Best free antivirus for XP and Vista?

So what is a good free antivirus for Windows XP and Windows Vista?

Well that’s another week of tech support finished. One thing I’ve noticed this week is there are a lot of people who still have Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Windows XP expired three years ago, which means there haven’t been any security updates for three years. Windows Vista expired a month ago, so that’s also not getting security updates any more. I understand this is the real world, and people can’t afford to upgrade to the latest thing all the time. I understand, and I want to help people keep those computers secure, so I’m always looking for the best free antivirus – in this case the best free antivirus for Windows XP and Vista.

Now normally when I’m looking at free antivirus, I’d recommend either Sophos Home, Windows Defender (aka Microsoft Security Essentials), or Bitdefender. But none of those work on Vista or XP.

So what do I recommend? Well, I would say the two best solutions are Avast and AVG.

Both are free, both want to offer you a more premium software, so they are looking to get you in as a free customer, and try and put you onto the more expensive packages. Both AVG and Avast should stop you getting viruses, malware and all the usual nasty things.

One thing that Avast used to do, was to make you register and give your email address before you could activate it for free. They’ve stopped doing that now.

They both have a huge install base, so given the huge number of people around the world who have either Avast or AVG, those people are helping to keep your product safe.

You can get AVG from and you can get Avast from

I would say they both have their weaknesses. They both try and talk you into the paid version, which you don’t really need. They pester you quite a lot with these adverts to upgrade. Provided you’re quite good at looking out for that kind of thing, and you don’t click on anything that says “Give me a 30 trial of a better product”, or any offers for extra products, you should be fine. Sometimes you have to look out for the small print for those things. But as long as you look out for them, you should be fine with either AVG or Avast. I would say AVG is worse for nagging, Avast nags you a little bit but not quite as much.

AVG tries to put you on to a product called PC TuneUp. You don’t need that; you can get a perfectly good product called CCleaner, which is available for free from

Avast will try and give you an extension called SafePrice. You don’t need it. It watches when you visit shopping websites and tries to persuade you to go to a cheaper shopping website.

I install both AVG and Avast on people’s computers all the time. If you were to ask which is my favourite, I would say Avast. I would recommend that you install Avast on your computer, and it will help keep it safe.

It won’t be as safe as a computer with Windows 10 or Windows 7 – don’t forget that you’re still not getting those security updates from Microsoft, so just be really careful. Don’t do banking or online shopping on XP or Vista. If you need to do those things, I would really recommend getting a newer computer, even if it’s just a tablet.

If you choose to install either AVG or Avast, let me know in the comments below how you get on!

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