How to Update Your Antivirus Software

Regular antivirus updates ensure your device stays protected

Dell laptop on a table with antivirus software on its screen

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Keeping your antivirus software up-to-date is a essential part of maintaining your computer. Many antivirus solutions keep themselves updated with regular upgrades to their virus databases and occasionally full software upgrades, but it’s important to know how to handle it yourself.

Why Update

The most important reason to update your antivirus is to ensure that it’s prepared to handle the latest threats. The cybersecurity landscape changes rapidly, and new viruses pop up all the time. Your antivirus needs to have the latest information on viruses to detect and prevent as many threats as possible.

Next, your antivirus itself needs to be updated. All software needs bug and security fixes. Your antivirus is no different. Updates make sure that your antivirus itself isn’t vulnerable.

Of course, with updates can come new features. Shiny new features aren’t essential, but who doesn’t like getting new things for free?

Update AVG

AVG offers updates directly through their settings. Follow the AVG update guide to update both your virus definitions and the antivirus software itself.

Update Avast

You can update Avast via an option accessible from your system tray icon or under the settings of the program itself. Follow the complete Avast guide for more details.

Update Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes has two separate procedures for updating the virus definition database and the program itself. To update your virus definitions, follow this process from Malwarebytes. If you need to update your antivirus itself, Malwarebytes has a way to do that, too, via the application settings. It will also automatically notify you of available updates.

Update Bitdefender

Bitdefender allows you to update your virus definitions with an EXE that they release once per week. You can follow this process from Bitdefender to download the appropriate EXE for your computer, and run the update.

Update Kaspersky

On Kaspersky, it's fairly simple to follow their instructions to do a complete update of your virus database from the system tray. Unfortunately, they don't support software updates outside of full version upgrades via a fresh install.

Update by Reinstalling

Sometimes, the only way to update your antivirus software is to grab the latest version from the developer's website and install it fresh. That might sound counterproductive, but some updates are simply too large. There are also antivirus programs that simply don't support software updates (like Kaspersky above). Sure, this is a hassle, but it provides you an opportunity to clean out the old and try an entirely new version.