Avast Free Antivirus is the freeware version to Avast! Antivirus Software software made by developer AVAST Software. It’s now in its 7th version and is available on Windows, Mac Os X, Linux and Android devices. The program has antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and self-protection capabilities.
The installer allows you to choose between Express, Compatible or Custom Install. Of these three options, Compatible install is the most mysterious and there is no clear indication as to what this option entails. It turns out that the compatible installation allows you run Avast alongside another antivirus program thereby creating a second line of defense. However, this could have the unwanted side effect of bogging down your system. The installer also asks you if you would like to try Avast’s EasyPass password manager which it boasts will help protect your passwords. At the end of installation, the program also runs a quick scan and you are invited to upgrade to the paid version of Avast Internet Security. Thankfully, the installation doesn’t require a reboot.
Avast Free Antivirus opens as a medium-sized window with a side menu filled with options. From here, you can see a summary of your computer’s protection, scan your computer, see the real-time shields and view your additional protections. Avast’s scanning is quick, but comparable to the time taken by other antivirus’ scans. The program also gives users the ability to pause and resume scans. This is definitely a plus.
The Scan Computer Tab allows you a number of scanning options. Users can choose to scan either Full or Quick Scans. They can also choose to scan selected folders or removable media like flash drives. Avast can also run a Boot-Time scan launches before windows starts and can sniff out potential malware before it has a chance to activate – another nice feature.
Avast’s Real-time shield menu is a user-friendly interface featuring all the shields that the program offers. Avast offers a total of “shields” that help to protect the user’s computer in a number of ways. For example the Network Shield monitors you network for any suspicious activity, the Script Shield intercepts all scripts executed on your system and the Mail Shield monitors all email traffic scanning messages for dangerous content.
The program also comes with a sandbox feature called AutoSandbox that hosts any suspicious programs inside of it protecting your operating system from any potential damage. Avast also comes with Browser Protection. To this end, the program automatically installs plugins on each of your browsers. The plugins help to prevent phishing and also come with a helpful feature called SiteCorrect which helps you be redirecting you to the correct website should you misspell the address. Users can also run any browser in the sandbox through one click. Parents could find the Site Blocking feature helpful, however there doesn’t seem to be a way to password-protect blocked sites.
Avast’s Cloud Services brings cloud technology to the field of virus protection. This new feature allows your computer to be connected to the same database as other Avast-installed computers. Avast will double check suspicious files with those found on other systems. This will help the program to make wise decisions regarding whether the file is malicious or benign.
Avast offers users a great and complete antivirus tool that is user friendly and feature-rich. It provides good protection without slowing down your computer. Few developers can create an antivirus program that does both and for that reason Avast is a good choice for those looking for top-notch antivirus protection.