Lightest Free Antivirus 2009 Review

 Lightest Free Antivirus 2009 Review

It was two years after my first article about the lightest antivirus and there are hundreds of hits to it. I believe it means that there are so many people who are quite pissed with their antivirus who are consuming their RAMs mercilessly (allright, I know I exaggerate it..). But eventhough the RAM price is amazingly cheap right now, we still never be satisfied with antivirus who take too much free memory.

Besides, for those of you who already use Windows Vista, you know how hungry this little baby from Microsoft is right? So you don’t want any more hungry application such as the anti virus to consume your free RAMs further.

This time I only review the free anti virus because I believe, for personal use, they are very much enough to do the job. Not that I’m against any paid anti virus, but trust me, preventing virus is actually 80% of habits rather than the anti virus itself, such as regularly updating the virus definition, refrain opening suspicious email attachments, and taking precautions when downloading from internet.

I use AVG 7.5 as the baseline because it was the winner from my previous review.

For scanning speed test, I use my 256 USB flash disk that contains mixes of files, compressed, images, documents, music, videos, anything.

Baseline: AVG 7.5

This is the lightest antivirus I tested two years ago. It has a standard user interface uncluttered with many graphics, which can be one of the reasons of its light memory footprint. I retested the software once again this time as the base line as to which the other antiviruses are tested.

Idle: 1,060 K
Scanning: 56,492 K – 62,492 K
Scanning time: medium

1. AVG 8.0

AVG Logo

The AVG 8.0 has great looks and interface compared to the AVG 7.5. However, this time it consumes a few more memory that AVG 7.5. The installer file size also greatly increased from 36.6 MB for AVG 7.5 to 57.2 MB.

My house PC that has only 192 MB RAM was installed with AVG 7.5 a year ago was automatically updated with AVG 8.0 when my brother connects to the internet. The PC was already pretty slow with AVG 7.5 and it was slower when the AVG was updated. I believe the AVG 8.0 has some improvements as well beside the user interface causing it to consumes more memory.

It is however still a good antivirus in that it still can accept offline update. Though internet connection is getting better and cheaper in Indonesia, I still like the idea of offline updates so much and AVG is kind enough to thought about this.

Idle: 6,548 K – 10,036 K
Scanning: ~86,568 K
Scanning speed: Medium

2. Avira Antivir 8.2 Personal

Avira Logo

I admit I made a mistake. On my previous lightest antivirus post I included the Avira on the list, but I forgot to test it.
This time I tested it and I love it. I use it as my antivirus in my laptop for almost a year already and I have no bad experience with it.

Sometimes the service failed to start with reasons that I don’t know though.

When the software is not in use it is the lightest antivirus tested here. During scanning, however, it take up quite significant amount of memory. But since 95% of the time our antivirus software is idle, so it’s not a big problem.

One note about Antivir, once I got a virus that was totally undetected by AVG 7.5 in my thumbdrive, but Antivir successfully removed it.

It has no offline update and you must be connected to internet to keep the virus database updated. Though as far I remember, the Antivir 7.0 versions support offline update, but not in the 8.0 versions.

Idle: 14,464 K
Scanning: 63,364 K
Scanning time: very fast

3. Avast 4.8 Home Edition

Avast Logo

This is the antivirus that is installed in my office PC. It is pretty good so far, no sudden increase in consumation of memory whatsoever. There are several processes I see running in the Task Manager that totalled about 57,900 KB, not so light though.

No offline update as well.

Idle: 57,900 K
Scanning: 98,600 K
Scanning speed: very fast

4. PCMAV 1.92 Build 3


This is the Indonesian made antivirus and I’m proud of it. 😀
It is a simple antivirus based on the open source ClamAV but with local virus database added.
This is actually my first AV in mind to clean up PCs infected with Indonesian made virus, since most of the time the other antivirus have not add the virus signature in their update. The maker is also very actively updated the database, so you can really rely on it.

It is a portable like application that you don’t need to install, just run it from the folder. Another plus.

It has a real time version that checks for virus activity on background, however it is still quite unstable until the latest version.

Just as ClamAV, the virus database file is only a vdb file placed in the same folder as the application. Downloading the latest vdb before running PCMAV means updating the virus database. So yeah, this antivirus supports offline update.

Idle: 23,280 K
Scanning: up to 31,600 K
Scanning speed: slow

5. ThreatFire 3.5

ThreatFire Logo

I never heard this AV before. In fact, just before I published my post I saw this antivirus adwords in and I was interested to test it first and put it in this lightest antivirus review.

It is the fastest antivirus during installation process, maybe around 5 – 10 seconds (including the quick next-next-next click already). It works right away, no fuss at all. It is indeed a perfect contender in this lightest antivirus review.

It’s idle memory consumption is second to AVG 7.5, but what amazed me further is its memory consumption during scanning. It even beats the AVG 7.5, sweet.

One funny thing about this antivirus is, why I can’t right click on my USB drive and find the “Scan with ThreatFire” while the option shows if I right click on any folder or file. Regardless, I will try to use this antivirus in my office PC for awhile and wait for more surprises from this light antivirus.

Oh yeah, no offline update for this ThreatFire.

Idle: 7,752 K
Scanning: 16,968 K
Scanning speed: fast


To be honest, there is really no significant technological advancements in antivirus software for the last two years (please correct me if I’m wrong.. :p). So there is also no really much difference between the antiviruses I tested now with what I tested two years ago.
For enterprise security, probably some new features can really help to make system administrator life easier. For personal PC however, nothing much can change.

I almost re-choose the AVG 8.5 as a winner this year till I tried the ThreatFire 3.5. So sorry AVG, please try again next year.
The winner is ThreatFire 3.5 this time, it’s just amazingly light at scanning, making it as my best lightest anti virus of the year 2009.

Give it a try, its interface is cool and simple enough, very interesting for those who want an light antivirus in easy 3 steps (1-install, 2-update, 3-relax). Though for those of you who wants more control and configurations, you won’t find much in ThreatFire.

So that’s it guys for this year djitz lightest antivirus review. I hope this review helps you in choosing the antivirus that suits you! 😀

Author: Trijito Santoso

I’m Trijito Santoso, a Seventh-Day Adventist, a medical technology and computer science graduate, and a software developer. The reason why I shifted from medical technology to computer science is because I love to create things (design, software, articles, anything), and being a software developer allows me to create things everyday. I graduated from Northeastern University, Boston, with a degree Master of Science in Computer Science. My resume is available on my LinkedIn.

24 thoughts on “Lightest Free Antivirus 2009 Review”

  1. @~NV7O99NIVN-M3JPNV~ (aka Juble)

    Nama elo susah banget, wonder what it means? 😀

    Yeah, the AVG 8 was really heavy when I tried it last year, but when I tested it during this review somehow it was not as heavy as I thought (see the memory consumption).

    Ok, just try the ThreatFire 3.5 and let me know if you like it or not. 😀

  2. ESET NOD32 is the fastest antivirus!

    Coba bandingkan dengan ke-5 antivirus diatas, pasti ESET NOD32 lebih cepat!

  3. @Adrian

    Terima kasih untuk infonya, bila sempat nanti saya akan coba NOD32 dan melihat keampuhan antivirus yg sudah sangat terkenal ini.

    Hanya saja setahu saya NOD32 bukanlah freeware sehingga tidak bisa dimasukkan utk review ini karena semua lima antivirus diatas adalah freeware. 😀

  4. -= So far as of now, it seems like AVG made a move to correct their memory leaks.. and they really did a great job.. AVG can be back on the lightest list..

    -= By the way, Avira has a new release, Avira 9.0.. Avast 5 will also be released sooner..

    -= Try adding NOD32, Kaspersky, Vipre & PC Tools in th comparatives & see a big reshuffle of places..

    *Note: Try installing every antivirus in different computers or use a removal tool to completely remove all traces of the previous antivirus.. Left tracks of the previous antivirus can affect the CPU usage & speed of the next antivirus to be installed..

    -= Thanks for this helpful info.. More power.. God bless..

  5. @chronoboi,

    Thanks for your helpful comment! 😀
    I agree with you about AVG, I also thought they must have do something about the memory leak problem.

    I plan to review several paid AV as my next blog post, and I will definitely include the AVs you mentioned.

    GBU too! 😀

  6. I agree Threatfire is fast but I am not sure about its effectiveness as it uses heuristic approach. I don’t think it’s fair to compare AVG and other AV to it unless you can prove that it can equally catch the same viruses like the other AV.

  7. @lawbert,

    thank you for the comment.
    Yes, I admit I didn’t test much the effectiveness of these antivirus in this review.

    As stated in my previous lightest av review, I only tested their memory consumption and scan speed. 😀

  8. Tbh, I don’t really like Avast. I really like how easy it is to use and manage but the problem is it sometimes will start to activate its scanning session all of sudden hence making the comp slower. Thanks for recommending AVG btw, I really need to try it :3

    1. Hi Meidoco, some people love Avast because they find it simple, so once again it’s up to the people preference.
      AVG in the version 8.0 is not as light as their previous versions, so Avira might be a better option. 😀

  9. I’m using bitdefender 10 free edition with a license of one year…during scanning it eats 30k of memory…can be updated offline…I’m using this antivirus simultaneously with philippine made Noob Killer antivirus…My computer technician friend told me about these antivirus softwares…and I tell you it is the lightest AV on earth right now…

  10. Hey there, I am having issues loading your website. Just around 50% of your page seems to load, and the rest is just blank. I’m not quite sure why…. but you may want to give it a look. I will check back later on, as that could possibly be on my end.

    1. Hi Marielle, it is working allright now.. I’m not sure what caused the trouble, probably there were something wrong in the hosting server when you load my blog. Thanks anyway! 😀

  11. Now (2011) things have changed… anti-virus programs are getting heavier… What would you recommend now?
    I have tried Avira in a Pentium III machine and it got slow, too slow.
    What about AVG 11 vs Avast 5?

    For old rescued machines, what can e use?

    1. Hi Gonzalo,

      I agree that a lot has change since two years ago. I’ve not tested other free AV than AVG 11 this year, and it’s not light at all.
      For your machine, what if you try to install the old version of the free AVs in this blog post rather, so don’t install the latest version?

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