Avira Free Antivirus 2013 is the free version of its Premium software. The current version is 13 and is available only for Microsoft Windows. As the title implies, the program is free, however those looking for even more protection can opt to upgrade to Avira’s paid verison.
The installer allows you to choose between automatic and custom install. Clicking on custom install reveals that the program would also like to install Avira’s Web Protection along with the Avira SearchFree Toolar and the Avira SearchFree Updater. It would also like to make Avira your default search provider, home page and new tabs page. You can opt out of these addons in the custom install but this options isn’t available in the automatic install. The installer will also urge you to uninstall any other antivirus program that you have installed on your computer as other antivirus installations could create compatibility and stability issues.
During the installation process you are also asked whether you would like to activate the AHeAD heuristics (Advanced Heuristic Analysis and Detection) that will alow Avira Free Antivirus to detect new and previously unknown viruses and malware. If you do choose to activate AHeAD heuristics, you can also set your level of protection low, medium or high.
The interface is comprised of the main panel to the right and to the left a smaller menu panel. Clicking “Status” allows you to see both the PC Protection and the Internet Protection at a glance. Users can also scan their systems, update the virus definitions or upgrade to Avira’s paid version.
The System Scanner feature allows you to scan any part of your system from the entire computer to removable drives. The program even allows you to create desktop shortcuts for your most common searches. This is a useful feature if you find yourself routinely scanning very active locations such as removable media.
Avira Free Antivirus also offers two non-virus related protections. The first is the Avira Free SocialShield which allows you to protect your kids on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The second is the Avira Free Android Security which boasts that it can help you “keep an eye on your phone even when you can’t see it”. Both of these extra tools are free, however they both require registration and the latter requires a further download.
As with other antivirus outfits, this program also comes with other helpful tools such as a quarantine list, a scheduler, reports and a list of noteworthy events which help you to regularize and document your antivirus’ behaviour and findings.
There isn’t anything negative to be said about Avira Free Antivirus. While it lacks the bells and whistles of other more complex antivirus packages, Avira’s ease of use and small footprint is nothing to scoff at. Many users will find comfort in its straightforward operations and simple interface. Users who wish to have other features such as a firewall and file backup capabilities can upgrade to Avira’s paid version.