We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Security software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

ClamWin Free Antivirus (2009) review

FREE

Manufacturer: ClamWin

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

ClamWin Free Antivirus stands apart from other free antivirus software because it's open-source, with no proprietary or commercial aspects. But in the essential task of blocking malware, it doesn't get the job done.

ClamWin Free Antivirus stands apart from other free antivirus software because it's open-source, with no proprietary or commercial aspects. But in the essential task of blocking malware, it doesn't get the job done.

ClamWin Free Antivirus doesn't provide real-time protection, and it won't check files as you open them or have them written to your hard drive; its scans are on-demand only, which means they kick off when you schedule them or specifically tell the program to run one.

If its scans were effective, ClamWin Free Antivirus might have been a worthwhile pick as an extra security layer to catch files that your regular antivirus utility might have missed. Unfortunately, It missed almost half of the Trojan horses, password stealers, and other baddies in AV-Test.org's zoo of malware samples, an ignominious performance matched only by PC Tools Antivirus.

Against malware made to steal online-banking passwords, it was nearly impotent, missing more than two-thirds of such samples. In proactive tests meant to find how well a program can detect new malware, ClamWin Free Antivirus did better, nabbing roughly one-third of the samples while using two-week-old signature files (top performer Avira AntiVir Personal caught just over half). But that still wasn't a satisfactory result by any means.

Its six false positives were more than we'd expect even from free antivirus. ClamWin Free Antivirus was the second-slowest app in on-access scanning - only PC Tools Antivirus had slower scan times - and it put up the worst numbers for disinfection, detecting only six out of 10 infections and cleaning only five. In a rare shining performance, it identified all 10 active rootkits (stealth malware designed to hide other infections). In contrast, however, it did the worst job of removing those rootkits, cleaning up just four.

PC security alerts and reviews

The app's basic interface lists your hard drives and allows for scheduling regular scans, but you'll need to schedule a separate scan for each drive. ClamWin Free Antivirus also adds a right-click Explorer option to scan a specific file, but such scans are notably slow, and by default it only reports discovered malware; to get an option to clean it, you must change the settings to quarantine or delete the file.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

ClamWin Free Antivirus Expert Verdict »
Windows PC
internet connection
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

Although running an extra on-demand scan can be good as backup for your regular antivirus application, ClamWin Free Antivirus' poor detection rate means that you are better off running an online scan from a commercial software maker, such as BitDefender or F-Secure, and avoiding this open-source project.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • ClamWin Free Antivirus review

    ClamWin Free Antivirus

    ClamWin Free Antivirus is a free, open-source antivirus program.

  • Comodo Internet Security review

    Comodo Internet Security

    Comodo Internet Security, the free version of Comodo Internet Security Pro, comprises both a firewall and an antivirus utility.

  • AVG 8.5 Free review

    AVG 8.5 Free

    AVG 8.5 Anti-Virus Free has solid features and a generally polished interface, but its malware-detection rate is disappointing.

  • PC Tools AntiVirus Free 2012 review

    PC Tools AntiVirus Free 2012

    PC Tools AntiVirus Free 2012 is a free antivirus program. But is it worth the price? Read our PC Tools AntiVirus Free 2012 review to find out more.

  • Norton iAntiVirus review

    Norton iAntiVirus

    Norton iAntiVirus is free antivirus software for your Mac, from a company that knows a thing or two about computer maintenance. Read our review to find out more.


IDG UK Sites

New iPhone 6 review: best ever iPhone is very good... but no longer the best phone you can buy

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Professional photo and video techniques for perfect colours

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...