Malware removal

The Best Malware Removal and Protection Software for 2021

Malware removal

You Need Malware Protection

Your computer is hardware; the programs that run on it are software. Simple! Without software you wouldn't be able to surf the web, write a document, or photoshop your cat's head onto a politician's body. Whether useful or frivolous, most software applications are benign.

Most, but not all. Some software exists for evil purposes, perhaps to steal your identity, or raid your online bank accounts.

We call these nasty programs malware, and your defense against them comes back to software, whether it's a simple antivirus utility or a feature-laden security suite.

Malware protection solutions come in all sizes. Despite the word “virus” in the name, an antivirus utility actually aims to protect against all types of malware.

Full-scale security suites expand protection to include such things as spam filtering and parental control. Some antimalware tools work alongside your main protection to provide added security against specific threats, such as ransomware.

Before we explore the different types of protection available, let's look at just what they're up against.

What Is Malware?

The term malware is short for malicious software, and it refers to absolutely any program or process whose purpose is harmful, even criminal.

The earliest widely known form of malware was the computer virus, the name for a program that infects other programs with its code, and replicates when the infected program runs.

Many early viruses had no malicious payload; they just served to show off the coder's skills, or even to give a shout-out to a loved one. Because viruses were first, we still use the name antivirus for software that protects against all kinds of malware.

A virus spreads when someone launches the infected program; a worm spreads without any help. Worms have been around longer than the internet, with the first one, Creeper, hitting Arpanet in 1971.

The infamous Morris Worm, released in 1988, was nominally intended to measure the extent of the nascent internet.

However, due to a coding error it crashed thousands of servers and earned its creator a felony conviction.

Modern malware coders are way beyond the “look at me!” attitude of those early virus writers. They're in it for the money—period—and there's not a lot of money in viruses and worms. Trojan horse programs can be more lucrative.

This sort of malware appears as, and may even be, a useful program of some kind, but once you let it inside the walls of your computer, it turns loose a crew of nasties.

They may send your personal and financial data to malware HQ, install additional programs to earn per-installation cash, or anything the coders can think of to monetize their control of your computer.

Trojans that transmit your private information are one kind of spyware. Other types of spyware focus on tracking your web-browsing habits, or the way you use your computer. Keylogger spyware tools record the keystrokes you type, hoping to hit pay dirt by capturing your passwords. Some anti-malware tools include components specifically devoted to spyware protection.

Another common threat is what's called a bot. Typically, the bot owner uses spam or drive-by downloads to infect many computers, and then sells the services of this herd of bots. Customers can contract with the bot-herder for tasks including bitcoin mining, distributing spam, or participating in a distributed denial of service attack.

The current alpha predator of money-making malware, though, is ransomware—specifically, encrypting ransomware.

If this kind of attack hits your computer, you'll find that all your essential files have been encrypted. The perpetrator of the attack will gladly decrypt them for you—if you pay the ransom.

Worst of all, even if you manage to remove the ransomware itself, your files remain encrypted. It's a nightmare!

Adware and Other PUPs

Most malware-fighting tools also handle removal of potentially unwanted programs—PUPs for short. In many cases, you must choose whether or not to remove these. They're not specifically malicious, but they may well be unwanted.

For example, you may have installed an ad-supported free utility without realizing just how invasive its advertisements would be.

Or you may have clicked through screen after screen during one program's installation, without realizing that by doing so you agreed to install a boatload of other programs. And it's not uncommon for these programs to resist uninstallation.

Companies AppEsteemaim to eliminate these deceptive bundling practices, but if you've already been hit, you need some help to clean up the mess.

Basic Malware Protection

You absolutely need at least a basic level of protection for all of your devices, and that means an antivirus utility. As noted, despite the name these products do a lot more than fight viruses. They take aim at every kind of malware, and some of them do a great job.

But, you may ask, doesn't Windows 10 have antivirus built right in? It's true that Windows Defender is built into Windows 10, and it gained more responsibilities with updates in the last few years.

If you have no other antivirus, Winows Defender turns on automatically. If you install a third-party antivirus, it goes dormant.

Windows Defender has been getting better scores from the independent labs, and in our own tests, but the best third-party antivirus products, both free and premium, score way higher.

What's the Best Free Antivirus?

Even though Windows Defender isn't the best, you may be reluctant to pay for antivirus protection, given that you can get it for free. As it turns out, quite a few companies offer free antivirussolutions, and some of them are quite good.

Most purveyors of free antivirus protection also offer a premium, paid edition. In some cases, the premium edition includes features not available for free, or offers VIP tech support. Others make the full range of features free for consumers, but require payment for business-related use. The best of these free antivirus utilities outperform all but the top for-pay competitors.

Malware Scan Types

You can launch a full antivirus scan of your computer at will, to root out any preexisting malware problems. Most also let you schedule a regular scan. But the first line of defense is on-access scanning.

For some antivirus utilities, the minuscule access that occurs when Windows Explorer displays a file's details is sufficient to trigger a scan. Others wait until the file gets copied to disk, or until just before it executes.

The main point is, your antivirus makes sure that no new malware can infest the computer.

But how does it know? How does it tell that a program is malicious? The easiest method involves what's called a signature—a kind of fingerprint that identifies known malicious files. Early antivirus tools simply checked the numeric hashof entire programs against a blacklist.

Malware coders responded to that by making threats polymorphic, so every victim received a slightly different file. And antivirus researchers in turn responded by making signatures more generic, so that all variations on a particular malware strain would still fit the profile.

But is there an end to the cat-and-mouse game between malware coders and antivirus researchers? Yes, quite possibly there is. The very definition of malware is software that performs some type of malicious action.

Behavior-based detection systems don't check programs against a list of known offenders. Instead, they watch all unknown programs for malicious behaviors.

This kind of detection works against any malware attack, even a brand-new zero-day exploit.

Emergency Malware Removal

There's always the chance that your antivirus might miss a very new, very virulent malware strain. You also may run into trouble when you try to install antivirus protection, because the malware already entrenched on your computer fights back. In either of those cases, you can call on the many free cleanup-only tools.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is our current favorite in this realm. We've seen tech support agents for other companies call on Malwarebytes to get rid of infestations that thwarted their own product. It's not the only choice, though. Sophos, Symantec, and Emsisoft are among the others that offer similar free malware cleaners.

Most security vendors also offer a free rescue disk, typically in the form of an ISO file that you burn to a CD. Windows-based malware only works when Windows is running, after all.

Booting from the rescue disk puts you in a different operating environment, typically a Linux variant, with a malware scanner built in.

You may find the rescue scanner awkward and unfamiliar, compared to its slick, Windows-based cousin, but if it does the job, you can ignore its lack of polish.

Beyond Malware Protection

Antivirus is one kind of security for your computer, but there are many other possibilities. A firewallfends off hack attacks from outside, and prevents programs from abusing your network connection. If your email provider doesn't filter out spam, a local spam filter utility can help.

Parental control software steers kids away from inappropriate websites and keeps a lid on their screen time. Rather than choose all these components separately, with the risk that they won't play nice together, many users opt for a security suitethat integrates a variety of security components.

Of course, malware protection is at the core of every such suite.

There are many other ways security software can protect your computer and your privacy. Backupis, in a way, the ultimate security for your important files. Even if a piece of space junk smashes your computer to smithereens, you still have your backed-up files.

Cleaning up exposed data on your system, stuff that could reveal your habits, is another way to protect privacy. Password managementhelps you attain the goal of using a strong, unique password for every website. Most security companies offer a higher-level suite that adds many more security-related features.

We call these feature-packed products mega-suites, to distinguish them from the basic, entry-level suites.

Protecting your privacy and security on your desktop or laptop computer is dandy, but what about your other devices? If your household teems with devices running Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS, you may want to consider a multi-device security suite.

Protection for Windows and Android devices is the most important, as these are the big targets for malware attack. Even macOS devices have suffered crippling attacks, though they're not as common.

And while iPhones and iPads are intrinsically safer, some security features, such as password management and URL filtering, are platform-independent.

You also need to think about protecting your data as it travels between your devices and the web.

If you've connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot, another user (or the sneaky owner of the hotspot) could sift through your data stream.

Using a VPN protects your data in transit, and has the added benefit of masking your IP address. More security companies are beginning to include a VPN component, though full access may require an additional subscription.

Ransomware Protection

As noted earlier, an antivirus with protection only against computer viruses would be absurd. In general, a product that only blocks viruses, or adware, or spyware, or any single malware type would be pointless. Ransomware, however, is another matter.

If your regular antivirus misses a brand-new Trojan and thereby lets some crook steal your credit card number, that's bad.

But you can get a new card, and an antivirus update (or a remote remediation session with tech support) should wipe out the Trojan. But if the antivirus misses a ransomware attack, that's it.

Your files are hosed, and removing the ransomware won't help. Because of that, we recommend a second line of protection against ransomware.

You may find that your antivirus or security suite has some degree of ransomware-specific protection built in. Some products simply ban unauthorized programs from making changes to files in certain protected folders.

Want to edit a document with your word processor? No problem! But when ransomware comes knocking, it won't get in.

Others add a layer of behavior-based ransomware detection, to catch anything that gets past the other malware protection layers.

What we find most interesting are the dedicated anti-ransomware tools that are starting to crop up.

They work alongside your existing antivirus, with the sole aim of detecting the behavior of any ransomware that gets past other defensive layers.

Alas, some of the free offerings in this realm have been withdrawn. Check Point ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware is our Editors' Choice for ransomware protection.

What's the Best Malware Protection?

In this article, we've identified a variety of products that will definitely help keep malware far, far away from your computer. We made a point of including a variety of program types, from many different security companies.

Clearly these aren't the only products that you should consider. We've reviewed many dozens in different categories, and many of them are just as good as the ones mentioned here. This article links to collections of antivirus tools, security suites, and other types of malware protection. Follow those links, read the reviews, choose the product that suits you, and install it now.

Editors' Note: We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Labs' inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven, and continue to recommend Kaspersky's security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.


Best malware removal software 2021: free and paid anti-malware tools and services

Malware removal

The best malware removal software and anti-malware tools and services aim to prevent malware infections on a protected machine, or help remove one from an unprotected one.

Installing the best antivirus software is up there with the best ways to safeguard against malware. However, if your machine has been infected, this guide will provide you with the best tools for getting rid of malware.

It doesn't matter whether you're using a PC, Mac, Android phone, or even an iPhone – a vulnerability in your browser and/or or its plugins can serve as an attack route for malware into other parts of your system, even if those parts are not normally vulnerable to attack.

While using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help reduce the chances of malware infection, ultimately it is up to you as an internet user to ensure your device or machine – whatever it is – is already secured against a wide range of different malware attacks.

Luckily there are a lot of different vendors out there who can provide the security you need to defend against malware, and even better many of these provide both free and paid-for versions of their anti-malware software. 

While the free versions will get the job done, paid versions offer more options for protection and are often worth the nominal fee that they cost. General internet security suites will commonly not just provide a shield against viruses and other malware but will also have malware removal options available in the event of an infection.

Here we'll list the best of both, starting with the best overall paid-for security suites for malware protection, even if a free version is also available – then we'll list the best free anti-malware software if you just want something to get by with.

The best malware removal software available right now is: Malwarebytes Premium
If you're suffering from a malware infection and free software isn't getting the job done, Malwarebytes Premium could be the silver bullet you need. It uses heuristic analysis to identify new strains of malware, cleans up existing infections, helps protect you from phishing scams, and helps stop you downloading further malicious software in the future, including ransomware.

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

The most effective free malware remover, with deep scans and daily updates

If you suspect a malware infection, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware should be your first port of call. It’s updated daily, so you can trust it to identify and remove new threats the minute they appear.

The first time you install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, you’re given a 14-day trial of the premium edition, which includes preventative tools real-time scanning and specific protection from ransomware. After two weeks, it reverts to the basic free version.

This has to be activated manually, but is still a top-notch security tool.

We recommend running it at least once a week to check or any nasties that you haven't noticed, or if you notice that your web browser has suddenly started acting strangely (ly a result of adware).

Last year, Malwarebytes bought Adwcleaner, which – as its name suggests – targets and removes annoying programs that hijack your browser by changing your homepage, resetting your default search engine, or adding unwanted toolbars. It’s also available free, and along with Anti-Malware, is a great addition to your security toolkit.

  • Read our full Malwarebytes Anti-Malware review.

(Image credit: Avast)

Avast offers one of the most competent internet protection suites out there. While the company is famous for providing free antivirus software, it's worth noting that this now comes bundled with an anti-malware feature that uses behavioral monitoring to spot rogue programs.

What's even better is that not only are Avast's basic products free, but they are also available for mobile devices as well as for desktops, which makes Avast a particular ideal choice if you have multiple devices you need to check.

While the basic Avast service is second-to-none, the company also provides paid-for anti-malware software that takes this things, such as fine-tuning your PC to run better, to anti-ransomware software and secure file shredding.

For business users, there are paid-for internet security options to cover a range of needs and options.

For home users, though, the Avast free antivirus should keep your PC very well protected, though do note you'll be periodically prompted to update for one of Avast's other services.

  • Read our full Avast antivirus review.

(Image credit: Kaspersky)

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a stripped-back security package that focuses on the core security essentials: its web filtering blocks dangerous URLs, an accurate engine detects and removes threats, smart monitoring technologies track and reverse malicious actions, and that's pretty much it.

Fortunately, what you do get works well. Incredibly well. We've consistently found Kaspersky to be one of the best at blocking malware, and removing it from an infected system. That’s without mentioning that this anti-virus tool has regularly received top marks at sites AV-Comparatives.

The program is easy to use, as well. An impeccably-designed interface has just the right number of buttons and options – not too basic, but not complicated or intimidating either – and there are plenty of on-screen instructions to explain how everything works. Even a beginner will be at home right away.

Standout features include automatic scans, drive-by cryptomining infection prevention, and simplified security management.

If you just need accurate, reliable and consistent malware protection, Kaspersky Anti-Virus will serve you well.

  • Read our full Kaspersky antivirus review.

(Image credit: Trend Micro)

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security is a very capable package that's easy to use with above average anti-spam and an effective ‘Folder Shield’ module to block ransomware. And, it seems to get better as time goes on.

How good is it exactly? The top testing labs all rate it highly for protection, even though there’s a bit of disagreement on the details. In particular, AV-Comparatives says it gives a high number of false positives, which could be a real nuisance. On the other hand, AV-Test reports high levels of accuracy and no issues with false positives at all.

If there's a problem here, it's ly to be performance impact. PassMark's March 2019 Performance report assessed 14 security products on various performance-related benchmarks, and Trend Micro came towards the bottom part of the list.

Our experiences with the product are a little more reassuring: protection levels look similar to Bitdefender, false positives are only marginally higher, and the system itself doesn't slow down our system noticeably more than anything else.

Standout features include ransomware protection, advanced AI learning, email scam safeguarding, and Pay Guard.

We'd recommend running the trial for its full 30 days before you buy, then, to see if you notice any problems. But if you're unaffected, its high levels of detection and excellent bonus features make Trend Micro a good choice.

  • Read our full Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security review.

(Image credit: F-Secure)

F-Secure SAFE is a great collection of antivirus tools, and while it's a bit pricier than some of the other antivirus software on this best of list, the number of features you get certainly makes that high price tag worthwhile.

With F-Secure SAFE, you get the brilliant antivirus software from F-Secure, alongside banking protection for safe online shopping, family safety tools and a device finder that lets you track your lost Android or iOS device, and if needs be, remotely lock or delete it as well.

The package typically receives maximum marks for protection from AV-Test, and generally scores highly with AV-Comparatives. They also say it can generate significantly more false positives than most of the competition, but how that affects you will vary depending on how you use your computer.

The interface is a major advantage, as it's extremely easy to use, lightweight, and for the most part, you can just leave the app to work alone looking after your PC. The program has minimal effect on your system performance, and if you do need to intervene, you can generally solve any issues in a couple of clicks.

Available for Windows, Mac, and Android, F-Secure SAFE remains an appealing package: fast, lightweight, and able to run alongside many other security tools without conflict. Standout features include banking protection, Family Rules, and ransomware protection.

  • Read our full F-Secure review.

Best free anti-malware protection:

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is the strong, silent type. This anti-malware software doesn't even ask questions when you install it – it just quietly gets on with the job of identifying and eliminating anything that poses a risk to your safety and security.

It watches out for apps behaving badly, scans links on the web to identify scams, and has proactive malware and spyware scanning that can detect threats nobody has encountered before. Plus the app boasts boot scanning every time you start your PC.

Ad-free, nag-free and hassle-free, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a great product that runs quickly and silently while you get on with something more interesting.

Its comprehensive suite of tools to protect your PC makes Bitdefender the best free anti-malware software you can download today. It's all the protection you need in one handy package.

  • Read our full Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition review.

(Image credit: Avira )

Powerful protection against malware

The Avira Free Security Suite provides one of the most comprehensive free security packages available on the internet.

As well as providing the standard anti-virus protection, the Avira Free security suite also provides a software updater, as well as scanning your network for vulnerabilities and helps you fix them.

There are also safe browsing and safe shopping options, as well as a system optimizer to speed up your PC which is normally charged for in other packages.

If that's not enough there's also a free VPN included for up to 500MB per month, as well as a password manager and privacy settings manager.

However, you actually have a choice of which features you want to install. This is a great plus as while the Avira suite is generous some users may want to run one or more features through a different suite.

There is an upgrade option, of course, but this is priced toward installation across 5, or 25 devices, and involves such features such as removing the VPN limit.

If there's one negative, it's that there's no anti-ransomware protection, but aside from that the Avira Free Security Suite is a very generous package indeed.

  • Read our full Avira antivirus review.

(Image credit: AVG)

If you're looking for anti-malware software that keeps quiet and won't disturb your work, be warned – AVG Antivirus Free is quite vocal with its notifications, and irks us from time to time with pop-ups telling us we've done something fantastic with regard to our online safety.

As an anti-malware app, though, it's very good. The dashboard is user-friendly, there's protection not just from downloadable threats, but from dodgy links too, and you can use your mobile to scan your PC remotely, which is pretty clever.

The paid-for Pro model has more security options – it has more robust download protection, offers data encryption includes a firewall – but the free version offers decent protection for most PC users.

  • Read our full AVG Antivirus Free review.

(Image credit: Spybot Search and Destroy)

An established tool against malware infection

SpyBot Search & Destroy is a veteran of the malware wars, dating back to the first adware in 2000, and while it doesn't scan for viruses – that's in the Home version – the free software does a decent job of finding and fixing adware, malware and spyware.

It's more of a system repair tool than a system protection tool, however, and you need to be careful where you get it from: there are fake versions in circulation designed to cause damage, not fix it. The version linked here is the real deal.

  • Read our full Spybot Search & Destroy review.

(Image credit: Emsisoft )

Focused malware-removal tool

Most security software tries to stop malware and spyware getting onto your system. Emsisoft Emergency Kit doesn't: it's the 911 call of security software, the app you use when your PC's been poked by something unpleasant.

It's designed to be portable – an anti-malware app you carry around with you on a USB stick – and its system requirements are tiny: just 200MB of RAM, so it'll run happily on any PC with 1GB memory or more. With two million malware signatures, Emsisoft Emergency Kit can restore almost any infected PC to rude health.

  • Read our full Emsisoft Emergency Kit review.


The 6 Best Free Malware Removal Tools of 2021

Malware removal

Malware has become a commonplace problem, since it's easier than ever to pick up malware, even when you think your internet behavior isn't risky.

That's why malware removal tools exist. The best malware removal tools will excel at virus removal and dealing with spyware.

We reviewed numerous malware removal tools to come up with this list of the best for Windows and Mac computers.

Malwarebytes takes our top pick for the best overall free malware removal tool thanks to its sterling reputation, frequent updates, and how easy it is to use. The free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware even comes with a 14 day free trial of the premium version, which protects you with real-time scanning and additional measures to thwart ransomware.

Malwarebytes is a comprehensive security tool that’s designed to shore up your traditional antivirus program.

It receives daily updates to help you keep on top of the latest malware, and also employs a number of techniques that can help it identify brand new malware on your system that’s never even been seen before.

Once Malwarebytes has identified an issue, it’s able to clean up and remove the malicious code.

This fantastic malware removal tool is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and even Chromebooks. The free version allows you to scan for malware and remove it whenever you want, but it lacks the real-time scanning and protection that you get from the premium version.

You can use a lot of our favorite malware removal tools with the antivirus program of your choice, but Bitdefender is our pick for the best antivirus that includes built-in malware protection. That means you can use it as your primary defense against viruses, worms, trojans, zero-day exploits, rootkits, and all sorts of malware as well.

The free version of Bitdefender is a lightweight antivirus program that’s available for Windows, Android, and macOS. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and Bitdefender Total Security, which are both paid versions of the software, add protection for iOS as well.

While the free version lacks some of the advanced features you get with the premium versions of Bitdefender, automatic updates, it’s equipped with the basic features required to protect your computer with real-time threat detection, virus scanning, and malware removal.

In addition to real-time threat detection, Bitdefender also has a handy option that allows you to drag and drop suspicious files or folders to the home screen of the app. This is an extremely easy way to quickly scan any files that you suspect may be infected.

If you’re looking for a malware removal tool that’s capable of staying ahead of the curve, you need to check out Adaware Antivirus Free. This is the free version of the fantastic Adaware anti-malware toolkit, and it’s capable of identifying and eliminating brand new malware the moment it crops up.

Adaware maintains a database of known threats that receives regular updates, other antivirus software and malware removal tools. When a scan finds something that matches the threat database, the app is able to locate and eliminate the problem. It can also scan your downloads automatically, helping to eliminate that attack vector.

What sets Adaware apart from most of the competition is the heuristic analysis technique that it uses to identify new malware. By setting up suspicious programs in a protected virtual environment, Adaware can look for behaviors and signs that the program is actually malware and then take appropriate measures.

The free version of Adaware is only available for Windows, but it does support Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Our top pick for the best malware removal tool that’s capable of tackling spyware is SUPERAntiSpyware. This malware removal tool specializes in spyware, but it can also handle a variety of other threats including rootkits and ransomware.

SUPERAntiSpyware is designed to work in concert with your antivirus, specifically targeting spyware, adware, keyloggers, and other threats to your personal data. It’s also able to protect your files against ransomware, which is designed to hijack your data unless you pay the attacker to release it.

The free version of SUPERAntiSpyware comes with the same daily updates as the paid version, ensuring that you’re always protected against the latest threats. The only catch is that you have to check for updates automatically.

SUPERAntiSpyware is only available for Windows, but it is compatible with every version of the operating system dating back to Windows XP. That means SUPERAntiSpyware is a great way to protect your computer If you’re still using an outdated version of Windows Windows XP or Windows Vista.

There are a lot of great malware removal tools for Windows, but the one that you really can’t do without is Microsoft’s own Malicious Software Removal Tool. This indispensable malware removal tool may even be on your computer already thanks to Windows Update. If you don’t already have it, you can download it for free from Microsoft.

Microsoft updates the Malicious Software Removal Tool on a regular basis, and a new version, designed to remove new malware threats, is usually available once per month. It isn’t updated as often as some other tools, but it does target the most prevalent malware threats, so it should be your first line of defense as a Windows user.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool isn’t designed to replace your antivirus software, and it works best when used in conjunction with a good antivirus and other anti-malware apps. It’s been available since Windows XP, but Microsoft only provides support and updates for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 versions as older versions no longer receive security updates.

Avast Free Mac Security takes our top pick for the best free Mac malware removal tool due to its fantastic track record of detecting and eliminating various types of malware. In independent testing, it was able to root out 99.9 percent of macOS malware, giving it the edge over other free options.

macOS has a reputation for not being as vulnerable to viruses and malware as Windows, but it’s still important to protect your data against a worst-case scenario.

Avast Free Mac Security is the best free option out there, combining an excellent antivirus platform with top of the line malware detection, and protection against infections from email and the web.

It can even harden your Wi-Fi network against intrusion.

The free version of Avast for macOS provides most of the benefits that you get from the paid version, but it can’t protect your data against ransomware or identify Wi-Fi intrusions in real-time. If you want those features, you’ll need the paid version.

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Best Free Malware Removal Tools 2020

Malware removal

Every year, more malware and unwanted software show up on the World Wide Web. We compared malware removal tools in their ability to detect ‘real-world’ malware threats (trojans, adware, PUPs), as well as previously unknown security threats, and phishing scams.

The ability to remove malicious software and the extent to which each tool impacted computer performance were also taken into account. But which are the Best Free Malware Removal Tools? Well, keep on reading in this post because I’m about to tell you.

The following are the Best Free Malware Removal Tools of 2020, and you can find all of them right here on the AdwCleaner, Zemana Anti-malware, Malwarebytes Anti-malware, Kaspersky Virus removal tool and HitmanPro.

If you are looking for a best free malware removal tool, then you are faced with malicious actions of malware.

Malware also known as malicious software is a very serious security threat, because it can cause great damage to your computer: remove or encrypt files, download and install a browser add-on or extension, make changes to browser settings, display a huge amount of unwanted ads and pop-ups.

What else is not of little importance, malware can work as a spyware, collect detailed information about you, which in the future will be transferred to third parties. Therefore, obviously, the presence of malware on your the computer is undesirable, malicious software must be deleted immediately after finding it.

Before we talk about the best free malware removal tools, you need to think about why or how was malware installed on your computer. This will allow you to take a closer look at the security of your computer and in the future avoid installing new malicious software on your computer.

Currently, malicious programs are widespread, because they use a simple method to penetrate into the user’s computer. This method does not use trojans, viruses and vulnerabilities.

Most often, malicious programs, including such as adware and browser hijackers, are installed on the user’s computer as part of other free programs. When a user downloads a free program, it is usually not the program itself, but its installer. This is what malware authors use.

They pay developers of free programs for the ability to include their software in the installer of free programs. So installing a free program, user himself infects the computer with malware.

Sometimes it is possible to avoid the installation of malware: carefully read the Terms of Use and the Software license, select only Manual, Custom or Advanced setup method, unset all checkboxes before clicking Install or Next button while installing new free programs.

The best free malware removal tool for Windows 10, 8, 7 , XP

Not all antivirus software can detect and remove malware well, since malicious programs most often behave differently than viruses and trojans. Therefore it is very important to have an utility on the computer specially designed to solve this malware problem.

It should be noted that a Windows computer can only have one antivirus, but you can use several malware removal tools to remove malicious programs. Below we will list the best free malware removal tools, and each of them will allow you to remove malware completely free.


Quickly find and easily remove malware. AdwCleaner is a best free malware removal tool that will allow you to solve these two tasks with ease.

AdwCleaner has been an “up and coming” free malware removal tool since many years. This free tool is among the most downloaded files on the Internet in the Computer security sector. Its user interface is clean and “ease-to-use”. AdwCleaner has one of the fastest and most effective scans among all other similar security tools.

AdwCleaner will easily help you get rid of adware and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). The downside of the program is that this free tool does not contain an auto-protection module, and can not protect you from new malware. In all other respects it is a very effective malware removal tool and should be in the arsenal of each user who actively uses the Internet.

Zemana Anti-malware

Zemana Anti-malware is an excellent addition to your antivirus software, which helps to remove malware and protect your computer from new malicious programs.

▼ Download Zemana Anti-malware

Zemana Anti-malware is another great free malware removal tool. It is created to find and remove malicious programs of various types. If you want to protect your computer as much as possible, first of all we recommend you to install a classic antivirus software, and use Zemana Anti-malware to detect and remove malware.

This is an excellent malware removal tool that appeared not so long ago, but has already earned respect among security experts. Zemana Anti-malware can analyze suspicious programs (so-called heuristic analysis) to see if there are signs in their behavior that are typical for malicious software of various types, including adware and browser hijackers.

This means that you will be protected from the latest malware, including the option when your computer is the first victim hit by a new malicious program, and accordingly, its description is not yet in the database of known threats of Zemana Anti-malware. In any case, this malicious program will be quickly detected and safely removed from your personal computer.

All this happens automatically in the background.

We recommend that you scan all downloaded files with Zemana Anti-malware before launching them. This will allow you to prevent malware from infecting your computer, as it will block them before the initial start. And as you know, it is better to prevent malware than to remove it later.

As already mentioned, if you already have an anti-virus program, paid or free, and you trust it completely, then you can additionally install Zemana Anti-malware. This malware removal tool will not cause conflicts and will work as an add-on, which will greatly increase the security of your computer.

Malwarebytes Anti-malware

Malwarebytes can easily replace your antivirus or work on your computer with it, thereby significantly increasing the operating system’s protection from malware.

▼ Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware

Malwarebytes lab has been among the best malware removal developers in the world for over a decade and at once Malwarebytes 3.6 (2020) only tones up that reputation.

Malwarebytes Anti-malware is one of the most efficient malware removal tool in the world today. It boasts a great user interface with powerful malware removal features.

There are no complaints about Malwarebytes’s potency or ease­-of-use.

Despite its huge capabilities, this program can very quickly scan your computer your computer for malware, having one of the fastest scanners among all antivirus programs. With it, you can forget about the fact that scanning the entire computer can be performed for half a day or more. Any malware on your computer will be detected and quarantined very fast.

Malwarebytes program is not intrusive, but it will always warn you when trying to run malicious programs or when the running program tries to perform suspicious actions.

Additionally, when you install it, you get all the features for 14 days for free, and in the future you have a choice. Buy a license and enjoy all the features, or use a free version of the program.

In the free mode, the automatic protection module will be disabled, but Malwarebytes, without any limitations, will check your computer at your request and will be able to remove malware as before.

Kaspersky Virus removal tool

Kaspresky Virus Removal Tool (KVRT) is a free malware removal tool the core of Kaspersky Anti-Virus. This malware removal tool will give you full control over manual scanning for malware, adware and other unwanted software.

▼ Download Kaspersky Virus removal tool

Kaspresky Virus Removal Tool is the most effective free malware removal tool on the Internet nowadays. Kaspresky Virus Removal Tool over again has rendered an excellent tool that is extremely efficient, and easy to use.

The effectiveness and great thing about this utility is its quick scanning and superior Kaspresky Lab® Technology that detects ransomware, trojans and malware before it has been reported.

Its user interface is easy to use for the every home user.

If you suspect that the downloaded file may contain malicious software, then please check it with KVRT. This malware removal tool will analyze it, and on the basis of this analysis will recommend whether it is safe or not to run it.

This is very easy and convenient, as this program performs scanning very quickly and practically does not consume computer resources. This is especially useful if you are using a computer or a virtual machine with limited resources.

Although you must run the scanning process yourself, this does not reduce the program’s ability. KVRT is a great free malware removal tool that we recommend to keep on your computer, as it will help you to quickly scan your computer, find and remove malicious software.


HitmanPro is one of the oldest names in the malware removal industry, with years of experience and fame. It is an ideal tool for removing malware, which does not require installation on a computer.

If your computer has been infected with malware and you are faced with the fact that your system is very slow, or the installation of antivirus software is blocked, as well as when you need a malware removal tool that can be stored on a flash drive, then the HitmanPro is perfect for you. This tool that does not require installation on a computer and can be started from a regular USB flash drive or any other external device.

HitmanPro already has a database with malware signatures, but for its update it requires an Internet connection. Immediately after the startup, the program will check the computer for malware, and then allow it to be quarantined. This will prevent malicious programs from harming your system.

What Free Malware Removal Tool Should I Use?

Use the information in this blog post as guidance to find one that best meets your needs. If you can’t decide, it seems clear that Zemana, HitmanPro and Malwarebytes are all superb free malware removal tools. I have used them and found that they offer excellent detection and removal rates.

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