Security company Bitdefender announced last year that it would retire Bitdefender Free at the end of 2021. Now, three months later, the company launched a new free product, called Bitdefender Antivirus Free.
In a surprising move, Bitdefender launched a new free antivirus product for Windows after cancelling the old one just three months earlier.
The company announced the launch of Bitdefender Antivirus Free on the company blog. The blog post reveals that the program has been created from the ground up. Bitdefender Antivirus Free “offers enhanced features, functionality, and improved user experience in comparison to the previous free version” according to Bitdefender.
The free section of the Bitdefender website does not list the new product yet. You need to visit this link to open the page with the download link. The download is small, but the installer requires an Internet connection and will download more than 500 Megabytes when it is run, provided that you allow it to do so.
The version requires a Bitdefender account. A sign-up and sign-in form is displayed on first run. Users who don’t want to create an account just for that can uninstall the antivirus product right after installation again as there is no option to use it without an account.
According to Bitdefender, the new antivirus adds Outlook and Thunderbird email protection, custom scanning schedule options, and exploit detection to the protective features.
The free version protects against all advanced threats according to Bitdefender. Several features, such as ransomware remediation, vulnerability scanning or a firewall are not included in the free version.
The free version includes antivirus protection, including on demand scanning of devices it is installed on, web protection, and advanced threat defense, which attempts to block zero-day attacks.
The interface is easy to use, but many of the options are locked for free users. The dashboard displays two actions, quick scan and system scan, that are available in the free version, and three, vulnerability scan, VPN and Safepay, that are not.
There are multiple upgrade buttons in the interface, and selecting any of the locked options will also display upgrade options. Users may also be notified about special offers and recommendations by default, which can be disabled in the options.
Bitdefender received quite a bit of backlash when it announced the end of the free antivirus solution. If it would have waited with the announcement until the new free product would have been ready, many users might not have taken the announcement that badly.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free offers basic protection against certain types of threats. Good news is that it uses the same antivirus engine as the paid products, and Bitdefender has scored highly in all recent tests.
The program may be an option for users who don’t mind the missing features and regular reminders about the paid upgrade options. Free trial options are available for users who want to test the extra features without having to part with their money right away.
Now You: what is your take on the launch?