If you still run Windows XP on your computer, you are one among many whose choice of security software depends in large part on your computer's processing power — and, thus, on its age. If you have a fairly new Windows PC with top specs, our top anti-virus products Bitdefender Antivirus Plus or Kaspersky Anti-Virus make good choices. But if you have an older computer, with minimal RAM and processing speed, consider the quick and nimble F-Secure Antivirus. For more information about malware and internet security software, see our articles about the best antivirus for Windows XP.
We reviewed the top virus protection software for Windows XP to find the products that provide reliable malware detection and removal. In ranking software, we also considered resource usage and the minimum hardware requirements needed to run the antivirus software successfully. When choosing among security software options for your Windows XP computer, you should look at both the level of security you need and the amount of system resources you're willing to sacrifice for your security software to run effectively..
The highest ratings went to the anti-virus software that consistently detected both known and emergent malware in tests published by AV-Test. We also rewarded software that could recognize potential threats based on suspicious behavior.
Removing malware tends to be more difficult than detecting it, so products largely score lower in third-party tests in this area. Those programs with a successful history of removing malware from an infected PC received the highest scores in our rankings.
You'll find the same basic features in most of the anti-virus software options for Windows XP we reviewed, including scheduled scans, email security, anti-spyware tools and USB drive scans. Full security suites provide additional value with advanced features like parental controls, password managers and networking tools.
As you consider anti-virus software for Windows XP, the hardware, not the operating system, should actually drive your choices. Depending on the age of your system, resource usage can determine which anti-virus software will work best with your computer.
Antivirus software for Windows XP runs lighter than full internet security suites, and it isn’t loaded with extra tools that may bog down your PC's performance. However, the programs in our review provide security to surf the internet, enjoy chat conversations and view media.