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What You Get, and Don't Get, from McAfee FreeScan

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 10/27/2010

Using the regularly advertised McAfee FreeScan is a great way to detect threats on your PC - but what happens when a virus is detected?

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    Free AV Scanning from McAfee

    McAfee free virus software Free anti-virus solutions are becoming more and more popular as more users than ever demand this functionality for free. With Microsoft themselves offering a decent free option with Microsoft Security Essentials, companies such as McAfee have had to follow suit, and rather than offering trial-based freebies they’ve joined companies like Comodo and AVG in offering completely free, stripped down versions of their antivirus applications.

    “Stripped down" is the key phrase, however. These free options are rarely suitable for enterprise use (indeed their license forbids it) but are ideal for their intended, standard home users.

    So what functionality is included in the free version of McAfee AntiVirus?

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    What You Get with the Free Version of McAfee AntiVirus

    Let’s get this bit cleared up now - There isn’t really a free version of McAfee AntiVirus.

    There is a free 30-day trial available for McAfee AntiVirus Plus and this is a fully featured and powerful version that simply expires with a prompt to purchase a full license after a month.

    As with the main McAfee AntiVirus full licensed product, this includes:

    • VirusScan – scans your PC for viruses and malware
    • Firewall – protects your PC from intrusion and unauthorized outgoing connections
    • SiteAdvisor – informs you if the websites you are visiting are dangerous
    • QuickClean – helps to effectively tidy up your hard drive of old and unused temporary files
    • Shredder – destroys sensitive data files

    However beyond that, you’re looking at McAfee’s free services, of which FreeScan is the only antivirus product.

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    Using McAfee FreeScan

    You can download McAfee FreeScan via home.mcafee.com/store/freeservices.aspx. Using this tool is a great way to find out if you have any security issues on your PC or laptop, but is also particularly suited to netbook users with low system resources.

    McAfee's free anti-virus software is a downloadable app that can check every file and folder on your PC against a huge library of virus and malware profiles. With the scan complete, you will be able to see what you need to do next.

    What McAfee FreeScan will not do is repair, delete or lock away any viruses or malware that it detects. Similarly, it is not a firewall.

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    Other Free AntiVirus Software

    There are alternatives to these free options – ones that provide a full set of features and can be used completely free for home users.

    Among those that you might try are:

    • Comodo AntiVirus
    • Microsoft Security Essentials
    • Avira Antivir
    • Avast Home Edition
    • AVG Free

    Some of these tools also have sister products in the shape of free firewall software. Just because these are free products doesn’t make them unreliable; they are offered free to home users because their main market is corporate/enterprise scale networks.

    If the free version of McAfee Antivirus doesn’t give you the type of experience that you would be happy to pay for, these alternatives can keep your PC safe.