Avast Antivirus Review – The Best Free Anti-Virus?

Avast antivirusThere are many free antivirus in the market and certainly, Avast antivirus is one of the antivirus brand to watch out for. I am sure that you had tried before other free antivirus such as AVG, Avira and ClamWin and I am sure as well you had heard of Avast antivirus. What I am going to do today is not to put a comparison between Avast antivirus and the others, but to give a personal review on this product. Unlike any other reviews, you are not going to see the technical specifications as I am sure you can see those things by yourself on the Avast antivirus official website. What I am going to review are my personal opinions regarding this product from installation and the usage. Let’s begin, shall we?

Avast antivirus version 6 released three types of security product which are Avast Home, Avast Pro and Avast Internet Security. My review for this entry will be the Avast antivirus Home edition which is also known as the free version. As it is a free version, what you will get is pretty limited. You will not have the innovative SafeZone, firewall and antispam feature. Those mentioned features are either available on Avast antivirus Pro onwards or Avast Internet Security only. If you are interested on what those features are capable of, you can read the information at the Avast official site. I will insists to focus my review on the Avast antivirus Home edition.

The size of the Avast antivirus installer is around 50 MB. Not a very large file and you can get it downloaded at most 30 minutes on a bad day. The installation is also pretty fast and you can get both the downloading and installation process done within 45 minutes at most. Just like any other paid antivirus around, the after-installation of Avast antivirus does not require your system to restart which is quite a trend for all the antivirus nowadays. No one likes to restart after installing something and i am glad that Avast did put a consideration into this. Before you can fully utilize the antivirus, you will be asked to register yourself. The registration can be completed within the application itself and thus, there is no need for email verification or what so ever. You can also enter invalid information as Avast antivirus did not perform any serious checking or validation on this.

Some users are pretty concerned about the boot up speed after installing antivirus. I had one of my computer which runs on Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 and it was a nightmare whenever I restart my system. However, that computer of mine enabled a lot of security features from other security software that made my boot up time slow. I did not spend my time to investigate what caused my system to be slow, but I installed Avast antivirus on a fresh Windows 7 Ultimate trial version for this round of review. The time it took for my system to fully boot up was not much of different between before Avast antivirus was installed and after. I had my screenshot below. The result might varies if the machine is no longer a fresh machine.

before-and-afterFollowing the trend of all the antivirus as well, Avast antivirus do come with the sidebar gadget which looks like below. Honestly, I don’t really see any point of having this gadget. Kaspersky do have this kind of gadget themselves but I am not too sure about BitDefender. Anyway, this piece of component just make no sense and what I did with Kaspersky was to remove it. Now Avast antivirus have this feature and I am removing it as well. I like to keep my desktop clean and if possible, I will even want to take out the Recycle Bin icon off. Just to make my review a little more complete, this gadget basically updates your definition when you click on the ‘refresh’ button there and it has a very big ‘Secured’ word just to scream to you that you are secured by Avast.

avast-sidebarEnough of the outside and let’s move into the Avast antivirus interface. You will see your main controls on your left and on the top right, you will see Help, Settings and Upgrade. Basically, the Help link will just open some document for you to read which is not very helpful unless you got plenty of time to waste. The settings in the antivirus is pretty basic one. Probably because there is no firewall and other sophisticated feature there and thus, your settings can’t be anymore complicated. Upgrade button is there for an obvious reason that they want you to support them by buying the Pro or Internet Security suite from them. Why not we see something more interesting such as the remaining features of Avast antivirus?

On the summary tab, basically you get to see some sort of statistic of what Avast antivirus had achieved for you so far. Actions such as block a virus, delete a trojan, incinerate worms and all sort of actions are logged there. From that tab, you can also enable the Silent/Gaming mode. You must be curious why they call it Silent mode there. You know why? Because it does nothing special by enabling this feature. All they provide you after enabling this feature is to only pop message to you whenever it is necessary. On top of that, if you are gaming on full screen, messages will not reach you at all. It is like you are on some super noise-cancellation headphone on your ear and you can’t hear even a single bit that the world is trying to reach you. The other thing that you need to bare with this free stuff is advertisement. Unless you purchase something from Avast antivirus, I kind of doubt you can remove those advertisement.

After that, you have the Scan Computer tab. Avast antivirus provides a pretty common scanning option here which are quick scan, full system scan, removable drive scan and folder scan. Not much to comment here except that the scan speed is pretty fast based on few review document that I had gone through. My system basically is fast as my system is still fresh and no point commenting this to you. One type of scan that Avast antivirus did provide and many of others didn’t is the pre-boot scan. What this scan does is it will scan your computer before your OS booted. I once encountered a Malware that I can’t remove with Kaspersky and AVG until I installed Avast and did a pre-boot scan to remove it.  This Avast antivirus scanning method is quite effective but of course, not all the time.

Avast antivirus offered the real time protection and it is split into 8 categories as shown below. You can enable or disable the real time protection module by module. There is also expert settings for people who likes to play with antivirus intensively. Depending on whether you have other security software that already took care of those modules. If you do, then you might not need to enable everything to waste your resources.


What’s New in Avast Antivirus?

Avast antivirus 6 offered three additional protection for the home edition. The first additional protection is the Autosandbox feature. Basically, sandbox is like a container where you can run any malicious file inside the box without affecting your actual operating system. Hence, with the word ‘Auto’ there, it means that it will automatically put all your executable application to run with their sandbox. Of course they will prompt you first before running the application in sandbox and you can choose to deny it if you trust that application. A more convenient way is to put your application into the exclusion list which you can set from the settings on your top right option. I can’t stress any further on the point where having a better security also means giving yourself much more hassles in life. Like it or not, Autosandbox is there and you can disable this feature if you really don’t like it but it is not advisable to disable it.

autosandboxThe second additional protection is the WebRep Avast antivirus called it. What this feature does is it will be included into your browser as some sort of plugin. Then, for each site that you visit, the WebRep will give a reputation rating for the visiting site. This feature appears to be useless to me but I can still see some value in it. Do take note that this feature does not protect you from anything, but just gives you a reputation rating. The very last additional protection is the site blocking feature. Nothing fancy for this feature. Avast antivirus just block the website that you add into the list. Once the website is in the list, you will not be able to view that page until it is removed. An example of a blocked page by Avast antivirus is shown below.

site-blockedThe very last tab of Avast antivirus is the maintenance tab. This tab basically does not do anything smart but just to display your current status such as the last time you updated your virus definition, the version of your program, virus chest and the about of Avast. Therefore, if you encountered your virus definition is quite old, just do a quick update.

Avast Antivirus: Final Say

Within the free antivirus category, I would say Avast antivirus is my choice of free antivirus so far. If firewall feature is not a concern, I might even go for Avast instead of Kaspersky. Avast antivirus had saved my ass a couple of times but due to the lack of more security features, it is really sufficient only for Home usage. If you are looking for a very complete antivirus packed with a lot of security features, Avast antivirus free edition might not be your choice. The upgrade to Pro version or Internet Security Suite can be a consideration, but the question is whether it is worth the upgrade? Anyhow, you can get the latest Avast antivirus if you are looking for the antivirus which fall under the criteria:

  • Free
  • Low resources usage
  • Minimal reduction for OS boot up speed
  • Pre-boot scan
  • Running unknown program in Sandbox
  • Light
  • Easy to configure and use

If you have any other comment on Avast antivirus, feel free to drop your comment below.

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About Alan Tay

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  1. mick says:

    Dear ???,

    Your review about Avast Free Antivirus is the best(even better than Cnet) with short, simple & easy to understand.
    I’m going to read your review about comodo free firewall next as I’m considering of these free ones.

    many thanks

    • Alan Tay says:

      Thanks for the reply.

      I’m sure if you talk about reviewing the product in detail, other sites are better especially those with labs to do all the testing. However, I love the way you enjoy my review based on user experience. Since every user will have different opinion about a product, that should be the place I can bring value to you all. Thanks again for reading the review.

      P/S: I can see you have the ‘???’ up there and my name is Alan where you can refer to the About page to know more about me.

  2. Laurie says:

    is the latest upgrade worth doing ( 29.99)

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