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There is an ongoing trend of software, especially antivirus, to be less and less controllable by user, probably supposing that the users' intelligence is lower than that of the software. For example, some 10 years ago (approx.) AVG Free allowed the user to switch off the resident feature and use it just for scanning, or to exit it completely. Later on, it was impossible. If you wanted to stop the protection (= overhead of scanning & updates) for particular moment, you had to uninstall it!

Does there exist any free antivirus software that is controllable by user? I'm using Windows XP.

I have tried AVG Free and Avast several years ago (situation might have changed since, though its unlikely) and was dissapointed in such a way that I completely refrained from using antivirus.

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closed as not constructive by Breakthrough, Diogo, slhck, random May 23 '12 at 16:41

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You can disable real-time protection with Microsoft Security Essentials. Why exactly you'd want to do that, however, is well beyond me. And that is why I'm voting to close this as not constructive. – Breakthrough May 23 '12 at 12:05
@Breakthrough, "Not constructive" means that the question doesn't lead to an answer, not that it is not useful to you! BTW, it is mentioned in the question. Anyway I guess it is quite obvious. – Tomas May 23 '12 at 12:11
-1, question does not show research effort. Which antivirus solutions have you tried, even? Based on the answers, I guess none. Otherwise, please expand your question and show which antivirus solutions don't fit your criteria. – slhck May 23 '12 at 12:48
@slhck, from my question it is apparent I tried AVG free, but OK, I have updated my question. I have tried at least those two some year ago and was dissapointed. Now I just asked someone who knows to save time - what's wrong with that? Isn't this website for this purpose? I'm quite surprised by the frequency of adverse tone here... – Tomas May 23 '12 at 13:22
I'm always kind and trying to be helpful – I have never personally attacked you, have I? My main concern is that this question is spiraling into polling for an endless list of (partly subjective) answers, all of which you could have easily found for yourself. This is not the kind of question we really encourage. Yes, I know it's easy to just ask for a certain feature set and let the community come up with a list of answers, but it's just not something we encourage, that's all. I hope you understand that. – slhck May 23 '12 at 15:34
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I suggest MalwareBytes for the features your requesting.

In general I suggest Microsofts Security Essentials:

Whatever the features your looking for MSE is pretty much the best bet out there.

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Thanks Justin. What is MSE for? Is it antivirus? – Tomas May 23 '12 at 13:24
Sorry MSE = Microsoft Security Essentials (yes antivirus and more) I would say that it is currently the best full solution to malware protection on windows. However it does not give you as much control as MalwareByte (which I think matches your original requirements better) – jds May 23 '12 at 13:45
Many thanks Justin. It is essential :-) for me that the process can be quitted/exitted by user. Does MSE allow that? If not, then actually the other solution would be better for me. – Tomas May 23 '12 at 15:06
I would say that Yes MSE allows that but if you want to be really sure go with MalwareBytes, its default mode is to only run if you request a scan. MalwareBytes is also pretty good. – jds May 23 '12 at 15:07
BTW, malwarebytes seems to be shareware. Is there any limitation if I don't pay? Is it annoying with ads or request to register it? – Tomas May 23 '12 at 15:09

I recommend you to try Avira, it works in Windows XP and 7, and can be disable by user, and in options you can disable totally the resident scan.

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thanks Felix!!! – Tomas May 23 '12 at 13:23

For Windows, I'd recommend Comodo. There's a free version available. It's completely configurable, and lets you turn features on and off. It's also the only antivirus I've used that never let a virus slip through (or at least, that I know of).

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If all you're wanting to do is scan for threats, then why bother installing anything at all? Just run Comodo portable scanner, or similar. A quick google search for "portable antivirus windows XP" will pop-up quite a few decent results in the top 10.

Comodo Scanner:

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