Avast AntiVirus Home Edition: Respectable Performance, Ample Protection for Free
Avast! is among the well-regarded anti-virus software for home and business users. For home users, the Czech Republic based Alwil Software a.s., maker of Avast!, is offering Avast Antivirus Home Edition for free. Avast! requires all home users to register within 60 days to receive a free license key.
Avast! protects your PC through spyware and rootkit detection, and by automatically updating malware definitions daily, it is ensured that your computer gets the most updated protection there is.
The antivirus software was able to detect a respectable 98.2 percent of malware embedded in half a million test files. Although the detection rate was outstanding, this was not enough to beat Avira AntiVir Personal and Panda Cloud AntiVirus, two other players offering freely downloadable antivirus software, and its performance in detecting newer malware, was a low 46 percent for two-week old viruses and 41 percent for four-week old viruses. The low detection rate is significant because in the absence of virus signatures, Avast! goes into heuristics (or rules of thumb) mode in scanning newer malware, and with its low hit rate, your computer might be left in a vulnerable state.
Avast! was a top perfomer in cleaning out rootkits along with Avira and Microsoft Security Essentials although all three were not able to do a perfect job in cleaning the registry and undoing the changes that were left behind by the malware.
Avast! is able to do fast on-demand scanning, which is a manual operation, and rapid on-access malware detection, which happens automatically every time a file is accessed or saved. Its performance is second only to Avira Antivir. With its zippy scanning performance plus a respectable detection rate, Avast! is one of the top free antivirus software available today. Another useful feature of Avast! is its capability of scanning incoming Web traffic for malware as well as incoming emails. Avast! is able to protect your PC from malware spread via peer to peer connections as well as instant messaging applications.
Its user interface needs to be improved both in appearance and consistency. While scanning, Avast! looks like a multimedia player and it appears differently when you do a status check or when you change software settings.
Unfortunately Avast! Antivirus Home Edition was not able to consistently outperform Avira Antivir in most of the tests and with its confusing user interface, most users should be better off using Avira Antivir instead.