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ClamWin Antivirus Review 2023 - What They Won't Tell You 

Updated on: November 17, 2023
Katarina Glamoslija
Katarina Glamoslija
Published on: November 17, 2023

ClamWin Review: Quick Expert Summary

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.


ClamWin only offers support via its online forum. This is normal for free software, but luckily the forums remain relatively active and populated, although assistance from the program’s volunteer developers is not guaranteed.

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


Nothing to complain about here! ClamWin is totally free.

ClamWin Products & Pricing

$0.00 / year
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
Katarina Glamoslija
Katarina Glamoslija
Head Content Manager

About the Author

Katarina Glamoslija is Head Content Manager at SafetyDetectives. She has nearly a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing cybersecurity products and investigating best practices for online safety and data protection. Before joining SafetyDetectives, she was Content Manager and Chief Editor of several review websites, including one about antiviruses and another about VPNs. She also worked as a freelance writer and editor for tech, medical, and business publications. When she’s not a “Safety Detective”, she can be found traveling (and writing about it on her small travel blog), playing with her cats, and binge-watching crime dramas.

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