Panda Free Antivirus review

Cloud-based scanning is the main selling point, but Panda's extra security tools are what make it special

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Our Verdict

This cloud-based free antivirus suite promises to delegate the bulk of its processing work to Panda's cloud servers, but it still had a significant effect on our test PC's speed. Its detection rates and security tools are excellent, however, and make it worth investigating.

For

  • Good virus and malware detection rates
  • USB stick vaccination tool
  • Can create rescue disks for emergencies

Against

  • Still has a noticeable impact on system resources

Free security software Panda Free Antivirus uses cloud processing to protect your PC, eliminating the need for hefty software updates and demanding scans. This collective intelligence should lead to more harmful programs being detected while using a fraction of the system resources. 

Panda Free Antivirus

Download here: http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/solutions/free-antivirus/

Type: Antivirus

Developer: Panda Security

Operating system: Windows

Version: 18

According to the antivirus testers at AV-Test, Panda Free Antivirus right on the industry average in terms of virus detection, sitting at around the 98% mark for zero-day attacks and a hair under 100% for established threats. 

Those are good numbers, and Panda is good software – providing you remember to deny it permission to take over your browser’s home page and search facility upon installing. Its process monitor is very useful, it scans quite quickly, and it’s simple enough in its presentation for even the most technophobic user to find their way around.

User experience

You might not realise at first, but Panda Free Antivirus begins scanning as soon as it's installed to ensure your PC is protected immediately. You can also perform three types of manual scan: full, critical areas, and custom.

The suite's other tools include a process monitor, which lets you see active processes and whether they are using a secure connection. Processes that don't are blocked, but you can undo this manually if you're confident it's safe.

There's also a handy vaccination tool that checks attached USB drives for malicious software. We recommend changing the settings so it runs automatically to pick up any threats as soon as possible.

If one of your PCs has been locked by a malicious program, Panda Free Antivirus can create an emergency rescue USB drive that you can use to scan the affected machine. This feature uses Panda Cloud Cleaner – a specialist scanner that detects viruses and malware other scanners might miss.

All of of these options are presented in a clear dashboard, with moveable tiles that you can customize to suit your preferences or remove if you never use a particular feature.

Unfortunately, in our tests, Panda Free Antivirus still had a significant impact on system performance, despite its cloud-based approach. Its emergency cleaner and USB vaccination tools are well worth investigating, but if you're looking for a free antivirus tool that will have a minimum impact on other system processes, you might want to look elsewhere.

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