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Have just got myself a new Windows Home Server (a Tranquil PC model) and loving lots of the features, but I can't help feeling that with all of my valuable data concentrated in one place, it's slightly vulnerable.

So I'm looking for recommendations for WHS compatible anti-virus software.

WHS is unique in a few ways, so just picking an AV package off the shelf may not work (and could be disastrous). It's a Windows Server OS, but for home users, so a lot of personal AV software won't install - but I don't want to be paying Enterprise prices for home AV! It does some unusual tricks with the file system, whilst it is NTFS it does clever stuff with it's storage pool to present any number of physical disks as one storage pool, and does data duplication of shared folders across the physical disks. Because of this naive AV/disk tools could do more harm than good.

I am very, very rarely going to be on the console, so I don't want most of the "extra tools" bundled with AV products (mail scanning, web-malware detection, and so on) just file and memory anti-virus protection without bogging the machine down. I don't mind paying, but nothing extortionate.

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closed as not constructive by random Oct 3 '11 at 14:54

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Erm, if your WHS is just being used as a backup/file server, do you actually need an AV on it? Presumably, all your connected PCs will have AVs to catch viruses at point of entry. Of course, if your WHS has something like a bit torrent add-on, and is downloading from the internet directly, then that's different, and an AV is essential. – Gcoupe Nov 19 '09 at 8:23
Actually I've never had AV running on my main machines, never liked the performance hits or other problems they tend to introduce. Particularly on my gaming machine that's kept as clean as possible with very few background processes running. So having AV running centrally on the file store to keep important docs safe is exactly what I'm after. – GAThrawn Nov 19 '09 at 10:43
OK, understood. Then you might want to read some of the discussions in the WeGotServed forums devoted to WHS security' there are recommendations in there. See: – Gcoupe Nov 19 '09 at 11:02
Any antivirus for a regular user will do, the eula won't change since it's for home usage, if you want something fast look no more, eset nod32 antivirus 4 (not the suite) a canadian product made at Montreal the same place where Ubisoft game publisher is born ... – zillion Nov 21 '09 at 20:32
@Zillion, you've missed two important points here, WHS is a server OS, so a lot of home AV products will refuse to install, and WHS does a lot of funky stuff with the disks to do with its DE tech and backups, you want an AV that understands this and won't trash your data. – GAThrawn Nov 22 '09 at 0:37
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Thanks everyone, having looked into it further (and followed Gcoupe's link to the WGS security forum) it looks like the front runner for anti-virus on Windows Home Server is currently the following:

Other AVs not explicitly for WHS but reported to work properly.

Important things to note, only buy/install the anti-virus/malware scanner versions of the software, be very careful if you're going to get versions with firewalls and other network scanning, the first thing they'll do is kill all your remote access to the server - this is a big problem on a headless server.

I've decided to go with Avast!

Update: As this question's still fairly popular, I'll add that the free, open-source anti-virus Clam AV has just been ported to WHS (review). Get it from the WHSClamAV project page on Sourceforge. Note that this is just a beta release and isn't finished yet. As such it has some fairly major limitations, it doesn't do on-access scanning yet, only on-demand, it doesn't auto-update you need to manually start it's update, and it doesn't clean viruses by default, just notifies. However it has a lot of promise for the future.

F-Secure Home Server Security 2009 was an option but has now been discontinued by F-Secure - as of March 15 2011 it is considered an end of life product

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Avast! is what I use on my WHS and without issue. – Mitch Feb 3 '10 at 17:49
it would be awesome now that some time has elapsed to hear how your choice worked out. Perhaps you could provide an update? Would you do anything differently? – Walter Oct 22 '10 at 20:00
Avast! is working fine for me, sits on the server, sorts itself out, I don't ever need to interact with it. The free Microsoft Security Essentials v2 beta was briefly installable on WHS, which gives the hope that it might be released for WHS in the future, if so then I'd say that's the one to go for. – GAThrawn Oct 24 '10 at 20:57

Right now I use ESET Smart Secuity and it is a protection suite (firewall, av, etc) for my PC and it uses very little resources.

The same company makes a very smart AV capable of heuristics and hourly updates to a reliable signature database called Nod32 (included in ESET Smart Security).

You can read about it here, a site specific to WHS:

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You might want to invetigate the Security Essentials from Microsoft. Since you're running a home server version of Windows instead of a production version, you might have some luck of getting it installed and working on your setup.

Good luck!

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Thanks, but searching around there are reviews saying that it will only install on a desktop OS (XP, Vista and 7 are supported, WHS isn't). – GAThrawn Nov 19 '09 at 10:51
You can't install Security Essentials on WHS. You need an AV designed for WHS specifically a) because WHS is based on Windows Server 2003 and b) the drive extender technology in WHS does some very funky things. – Gcoupe Nov 19 '09 at 10:57

F-prot works well on my WHS and it's really cheap: 10 licenses for $50!

Only 50mb of RAM

You won't find a better/cheaper AV for a server-os

Otherwise symantec AV (not norton av), will work fine, but i am unsure about licensing...

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Have F-Prot sorted out the problems with lagging the server, and only scanning if the admin account is left logged in, as detailed here ? – GAThrawn Feb 3 '10 at 18:17
Over one year using f-prot; did not experience any lag or something like that – Magnetic_dud Dec 17 '10 at 23:25

I'd recommend taking a look at Avira Free edition:

At least before you pay for a solution. In my experience, Avira does as good, if not a better, job than commercial options.

There are also a few other free solutions worth considering. AVG comes to mind, and, I believe also supports WHS. look at

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Haven't heard of Avira before, will have to look into them – GAThrawn Nov 19 '09 at 10:59
Avira don't make a version for WHS, so it's not an option. – Gcoupe Nov 19 '09 at 11:45
On the one hand their press release says they do on the other hand, I can't find any downloads for WHS, or any mention of WHS being a supported platform for the other versions on their website or the downloadable manuals. – GAThrawn Nov 20 '09 at 16:22

Sorry for answering an older question, but this is still one of the top results for WHS and anti-virus...

My company provided me with a license for Sophos to use at home, and that appears to be working fairly well on my WHS 2011 installation.

I did find that the real-time scanning can really downgrade performance; I found that changing it to scan "on read" instead of "on write" was a significant improvement.

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protected by studiohack Feb 17 '11 at 20:42

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