How to install antivirus software

We see hacking attacks in the news almost every day. Every minute of every hour, our computers are attacked by viruses and malware from hackers across the world. There are two ways to protect yourself from these vicious attacks: install antivirus software on all your devices and regularly update their definitions, or switch to a metered Internet connection and save the bandwidth for something more useful. But first, we will explain how to install antivirus software on any device to prevent hacking attempts from succeeding.

In this guide I will show you how to install antivirus software. There are many free antivirus applications available that perform equally will as their commercial counterparts. If you just purchase a computer or laptop chances are it already comes with an antivirus application bundled with the system. In fact, the option to install antivirus software may be pre-selected during the computer setup process. But what if you want to make sure your system has the best protection available? Or maybe you just want to replace the bundled software with a more powerful antivirus application?

Installing antivirus software is a straightforward process.

  1. Download your antivirus software from the manufacturer’s website, and save it to your desktop.
  2. Double-click on the downloaded file to initiate installation, and follow the prompts.
  3. Make sure you choose an installation location that is easy for you to access later (such as your desktop or Documents folder).

How to install antivirus software on Windows

It’s no different to any other program or app. First, check if you have any antivirus software installed (besides Windows Defender). Open the Settings app and click on Apps. Look through the list an uninstall any packages, since they can cause problems. 

Windows Defender will be disabled automatically when you install other security software, but here’s how to turn on or off Windows Defender off manually

Next decide which antivirus you want to use – feel free to pick one from our list of the best free antivirus – then download it from the maker’s website.

Once the file is saved either double-click on its name that appears in the bar at the bottom of the screen (while still in your browser) or go to your downloads folder and double click on the file there. If you can’t see it straight away, click on the Date column (you’ll need to be in Details mode, which you’ll find in the View menu at the top of the window) so that the files are sorted by latest to oldest (if you see it’s the reverse then click the column a second time to switch it). 

We’re using Avast here, but the process is almost the same for all antivirus.

how to install antivirus on pc or laptop

Next, you’ll be presented with a window telling you that the software wants to make changes to your system, this is a normal part of the process, so click Accept and then an Install option should appear.

how to install antivirus on pc or laptop

Before you get things underway, check for any tickboxes on the screen, as free versions can often ask to additionally install secure web browsers, software from partners or for permission to share your details with advertisers. These aren’t necessarily bad things, but be sure you know what you’re agreeing to before you click Install.

When the program has finished its installation process you’ll usually be asked a few questions regarding upgrading to other related products, but you can always do this later on or not at all. 

The last step is to run a full scan of your PC so that the new software can check that you don’t already have any naughty programs lurking on your system.

how to install antivirus on pc or laptop

That’s it. You’ve now updated your security. Take time to explore the various features offered by the software, and whether you need to set up regular scans or if the suite does this automatically.

Bear in mind though, that while you might have protection against viruses, that doesn’t mean you can drop your guard online. There are plenty of other ways for hackers to gain access to your data, so be sure to also read our How to protect yourself online guide.

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