We'll quote this overall score and draw out any particularly interesting performance elements.Finally, usability tests assess how many false-positive incidents each program produces when tested against 41 popular programs being installed, hundreds of legitimate websites visited, and more than a million examples of already-installed legitimate software and files.We'll directly quote the percentage of malware successfully defended against.It's worth noting that there can be fairly dramatic performance differences from month to month.Related: Windows 7 versus Windows 10 The test data we've published was collected by AV-TEST during March and April 2016, using the most up-to-date versions of the anti-virus software available.AV-TEST carries out both real-world testing, in which systems are exposed to live contaminated websites and emails, and reference-set tests, in which several thousand malicious files collected in the previous four weeks are introduced to the system.You can see AV-TEST’s raw data on its website and draw your own conclusions if you’d prefer (Excel spreadsheet).
Some free AV software, such as Avast, requires you to register, even if you're only using their free incarnation, while others strongly encourage you to do so by providing online monitoring tools that you can use to manage and secure other devices associated with the same account – phones and tablets, for example.
Our reviews detail any obtrusive advertising or promotional features in each free anti-virus suite and, where possible, tell you how to avoid them.
Anti-virus software also reports back to its manufacturer by default when it encounters unknown malicious and even benign files.
This time around, the software was exposed to 164 live malware attacks and 22,795 reference samples.
AV-TEST publishes percentage scores showing how effectively each anti-virus suite performed in these tests, which are then used to produce a score out of six based on how successful the software was at defending a system compared to the industry average.