Bitdefender Free will be retired on December 31, 2021

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 10, 2021

Bitdefender Free, a free security solution by Bitdefender, will be retired on December 31, 2021. Customers who use Bitdefender Free will receive support for Bitdefender Free until June 30,2022.

bitdefender antivirus free

Downloads are already removed from the Bitdefender website, and customers find listings for the company's commercial products on the page instead.  Downloads hosted elsewhere on the Internet are still available and they continue to work, at least for now. A quick test download and installation of Bitdefender Free was successful on a Windows 11 PC.

The company confirms that it will shut down the free antivirus product in December on the page:

We are focusing product development around multi-platform protection and as a result, we are retiring Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition for Windows starting on December.

All free users of Bitdefender will receive a special offer for a discounted version of the company's Total Security application according to the information:

Bitdefender values its customers and user base; all our Bitdefender Antivirus Free users will receive privately (via email) a special discounted offer for Bitdefender Total Security.

Bitdefender Free is also available for Google Android devices. The Android version does not appear to be retired like the Windows version.

Bitdefender admin Mike notes on the official Community forum that the Free Antivirus product is no longer meeting the company's high standards.

We constantly revisit our product portfolio to make sure the technologies we bundle in these products are enough to keep the user safe in all circumstances. Unfortunately, our Free Antivirus product no longer meets our higher-than-ever standards and will be retired starting December 31st. And we will continue to offer tech support for our Bitdefender Free Edition users until June 30th 2022.

Closing Words

Microsoft's decision to improve the built-in security solution Windows Defender may have played a role in the decision as well. The security solution has been improved significantly, and since it is integrated by default, it seems that more and more Windows users keep it as the default option and skip the installation of third-party antivirus solutions.

There are still plenty of free options available for Windows users, e.g. Kaspersky Free Antivirus or Avast Free Antivirus, but it remains to be seen if some of the other companies will retire their free solutions as well.

Now You: is Microsoft driving other developers out of the market?

Bitdefender Free will be retired on December 31, 2021
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Bitdefender Free will be retired on December 31, 2021
Bitdefender Free, a free security solution by Bitdefender, will be retired on December 31, 2021. Customers who use Bitdefender Free will receive support for Bitdefender Free until June 30,2022.
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  1. KeZa said on March 19, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    PC matic is also a good extra option. Cost 150usd for life (or 50usd) and it is a white list AV. In the beginning a little hassle but once up and running (white listed your progs) it is better than Micrto AV alone.

  2. clas said on December 14, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Happy to say that i rediscovered microsoft security essentials for my win7pro box. still updating definitions almost daily and supported till 2023

  3. Shiva said on December 14, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Every time I think about the choice of which antivirus to use, a report comes to mind that seems to have been out of date since 2014:

    I take only a little comfort comparing EULA data provisions between EU and US (except California residents).

    Never used Windows Defender (maybe in the future) and at the same time I can’t stand the unnecessary additional functions that have been added starting around 2013 by Antivirus companies to compete each others, but I didn’t notice any particular system slowdowns.

  4. Nemafu said on December 13, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Very unhappy because bitdefender was a respected antivirus for clients

  5. Richard said on December 13, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Yeah Bitdefender sure didn’t think this through. Conservatively 40% of people use the free version. Now, speaking for myself, after a cash grab move like that I would never consider purchasing.
    Whatever percentage of consumers feel the same, Bitdefender will lose that amount of possible definitions in their base, significantly decreasing the proficiency of their product.
    The more users you have, naturally the more consumers will benefit from a robust virus definition base with the latest up to date protection.
    Not sure if many people realize that some poor sucker has to get hit with a new virus definition in order for it to be processed to save the masses. So falling for their cash grab and paying, you’re purchasing a product that just lost probably half of their watch dog community.
    That’s pretty much the premise AV works on. The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.
    Bitdefender just committed corporate suicide if enough people realize how that works..

    1. Trent said on January 14, 2022 at 8:38 pm

      That was exactly how Kaspersky and Avast became top AV companies. It was through their huge free userbase. Bitdefender will realize that later.

  6. VioletMoon said on December 11, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Now we need an article on possible replacements. BitDefender was quite good for older hardware.


    Is Microsoft driving other developers out of the market?

    No, certainly no indication that BitDefender decided to stop development and pull a product because of the outstanding quality of a MS product. What would MS Defender have to do with that decision?

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 12, 2021 at 10:12 am

      Please do not use either Avast or AVG. Avast has been selling users’ data without their consent, and AVG is now part of the Avast family and uses the same engine.

      1. Testertime said on December 22, 2021 at 2:27 pm

        The tough question is then, what to use as a performant free alternative? While Windows Defender is great enough on its own, its performance sadly is not. I found out that installing Avast Free only with the file module (deselecting all other modules) and blocking AvastUI.exe in a firewall does real wonders and then works as an amazingly speedy antivirus program. I don’t need all the bells and whistles too, and Windows Defender would had been just fine. Really unfortunate that it’s so slow when starting, installing and scrolling through programs. Try scrolling through a download folder with lots of exe files. Windows Defender will make the icons appear at a slideshow rate, and your CPU usage will go up like crazy.

  7. Anonymous said on December 11, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    I use Windows Defender, the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit and uBlock Origin and (so far) nothing has gotten through. To be honest I think adblockers in general block a lot of it nowadays.

    Used to use Bitdefender Free but between false positives, it being a resource hog and MITM HTTPS blocking/snooping I stopped using it years ago and never looked back.

  8. Clas said on December 11, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    i got the notice yesterday that bitdefender free was ending. went to net to look around and make sure of info as i always do. started looking at bitdefender reviews and was just blown away. page after page after page of extremely bad reviews. not the free one but anything paid. they hit so hard that i just uninstalled my BD free and am done with them. I always run sandboxed with at least three image backups and practice intelligent behavior online. never a problem…hope it continues. just done with outfits that dont take care of their customers. using Defender as always.

  9. Niko said on December 11, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    Kaspersky free is not available in all regions. So, Windows defender it is!

    (Do a little test, start the “PortableApps launcher” using Kaspersky and Windows Defender and you will notice that difference is HUGE, but what to do …)

  10. Dumbledalf said on December 11, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Ironically, I moved away from BitDefender Free to Avira Free a few months back, it wasn’t a gut feeling, just that BitDefender Free was giving me a lot more false positives than I could stomach.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 12, 2021 at 3:49 pm

      FYI, Avira is now owned by Norton.

      1. ShintoPlasm said on December 12, 2021 at 9:05 pm

        It could mean several things: nothing changes; or Avira is phased out as a product whilst the Norton product line replaces it.

    2. ULBoom said on December 11, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Yeah, I used webroot for a while, never showed any hits, no noticeable speed hits, just blocked clearly safe installs, beyond which I’m not sure it did anything beyond create a gui.

      Try Clam for something completely different.

      1. Dumbledalf said on December 12, 2021 at 7:18 pm

        @ULBoom I know about ClamWin, but I was under the impression that it barely got any updates.

        @ShintoPlasm, What does that mean?

  11. John Smith said on December 11, 2021 at 4:13 am

    They’re probably just wanting more money. It seems like updating virus definitions shouldn’t be too difficult and they could just use the same ones they’re using for their other programs. I liked Bitdefender it was simple, easy on resources and tended to come out on the top of the anti-virus tests.

    There are other anti-viruses better then Defender, see:

    Avoid Avast though, its not worth the trouble and constant popups.

    1. ULBoom said on December 11, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      Avast is a data brokering company, at least they’re honest about it, peruse their corporate pages. AVG is avast, CCleaner, et al.

      Odd how the best often become the worst.

  12. John G. said on December 11, 2021 at 1:19 am

    More than seven years using Windows Defender and everything is OK. The only viruses I ever had was while using McAfee and Norton, useless as hell, a complete strainers for my computer. :[

    1. beemeup5 said on December 11, 2021 at 4:54 am

      When an antivirus slows down your PC and disturbs your flow more so than actual viruses. The irony is palpable.

  13. Penguin said on December 10, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    aaah yes, antivirus: the full-body armor, 15 sweaters and steel boots to protect you from polar bears. In Antarctica.
    Newsflash: if you send 100.000 dollars to Nigeria or all your nude pictures appear online somehow, you did not get a computer virus.

  14. ULBoom said on December 10, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    “is Microsoft driving other developers out of the market?”

    I doubt all but a few windows users have any idea that Windows Defender exists, what it does or whether to consider another solution, so, No.

    What is happening is phone culture is becoming more and more pervasive as the enthusiasts who fiddled with windows are getting old and slowly disappearing. Phonies are good a pushing buttons and being nervous, that’s about it. When the pioneers disappear, any semblence of independence may vanish.

    I used Bitdefender for a few years until they put a VPN trial in with it. They glopped it up.

    After a few others for a week or so ata time, settled on eset nod32 AV, where we’ve been for 2-3 years. Can’t see any point in so called suites, most replicate features found in ad blockers, browsers, firewalls, etc. Highly granular ones can become complicated fast.

    Defender’s still slow and why give info to MS you don’t have to?

  15. Anonymous said on December 10, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    For on horrible moment I misread that as Bitwarden.

    I ditched the free Bitdefender many years ago after discovering it was writing a firewall log despite the free version having no firewall. I queried it with Bitdefender, who would not explain the reason or how to prevent it. I trust Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc above BitDefender (and I don’t trust Facebook one iota).

  16. Dav said on December 10, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    A shame. When Microsoft Defender just doesn’t behave on a machine no matter what I try, this is (well, was, now) the best alternative.

  17. Paul(us) said on December 10, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    I think that the free antivirus and firewall program is quit good.

    The free Windows and android Panda antivirus is not half bad.

    The same goes for the free Sophos antivirus for Windows and Apple

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 11, 2021 at 9:18 pm

      Sophos is the slowest antivirus since the invention of PCs…

  18. Ashwin said on December 10, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Q: Is Microsoft driving other developers out of the market?

    Microsoft can integrate its antivirus into its operating system, and optimize it better than third-party programs can. That’s obviously an advantage. What the company needed to focus on was the scanning and detection capabilities, and I believe they have done a great job. Windows Defender is included in Windows by default, and is completely free to use, which means they have a market share right out of the box on new computers and fresh installs. Microsoft have set the bar so high, I think other antivirus software can’t compete with Defender.

    So, what did these antivirus companies do? They became bloated, they offered more features. These AVs added stuff like registry cleaner, internet booster, driver updater, system tuner, VPN, browser cleaner, browser extensions, file recovery software, news feeds, password manager, etc. None of these are required to protect the system from malware threat. These features were added for one reason, to trick users into believing their computer will be insecure without said protection options, to create a false sense of security, if you will. Add to that the fact they promote these antivirus suites can fix your computer and make them faster, and display some random stats/graph in a dashboard that can be fixed by using these premium products. This sort of marketing aids in drawing non-tech-savvy buyers.

    I have been using Windows Defender for about 2 and a half years since ditching Kaspersky Free Antivirus, so I can’t tell if other antivirus programs can offer the lightweight, no frills experience that Defender provides.

    If you’re happy with the AV you pay for, that’s cool. But if you feel your system is slow, try switching to a different antivirus or use Windows Defender. That, and common sense such as not visiting shady sites, along with uBlock Origin, are more than enough to secure your system for free.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 11, 2021 at 9:17 pm

      From my personal anecdotal experience, Norton 360 is lighter/faster on my system than Defender, and has far fewer false positives.

    2. Anonymous said on December 11, 2021 at 1:47 am

      I used Avast for a long time since XP, then they started to make it really bloated.
      I checked with Process Explorer and found so many exes to execute at startup.
      So I removed it and surprised how fast my computer became.

    3. ULBoom said on December 10, 2021 at 10:04 pm

      Something to be said for all that. The only virus I ever got was when Avast free was in use. Kaspersky’s TS rootkit killer removed it, free also.

      We had a desktop that ran without AV protection for a year best I could tell, with two kids pounding the keyboard, clicking randomly, playing flash games, you name it and no infection.

      I have no idea what to make of that beyond maybe the system level adblocker and strict browser configuration helped?

      My AV blocks lots of adware and other things but malware and phishing protection are disabled my the browsers and adblocker because there seems to be less speed hit that way. Doing what it should, I guess.

    4. Bindere Dundat said on December 10, 2021 at 5:00 pm

      “The nature of things”.
      If anyone was in the process of buying a vehicle, try buying a base model with few if any options. Not usually available. Car makers know few people buy them so they come loaded from the factory. The mid to highend smartphones – loaded with features few will ever use. I know this is comparing actual hardware items to a software program, but when the bloated software makes it difficult or impossible to remove the unwanted fluff – it gets uninstalled and something else is used.

  19. Artem S. Tashkinov said on December 10, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    > the Free Antivirus product is no longer meeting the company’s high standards …

    … of selling snake oil for top dollar.

    Practically all Windows AVs are fine as only file antiviruses. Most of their other features add almost nothing to your security.

    Luckily we still have free versions of Kaspersky, Panda, Avira and others.

    1. John said on March 3, 2022 at 1:25 am

      Not quite. Just look at benchmarks from various organizations. Only Bitdefender and Kaspersky are able to block 0-day malware and ransomware effectively, other AVs, specially free ones, allow a lot of viruses to pass.

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