ESET Antivirus comes with all the security tools that you may ever need to protect your data and privacy, including:

  • Anti-theft support
  • Webcam protection
  • Intuitive setup and UI
  • Multi-platform support
  • Banking-level encryption
  • Low system requirements
  • Advanced anti-malware protection

An antivirus program needs to be fast, efficient, and cost-effective, and this one has them all.

Our younger audience may find this topic peculiar, to begin with. But here’s the thing. Not so long ago, laptops with a CD drive were the norm and that is how we used to install pretty much anything and everything from operating systems to software.

An ODD, or Optical Disc Drive is basically a piece of hardware that intermediates the interaction between your device and a disc, be it a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray. Needless to say, technological progress and digitalization have made disc drives obsolete.

There are now countless options that allow us to download and stream media no further than a click away. You can use dedicated software to rip a disk or to burn a DVD easily. For old-school nostalgics, there are even external disc drives for laptops that cost no more than a few bucks.

But what brought this change? You might say that society’s obsession with ever-smaller gadgets drove ODDs to extinction.

By eliminating this now outdated item from laptops’ design, manufacturers were able to produce slimmer, lighter, more portable devices that are better equipped to comfortably meet modern users’ needs for increased mobility and remote work.

Between online storage services and social media, everything is easier to find, share and conveniently store without having to ransack huge piles of discs, and antiviruses have not failed to follow this trend and comply with today’s requirements.


Can antiviruses be installed online?

Antiviruses are no different than other software or programs that you install on your device.

Simply download your preferred antivirus from an official source, run the executable file and pay attention to the prompts on the screen in order to finish the setup.

Don’t worry, we will have a closer look at this later on, but for now, all you need to remember is that owning a CD is not compulsory. So, how to install antivirus without CD? You just need to go online.

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Here’s what you need to be on the lookout for when searching for the best antivirus for laptops without a CD drive:

➡ Streamlined installation process with clear instructions and preferably an installation wizard to guide you along the way
➡ Intuitive commands and easy deployment with no hidden engagements or deceitful adware
➡ End-to-end user-focused functionality (friendly and airy interface with clearly organized menus and visible options, centralized controls, and easy to manage settings + notifications)
➡ Flexible customization options (from defining default actions to building custom reports and tweakable scanning features)
➡ Automatic updates and regular virus signature releases to patch potential vulnerabilities
➡ Close to 100% virus detection rates with instant reaction capacity for quarantine and infection neutralization
➡ Small system footprint with low impact on resources and further performance optimization tools
➡ Multiple layers of defense to tackle diverse nuisance and act proactively as well

Which antivirus is best for laptops without optical drive?

ESET Internet Security

  • Advanced diagnostic tools to troubleshoot system issues
  • Comprehensive reports and detailed scan logs
  • Customizable scanning options (scan depth, file size and type)
  • Machine learning-based multi-layered defense
  • Anti-spyware + anti-ransomware shields
  • We could not identify any major drawbacks.

Do I need an optical drive on my laptop? Not if you’re looking to install ESET Internet Security. This legendary antivirus is cherished worldwide for its top-rated defense, but we feel it should get just as much recognition for its ease of use.

From the earliest stage – the installation – everything is transparent and nicely mapped for you. You can rely on a trusted partner, the ESET installation Wizzard, to accompany you every step of the way and explain each option as they come along.

Nevertheless, you mustn’t expect a fastidious and painstaking journey. It’s anything but that.

The entire process takes no more than a few minutes and you get to decide with granular precision what you want to install along with your antivirus and what you’d rather rule out.

The app itself took no more than 1GB on our disk space, and during the first full system scan, average RAM values stayed well under 50 MB. In fact, memory usage went from 32 MB to 44 MB to be more precise.

With countless customization options for scanning and state-of-the-art multi-layered protection against malware, viruses, ransomware, and more, ESET Internet Security manages to deliver airtight security while still treating your computing power gently.

Even the update packages are delivered smoothly, in compressed size files in order to save on bandwidth and preserve system resources.

Discreet and user-conscious, this antivirus for laptops without a CD drive will promptly identify resource-intensive tasks and postpone them along with other non-urgent notifications in order to allow you to make the most of your rig when it matters the most.

AVG Internet Security

  • Automatic updates to patch all vulnerabilities
  • Turboscan to cut down on scanning time and reduce pressure off your resources
  • Silent mode to avoid interruptions and help you maintain focus
  • Wifi Guard to monitor your network and block unsecure connections
  • There is no traffic encryption module available.

AVG Internet Security delivers a comprehensive security suite that caters to agile users who rely on their PC for work, communication, entertainment, and more.

You wanted to know: Can I install antivirus on my own? You surely can and you don’t even have to provide any payment credentials while you take AVG for a spin.

It comes with a full 30-day free trial that allows you to test its features to the limits and even beyond. We know we dit and we loved it!

From the moment you download it on your laptop, you cannot help being seduced by its intuitive interface that cleverly separates features into easy to apprehend modules focused on Computer, Web & Email, Hacker Attacks, Privacy, and Payments Protection.

We took our time to inspect every single module, and we are happy to share the insights with you. Let’s start with the Device Protection module, shall we?

This best antivirus for laptops without a CD drive combines an advanced engine with heuristics, AI, and other innovative techniques to repel the entire spectrum of nastiness known to Internet users, from viruses to spyware and other sophisticated types of malware.

There is even a PUA scanner ready to detect any hidden programs that may have managed to slip in without your knowledge and help you remove bloatware and adware in a heartbeat.

Let’s move on to the Web & Email module. The Web Shield will make sure everything you download on your PC is malware-free while the Email Shield will automatically block harmful email attachments to prevent phishing attempts.

A dedicated link scanner and fake website shield further scan items and redirect you from fake or suspicious webpages while the built-in toolbar remover will make sure no malicious extensions can ever get to you.

Home networks are commonly targeted by hackers looking to make a quick buck. That’s why AVG deploys an enhanced firewall to prevent hackers from stealing valuable assets such as passwords and other personal files that can be encrypted until a ransom is paid.

The anti-hacking module works closely with the embedded privacy tools such as the webcam protection and custom-built data shredder to prevent intimacy violations.

Finally, the Payment Protection module steps in to provide a secure environment for you to shop, make payments and freely store your financial data without the hassle.

Avira Prime

  • Unlimited VPN to encrypt network traffic
  • Safe browsing (no trackers, no adware, no harmful websites)
  • PC cleaner and software updater
  • Built-in password management system
  • There is no free trial available (money-back guarantee only).

Avira Prime delivers nothing more and certainly nothing less than complete online protection for everything that matters to you.

Similar to AVG, it separates its options into distinct categories, making it easy for you to compartmentalize and access its different modules according to your specific needs.

This best antivirus for laptops without a CD drive relies on 3 main pillars to serve and protect with utmost implication: device security, device performance, and of course, privacy.

Since privacy is more and more of a concern among intimacy-conscious Internet users, let’s see how Avira Prime can make your life better in this regard.

Built-in VPNs are no longer a rarity when it comes to security suites, but did you know that most products cap their data usage on a daily or monthly basis? You won’t be seeing that with Avira.

Instead, you will get a secure and unlimited VPN that anonymizes and encrypts your traffic as well as your Web surfing.

Privacy is intimately linked to the activity we deploy via our browsers. Hence, you will be pleased to know that you can rely on a password management system to generate and safely store your confidential credentials for each website.

Furthermore, the custom-built secure module blocks anything and everything from harmful pages and links, invasive adware, or browser trackers.

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You can even use Avira to optimize privacy settings at the system level with no more than a couple of clicks.

Now, security and performance are (or they should be) a match made in heaven and we cannot tackle them separately simply because we believe that a good antivirus should not disrupt your flows or affect your hardware capabilities in any way.

So here goes! Avira Prime’s cross-platform security can cover multiple devices across multiple platforms with just one subscription.

Regardless of the plan you choose, you can expect unbeaten real-time defense against malware and other online threats for all your devices.

The smart scan feature requires no more than a single click to start verifying your entire system for outdated software, weak passwords, signs of infections, and network vulnerabilities.

Needless to say, by keeping your apps as well as your drivers up to date, you enhance your system’s overall performance. And it does not stop there!

Avira will also clean your PC, remove clutter and eliminate junk files to speed up boot time and reduce lags. What’s not to like?

Bitdefender Internet Security

  • Mic & webcam monitor + social media protection
  • Built-in password manager & file shredder
  • Network Threat Prevention system + Privacy firewall
  • Advanced Threat Defense + Vulnerability scanner
  • Anti-ransomware, anti-phishing, and anti-fraud modules
  • VPN usage is capped at 200 MB per day/ per device.

As a worldwide cherished security product that we all know and trust for good reasons, Bitdefender hardly requires any introduction.

Its unbeatable defense has a long record of successfully repelling all Internet threats from malware, to adware and spyware across all major operating systems.

With a constant presence among top-rated security products, Bitdefender Internet Security drops multi-layer, real-world, and real-time data protection against both common viruses, trojans, and rootkits and emergent threats such as treacherous ransomware attacks, or dreaded zero-day exploits.

And it does so with the utmost respect for your system’s resources and your routine and habits.

With patented technologies that perfectly adjust to your configuration in order to save computing resources, dedicated Work, Movie, and Game modes and a built-in battery saver, you will never have to sacrifice performance for better security.

It’s simply a compromise that Bitdefender Internet Security is unwilling to make.

Here’s what you can expect from this supreme antivirus for laptops without a CD drive in terms of privacy.

Audio and video protection are guaranteed along with a built-in social media monitor that carefully supervises your data and keeps it safe from phishing, ransomware, and other fraudulent attempts.

A secure VPN with anti-tracking capabilities then comes into play to anonymize your browsing and a privacy firewall with web attack prevention features blocks exploits at the network level while filtering traffic and blocking intrusions.

Kaspersky Internet Security

  • Advanced anti-hacking tools
  • Reliable network security controls
  • Complex threat detection system
  • Fake websites shield and custom-hardened browser
  • 3-layer defense engine with anti-ransomware capacities
  • VPN-secured traffic is capped at 300 MB per day.

We said it more than once and we’re not afraid to say it again: Kaspersky rocks prevention in cybersecurity and there are not many vendors that can rival them when it comes to proactive defense.

High-tech anti-hacking modules also contribute enormously to shaping this robust security solution that still manages to surprise us after all this time.

Just as people, senior programs are often threatened by newer, sharper tools that are better equipped to deal with today’s challenges. But that’s not the case with good old Kaspersky.

This provider found a way to remain forever fresh by constantly reinventing, self-actualizing, and of course, by stepping up their game in order to stay ahead of the competition.

We were immensely impressed with its proactive detection modules that can sniff cyber threats as well as internal vulnerabilities long before they take hold or act out, depending on the situation.

With its full-scale, three-layer, real-time defense, this best antivirus for laptops without a CD drive can anticipate, detect, and instantly neutralize anything from worms and trojans to sophisticated botnets and rogues, crypto lockers, adware, spear phishing, rootkits, and man-in-the-middle attacks.

Hackers evolve constantly and they always seem to come up with new ways to deceive unsuspecting users with inadequately secured devices.

Kaspersky understands this shift in the cybersecurity landscape better than anyone and they retaliate with unrivaled prowess.

The anti-hacking module further strengthens your defense lines with a malicious link detector, a custom hardened browser, and dedicated app controls to prevent suspicious programs from accessing your personal data as well as critical system processes.

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 laptops without a CD drive anytime soon, they could still make good options to consider.

Panda Dome Essential

Panda not only passed the Real-World Protection Test but also aced it with impressive virus detection rates that are still hard to match.

From secure browsing to firewall capabilities and even VPN-protected traffic, there is a bit of everything for everyone, whether you’re looking to enhance your security on Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android systems.

Here’s another feature we particularly enjoyed. Panda’s protection also covers removable media as potential sources of infection. We can gladly affirm that it’s one of the best antiviruses for external hard drives (and CD drives) on the market.

VIPRE Antivirus Plus

From the fresh Win 11 all the way down to Windows 7, VIPRE provides fine-tuned, award-winning protection to all Windows users out there.

And we do not exaggerate in the slightest since this best antivirus for laptops without a CD drive comes with a plethora of customization options that allow you to tweak scans, define the manner in which patches apply, and much more.

Whatever the Internet may throw your way, from common viruses to the newest malware and ransomware threats, VIPRE has a defensive mechanism in place to block it.

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

To put it in their own words, your security is in good hands with TotalAV. This antivirus takes on everything and anything from ransomware, spyware, hackers, network exploits, phishing attacks, and much more.

As you’re about to discover, many antiviruses prompt you to install additional software which can cause more harm than good. TotalAV deploys numerous mechanisms and techniques to make sure you will not become a victim of deceitful behavior.

Thus you can rely on a built-in browser cleaner, PUA protection modules, and even tune-up and optimization tools to further strengthen your system’s performance along with its defense lines.

How can I install antivirus on my laptop without an optical drive?

  1. Before installing new antivirus software, you should check that no other similar tool is configured or running since parallel usage can cause interferences, software conflicts, or misconfigurations. Feel free to use specialized uninstaller tools in order to remove all leftovers or hanging registry keys and set the premises for a clean install.
  2. With clinging reminiscences out of the way, download your favorite antivirus for laptops without a CD drive from an official, trustworthy source.
  3. Proceed with the installation by double-clicking the executable file (.EXE). At this point, you should see a pop-up window announcing that an application wants to make changes to your system. It’s normal, simply press Accept and stick to the prompts displayed on the screen.
  4. Now, here comes the part where you need to be extra cautious. Some antiviruses (usually free versions, but not exclusively) come with bloatware, additional tools, PUA and such. While some of these features may enhance your protection, others can be quite treacherous and trigger unwanted changes at the system or display level or divulge your data to third-party entities in exchange for profit. We advise you to untick these additional boxes during installation and be on the lookout for toolbars for your browser, presumably secure browsers, and so on.
  5. Once the installation is complete, close the window and restart your PC in order to allow the new settings to properly take effect.
  6. Most antiviruses come with automatic updates enabled by default. However, one can never be too cautious. We strongly advise you to update your security program in order to benefit from the latest patches and virus signatures.
  7. Finally, don’t be shy and run a full system scan with your newly installed antivirus for laptops without a CD drive in order to sanitize your system and eliminate any potential infections already nesting in your system.

As you can see, you can easily install an antivirus even if your laptop lacks a CD drive. So why leave any room for exploits?

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