Free Anti-virus Programs
ClamWin Free Antivirus 0.97.3 (2012)
ClamWin Free Antivirus for 2012 (build 0.97.3) is designed for Windows and uses the open source GNU General Public License. The anti-virus program currently supports the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows 98, ME, XP, 2003, and Vista.
The features you can expect to find in ClamWin Free AntiVirus 2012 are virus database, updates (which the program retrieves automatically), right-click menu MS Windows Explorer integration, scanning scheduler, a standalone virus scanner, and add-in function to MS Outlook (which enables easy scanning of email attachments). New for 2012 is its Quarantine Browser which offers the option to restore quarantined files later proven to be a false positive, a verification process for digital signatures to minimize false positives, along with several known bug fixes and protection enhancements.
One of the downsides to ClamWin Free AntiVirus is that it doesn't have an automatic scanning feature for newly activated files. This means that you'll have to manually scan all the files you have recently downloaded from the web before you can safely execute or use the files.
What ClamWin Free AntiVirus does have, however, is an update feature that ensures that your software application is equipped with protection methods to prevent your computer from getting infected with the latest viruses, worms, and other types of malware.
ClamWin Free AntiVirus also has a comprehensive online database that is automatically refreshed several times every 24 hours. The new 2012 improves on it virus signature matching at the byte code level signature matching. Like most other anti-virus programs, ClamWin Free AntiVirus also has a scanner scheduler that allows you to customize the exact times of the day when you want your system to be scanned. Another cool feature of the ClamWin Free AntiVirus database is its availability in a portable version, which users can store and use from a USB (universal serial bus) flash drive.
Installation and Setup
ClamWin Free AntiVirus uses the open source GNU General Public License. Because of this, the program comes with an open source code and an installer that you also get at no cost. ClamWin Free AntiVirus can be installed silently - you can install the software application without interacting directly with the program. This means no user prompts, no text confirmations, and no dialog boxes.
The downloaded installer allows you to integrate the software with Internet Explorer and also choose to install the Outlook module. It then lends an icon on your Windows tray which, when right-clicked, opens the ClamWin configuration page for scheduling scans, manually checking on updates and displaying reports, among others.
ClamWin Free AntiVirus has a graphical user interface that is relatively easy to use. The main user interface is downright basic and uncluttered with a simple tree view for choosing your drives and folders to scan. But the simplicity betrays an efficiency that is par for the course among free antivirus software. Launching Outlook opened ClamWin with it as an add-on ribbon that works in the background to detect and identify infected incoming messages. You can easily jump from tab to tab to go to the specific function you wish to tweak or execute. If you want to conduct more thorough scans, you can use the right-click feature to select the specific files, directories, and locations that you want to scan.
Although ClamWin lacks the on-demand scanning option and other up-to-date functions found in other free anti-virus programs, it's still a good option for those who want to keep their computers safe from viruses without spending a dime.