ClamWin is a nice free portable antivirus software. The program is most useful if you have to disinfect a PC where no antivirus tool has been installed or where the protection of the installed AV program failed. If you launch it from a DVD or from a write-protected USB stick, you can be sure that the virus won't infect ClamWin.

Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

ClamWin Free Antivirus

This free portable antivirus tool can also be helpful if you need a "second opinion" about a virus. You probably know that it is usually not a good idea to install two different antivirus programs on the same PC. These tools are often deeply integrated into Windows and don't like it if a rival patrols in their territory. However, as a standalone application ClamWin doesn't have to be installed and therefore it is no problem to run it on a PC where another antivirus application is installed.

After you download the ClamWin executable you will wonder why you have to install a portable application. I wondered too. However, the setup program only extracts ClamWin's file to a folder of your choice. You can then copy this folder to your USB stick. It is no problem to run the program from a different drive letter or directory because it uses relative paths. Before you copy ClamWin, you might want to update its antivirus signatures through its Tools menu.

This free portable antivirus software has all the essential features such a program needs. It allows you to scan individual drives or folders. It can report infections and quarantine or disinfect infected files. The tool also allows you to include or exclude certain file types.

ClamWin has no onaccess scanner like most antimalware tools. Such a feature is not feasible for a standalone antivirus tool. Hence ClamWin can't replace your current antivirus tool. If you need free malware protection I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials.

I have tested ClamWin 0.95.3 on Windows 7. I can't tell you how well ClamWin's protection works, but it probably can't compete with commercial solutions. However, since the tool is only for additional malware protection, this shouldn't prevent you from using it.

Unfortunately, ClamWin doesn't work on Windows PE 3.0. In my test I could launch the tool, but when I tried to scan a drive I got this error message: "Error: Broken or not a CVD file." It appears the tool can't find its antivirus database under Windows PE. This is a pity because scanning an infected PC from a clean Windows PE installation could be very helpful with intractable infections.

Please tell me if you know a solution to this problem or if you’re aware of another free portable antivirus solution that works on Windows PE.



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