Avast Free Anti-Virus
It seems there are lots of choices for a free anti-virus program. My neighbor swears by Avast! Anti-Virus and says it's better than Avira, which I currently use. Is Avast! worth looking into, or are they all pretty much the same?
Free Anti-Virus Software: Avast!
It does get a bit confusing... there are a bunch of free antivirus products that begin with "A" and claim over 50 million users. Let's take a look at Avast!, a product from ALWIL the company which started in Czechoslovakia in 1988. Like its competitors AVG and Avira, the basic Avast! v4.8 is free anti-virus software for home and non-commercial users.
The free Avast! Home Edition also has anti-spyware and anti-rootkit detection for weeding out malware that you might not even know is there. There are automatic updates so no scheduling is needed. It is compatible with most versions of Windows, Mac, Linux, PDAs and there's even a version for bootable CD's that can be used to trouble-shoot machines that won't boot due to virus or spyware problems. The Avast! package is available in 30 languages.
Included in the basic package is a resident module that detects malware before it infects your PC, IM and P2P shields for protection when chatting, a network shield to seek out those nasty worms, and a Web Shield for monitoring and filtering while you are surfing the Net.
Anti-Virus Showdown: Avast!, Avira and AVG
So is Avast! any better than the others, specifically AVG and Avira? Fortunately, we don't have to rely on marketing hype to find out. AV-Test is an independent organization that tests and compares several dozen antivirus products. They look at factors such as detection rates for known viruses and spyware, false positives, and scan speed.
In the latest antivirus test results, completed in September 2008, Avast! got high marks for detecting 99.3% of all malware types. Avira scored slightly higher (99.8%) and registered a faster scanning speed. But with Avira, you'll have to buy Avira AntiVir Premium edition (US$26.95) to get adware/spyware detection and the Web Shield feature, while Avast! includes these for free.
AVG scores were lower than both Avira and Avast, detecting 95.8% of malware threats. The bottom line: All three are very good anti-virus protection packages. But if you want a truly free all-in-one solution that protects from viruses, spyware, adware and rootkits, I give the edge to Avast!
Avast! Products for Professional and Commercial Use
Business owners will want to look into the Avast! Professional Edition. With its anti-rootkit and spyware built in, it is free to try for 60 days, after which a $39.95 fee is charged for 1 year. In addition to its standard features, the Pro edition has an enhanced user interface, a command-line scanner, script blocker, and a task scheduler for running customized scans on a schedule you define.
If you own a Mac, a one, 2 or 3 year subscription is available beginning at a price of $39.95, and a backup CD can be included for an additional fee. The Family Pack Avast! is available for multiple computer use with 10 licenses of the PE and one Home Server included in its $79.95 price.
ALWIL has several other options for safety, including a Windows Home Server and U3 Edition. One of the things I admire about the company is that they offer something for handheld users. The Avast PDA Edition will only set you back $19.95 for a year's subscription. Choose between the Windows CE version for SmartPhones, a Mobile 5 for PocketPC, and PalmOS version.
The software has a high speed, smaller scanning kernel than on their regular versions. Reports, logs, and updates also come with the the package. Note that the installation must be done via your PC.
ALWIL has a site for tech support with both FAQ and a forum for asking about specific viruses, worms, or Trojans. Registration is free and the knowledge base is very extensive. Their home site lists the latest malware and offers the free Avast! Virus Cleaner, a free virus removal tool.
By the way, when downloading or purchasing any software for anti-virus protection, make sure that you have the proper site. ALWIL claims that almost 40 sites are out there with bogus Avast! downloads. If you want to download the free Avast! Home Edition, use the link in this article or go to the Avast! home page.
Do you use Avast! antivirus software? Tell us how you like it, especially if you've tried other antivirus tools. Post a comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Oct 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Avast Free Anti-Virus (Posted: 16 Oct 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved