Avira Free or Paid - How About Neither?

Category: Security

Like most security software developers, Avira has evolved to include far more than detection and eradication of viruses (self-replicating destructive malware). That’s why I now prefer the term “security suite” over “antivirus” when discussing such products. In this article, I'll give you my advice on the wisdom of upgrading from a free to paid version of the Avira security software...

Is Avira's Paid Version Worth the Price?

Recently I began a series that compares the free and paid versions of popular internet security tools. The first installment covered Avast Antivirus Free and the paid Avast Internet Security edition.. Today we'll do likewise with Avira's free and Prime offerings.

Modern security suites protect against viruses, phishing, keyloggers, drive-by downloads of malicious software, zero-day exploits, man-in-the-middle attacks, ransomware (the scare-word du jour), plus everyone’s favorite, “and much more.” Security software developers are locked in an ever-escalating war against bad guys - and each other - creating more elaborate protection against more elaborate security threats.

Security software developers also push back against competition from “clean and optimize” software developers who invade the security firms’ turf, blurring the line between the two territories. For example, iObit’s Advanced System Care roots out spyware, and Avira counters with “Free System Speedup, which is ASC’s forte.

Avira Free or Paid edition?

In fact, Avira’s all-in-one Prime package consists of eight separate programs that provide the benefits of antivirus, driver and app updating, password management, safe shopping, privacy protection, safe search, anonymous browsing via VPN, the aforementioned system speedup (cleaning and optimization), and browser hijacking security.

Avira Antivirus is free forever; the other modules are free for thirty days. What happens after the trial period ends is for the curious to find out; I am not going to read Avira’s lengthy terms of service. Unlike many other firms, Avira does not require a credit card number at the time its “premium trial” software is installed, to be charged automatically if you forget to cancel your trial Presumably, the software just stops working until you pay for it. It’s almost as if we are back in the 1990s when “demoware” took the place of true “shareware.”

Avira offers three subscription packages in addition to the free Antivirus: $44.99 for Antivirus Pro, $57.99 per year for Internet Security, and $99.99 per year for the all-inclusive Prime bundle. I won’t go into the differences between them because my recommendation is to avoid all paid Avira products.

SAAS = Software-As-A-Suffering

I spent four hours trying to compare the free versions of Avira antimalware products to their subscription counterparts. It took seven minutes to determine there is no difference between them that is worth buying. The rest of my time was wasted on installing and uninstalling this new type of SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) which I've decided to call “Software-as-a-Suffering.”

Even the free antivirus module is not worth its cost in terms of service vs. suffering. This article would be three times longer if I detailed all the ways in which its installation alone made me want to cry. It is better to rely on Windows 10’s built-in Windows Defender than to install the even more limited Avira Antivirus. Spare yourself my suffering!

The trial version of Avira Prime was infinitely worse. Its installation was a nightmare I had to re-live twice to fully complete. I uninstalled it first with Avira’s uninstall utility, which had to be run on each of eight separate programs; at the end of each uninstall, up popped a survey asking why I uninstalled the thing. It took over one hour just to uninstall Avira Prime - and when I rebooted, it came back!

I turned to iObit’s powerful Uninstall utility, which revealed that the “Avira” app occupied 2 GB of disk space and added over 400 keys to my registry. Even after uninstalling “Avira,” there remained six more Avira apps taking up 2.9 GB of space (for a total of 4.9 GB with “Avira,” whatever that was) and cluttering my registry with over 200 more keys.

When I thought I was finally rid of Avira, I rebooted my PC. Moments after I logged in, all of Avira’s apps appeared again, along with four startup processes that ran in the background. I finally gave up and used System Restore to return my PC to a time before it was traumatized by Avira. Always create a safe Restore Point before installing any new software!

Have you tried a paid version of Avira? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Avira Free or Paid - How About Neither?"

(See all 32 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

thanks for the headsup
you just saved me hours+hours+headaches+heartaches+risk of fatal stroke+fatal heart attack

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

It is my opinion that Windows Defender with SuperAntiSpyware added + the users good judgement is adequate coverage. Never ever purchase any antivirus product. They are more harmful than helpful.

Windows Defender was designed for your Windows Operating System and should be used ... not some for profit software that interferes with your computer operation.

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

Agree with Russ. After nightmares with remindware and uninstallations with BOTH Avast and Avira, I go with Win Defender + SAS, Malwarebytes occasionally.
I'm not a "high risk" user, and exercise common sense!

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

I also use the trio of CCleaner, Avast and Malwarebytes. I have also found that using CCleaner just prior to shutdown has cut down some the the popup ads i have been getting. Your newsletter is a nice piece of work. ggp

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

Robert could have posted for me. I go with Win Defender + SAS, Malwarebytes (premium) and run CC once in awhile. It's all been good for the last 5 years or so! "We don't need no stinkin' AV's!"
- L -

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

Thanks for ou 2nd in a series on AV programs. I appreciate your work and reviews.

I am also amazed at the knuckleheads that seem to think we value their insertion of what they are using instead for commenting on your articles as invited.

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

Stephe -
We've gone back to AVAST because AVG is constantly trying to sell you products. Gets old real quick!

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

I go with Windows Defender, Malwarebytes Premium and run CCleaner weekly. I also use Revo Uninstaller to make sure programs/Apps are really uninstalled.I also make sure that my router/gateway is configured to ensure the security of my extensive home network.

Posted by:

04 Jun 2018

Thanks Bob. Very advice is very much appreciated.

Posted by:

05 Jun 2018

I use Avast free, Malwarebytes premium, and CCleaner. I have CCleaner set to scan every night (the machine is never turned off) followed by a Malwarebytes scan. I have Avast scan periodically. Works for me.

Posted by:

05 Jun 2018

I recently purchased a Dell computer that came with a paid version of McAfee.I immediately got an email that said I had three viruses and unless I clicked on their fix button, disaster would ensue. I closed down and ran McAfee which revealed no viruses (no surprise). I never had his happen with Malwarebytes. Can anyone tell me if I can install Malwarebytes safely with McAfee? Do they play well together?

Posted by:

Jay R
05 Jun 2018

I am currently using CCleaner and Malwarebytes Premium for some years now. I was using Avast free, but it really got to where it hogged resources and slowed down my already old and slow PC. I switched to Windows thing. So far, so good. I was gratified to see others using my combos. Thanx for posting, guys.

Posted by:

chen xinhe
05 Jun 2018

I had tried many free antivirus softwares.
In the end I rather prefer using Window 10 build-in window
defender and using the window 10 disk cleaner. job done!
No more messing with my new desktop computer.

Posted by:

05 Jun 2018

Thanks for your advice. Only last night I used this trial version. I used the "System speed up' 10 (Ten) times in 15 minutes and even on the final test it was still saying that I had 49 junk files and 47 fragmented files.
I gave up and immediately ran CCleaner. That said there was 2.2mb to be cleaned, 752 tracking files and 33.3mb of junk.
After posting this to you I will TRY to delete Avira.
Thanks again.

Posted by:

05 Jun 2018

I have stuck with my free set of stuff:-
IObit AntiMalware
Advanced System Care
Wise disk cleaner
Wise registry cleaner
and I backup just in case

Posted by:

05 Jun 2018

Article couldn't have come at a better time. I could not run Avira full scan because of getting a "memory could not be referenced" error. So I uninstalled Avira and re-installed their new security suite. What a disaster!
Their software placed tentacles throughout my system. Amazon kept telling me my password was wrong thanks to Avira's password manager. And on top of it all: the scan still didn't work.

I used a top uninstaller program to get rid of the mess. It took me about 45 minutes, which included over 1000 registry entries from Avira, which tried to prevent the uninstall but Revo persisted. Even so there were seven entries left. In their "why did you leave" survey, I told them they acted just like the malware they claimed to prevent and took over my PC.

For those of you who wish to uninstall this monster, be sure to use one of the high powered uninstaller offerings available. And even afterward, do a search for anything remaining and manually delete any Avira entries. Sorry for the length of this comment but I hope my experience can help others plagued by this bloated program.

Posted by:

05 Jun 2018

These comments I find very interesting as there are none from anyone that has used AVIRA successfully. I use it today on several computers at home and have used it for a number of years with never an infection on any of the computers nor any problems with AVIRA itself. I am very happy with it.

Posted by:

Riccardo Capuano
06 Jun 2018

My Bitdefender free antivirus on Win10 laptop stopped working and reinstallation didn't work, so I switched to Avira Free Antivirus. I'm satisfied with it. It uses the Avira Browser Safety Chrome browser extension, but I use Chrome anyways so it's ok.

I would prefer using just Windows 10 Defender but I read many articles (including yours Bob) that advise against it, so I installed Avira.

If it stops working, I hope I won't have problems uninstalling it, and will try Bitdefender again. I'll keep in mind the post I read on using Revo Uninstaller.

Posted by:

11 Jun 2018

Thank you for posting your findings, Bob. I had a similar experience with Avira regarding the uninstall. I am still receiving unwanted email on my registered address, in spite of unsubscribing & tagging them in my spam filter. TOTALLY invasive.

Posted by:

Bob Bennet
01 Nov 2019

I used one of Avira's 'paid for' programs for about two years, until they wanted about £90 to continue. I cancelled it (with difficulty) and used W10 to uninstall it. That was in October 2019, and now, 1st November 20019, I find Windows Defender saying it can't Save, or Save As any files. It would appear that critical files are missing.

A query to the OpenOffice help site gave a solution for their suite, but I'm now stuck not even being able to save a Paint file. Do you have any suggestions please?

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