How to Update Your Antivirus Software

Automatic updates ensure constant protection

With viruses, adware, spyware, and other types of malware constantly evolving, it's critical to keep your computer's antivirus software updated. Antivirus software updates include security patches and other new files capable of combatting the latest viruses and malware.

Many of the best antivirus software packages have auto-update features, so updated files and patches are downloaded to your system whenever they're available. Here's a look at the auto-update features in the top antivirus programs so you can make sure your system is continuously protected.

One of the most important security updates you can make is to update your operating system. macOS and Windows updates keep hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in your system.

Security concept of data protection
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AVG Antivirus

AVG offers a free product, AVG AntiVirus Free, and a paid product with broader protection, AVG Internet Security. With both versions, automatic updates should be enabled by default, but it's important to make sure. Here's how to manage automatic updates with AVG.

  1. Open AVG, and from the menu, select Settings.

  2. Make sure General is selected in the left panel, and then select Update.

  3. In the Virus Definitions section, select More options.

  4. Make sure Automatic update is selected. This ensures that your virus definitions are updated whenever new ones are available.

    Other options are Ask when an update is available, Manual update (not recommended), and Enable streaming update, which downloads micro-updates continuously as new malware is discovered.

  5. Back in the Update section, in the Application area, select More options.

  6. Make sure Automatic update is selected. This ensures that any application updates are immediately downloaded to your computer.

Avast Antivirus

Avast also keeps its virus definitions up to date regularly, as well as other application features. Automatic updates should be enabled by default, but it's important to make sure. Here's how to manage automatic updates with all Avast antivirus products.

  1. Open Avast, and from the menu, select Settings.

  2. Make sure General is selected in the left panel, then select Update.

  3. In the Virus definitions section, select More options.

  4. Select Automatic Update. You may be prompted to restart your computer.

    Other options are Ask when an update is available, Manual update (not recommended), or Enable streaming update, which downloads micro-updates continuously as new malware is discovered.

  5. Back in the Update section, go to the Application area and select More options.

  6. Make sure Automatic update is selected. This ensures that any application updates are immediately downloaded to your computer.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes for Windows automatically performs database updates and scans, but if you find that it's not updating or scanning automatically, make sure your settings are configured correctly.

  1. Open Malwarebytes and select Settings.

  2. On the Protection tab, scroll down to Updates.

  3. In the Updates section, toggle on Automatically check for updates, and then choose how frequently Malwarebytes should check for updates, for example, every hour.

  4. Toggle on Notify me if time since last update exceeds 24 hours to stay alert to any update problems.

Bitdefender

Bitdefender subscriptions include automatic updates of the application as well as cyberthreat protection tools. But if your computer is offline, your internet connection is too slow, or if your computer doesn't have internet access, you can download updates manually to a computer with internet access and then transfer them to your offline computer via a removable device. Here's how:

  1. Download the update package, which is called weekly.exe, for 32-bit operating systems or 64-bit operating systems.

  2. Double-click the downloaded file to start the setup wizard.

  3. Select Next to begin the installation process.

  4. Select I accept the terms in the License Agreement and then select Next.

  5. Select Install to begin installing.

  6. Select Finish to close the installation wizard.

    The weekly.exe application is a virus definition update only. To install product updates, update Bitdefender via the Update feature of the product on an internet-connected computer.

Kaspersky

By default, Kaspersky updates every two hours automatically. You can also run a manual update anytime:

  1. Right-click on the Kaspersky icon on your desktop and select Update.

  2. Select Run Database Update.

  3. Wait while the program updates.