Saturday, February 24, 2007


There are 6 major anti-virus programs: AOL Active Virus Shield, Avira AntiVir Personal Edition Classic, Bit Defender Free edition, Avast! Home edition, AVG Free edition and ClamWin. To compare between the best programs, we need to know the detection rates, how the program affects the system speed, and the scanning speed. In this article, I will compare these programs across these parameters to decide which should be the best for most users.



AOL Active Virus Shield: 99.62%

Bit Defender Freeware: 95.57%

Avira AntiVir Classic: 94.26%

Avast! Freeware: 87.46%

AVG Free: 82.82%

ClamWin: 51.23%

Virus type / Antivirus AntiVir Classic Active Virus Shield by AOL BitDefender 8.0.202 freeware Avast 4.7.871 freeware AVG 7.1.405 freeware ClamWin 0.88.4

File (256) 231 253 185 174 43 135

90.23% 98.83% 72.27% 67.97% 16.80% 52.73%
MS-DOS (38851) 37929 38748 37585 36702 33433 29612

97.63% 99.73% 96.74% 94.47% 86.05% 76.22%
Windows.* (1978) 1858 1928 1728 1761 1639 1055

93.93% 97.47% 87.36% 89.03% 82.86% 53.34%
Macro (7638) 7444 7632 7374 7218 7213 6192

97.46% 99.92% 96.54% 94.50% 94.44% 81.07%
Malware (7769) 4826 7614 5163 4535 3919 2721

62.12% 98.00% 66.46% 58.37% 50.44% 35.02%
Script (10003) 9608 9875 9833 8971 8223 5569

96.05% 98.72% 98.30% 89.68% 82.21% 55.67%
Trojans-Backdoors (80689) 76833 80571 78800 69372 67432 30124

95.22% 99.85% 97.66% 85.97% 83.57% 37.33%
Total (147184) 138729 146621 140668 128733 121902 75408

94.26% 99.62% 95.57% 87.46% 82.82% 51.23%

Boot disk/cd NO NO NO NO YES NO

Right-click scan YES YES YES YES YES YES


Background scanning YES YES NO YES YES YES

Folder-only scan YES YES YES YES YES YES

Another important consideration is whether the product has a succession of VB100 certificates. However, it is difficult to know whether the certificates are for the professional paid version or also for the free version. Going by the vendor,

AOL Active Virus Shield: Did not enter. However, it is powered by the kaspersky engine, which has passed all tests it entered in 2006.

Bit Defender: Passed all tests in 2006, did not enter in 2007

Avira AntiVir: Passed two tests, but failed 1 in 2006, did not enter in 2007

Avast!: Entered 4 tests from 2006-2007, passed all (certified fit for windows Vista)

AVG: Entered 4 tests from 2006-2007, passed all.(certified fit for Windows Vista)

Clam Win: Did not enter

ICSA certified for virus detection: Bit Defender, Avira AntiVir, Avast!, AVG (all are for Windows XP)(Kaspersky is also ICSA certified)

ICSA certified for Virus cleaning: Bit Defender (all are for Windows XP), (Kaspersky also has that certificate)

AV Comparatives gives perhaps the best comparison of antivirus detection ability. According to that site, the professional editions of Kaspersky and Avira were rated the highest among the companies listed here. However, their data cannot be given over here for copyright reasons, and you have to go to their website to access their articles. Avira was the best for polymorphic viruses. However, that site rated the professional editions, and may not hold true for free editions.
Winner: AOL Active Virus Shield. It is powered by Kaspersky, which has the highest detection rates for any anti-virus.

Because of the low rate of detection, Clam Win will not be discussed any further.


AOL Active Virus Shield affects the startup time the least, followed by Avira, Avast!, Bit Defender and AVG.

SCANNING is done in the least time by Avira, followed by Bit Defender, Avast!, AOL Active Virus Shield and AVG.

AVG is the only free antivirus in which a rescue CD can be built.

Other Quirks: Bit Defender lacks real time scanning.

Overall, FOR WINDOWS XP, THE WINNER IS AOL ACTIVE VIRUS SHIELD, closely followed by Avira, and then Avast!, AVG and Bit Defender. It is fast, has a higher detection rate than all other paid anti-viruses, and does not slow down the system much. In fact, it has got the feature of releasing memory when another concurrent program is running, so that the user is not hampered by the scan.

Avira AntiVir is also an excellent choice, as is Avast! . AVG is a standard product which has the added advantage of having a rescue CD .Bit Defender is good, but lacks real time scanning, a real necessity, and therefore is not recommended, inspite of having high detection rates.

FOR WINDOWS VISTA, only Avast! and AVG have got the certification. Therefore, for the present, these are the two best products

I will try to post the exact boot times and scanning times for my computer within the next few posts. Other reviews on how the antivirus affects the system performance will be found here and here

For the best comparison of anti-virus detection rates, you can go here.