Avast Free Anti-Virus

Category: Anti-Virus , Security

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?

Avast! Anti-virus software

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.

avast virus scanner 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...

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Most recent comments on "Avast Free Anti-Virus"

(See all 23 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

17 Oct 2008

So far i had no problem with useing AVG-- but a first i did not like the new format-- adding spyware to a anti vius-- but now im sort of use to it. to each his own i guess.

Posted by:

Lanny Luttrell
17 Oct 2008

I wouldn't have or own a computer without Avast in control. Just install it and let it do it's thing. You'll love it.

Posted by:

17 Oct 2008

I used Kaspersky for a while, and setting it up just gives me a headache. Now? Avast runs nice and replys to what I ever demand. Wise choice, I'd say.

Posted by:

17 Oct 2008

I would not go past Avast. It is better than a whole lot of paid antivirus solutions and has never let me down. I have managed to get my family and friends to change to Avast and everybody has been very happy with it. It just goes to show that there is a free alternative for all sorts of software - which works very well.

Posted by:

18 Oct 2008

Avast is indeed a friendly and reliable anti-virus program. However, I noticed that on the machines I have Avast installed, downloads occasionally "stop", meaning, download data (speed, estimated time, progress bar, etc...) won't update. When I disable several providers, it doesn't happen at all.

Posted by:

Steve Laubach
20 Oct 2008

Been using Avast for years, have installed it on many others machines after their purchesed big name programs were infected. M%f^e and N@r^#n were a couple that I've seen miss infections caught by Avast. Great program, the price is right and auto updates!

Posted by:

21 Oct 2008

We've used and loved Avast! for several years now. When we were using McAfee, a virus got through & crashed our system. A "geek support" guy cleaned it up for us and brought it back with Avast! installed.

We've been completely virus free for the entire time we've used it, with only one exception. About a year ago the Pakes virus somehow got past it and infected our laptop. Hopefully they have updated it by now though to catch Pakes. Still, you can't beat Avast!, and I wouldn't use anything else.

Another cool thing I recently discovered: I bought a SanDisk Cruzer micro thumb drive, and found that a free trial of Avast! came with it! So, wherever I take my thumb drive, on whatever computer I plug it into, Avast will check that computer system to make sure it's infection free and to protect the thumb drive from being corrupted. After the free trial ends, it still works but no longer updates automatically when you plug in the thumb drive. I believe the purchase cost is about $20.

Posted by:

25 Nov 2008

I go back and forth using AVG and Avast!. I love the automatic updates with Avast!, but, must mention, Avast! can be a problem to uninstall or remove from your computer. I installed it on a friend's computer and she had issues with Avast! and Zone Alarm. Believe me, Zone Alarm is not very friendly with many Anti-Virus programs. I told her to simply uninstall Avast! and re-install AVG. Next day, she called me and told me, she couldn't get Avast! to uninstall. I quickly got to the Avast! website and found that they have a small program for removing the Avast! program. I must admit, that bothered me. Earlier versions of Avast! didn't have this problem, so why with the latest versions? It was easy to remove, once you used their removal program, but, I say, how many people will go back to the original website and look for stuff, like this? Geeks will, but not the average computer user, who hasn't a clue about what they are doing, in the first place. I am only mentioning this, to make others aware of an important issue about Avast!. Overall, Avast! is a wonderful product and does a jam-up job of it!!!

Posted by:

25 Nov 2008

Sorry, forgot to mention a couple of things in my earlier post.

For those who are use to AVG with their schedule capabilities, Avast! doesn't have that feature. In other words, you must manually do a complete scan, to complete the virus protection. AVG will do this daily, if, you schedule it to do so. I think, a complete scan once a week is quite ok, UNLESS, you are constantly on the Internet, on a daily basis, then you should do a complete scan every other day or so.

But, Avast! really does a jam-up job, overall. I have also found, that Avast! seems to take less resources when running in the background and a GOOD Anti-Virus program needs to be running in the background, for your protection.

Posted by:

Ken Kohler
26 Nov 2008

been using Avast for at least 4 years, have nothing but praise for it, and it`s free

Posted by:

21 Dec 2008

Thanks Bob, for the heads up on the anti-virus software. I have been using the Grisoft AVG free for about 6 years, and have only had one virus problem. It could have been my fault, but I digress.

When I up-graded to the latest version, I have had trouble enabling the auto-updates. It seems that every time I selected the automatic mode, the program would reset to a mode that would not work. This resulted in my having to have to go through the update process manually. Hassle!

Through your newsletter, I discovered the Avast. I am not sure about its effectiveness yet, but I like the way that it shows me that it is working by the message display at the bottom of my screen. That is a reassurance that it is on the job. Keep up the good work!

Posted by:

06 Mar 2009

Over the last 25+ years I've used quite a number of fee and free anti-virus solutions but always found a reason to change to something 'better'. For the last several years I've exclusively used the home avast! and have remained very pleased with this solution.

Posted by:

04 Apr 2009

Very useful files search engine. indexoffiles.com is a search engine designed to search files in various file sharing and uploading sites.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2009

I use Avast free AV, and it has not let me down. It runs smooth, and it knocks out spyware, adware, and viruses as it detects them.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2009

I've been using avast! for a long time as previously commented here. However the superset function of Windows Defender as replaced in the new Microsoft Security Essentials convinced me to uninstall avast! and try MSE available at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ . I was surprised MSE found one virus and one Trojan on my Vista Business x64 PC that avast! had missed ( both products run with a full scan, not partial or quick scan). Research proved these detections were real and not false positives. So I'm pleased with MSE.

Posted by:

12 Nov 2009

I have never used avast due to the really weird interface. I use AVG 8.5 Free and was going to upgrade to version 9 but after what I read it is not that good. I might go for avast now or avira.

Posted by:

25 Mar 2010

I've been using Avast since Norton and McAfee became bloatwares. Love it, esp version 5 where you can now schedule autoscan (To MmeMoxie: checkout version 5).

AVG is s-l-o-w but packs a decent punch too. I may try Norton again since it received high praises. But man, did I hate it 10 years ago when it starts slowing down the computer and messed around with everything including your file explorer. Then uninstalling it was a nightmare.

Kudos to Avast. As computer consultant, I continue to recommend it.

Posted by:

01 Jun 2010

I've been using Avast for over a year now after being a faithful AVG user. I like Avast for not being a memory hog and prompts when finding corruptions. My latest concern was the sale Avast pushed when closing in on my one year free service trial. I wanted to buy it but didn't want to end up with something that would bog me down. Has anyone tried the pay version w/o issues? Another friend told me he often donates something to these free sites to help keep them free. That sounds like it makes sense, otherwise we may loose some of our free choices.

Posted by:

Dennis Wolfe
25 Oct 2010

I've used it for over 12 years. When I get a new computer I immediately strip out Norton or McAfee and install Avast. At the same time, I install Sandboxie. I have not had malware or a virus since the advent of Sandboxie.

Has anyone else been malware or virus-free for over ten years? No one that I know of, except me and my friends who use this combination of protection.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2011

I previously used Bitdefender Internet Security, I found that it tended to be a resource hungry beast. I tried it on different systems with the same results. I switched to Avast and I am pleased with the program performance. It doesn't seem to gobble up system resources either.

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