Question from Phyllis: Hi, Rick. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I love the info you provide. Thank you!
In several of your posts you recommend running periodic malware scans with the free version of Malwarebytes.
I clicked the link you provided and downloaded it, but after the program was installed it said I have 14 days left in my free trial?
I know for a fact that I clicked the link to download the free version. Why did it install a trial version?
I even uninstalled it and downloaded it again to make sure, but it just installed the trial version again.
What ‘s going on? Do they no longer offer a free version of Malwarebytes?
Rick’s answer: I really appreciate your kind words about my blog, Phyllis. Thank you so much!
To answer your question, Malwarebytes does indeed still offer a free version. And truth be told, that’s the version you actually downloaded and installed.
Some time back Malwarebytes merged the free version of their anti-malware app with the trial version of Malwarebytes Premium. Those formerly separate downloads are now one and the same.
I know it’s pretty confusing and I really wish they’d clearly explain how the download works, but since they have yet to do it I’ll explain it here…
When you download the free version of Malwarebytes you’re actually downloading the trial version of Malwarebytes Premium.
But don’t worry, after the 14 day trial period is over your Malwarebytes installation won’t stop working and you won’t be charged for the Premium version.
What will happen is the Premium trial version will automatically revert to the free version and the extra features available in the Premium version will stop working.
You won’t have to download and install anything else. The transition from the trial version to the free version is completely automatic and you won’t be required to do anything to make it happen.
And in case you’re wondering, the free version will do a fantastic job of tracking down and removing any malware that might be on your machine even without all the extra bells and whistles that come with the commercial version.
Bottom line: You indeed clicked the right download link and you WILL end up with the free version of Malwarebytes after the 14 day trial period ends.
By the way, I happen to think this is actually a great way for a software company to get you to try the trial version of their Premium software because it gives you a chance to try out all the extra features for free during the trial period but automatically switch to the free version if you ultimately decide that’s really all you need (and for most people, it is).
I’m hoping Malwarebytes will eventually update their download page to better explain exactly how the transition from the Premium trial version to the free version works because I know for a fact that you aren’t the only person who finds it confusing.
Update from Phyllis: Thanks, Rick. That really put my mind at ease.
Bonus tip: This post explains how to completely rid your Windows PC of viruses and other forms of malware using nothing but a handful of free tools (including Malwarebytes).