It's like getting a second opinion
If you suspect there’s something strange happening with your computer, try one of these free online virus scan and removal sites.
What Is An Online Virus Scan & Removal Site?
An online virus scan sounds like a website that will scan your computer. That used to be possible. Now, most web browsers run in their sandbox to prevent websites from accessing other parts of your computer.
An online virus scanner and remover is a downloadable, small program that doesn’t install like a regular program. It’s an executable file that runs like a portable app. The app may communicate with the app maker’s site to get virus definitions or send the results to their servers for analysis. Once the scan is done, you can easily remove the program.
Why Use An Online Virus Scanner?
Think of it as getting a second opinion from a different doctor. Doctors are brilliant, but they make mistakes. Same thing with virus scanners. Plus they’re free. If you’re not paying for it, why not use it?
ESET’s free online scanner is a downloadable executable. The scanner does call back to ESET’s servers to get fresh virus definitions every time it’s run.
- Three levels of scanning: Full, Quick and Custom
- Can be set to alert, quarantine or not quarantine suspected viruses
- Can be set to do monthly virus scans if the executable is not deleted.
F-Secure is another well-established name in antivirus. Their free online scanner is as simple as 1-2-3. Click on the Run Now button on their site, run the executable that gets downloaded, and the app will scan for, and remove, any viruses it finds. That’s it.
At the end of the process, there’s a link to download their free installable antivirus app, but you don’t have to do that. Delete the executable if you want it off of your computer.
- Simple virus scan and removal
- Quick scan
Don’t let the cute name fool you. Panda is a serious online virus scan tool. The name may not be as well known outside of IT professional circles, but Panda Security has been around since 1998.
Cloud Cleaner sends the results of the scan back to Panda’s servers where it gets analyzed. That may be enough to turn you off of it, depending on your level of comfort with that sort of thing.
- Advanced tools: Kill all processes, Unlock files, Send files to Panda
- Advanced option: Trusted boot scan to let it scan for boot sector viruses
- Performs unknown file and system cleaning recommendations as part of the scan
You know Norton. They provide Norton Power Eraser, an aggressive virus scanner that you can download and remove easily when it’s done. It is aggressive and is likely to give some false positives. So make sure you go through their tutorial to ensure you don’t get rid of files or programs you need.
- Updates every time it runs
- Unwanted application scan
- Reputation scan for files and folders
- Full system scan
- Multi-boot scan for systems with multiple Windows operating systems
- Scan logging
- Rootkit scan
Online File and Vulnerability Scanners
There are other sites online that can do a variety of virus and vulnerability scans on files, websites, your computer, and home network. These sites can’t remove viruses or fix your vulnerabilities but they can make recommendations. Always go the extra step and research the problems for yourself.
You’ve downloaded a cool new app but you want to make sure it’s clean before you run it. You can check it with whatever antivirus you have installed, but a second opinion doesn’t hurt. Use VirusTotal.
Simply choose the file to be scanned and VirusTotal checks it with over 70 antivirus scanners and blacklisting services. Then they’ll give you the results. What you do next is up to you.
This is an oldie but a goodie. Shields Up will scan the first 1056 TCP ports on your computer and tell you whether they are open (bad), closed (good), or in stealth mode (could be better). Ports are ways into and out of your computer. If you’re not using a port, it should be closed.
Sucuri’s website malware and vulnerability scanner is great for website owners. Check your site for viruses, blacklisting, malware, and other vulnerabilities in seconds. Sucuri will only give recommendations on how to fix the problems it finds.
TrendMicro’s HouseCall for Home Networks will scan your home network to alert you to any security vulnerabilities. It’ll let you know if there’s security issues with your WiFi router, any smart devices, phones, or computers anywhere on your home network. HouseCall for Home Networks is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Which Free Online Virus Scan and Removal Is Best?
It depends on your needs. If you need something that’s small and runs fast, F-Secure Free Online Scanner may be the best online virus scan tool for you. If you need something that’s more like a Swiss Army knife and does a lot of things, EmsiSoft Emergency Kit is a good choice.
If you’re concerned about things on your network beyond your device, TrendMicro HouseCall will do the trick. The point is these options are all good and one of them will suit your needs.