• Antivirus that still works on Vista


    Norton’s announcement that they will stop issuing virus definition updates for Windows Vista systems sometime early in 2021, prompted me to search for alternative AV software that’s both known and reputable and which still works on that OS. Here’s what I have found.

    • Panda Dome works on Vista; it’s running on my Vista laptop without issue.
    • All the varieties of eScan are stated on their Knowledge Base as working on Vista.
    • Avast advertises a (probably older) version of their Free Antivirus suite for Vista. I am currently running version 2014.9.0.2011 on a 32-bit Vista Business system.

    If you have verified other antivirus programs where either the current version still works on Vista, or whose last version that installs on Vista is still receiving regular virus definition updates, then please add them to this list. I would ask that any additions to the list be for programs that (a) are from known companies and (b) have a good track record for protecting PCs. So please, no “Mickey Mouse Internet Security” that stops 40% of attacks: I’d like for us to build a list of quality software.

    Note that there are other categories of software that help to protect computers but are not considered “antivirus”, such as “anti-malware” programs like MBAM and “anti-exploit” programs like EMET or HitmanPro.Alert. I’m not looking to put those kinds on this list, but rather primary AV applications akin to Norton and the three listed above.

    My hope is that this list will be helpful to the hardy band of remaining Vista users out there as their own current AV solutions jump ship.


    • This topic was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Cybertooth.
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    • #2323079

      If you have verified other antivirus programs where either the current version still works on Vista, or whose last version that installs on Vista is still receiving regular virus definition updates, then please add them to this list.

      I successfully use Avast Free on Vista.  They ‘advertise’ on their website that it’s works OK on Vista (and it does).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2323519

      Personally, I think that Panda is the best choice for XP and Vista. Why? Because of how they “do things” to protect these older operating systems.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2323523

        GTP – interesting, what sorts of things do the folks at Panda do? I’m leaning in their direction but remain undecided, so info on this is welcome.

        • #2323535

          Unfortunately, I really can’t say since I will always honor my previous yet non-paid associations with Panda. I can only say that Panda “does things” in terms of how their AV protection actually works. Note that Panda never required any form of any update or any special Windows registry key to be set in terms of mitigating either Meltdown or Spectre. In other words, Panda “does things” in both very unique and entirely proprietary ways. I will not discuss any further.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2323638

        I have no experience of Vista or knowledge of the inner workings of the Panda AV, but I do have a XP/Vista era laptop bought in late 2006 currently running Windows 7 (aka Vista.1 🙂 )  with the Panda AV, which still works pretty well.

        If you have a Vista PC it is probably old and relatively underpowered compared to modern PCs in terms of a slow processor, limited RAM and maybe a HDD rather than a SSD? So for this to be comfortable to use, you probaby want a lightweight AV. I’ve tried several over the years and Panda is the lightest I’ve found.

        I believe (I haven’t checked recently) that the Comodo AV runs with Vista, but when I have tried to run this (with and without the better known Comodo firewell), I always found it slowed down this PC too much to be comfortable.

        HTH. Garbo.


        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2323563

      You’re saying their Spectre and Meltdown protection is very good?

      cheers, Paul

      • #2323666

        No, I am not saying that. I simply am saying that Panda’s AV products never were affected by any of the various memory fence instructions which Microsoft inserted into the Windows in order to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre, or by any of the other security updates which Microsoft has made to the kernel and other core Windows services, since Panda does things differently in comparison to other AV products.

    • #2324205

      I’m trying out the eScan Internet Security Suite on a test Vista system. So far, so good. It has a firewall that the user can set to be “interactive” (meaning that it tells you that a program is trying to access the Internet and then asks you if you want to allow or block it). I tried the tool to “Download Latest Hotfix (Microsoft Windows OS)” and it proceeded to search for and install available updates. It installed KB3000483 (I don’t remember if I had it hidden or what).

      Apparently it uses the Bit Defender engine, so virus detection would be expected to be good.

      This is not a free program (I’m using their 30-day free trial), but first impressions are positive. I’m running Panda Dome Free on another test system, also with positive impressions. Not as full-featured, but it’s free of charge. I would end up using one of the paid products on the main Vista PC and a free product on the laptop.

      I read somewhere on McAfee’s site that it’s possible to install some edition of that company’s software on Vista, but the installation kept failing on the laptop. However, that’s Vista build 6003 which technically makes it a Windows Server 2008 system, and that may be at the root of that problem. We’ll see; next week I will try doing this on the Vista tower as the clock winds down on my Norton 360 subscription. If it fails there, then I will decide from among the paid versions of Panda, eScan, and Avast for the tower, and use Panda Dome Free on the laptop.

    • #2344232

      Update: I have settled on using eScan ISS on the Vista desktop and Panda Dome (paid) on the Vista laptop.

      The decisive factor was that eScan includes an email scanning module including a junk mail filter, whereas Panda Dome doesn’t seem to have any features that are visibly related to  scanning mail. This is important in my situation because the desktop system continues to be a significant business machine downloading email. In general, eScan seems to have a broader range of configuration options than does Panda Dome.

      However, the Panda folks were not left completely out in the cold. In order to encourage them to continue to support Vista, I bought a subscription to Panda Dome for the laptop.

      One minor note: eScan was a bit annoying during installation, in that it claimed that the ZoneAlarm Firewall and Spybot Search & Destroy were “incompatible” with their software and needed to be uninstalled. After installing eScan, I reinstalled these two programs and eScan has had no further complaints about them. I’ll be buying a subscription when the trial period runs out.


    • #2345681

      Hi to all.

      I was happy to find your site and these posts regarding Windows Vista. Since Comcast eliminated Norton’s antivirus I need one ASAP.

      I am really not too savvy with computers and when I got my PC many years ago I used a Norton DVD which was simple but now not available. Just a little worried I might mess up downloading an antivurus.

      I had googled and found that eScan is Free ( so it says) to download, but once on their ‘download center’ page there are two options, ‘download manager link’ or ‘download alternate link’. Didn’t know which so I’ve left it alone. Then I read the above helpful post from ‘Cybertooth’ where you say “after installing eScan I’ll be buying a subscription when the trial period runs out”, so I was glad to know it is a subscription.

      I wouldn’t mind paying something for antivirus protection etc but I need to return the Norton 360 premium software I bought at Best Buy last week when they told me it is absolutely compatible with Windows Vista. It was $39.95 and a subscription, but later I read that after one year their cost goes up to $103.00 yearly, which is crazy.

      A neighbor suggested Kaspersky, which looks like a decent antivirus and which ‘apparently’ is really free.

      Could anyone suggest something or Cybertooth are you happy with eScan still?

      Can you let me know what the cost would be after the trial period ends please?

      I have almost a third RAM left and a 64 bit operating system.

      Thank you.

    • #2345734

      I was using Pamda Dome for awhile, but with my system, (possibly not yours) I needed a special registry update or a new version would not install.  I got tired of having to beg their support for this update nearly everytime so I switched to Kaspersky.  It was OK for awhile, but then would popup scare warnings that X number of sites were collecting data on you and you would need to upgrade to a paid version to stop this  .  This happens with every start up and could only be removed by task manager.  There is no setting I know of to disable this without attenuating the program.  The question is, what website does not try to collect data on you?  I finally went with Tencent PC Manager.  It uses both its own and Bitdefenders engine.  No nags, runs on Vista.  My only complaint is lack of support and virus database updates are only done when in administrator mode.  I run my PC in user mode most of the time.

    • #2345785

      I appreciate your comments. It’s a learning experience for sure so getting comments from others like yourselves will help me decide and not get myself into a tricky (and possibly costly) situation.

      I too think that all websites try to collect data on a user, lots of our info is already collected even though I try to keep as private as possible-if possible.

      That being said, can I ask, in your opinion and with no malware protection yet, is it safe enough to purchase online at this point?

      I just checked my Windows Security Center-it tells me:

      Firewall is on, Automatic updating is on, Malware protection (Norton) is off and Windows defender is out of date. It gives me an option to update the defender but should I?

      Anyway it looks like I have some protection still or can these be incorrect?

      Thanks again and I’ll be checking those suggestions out today….. Kaspersky Free Antivirus, Sophos Home Free Antivirus, Panda Free Antivirus or Bitdefender Anti-virus Free Edition.


    • #2345787

      Me again, does anyone else get a pop-up occasionally when visiting some sites “your browser is out of date upgrade now”. Is this adware? Things seem to be running OK regardless.

      Thanks so much.

      • #2345957

        That is possibly an attempt to install malware on your machine by convincing you to go to their link and run their software.

        Can you post a screenshot next time you get one?

        cheers, Paul

    • #2348591

      Today I uninstalled Norton 360 from a little-used 32-bit Vista for Business system. The last virus definitions updates were dated February 17, some 11 days earlier than had been previously announced as the EOL date for this product on XP and Vista, but curiously the Norton icon in the notification area still had a green check mark (as if everything’s OK). No features on the Norton GUI worked–could not even check the history. Nor could I even get on the Web via a browser–the Norton uninstallation wizard asked me for feedback about my decision, and when I clicked on it the browser opened but did not load the feedback page. Couldn’t open any other page to anyplace else, either.

      Got rid of Norton on the machine and installed Panda Dome Free following a reboot. No hiccups.


      • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Cybertooth.
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