First-aid for your PC: 7 free and portable antivirus programs

A few months ago, I stopped using traditional antivirus software. Instead, I keep a collection of “vaccines”: portable antivirus apps I can use whenever I want, without installing any software. They are my first-aid kit.

The first portable anti-malware tools – ones that don’t need to be installed were developed to delete particularly resistant viruses or eradicate high-risk threats. When the dangerous Conficker virus appeared, for example, every antivirus company launched its own vaccine software.

Today, thanks to a permanent internet connection, these tools have evolved and are now powerful single use (or “second opinion”) antiviruses. They are simple, and even though they barely include any functions, they are effective. These are my Magnificent Seven portable antiviruses.

Avira PC Cleaner

Avira PC Cleaner is a portable anti-malware scanner that runs on Windows from XP SP3 onwards. After downloading the virus definitions, it lets you perform a quick or complete scan (the second one being slower).

Avira

McAfee GetSusp (Intel)

The authors of the excellent Stinger, who are now part of the Intel brand, offer their own pocket anti-malware for free. GetSusp is also connected to the McAfee GTI network.

McAfee

Dr.Web CureIt!

Described by Dr.Webb as a “removal tool”, CureIt! is a great multipurpose vaccine for your PC. Unlike other utilities, CureIt! lets you choose the areas to be analyzed.

CureIt!

ClamWin Portable

ClamWin is a classic antivirus. Open source and maintained by volunteers, it has the same features as a typical complete antivirus, except for the “shield”.

ClamWin

Comodo Cleaning Essentials

Comodo are known for developing free products of the highest quality, and CCE is no exception. This kit comprises a security module that identifies suspicious processes and a malware scanner.

Comodo

Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool

Their Virus Removal Tool is just one of the many free security tools that Kaspersky offer on their site. Although it hasn’t been updated since 2011, it downloads the most recent definitions.

Virus Removal Tool

Norton Power Eraser

Power Eraser is the portable anti-malware software from Norton (Symantec), capable of removing threats such as Cryptolocker in a blink. Essential.

Norton Power Eraser

All on the desktop, all ready for action

The versatility of these tools is amazing. They can be run from USB, CDs or network drives. If you have an internet connection, you can have just as much security power as Norton, McAfee and Kaspersky, all on your desktop.

If you are careful about what you download online, a portable antivirus can easily replace a normal antivirus. If, on the other hand, you don’t trust yourself, then choose a good antivirus to install.

Which is your favorite portable anti-malware solution?

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