It is a known fact that Windows machines are more prone to malware than any other OS. Now, this is not because Windows is insecure or vulnerable, but more likely because – Windows users are way more in number than any other OS, so hackers also have more incentive of making a malware for Windows. Also, Windows users are not that much computer literate compare to Linux and Mac OS; which makes them an easy target. That being said, even the best of us are not completely safe from the malware and virus threats.
Even though most of us use some sort of dedicated anti-virus solution to protect our system, it is always a good idea to have a malware detector. This helps you find any of the nasty malware that slips right through your anti-virus solution. So, here are some of the best malware removal tools to help protect yourselves.
Best Malware Removal Tools For Windows
In case you are wondering, yes you can use an anti-malware tool alongside your anti-virus software. Usually, they don’t interfere with each other. For instance, on my personal system I use Windows Defender as the primary anti-virus, Malwarebytes for occasional malware scanning, and GlassWire (free version) as the firewall.
Malwarebytes Anti-malware is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows. The good things about Malwarebytes are that it has a high detection rate and uses very low system resources. Moreover, the user interface is pretty minimal and all the options are neatly categorized so that you don’t have to meddle back and forth. Some of the features of Malwarebytes include but not limited to high malware detection rate, customizable detection and protection settings, ability to lock down Malwarebytes settings, ability to exclude folders, files, and even websites, etc. Along with the regular malware scanning, Malwarebytes is also capable of finding and removing spyware and rootkits.
Pros: Very easy to use, high detection rates, and three different scan modes (threat scan, custom scan, and hyper scan) to suite your needs.
Cons: The free version of the software is pretty limited. It doesn’t include important features like real-time protection, scheduled scanning, etc.
Is it free: Malwarebytes Anti-malware is available in both free and paid versions. The paid version starts at $39.99 per computer per year.
What you get with premium version: With the paid version, you will have access to features like access control, real-time protection, scheduled scanning, access to advanced settings, web exclusions, etc. You can get the full feature list from here.
Just like Malwarebytes Anti-malware, SUPERAntiSpyware is yet another popular anti-spyware and anti-malware software. The free version of the software lets you manually scan and remove spyware, malware, Adware, trojans, dialers, etc., from various locations like the hard drive, removable drives, registry, and memory. Apart from scanning and removing the threats, it can repair broken internet connections, show what applications, processes, plugins are running on your system, lets you know what settings have been modified on your system, etc. If you want to, you can also download the portable version so that you can carry it with you on your pen drive.
Pros: Takes care of a variety of threats and is available in portable version.
Cons: The free version is pretty limited but should be good enough for finding and removing threats.
Is it free: The software is available in both free and paid versions. The paid version costs you $29.95.
What you get with premium version: The paid version includes some advanced features like scheduled scanning, real-time protection, automatic update, startup scanning, etc. You can get the full comparison here.
Microsoft has a lot of tools to help you with a lot of things, from properly doing administrative tasks to the protecting your system. Though Windows Defender is the default antivirus software in Windows, you can use the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool to scan and remove malware and any other unwanted software. The software offers three different scan modes to match your needs. However, unlike other software on the list, Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool is not a standalone software. i.e, the malware definitions expire every month. You need to download it fresh whenever you need. That being said, it is a good tool if you want a second opinion on an infected system.
Pros: Official, portable, lightweight, and easy to use.
Cons: There is no auto-update option or advanced settings to tune the software. You need to download the tool every month due to the outdated malware definitions.
Is it free: Yes it is completely free.
Spybot has earned itself a good name between tech savvy users and general users for being one of the best anti-malware tools. As you can tell from the name itself, Spybot scans and removes spyware along with the malware. Moreover, you will also get access to other advanced tools such as system immunization, internet protection, startup tools, registry and system repair environment, etc. As good as it is, the user interface looks a bit dated. Though the settings panel is neatly divided into categories, it confuses the first time users with its sheer number of options to deal with.
Pros: Very powerful, lightweight software with high malware and spyware detection rates.
Cons: The free version is limited in terms of features and the user interface is a bit clunky.
Is it free: It is available in both free and paid versions. You can get the Home version and Professional version for $13.99 and $25.99 respectively.
What you get with premium version: The premium version includes real-time protection, rootkit scanner, full-fledged antivirus, and other advanced tools like system repair environment, boot CD creator, etc. You can compare all three versions here.
Of all the anti-malware software listed here, Zemana anti-malware is the only software that you need to pay to use. The good thing about Zemana Anti-malware is the user interface looks modern and minimal with all the options you will ever need. Along with protecting your system from malware, it can scan for rootkits and trojans, cleanup browsers to remove unwanted add-ons or extensions, protect your system from ransomware, etc. Even though it lacks some of the advanced features available in Spybot, Malwarebytes, or SUPERAntiSpyware, it is a good choice if you are looking for ease of use.
Pros: Very easy to use with straightforward settings and minimal user interface. There is also an android version to protect your smartphone.
Cons: When compared to other software on the list, it lacks some of the advanced features.
Is it free: No. You need to buy the software on per computer per year basis. The lowest plan starts at $24.95 for one PC per year. You can get the complete pricing details from this page.
Hope that helps and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using above software or to share your own favorite Malware removal tools for Windows.