In 2013, more PCs ran Windows XP than Linux, Mac, Vista and Windows 8 operating systems combined, making it the second most popular operating system. This is impressive, considering Microsoft introduced Windows XP in 2001. If you still run Windows XP on your computer, you are one among many. When you consider antivirus for Windows XP, it is not the operating system that restricts your choices, but the hardware.
If you have an older PC with less than 1GB of RAM and a single Pentium processor, you are probably well aware of how inefficient security software can affect your PC's performance. In this situation, you will want to look for the best antivirus software for Windows XP that requires the fewest resources to operate. If you use an XP machine with more than 2GB of RAM that has dual processors with speeds above 800MHz each, you can utilize the top-performing antivirus software, which will only minimally affect your PC's performance.
If you have a Windows PC with above-average hardware, a good choice is our top antivirus product, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. If your PC has more than 1GB of accessible RAM, consider one of the international leaders in computer and data security, Kaspersky Anti-Virus. If your computer is older, 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. We also considered resource usage and the minimum hardware requirements needed to run the antivirus software successfully. When you consider which security software to choose for protecting your Windows XP computer, analyze the level of security you require as well as the percentage of system resources that you're willing to sacrifice in order for it to run effectively.
We tested the software ourselves, and considered data from numerous third-party tests conducted within the past year. The highest ratings go to the antivirus software that consistently demonstrates the ability to detect known and emergent malware, along with the ability to recognize suspiciously behaving potential threats. For the most part, we noticed that tests using Windows 7 produced similar results to those conducted on Windows XP machines.
Malware removal tends to be a more difficult task than detection, and product scores in third-party tests in this area are often lower. Those that demonstrate a successful history of being able to remove malware from an infected PC received the highest scores. If you use Windows XP, your computer has had over three years to pick up all kinds of malware. Malware-removal tools eradicate malware and produce clear performance benefits.
Most antivirus software options for Windows XP include similar basic features such as scheduled scans, email security, antispyware tools and USB drive scans. Advanced features such as parental controls, password managers and networking tools are more often included in full security suites. Ideally, antivirus software is easy to set up, runs light and is simple to manage.
Depending on your hardware configuration, resource usage can be a deciding factor when you choose antivirus software for your Windows XP computer. If you have an older PC with less than 1GB of RAM and a single processor, you will want to choose software that demands fewer resources. If your PC or laptop has more than 2GB of RAM, you do not run other taxing software and the computer has a processing speed of 800MHz or faster, then most antivirus software should run adequately on your PC.
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 all the security you need to confidently peruse the internet, enjoy chat conversations and view media.
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