    4. Bitdefender

Why It's Important to Use an Antivirus for Windows 11

windows 11 logo

The first and primary role of an antivirus on your PC is to detect and remove malicious programs. If a virus infects the files on your computer, it can wreak all kinds of havoc – from corrupting your files and rendering you unable to open them to outright deleting them, slowing down your PC, reformatting your hard disk, and more. It could cause irreparable damage to your computer.

However, it's not only traditional computer viruses that you should be worried about. As you're using your PC, you can come across ransomware, which blocks access to your systems until you've paid money to the attacker; botnets, which can fill your PC with spam, cause DDoS attacks, and more; spyware, which monitors your computer activities.

antivirus notification about a malicious file

These are just some examples of malicious programs that a good antivirus can protect you from.

However, depending on its specific features and capabilities, a malware scanner for Windows 11 could do much more than just detect and remove malicious programs. It could also offer firewall protection, improve your online security, protect your passwords, and more.

Therefore, if you're worried about your overall privacy and security as you're using your PC, installing a reliable antivirus is a must.

How We Picked the Best Free Antivirus Tools for Windows 11

Selecting the top free antivirus for Windows 11 is no easy task. There are hundreds of different software from dozens of different developers. When creating this list of free antimalware for Windows 11, we considered several key aspects to ensure that you get the best solution without having to spend a dime:

  • Performance – we chose solutions that can quickly identify threats and remove them without requiring much user input or affecting your PC performance;
  • Reliability – only those solutions that could identify all major threats to your cybersecurity were included in our list;
  • Detection rates – we've only chosen software that minimizes the risks of false positive and false negative results;
  • Ease of use – only those solutions that are intuitive and easy to navigate have made it onto our list.

Of course, we also considered just how generous the free plan is with different antivirus solutions. As a rule, most antiviruses will offer a limited free plan with the hopes that you'll upgrade to paid subscriptions down the line. The software solutions included in our list all have generous free versions that are effective and reliable.

Moreover, they have all the basic features, meaning you'll never be forced to upgrade to paid plans unless you want to unlock additional capabilities.

Best Free Antivirus Options for Windows 11

If you want to explore the best Windows 11 malware removal tools without going into their details, here's a brief overview of our top choices.

Antivirus Option Final Score Best For
🥇 Avast ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ All-around threat protection
🥈 Bitdefender ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Minimizing PC slow-down
🥉 AVG ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Using together with another antivirus software

Avast

avast free version

Avast might just be the best overall free antivirus for Windows 11. It has a generous free version with all the features and capabilities you need to increase your online and offline security. Easy to use, intuitive, and powerful, it's designed to protect you against all forms of malware.

It's ideal for scanning connected devices, safely downloading files from the internet, and simply browsing the web confidently.

Features

The free version of Avast comes with a wide array of features, including:

  • Comprehensive virus scans and different scan types;
  • Real-time core defenses;
  • Quarantine for infected files;
  • Network inspector;
  • Ransomware shield.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • The most popular antivirus for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS;
  • Highly scored by independent testing labs;
  • Easy to navigate.
Cons
  • No advanced firewall;
  • Slow boot scan.

Pricing Plans & Deal

In addition to the free plan, Avast offers two paid subscriptions. At the moment, you can enjoy a nice deal of up to 50% off on the paid plans for your first year:

  • Avast Premium Security – $49.99/year ($99.99/year standard pricing);
  • Avast Ultimate – $79.99/year ($129.99/year standard pricing).

If you want access to more advanced features, upgrading to paid plans is a must despite the free version being so generous.

AVG

avg free version for windows 11

AVG was an antivirus in its own right, and then in 2016, it got bought off by Avast. Today, it uses identical antivirus tech to Avast and provides broadly the same levels of protection.

It's reliable and effective, with plenty of free features to attract users. What makes it the most appealing, however, is that it's one of the few antivirus solutions that works well with other antiviruses. It provides an additional layer of protection that you won't commonly get with other solutions.

Features

Many of AVG's free features are similar to those of Avast. You can enjoy access to:

  • Virus and malware detection and blocking;
  • Ransomware protection;
  • Smart scans;
  • Basic firewall;
  • Deep scans.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • High malware detection rates;
  • Responsive support;
  • Valuable features.
Cons
  • Slow deep scan;
  • Constant notifications asking you to upgrade.

Pricing Plans & Deal

Considering that it falls under Avast's wing, it's no surprise that AVG has similar pricing plans. It currently has a similar deal for users, offering up to 40% off for your first year:

  • AVG Internet Security – $59.88/year ($99.99/year standard pricing);
  • AVG Ultimate – $79.99/year ($129.99/year standard pricing).

These two plans allow you to use AVG on up to 10 devices.

Microsoft Defender

microsoft defender free antivirus for windows

If you have a Windows 11 PC, you already have Microsoft Defender (previously known as Windows Defender). It comes built-in with your OS, so you won't have to download any additional solutions.

That said, if you do use any other antivirus, Microsoft Defender is excellent at letting it take over the reins. It will take over only when the other antivirus is disabled or when you delete it.

While it's not the best nor the most feature-packed protection for your PC, it's a great start that will help keep you safe.

Features

Microsoft Defender doesn't have a long list of advanced features, but you can enjoy access to its:

  • Real-time protection;
  • Custom scanning;
  • Account protection;
  • Parental controls;
  • Weekly activity reports.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Pre-installed with your OS;
  • Always active when there are no other antiviruses;
  • Receives regular updates.
Cons
  • Somewhat confusing to navigate;
  • Limited protection.

Pricing Plans & Deal

Microsoft Defender comes pre-installed with your Windows 11. It has no paid plans that you can upgrade to, so you'll never have to pay for it. You'll also get a free Microsoft Defender with your Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription.

Bitdefender

None

Alt Text; bitdefender free antivirus for windows 11

If you're worried specifically about computer viruses, Bitdefender is the tool to go for. It prioritizes antivirus protection, using advanced tech to detect and eliminate even the most difficult-to-catch viruses. However, that does come at a cost – you'll get minimal bells and whistles.

That said, it's still quite an impressive solution, with its most significant selling point being that it minimizes your computer slow-down. It's designed to be as light as possible on your CPU, allowing you to enjoy your PC's full resources even when it's running.

Features

As mentioned, Bitdefender doesn't come with a lot of bells and whistles, but it does offer an appealing set of features:

  • Advanced antivirus protection;
  • Customizable daily virus scans;
  • Malicious website protection;
  • Protection against zero-day exploits;
  • Cryptojacking protection.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Minimally intrusive;
  • No interference with other apps;
  • Intuitive interface.
Cons
  • No bonus features;
  • Scans can be slow.

Pricing Plans & Deal

Depending on the type of software you want, Bitdefender offers numerous distinct solutions at varying price points. Currently, it provides a fantastic deal for your first year with Total Security:

  • Bitdefender Total Security – €42.49/year (€84.99/year standard pricing; approximately $91/year).

You can also explore some of Bitdefender's more comprehensive plans, such as Ultimate Security or Premium Security, that introduce a more comprehensive list of features.

Bonus Tool: Free Data Recovery Tool

person using a windows 11 pc

Regardless of what paid or free malware removal tools for Windows 11 you're using, it's always possible for malicious software to break through your defenses and corrupt your files. In those instances, you'll need the help of Wondershare Recoverit to fix your corrupt data and help you regain access to your most important files.

Free Download
Free Download

Wondershare Recoverit is fully compatible with all operating systems, including Windows 11, and has high success rates for recovering virus-infected files with the utmost ease and efficiency.

To use it, you just need to follow a few steps:

  1. Download and launch Recoverit on your Windows 11 PC;
  2. Select a location to start the data recovery scan;
    recoverit select location to start recovery
  3. The scan will start automatically, pause or stop it at any time;
  4. Pinpoint files during the scan;
    recoverit pinpoint files
  5. Preview the files and select Recover.
  6. Select the path to save your files and select Recover.
    recoverit select save path

It takes just a few moments for Recoverit to salvage your virus-infected files, and you'll be able to access them without issues.

Free Download
Free Download

Conclusion

Choosing the right free antivirus tool for Windows 11 is no easy task. Fortunately, you can access plenty of reliable options, and you won't make a mistake by choosing any of the tools mentioned on our list.

If any tool fails to catch a virus before it corrupts your files, you can always rely on Wondershare Recoverit to save the day.

Free Download
Free Download

FAQ

  • What happens if I don't have an antivirus installed on my Windows 11 PC?
    Not using antivirus software on your PC leaves you vulnerable to all forms of malicious programs, including viruses, ransomware, botnets, and more. You could lose essential files, corrupt your computer, and even have your hard disc reformatted. Fortunately, Windows 11 PCs come with pre-installed Microsoft Defender, so you should already have adequate protection even if you didn't install any new antivirus software.
  • Can I use the same antivirus program on all my devices?
    Whether you can use the same antivirus program on all your devices depends entirely on your chosen program. Most antivirus solutions will offer free tools that you can install on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. You can also upgrade your protection and pay to have multiple devices covered with some software.
  • Is Windows 11 Defender better than Avast free?
    Windows 11 Defender is designed to work in tandem with other antivirus solutions. While it has adequate defenses, it's generally used as a backup in case your primary antivirus fails. It has only the basic features and limited capabilities. Avast, on the other hand, offers more comprehensive defenses. Even the free version has powerful protection against all common threats. Therefore, Avast is generally considered to be a better option than Defender.
Alex Nappi
Alex Nappi Jan 24, 24
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