Along with titans Lenovo and HP, Dell dominates the PC market. With remote work on the rise, Dell laptops sales were resurrected and the courageous VMWare and EMC acquisitions allowed this vendor to further consolidate its leading position.

Thus, it’s only natural to want to enhance your digital security with antivirus for Dell laptops. But rumor has it that Dell laptops are by default secure and equipped to face the Web and all the dangers that come with it. So, are Dell laptops secure?


What virus protection comes with Dell?

If we’re talking Windows and we surely are, the Microsoft Defender Antivirus is by default on duty. While it does a fine job keeping common viruses at bay, the Internet is famous for housing ill-intended links, websites, and people relentlessly trying to exploit whatever vulnerabilities they can find in exchange for a good profit.

It’s not a question of brands, but a universally valid fact with which we must all deal. Take, for example, HP laptops. Similar to Dell, they are considered safe to a certain extent due to integrated antivirus solutions.

But that does not mean they are not vulnerable to more sophisticated threats and they do require a good antivirus for HP laptops to stay fully operational and virus-free.

Now, most Dell systems have preinstalled antivirus software and it can be the Defender or something else. Which antivirus comes with Dell?

It’s usually McAfee, either in the form of a free 30-day trial or up to 36 months’ worth of subscriptions. You might be wondering: Why does Dell use McAfee? Before anything else, we have to clarify that they do not own McAfee.

Instead, the 2 companies have developed a fruitful commercial relationship as we often encounter between hardware and software providers, and McAfee’s top-rated reputation and long expertise recommend it for the job.

Does my Dell need antivirus?

Since Dell laptops come with preinstalled antivirus programs, you can rely on the tools at hand to harden your device against online threats or deploy a third-party antivirus software for Dell laptops.

Our guess is you value your digital assets, be it confidential information, valuable data, or online privacy, and you’d want a solution that won’t comprise your security.

Just like any other brand, Dell laptops are only as secure as you make them. Thus, deploying the best antivirus for Dell laptops becomes quintessential for sensible security practices.

If you’re looking for that one program to meet all your expectations, you’re about to hit de jackpot. The cybersecurity jackpot, that is.

Tip icon Tip
Keep in mind that most Dell computers have preinstalled antivirus protection.

Since running multiple security programs simultaneously can cause your system to lock up or generate all kinds of incompatibility errors, software clashes, interferences, and so on, you should uninstall the built-in solution before deploying a third-party antivirus for Dell laptop.

Make sure you remove all traces of the software in order to avoid conflictual settings. You can rely on a specialized uninstaller tool to completely eliminate any leftovers, stubborn registry keys, and any other reminiscences of the previous antivirus software package before setting up the alternative.

Which antivirus is best for Dell laptops?

Antiviruses don’t really see PC brands, so the magic is in the specs. And that’s where our quest for the best antivirus for Dell laptops started. We made sure all the entries in this top are fully compatible with the Dell infrastructure.

Of course, your personal habits will heavily influence the decision, along with budget considerations, preferred operating system, and so on.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of criteria with broad applicability that are bound to set you on the right track.

A multi-layered defense that combines different techniques and technologies in order to cover a wide spectrum of web nastiness is a must.

Efficiency when it comes to performance is just as important. Thus, you need to make sure you pick an antivirus solution that not only secures your device but allows for a smooth and fast digital experience.

Our seasoned testers here at Windows Report had a blast deploying each of the antiviruses in this selection on one of our machines. We used a Dell XPS 15, a true pioneer in many ways, with an i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 500 GB worth of storage.

From stress-testing, speed and performance measurements during quick and in-depth scans, functionalities comparison, and more – everything went under the radar with satisfactory results.

That’s how we were able to determine if each antivirus had what it took to make the cut. And they sure did.

Tip icon Tip
Here are the main criteria on which we focused in order to pick the best antivirus for Dell laptops:

➡ Prevention, proactive or early threat detection (high scores in independent testing laboratories and low false-positive rates)
➡ Instant identification and reaction to suspicious files (real-time protection is a must along with on-the-spot isolation/quarantine capabilities)
➡ Strong removal capacities (to completely flush away and neutralize all malicious apps and signs of infection previously detected)
➡ Backup and recovery functions (to safely retrieve data and/or programs post-sanitization)
➡ Impact on performance (low CPU consumption, performance optimization, lightweight infrastructure, small-sized update files)
➡ Customizable scans and options, exemption settings, plus comprehensive reporting
➡ Multi-layered defense and multi-tech blends (IA, machine learning, heuristics, Cloud, virus signatures databases, etc.)
➡ Good price/value ratio (multi-device coverage, license transfers, cross-platform compatibility)
➡ Online privacy-oriented tools (audio and/or video protection, traffic and/or data encryption, anti-hacking and anti-ransomware defense)
➡ Network surveillance and web filtering modules
➡ Automatic virus definition updates to keep emergent threats contained

ESET Internet Security

  • Network monitoring modules and firewall
  • Comprehensive privacy tools
  • Optimized for low impact on performance
  • Multi-layered defense (anti-phishing, anti-malware, anti-ransomware)
  • Highly customizable scanning options
  • There are no VPN or data encryption modules included.

ESET delivers legendary antivirus protection for Dell laptops. Its flagship edition has it all, from top-rated antivirus defense to comprehensive privacy-focused tools, banking, and network protection, covering the entire spectrum of digital threats to which modern users get exposed on a daily basis.

The 2022 edition boasts a fresh approach specifically designed to not interfere with your daily routine in any way. Nevertheless, its low profile is not detrimental to security.

ESET Internet Security is stronger than ever, packed with even more complex defensive shields to shelter your data and device against infection, intrusion, or theft and that is what we love about it.

Fraud attempts are on the rise and ESET understands this shift in the digital landscape like no other. In order to neutralize extorsion, prying, hacking, phishing, and other advanced threats, the newly crafted edition boasts multilayered proactive protection.

A powerful Banking & Payment Protection module allows you to shop, and pay via a hardened browser to secure your assets against exploits, ransomware, keyloggers, extorsion, and more.

And it does so without slowing you down. This best antivirus for Dell laptops has a small system footprint and it won’t claim a huge chunk of memory upon deployment and installation.

Scanning is also resource-conscious, so you won’t notice any CPU peaks or experience any interruptions or system drowsiness simply because its real-time protection, as well as its on-demand scans, run discreetly in the background without monopolizing your resources.

ESET has virtually no impact on your Dell laptop’s performance and it is end-to-end optimized for perturbation-free protection. Even the product updates are smooth and compressed in small-sized files of merely a few MB.

Speaking about scanning, you can try out countless options and customize anything and everything from scans’ depth, exemptions, specific file types, sectors, removable media, and more.

You can even combine more filters until you get the right security mix for your habits and needs with granular precision.

ESET is tailored for customization and you will be pleased to know that choices are available on every single screen of the application without ever becoming too much to handle.

From options to menus, everything is neatly organized in an intuitive interface that is both easy to navigate and to apprehend.

Bitdefender Total Security

  • Dedicated profiles with adjustable visual settings
  • Privacy Firewall and Network Threat Prevention
  • Built-in VPN, audio and video protection
  • Integrated file shredder and password manager
  • Anti-loss and anti-theft tools
  • We did not notice any major inconvenients.

We love ESET and we’re not afraid to shout it out loud. However, if it were possible to have two contenders in the 1st position, Bitdefender would have been the obvious choice.

Similar to our previous recommendation, this best antivirus for Dell laptops takes great pride in its dual nature. It’s as ruthless with viruses as it’s delicate on your system and we are completely smitten with this adaptive approach.

This best antivirus for Dell laptops relies on revolutionary AI-based technologies to detect, block, and even predict threats with the best scores in the industry.

Its improved real-time data protection looks beyond viruses and is able to detect the newest threats thanks to a unique combination of advanced behavior-based threat defense, web filtering technology, and a top-rated virus engine.

In fact, its multiple protection layers will neutralize all existing and emerging threats. Thus, you can rely on built-in anti-phishing and anti-fraud protection, a Safe online banking module with a dedicated browser, Bitdefender VPN to encrypt your Internet traffic plus anti-tracker, anti-ransomware shield, and more.

Since virus removal itself can cause a fair share of havoc, remediation capabilities are not to be ignored. Fully anticipative, Bitdefender boasts a Rescue Environment in order to deal with rootkits, clean up and restore your data before Windows even starts.

Now, we mentioned Bitdefender’s lightweight infrastructure earlier on. But is it really possible to get impeccable protection without sacrificing speed or computing power?

With this best antivirus for Dell laptops, you can get the best of both worlds: airtight security and uncompromised performance that never skips a beat. Trust us, we tested it long and hard while constantly monitoring the Task Manager and the CPU gauge barely flinched.

Bitdefender Total Security does not settle for having a minimal impact on your system’s resources. It raises the bar with patented technologies that enhance overall performance and speed up boot time such as the OneClick Optimizer.

The Battery Mode takes it to the next level by tweaking system settings and updates in order to allocate resources where it matters the most.

Dedicated Game, Movie & Work Modes further pause background activities and halt notifications to allow you to get the most out of your Dell rig.

Finally, the exclusive Bitdefender Photon technology perfectly adapts to your configuration and specs in order to save up on computing resources while the Global Protective Network feature takes heavy scanning to the cloud in order to guarantee uncompromised system performance and speed.

McAfee Total Protection

  • 256-bit AES storage encryption
  • Built-in file shredder and password manager
  • Secure VPN and Identity Protection Service
  • Advanced home network security
  • Multi-faceted defense against malware and more
  • There is no free trial available.

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Our quest for the best antivirus for Dell laptops would not be complete without McAfee, the official recommendation to secure Dell systems, as indicated by the manufacturer itself.

You might be wondering: Why does Dell recommend McAfee? Well, it’s the perfect balance between award-winning antivirus, performance optimization, and comprehensive privacy and online identity protection tools that make it an ideal choice for securing Dell laptops.

McAfee Total Protection delivers a comprehensive Internet security suite that can repel ransomware, spyware, and other malicious attacks on a multitude of platforms and devices without slowing you down.

In fact, Performance Optimization is a big deal for this best antivirus for Dell laptops and it spares no efforts in order to provide uncompromised speed along with multi-faceted security.

Thus, McAfee will automatically detect resource-intensive apps in order to free up bandwidth when you need it the most.

Privacy is also privileged and you get a plethora of options to encrypt data, erase your digital footprints in order to avoid tracking, anonymize your browsing and secure your Wifi connection to its core.

From spam filtering capabilities to 256-bit AES storage encryption and McAfee shredder for your sensitive files, password management, Secure Browsing module, everything is included and available right at your fingertips.

The Identity Protection Service with Dark Web monitoring and a secure, bank-grade encryption VPN will keep you, your data, and your traffic safe from exploits of all kinds.

Speaking about network traffic, you also get firewall protection that will prevent hackers from accessing your home network.

Avast Premium Security

  • Complete anti-spyware shield (webcam, password and sensitive data protection)
  • Sandboxing features to isolate and test files
  • Automatic software updater
  • File shredder and password manager
  • Advanded firewall + web shield
  • Traffic encryption is not included (Avast SecureLine VPN is only available in the Ultimate edition).

We know that antiviruses are steadily shifting towards more complete security suites with all kinds of improvements, enhancements, and add-ons.

Since threats evolve, cybersecurity guardians have to step up their game in order to retaliate and Avast Premium Security is one tuned-up antivirus with many bonuses up its sleeve.

As they like to put it, Premium Security is more than just antivirus, it’s an end-to-end security suite designed to cover all your needs in terms of protection.

Thus, it can keep you safe from ransomware attacks, remote access hacking attacks, malware, viruses, scams, spyware, and more.

This best antivirus for Dell laptops will make sure you never land on a spoofed site thanks to its unique combination of web filters that block suspicious pages and downloads and real site module that checks sites’ authenticity in order to prevent data or money theft.

Your sensitive data – including your webcam and browser-stored passwords – are not only shielded against ransomware and spyware, but also against remote access attacks.

As if that weren’t enough, you also get a sandbox tool that allows you to open suspicious files in a safe environment without creating any vulnerabilities which can later be exploited by hackers.

Speaking about exploits, a Wifi inspector will detect any weakness in your Wi-Fi network and the advanced firewall will take it from there.

AVG Internet Security

  • Password and webcam protection
  • Safe shopping and banking module
  • Link and PUA scanners
  • Advanced firewall and web filtering capacities
  • Complete protection against malware and ransomware
  • VPN is not included (This privacy tool is only available in the Ultimate edition).

AVG is yet another strong contender that simply cannot be omitted when searching for the best antivirus software for Dell laptops.

Just as our previous recommendations, it boasts comprehensive tools tailored to neutralize a plethora of threats and keep you safe while browsing, working, or having fun online.

Its aim is to successfully protect every part of your digital life and we must admit it does a spectacular job securing your passwords, payments, browser, webcam, emails, network, system, privacy, and personal files against ransomware, viruses, malware, hackers, and more.

This best antivirus for Dell laptops relies on a complex infrastructure combining top-rated antivirus engines, AI-powered malware detection, behavioral analysis, and cyber capture to deliver impeccable defense.

Propelled by real-time updates, AVG Internet Security will even scan for PUA that is harder to detect by traditional means and the toolbar remover will eliminate potentially dangerous browser extensions.

Speaking about scanning, you won’t have to worry about painstakingly long scans that drain your Dell laptop’s resources.

We tested its Turbo Scan feature and we are thrilled with the results. Customization is key for this security software, thus you can even scan links in order to pinpoint suspicious websites.

Moreover, the Web Shield checks for hidden malware before downloading items, while the Fake Website Shield will automatically guide you away from spoofed pages.

Finally, an enhanced, fully customizable firewall will make sure your files are safe from hacking and exploits while the Wi-Fi Guard will automatically alert you when trying to connect to an unsecured wireless network.

Bottom runners

Besides the products that made the list after our rigorous testing process, there have been other antiviruses that proved their capabilities.

Even though they will most likely not with an award for the best antivirus for Dell laptops anytime soon, they could still make good options to consider.

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

With real-time award-winning protection, this antivirus for Dell laptops safeguards your device, your online identity, and even your transactions.

Its high compatibility makes it a great protection option for laptops, smartphones, desktops, and tablets. Thus, you won’t have to worry about specs matching up or not.

➡ Avira Free Security for Windows

Avira does not hold back when it comes to securing your digital life. Its extensive security suite includes multiple layers of protection against the most diverse threats.

It will protect you against ransomware, scams, malware, and viruses and it even throws a free VPN into the mix to anonymize your web browsing.

And did we mention that this best antivirus for Dell laptops does not cost a single dime?

F-Secure SAFE

F-Secure’s flagship edition is tailored to protect all your devices, including your Dell laptop. Its state-of-the-art tools and techniques include advanced parental controls, banking, and browsing protection.

It also boasts a convenient gaming mode with enough optimizations to keep your digital experience smooth and snappy, just as you like it.

How can I tell if my Dell laptop has a virus?

How can I tell if my Dell laptop has a virus?

Viruses have an infamous reputation and we all know they’re bad for us. But bugs take many forms and not all of them flutter a big, flashy blue screen marked with a Virus tag to announce their presence.

In fact, malware grows more sophisticated with each day that passes by. Emergent threats are now polymorphic and there is even hidden malware that can bypass average protection systems and only act out when it’s too late.

Not all of them are designed to take over your PC, some are coded to exfiltrate data without ever getting in your way. Others monopolize resources or hijack your browser, so infection is not always easy to spot.

But the signs will definitely be there, you just need to know where to look. After all, the devil is in the details.

How do I know if I have a virus on my Dell laptop?

  • Overall system drowsiness and/or unresponsiveness
  • Programs running slowly, apps crashing, freezing, and/or suddenly closing by themselves
  • Random pop-up windows, adware, and/or security warnings assaulting your screen
  • Browser redirects or untriggered homepage modifications
  • Abnormal delay in loading the desktop, stuck or laggy loading frames
  • Unusually high CPU usage and low virtual memory
  • Unknown incons or entries
  • Inability to change desktop settings, antivirus icons missing
  • Inability to open EXE files, entries under Device Manager or C:drive missing

Does any of this sound familiar? Whether it is an isolated symptom or a combination of signs, don’t delay and start troubleshooting.

Should you need an extra hand, feel free to help yourself to our guide on how to recover your PC after a malware infection. You can also rely on a good antivirus with boot scanning to remove hidden malware.

How can I protect my Dell laptop from viruses? Start by installing a good antivirus for Dell laptops, back up your files regularly, and don’t forget to update your OS to keep things running smoothly.

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