Avast Free AntiVirus Download & Review


Avast Review:

Avast! Free Antivirus: Smooth Sailing for Home Computer Users...
The Avast! Free Antivirus offers basic protection against Viruses, Trojans, Spyware, and Rootkit infections for home computers with an advanced virus detection system that consistently achieves high marks in independent testing. Avast! Free Antivirus features a heuristic anti-malware detection algorithm and two-step malware removal system for added security in real time. The Avast! Free Antivirus software incorporates seven real-time shields to provide comprehensive protection for email, browsing, peer-to-peer, instant messaging programs, and other home computing applications.
Note: Other free antivirus downloads are available here.

Installation and Performance:
Installation is relatively quick and easy, although Avast! Free Antivirus will encourage users to install Google Chrome as well. Updates and scans can be scheduled during down-time to minimize interference with other applications; this is highly recommended, since Avast! Free Antivirus takes significantly longer than average for scans. One welcome addition to the program is the new Silent/Gaming mode that suppresses pop-ups and messages when a full-screen program is running, allowing consumers to enjoy movies and games without interruption.

Ease of Use:
The new user interface is easier to use and offers more flexibility; by far the biggest improvement in the interface, however, is the ability to schedule scans at convenient times. Previous versions of the Avast! Free Antivirus program were restricted to on-demand scans, so this represents a major advance for the software package. During boot-time scans, Avast! also requires users to decide the disposition of nearly every detected threat; for seriously infected computers, this can become a major annoyance for the end user.

New Features:
Avast! Free Antivirus features several enhancements over the previous versions, including improved protection against viruses and spyware with the new Avast! heuristic anti-malware system. A new visual interface provides better control for end users, while the previously mentioned Silent/Gaming mode is a nice extra. Avast! Free Antivirus is now fully compatible with Windows 7, a significant improvement over the 4.8 edition.

Key Technologies:
Operating systems supported by Avast! Free Antivirus include Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 4, Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 or higher, and all editions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista except the starter editions. The program requires 100 MB of free hard drive space for installation and requires at least 120 MB of RAM and a Pentium 3 processor.

Free vs. Paid Versions:
Two paid antivirus products are currently available from Avast! Software. The Pro Antivirus offers the same basic protection as the free product and incorporates the new Avast! Sandbox program, which allows users to test questionable websites or applications in a contained computing environment. If the application or website proves to be hazardous, it can easily be eliminated without risk to the overall computer system. Avast! Internet Security is the top of the Avast! line and includes all of the above protections along with exclusive state-of-the-art antispam and antiphishing filters.

Support Options:
Avast! Free Antivirus offers free online and toll-free telephone support for users in the U.S. and Canada. Online options include an extensive knowledge base, online work ticket submissions, and customer-driven support forums. Consumers using the paid versions of Avast! Antivirus enjoy the same outstanding level of product support, but with a separate toll-free telephone number for faster response times.

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