Panda Free Antivirus (formerly known as Panda Cloud Antivirus) is a popular security tool, fast and ultra-lightweight, but still with all the functionality you'd expect from this kind of application (if not more).

Real-time antivirus and antispyware protection blocks known threats; behavioural monitoring detects even the very latest malware; URL monitoring prevents you accessing dangerous websites, and a Process Monitor highlights programs with open network connections, and allows you to block them individually.

Better still, your files are analysed in the cloud, which means the program always has access to the very latest virus signatures (no bulky updates to download), while using the absolute minimum of system resources.

This release comes with a brand new interface, which - surprise, surprise - has a Windows 8 look. But while it's not exactly original, the program looks good and is easy to use, with all the main functions just a click or two away. Click "Edit" and you can customise this "Start Screen", too.

Panda Free Antivirus has also gained two major features which were previously reserved for the commercial Pro edition. It can schedule scans to run unattended, whenever you like. And automatic USB vaccination keeps you safe from autorun viruses.

A new Rescue Kit can create a bootable USB drive, or run Panda's Cloud Cleaner to detect and remove even the most stubborn viruses.

And there are assorted smaller tweaks everywhere you look, such as the option to automatically shut down your PC once a scan has completed.

Verdict

A good choice for those looking for a simple, lightweight and - above all - free anti-virus combo.