ClamWin Antivirus Review 2020 - What They Won't Tell You 

6.4
DECENT
Ranked 41st from 56 antivirus companies
Ranked 41st from 56 antivirus companies
Eric C.
Eric C.
Published on: November 18, 2020

Detailed Expert Review

Many know that ClamWin is a free and open-source (FOSS) antivirus solution for Windows that serves as a front-end to the open-source ClamAV scanning agent. It integrates easily with Microsoft Outlook and Window Explorer and boasts over 600,000 users worldwide. But what you may not know is that it has a few drawbacks, such as no real-time protection. We’ll take a look at whether this antivirus is worth the hype.

Expert on Cyber Security, Fintech, and Cryptocurrency

Security

ClamWin draws its antivirus definitions from the ClamAV database. ClamAV is a cross-platform, open-source antivirus engine that also powers the most well-known antivirus tool for Linux desktops.

Because ClamWin is drawing on an open-source engine, there are some obvious drawbacks.  For one, the program lacks real-time protection, which is particularly important for guarding against so-called zero-day attacks (vulnerabilities which haven’t been noted and patched yet). The engine also doesn’t have the financial backing of a user-base with which to employ cybersecurity specialists to look out for emerging threats in user-submitted code samples. There’s no “ClamWin Lab” on the lookout for threats.

Despite these drawbacks, however, the definitions database is updated several times a day, and the program features a sufficient number of scanning options to protect against the majority of viruses, pieces of malware, and trojans that may be lurking in your files and directories.

Security

While the program doesn’t feature something fancy like a virtualized sandboxing environment for quarantining files, it does append a .infected to the end of files that it has found to be dangerous to prevent them from executing and can move those files to a quarantine folder of the user’s choosing. This gives users some level of assurance that identified viruses will be prevented from wreaking havoc on their system although it’s not as sophisticated as the safeguarding methodologies employed in paid solutions.

ClamWin also includes the ability to both execute system scans on demand as well to schedule scans to run at predetermined times. You can also run a “memory scan” which will only run through programs currently running in the system memory.

Security

To speed up the scanning process and prevent the scanning of directories known to be safe, it’s also possible to configure filters to prevent the program from scanning certain filetypes or locations as well as enforce file size scanning limits. What’s missing, of course, is the ability to scan files as soon as they are opened. This means that while the protection offered should be good enough to catch mature viruses that volunteers have identified and inputted to the ClamAV engine, it’s unlikely to prevent emerging threats as well as more sophisticated attack vectors like rootkits.

Additionally, scheduled scanning can only be configured on a per-drive basis. If you want to do something more comprehensive—such as scan your entire system, and several attached virtual drives all at once—you’re going to be better off using a more mature program.

Features

In addition to its scanning options, ClamWin includes some nice features which boost its utility for Windows users.

They include the following:

Microsoft Outlook and Windows Explorer Integration

ClamWin can integrate directly into the Microsoft Outlook email client as well as Windows Explorer. This makes it easy to send individual files, folders, and email attachments for inspection.

Unload from Memory

If ClamWin finds a malicious program to be running within the system memory, it can forcibly unload it.

Ease of use

ClamWin is an easy program to set up and to run. To download it, users can obtain the executable from SourceForge. After accepting an EULA, the program is installed and ready to use.

Ease of use

The program has a relatively basic feel, but on the plus side, it is easy to navigate around the menus. The settings screens let users configure scheduled scans, adjust filters, and configure scanning rules for the integration with Microsoft Outlook. It’s also easy to change the frequency of received updates and view the results of completed scans.

Support

Given that ClamWin is free and open source software (FOSS), support is limited to online support forums. Thankfully—despite the program’s age—these remain relatively active and well populated. Although the program’s volunteer developers do occasionally respond to threads, it’s pure luck as to whether or not the community will be able to resolve your issue.

Additionally, there’s no email ticketing system, phone, or live chat options.

Pricing

Nothing to complain about here! ClamWin is totally free.

ClamWin Products & Pricing

Bottom Line

ClamWin remains an important program for users that want to get basic antivirus protection without forking out any dollars. I liked the fact that its antivirus definitions are updated several times per day and that it still retains an active user community. Those in need of real-time protection and more sophisticated features are certainly better off looking elsewhere, but as a free add-on to your main antivirus solution, or a standalone program for low-importance machines, it remains a viable option.

About the Author

Eric C.
Eric C.
Expert on Cyber Security, Fintech, and Cryptocurrency

About the Author

Eric is a professional cyber tech expert with almost a decade of experience writing about security and tech. In recent years, he has been focused heavily on the rapidly developing fintech and cryptocurrency industries and how they relate to online security.

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ClamWin User Reviews

13 2
Based on 15 reviews in 6 languages 8.7
Language
You can trust the Community! Companies can't ask us to delete or change user reviews.
Oct. 15, 2020
V Sehgal
V Sehgal
India
9.0
VS
iOS User
I had upgraded my Win 7 to Win 10. The laptop had a hardware issue and I couldn’t get it done for some time. Later, it will not download win 10 and defender updates. I ran CW. It took more than 48 hrs for a comprehensive scan. Lot of files with viruses, Trojans and other malware quarantined. Many false positives also reported. Now iit appears that the system files are affected and I may have to repair/ update my windows.
Does it really take so much time for a scan of about 230 gb drive or my selection is faulty.
Jon Heafler
Jon Heafler
United States
9.0
Use Clam Sentinel for real time protection
Windows User
Clamwin by itself is just a scanning tool, real time protection can be easily added by simply installing Clam Sentinel. Honestly my only complaint with clam is that the UI is a bit crusty and the scans a bit slow.
Ana Iris
Ana Iris
United States
10.0
Great Option
Windows User
I have using Clam Win for at least 10 years. I like that it is simple to operate. I have never had a problem.
After using the Internet, I make sure I go a quick clean up of my computer with Tool Wiz Care also, Open source. These two products have saved my computers. Thank you.
Ned West
Ned West
Canada
10.0
Just fine if used alongside a few more apps listed below
Mac User
ClamWin is a good enough antivir. solution for carefully-managed Win7 systems. Install MSE and set it to work as the default anti-spyware barrier instead of the older WinDefender that comes with Win7, and set up a weekly, scheduled scan with ClamWin - and you have a no-fuss solution to Win7 computing. Also don't forget to run Firefox and load it up with AdBlockPlus and PrivacyBadger - instead of running the default IE browser - and with careful browsing you should be fine. Also recommended is Sylpheed for your email needs - no html support which is good - if you get an html email simply click and it opens in your web browser. Safe computing is often bare-bones computing. On Win10 the built-in WinDefender is just fine for basic antivir. need...Show More
Lon Moore
Lon Moore
United States
2.0
40 minutes and 100% false findings - Nothing has changed.
Windows User
For many years, ClamWin has been plagued by false positive "finds" and vast numbers of skipped files. I had the experience of Clamwin finding malware missed by the two top rated programs, but that was many years ago. I just terminated a CW scan with 18 false positives and no true findings, about an hour ago. Several of the false findings were on programs that I had previous false findings at least 4 - 5 years ago. I reported them to CW. They were not fixed. I had abandoned CW several years back for the false positives and large number of skipped files. At this time, I am restrained from giving a zeo score by the scoring system. In my experience, ClamWin does not rise above useless.

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