Why I Switched from AVG to Avast Antivirus
After eight years of using AVG's antivirus software, I've decided to switch to Avast! Antivirus. Read about the frustration that pushed me over the edge, and why I chose Avast as my free anti-malware protection...
Goodbye AVG, and AVAST Antivirus 2014 Review
It's good to change things up every once in a while. I had reason to do so recently, when my attempts to upgrade to AVG 2014 left me frustrated to the point of switching. Here's the short version of the story...
AVG 2013 popped up a friendly reminder that it was time to upgrade to the AVG 2014 release. Okay, fine, let's give it a whirl. After downloading and starting the update, I noted that the paid version of AVG was pre-selected for installation, even though I was using the free version. This explains why so many people complain to me every year that "AVG is no longer free." Selecting the free option got me past that first hurdle.
Next, I got "Installing new hardware" prompts, warning me that something called "Unknown" had not passed Windows Logo testing. Twice. Huh, I'm not installing any new hardware? I hit the "Continue Anyway" button and the AVG installer churned a few minutes then froze my computer. (No, I wasn't running any other antivirus software.) Had to power off and restart. I thought maybe uninstalling AVG 2013, rebooting, and installing AVG 2014 from scratch would work. I did so, and was instructed by the AVG control panel to "restart to complete the install". I did, but got the same message again. Windows warned I had no A/V protection.
I remember having the same type of trouble while trying to upgrade a year ago, so it was time for AVG to go. According to the latest AV-TEST reports, Avast had near-perfect malware protection scores on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8, and the highest possible marks for usability. It installed without a hitch, and didn't even require a restart. The friendly Avast control panel greeted me, ran an initial scan, and informed that all was well. A little poking around revealed some new and interesting features in the Avast 2014 release.
What's New in Avast! 2014?
AVAST Software has poured 25 years of malware research into its flagship product, Avast! Antivirus. The payoff has been overwhelming popularity, with more than a quarter of all PCs (over 200 million devices) protected by Avast! Antivirus, according to the company. On October 15, 2013, Avast! Antivirus 2014 was announced. It includes several new features that extend the umbrella of Avast's protection even further. Here are the highlights of what’s new:
Avast claims to have the the only boot-time scan in the antivirus market. This advantage allows for detection of sneaky viruses and rootkits that try to load while the computer is starting up, prior to the activation of the anti-malware engine. In addition, the latest version pushes over 250 daily micro-updates to improve zero-day protection and detection of polymorphic threats. So-called DeepScreen Technology strips away web page code that malware developers insert in order to conceal what their malware is doing behind the scenes.
Hardened Mode is a super-conservative security posture, in which only trusted software that appears on a "whitelist" will be permitted to run. Such tightly buttoned-down security can be very inconvenient for users, but so can the life saving suit worn by a firefighter. Might be good, though, for a PC that's used by kids (or non-techie grownups) who have a tendency to click on anything that moves.
The Browser Cleanup tool does what it says. Potentially unwanted toolbars and plugins are identified, and can be disabled with a click.
Users can now create a bootable rescue disk on a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive with Avast! Antivirus installed and ready to root out malware. Bootable removable media enables one to start up and disinfect a computer even if malware has rendered it unbootable.
Additional Features in Paid Versions
The free Avast! Antivirus program contains all of the features mentioned so far. Two paid products offer additional functions:
Avast! Internet Security (US$40) adds SafeZone, a "virtual machine" technology touted for financial transactions. Your Web browser runs in a software-emulated virtual space, completely isolated from your real PC. Malware may get in, but it has nothing to infect. The virtual machine vanishes with the click of a button, taking with it any malware that may have entered this "death zone."
Avast! Internet Security also includes anti-spam and anti-phishing technology, and a silent firewall. The latter is something I do not recommend if your machine connects to a high-speed Internet router that is already running a firewall program. (See Do I Really Need a Firewall?)
Avast! Premier ($56) includes all of the above plus some amenities that you really don't need to pay for them. The Data Shredder securely erases files, logs, and other things you’d rather no one ever saw. PrivaZer is a free alternative that does this and a lot more. A remote-desktop program, only for aVast! Premier users, lets you connect via the Internet to a friend's desktop, to give or receive tech support. No need to pay for this, because there are plenty of Free Remote Access and Screen Sharing Tools. An automatic software updater keeps all the software on your hard drive up to date. Nice, but you can get this for free as well. See Computer Security: The Missing Link for three free alternatives.
Bottom line, I'm very happy with the free Avast Antivirus product. It installed easily, didn't try to trick me into buying anything, and the control panel is easy to use and understand. I'm also confident that it will provide excellent protection. But of course, there are many other options when it comes to anti-malware protection, both free and paid. Check out some others in my Free AntiVirus Programs list.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome! Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 29 Oct 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Why I Switched from AVG to Avast Antivirus (Posted: 29 Oct 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved