Bitdefender produces popular security products for desktop and mobile operating systems. We have reviewed Internet Security 2013 for instance recently which did really well in the review and independent tests that analyzed the applications virus detecting and removal capabilities.
The company made available a free version of its product previously but did not gave it much love let alone updates. A new version of the program, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, was released a day before Christmas with an English interface.
The new product is basically a basic version of Bitdefender's commercial offerings. It uses the cloud to provide real-time protection of Windows systems using the same scanning engine and protection that is built-into the commercial products. While that may make it sound like a great deal, being free and all, there are things you need to take into consideration before you install the program.
Installation itself is straight forward and should not pose larger issues for users. Note that it will remove other security software installed on the system if you are not careful during the installation. You may also want to disable the anonymous usage report generation if you prefer not to send data to the company.
The interface itself does not provide you with many options. You can turn the virus shield on or off, and select whether you want the program to auto scan the system when it is idle. Note that you need to register an account with My Bitdefender to use the program after 30 days of use.
The only other option that the program displays to use is logs, which opens a new window that displays recent events, pending clean ups and quarantined files.
There is no option to initiate a scan of the system from the program interface directly, all you can do is open Windows Explorer, right-click drives, folders or files you want scanned and select the Bitdefender option to do so.
The lack of options makes it a less desirable product, especially experienced users may want more control over security software they install on the system. Heck, the program is missing essentials like the ability to exclude folders, run manual scans from within the program interface or prompts that ask you what you want to do with malware that was found on the system.
It does however protect the system with Bitdefender's antivirus engine which does really well in recent antivirus leak tests. If you are not bothered by the lack of controls or the need to register an account to continue using the program after 30-days, this may be the program to use.
Here is a short video that demonstrates how it performs against malware attacks.
In short, you get a free product that offers real-time protection - including web-based protection - that runs more or less on autopilot all the time. If there is one thing missing, it is control over the cleaning process. The program may delete files automatically which can be really bad in the case of false positives for instance.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is compatible with all recent versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Note that it requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 which it will install if it is no installed on the system.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.