Computing: Computer Basics

System and Security: Bitdefender Antivirus Free - "Your subscription has expired!".

Last week, when I opened the dashboard of my Bitdefender Antivirus Free on a Windows 10 VMware virtual machine, I got a really bad surprise: A warning message in red, telling me: "Your subscription has expired!" And below another one: "This device is no longer protected against threads!"

Bitdefender Antivirus Free: 'Your subscription has expired!' warning in dashboard

Not funny at all, and a big question arising: How can the subscription of free software expire? Did I install the free trial instead of the entirely free version? Is the free version not really free, or only for a certain period of time? The first of these possibilities would be my fault, of course. The second one would be not at all what is said on the Bitdefender website...

We will see that the key points here are that I run Bitdefender on a virtual machine, that I rarely use and, because I haven't my own Internet connection, isn't normally connected to the Internet, when I use it. I hadn't used my wk-win10p with a connection to the Internet for a long time, and there was no Internet connection when I made the screenshot of the warning message.

Sitting in the garden of my "sponsor" and using his WiFi to connect to the Internet, I went (on my host machine) to my account at Bitdefender Central and it was reassuring to see that my wk-win10p was still protected.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free: Subscription status at Bitdefender Central

I then started the Windows 10 virtual machine and updated the Bitdefender virus definitions. This worked without any problems. But even better, when I returned to the dashboard main page, the warning had gone. Instead the messages "You are safe!" and "We're looking out for your device and data."

Bitdefender Antivirus Free: 'You are safe!' message in dashboard

The problem was solved! What remained was the question, what the problem actually was about. Based on what I found on the Internet, I think that the explanation of the issue is as follows: Bitdefender Antivirus Free tries periodically to contact Bitdefender Central and if this fails during some given period of time (no idea how long this time period is), it considers that the subscription is inactive and displays the warning (so, in my case with the VM without Internet connection for a long time, the display of the warning can safely be called "normal"). This shouldn't be a real problem, because the day when you connect to Bitdefender to update the virus definitions, all returns to the normal again. However, it might be possible, that if the period of non-communication between the application and Bitdefender Central becomes "too long", it is considered that the protected device doesn't exist anymore and the subscription will be deactivated (no idea if this may really happen). So, to avoid all trouble, connect your computer regularly to the Internet and update the virus definitions. And you can use Bitdefender Antivirus Free for free as long as you want!

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