I’ve been an AVG antivirus user for several years now, and will probably continue to use it on my own computers. However, after having some problems installing the latest version of AVG on someone else’s XP computer, I decided to try Avast instead. That’s one the beauties of the abundance of freeware available today. If you’re having problems with an uncooperative program, you can either fight it out, or switch to a different one. I’d rather switch than fight.
In this case, switching was apparently the right choice. Since Avast was installed, multiple scans have been run, using other virus detection software, and so far, nothing has been discovered.
While always receiving high marks, Avast had been criticized in the past for its drain on computer memory. However, according to the manufacturers, the memory usage has been cut in half in this version. They also claim a significant increase in scan speed (a claim I’d have to question).
In an additional improvement over previous versions, this one uses a heuristic engine that monitors virus behavior in ways not detectable by signatures.
Avast also offers a Pro version, but describes their free version as being "…designed for the average consumer who wants easy-to-use protection for basic email and web surfing."
Installation is a breeze, and the interface is extremely easy to navigate. Menu selections are on the left and, once opened, they reveal additional options on the right.
Multiple shields (called real-time shields) are available including; File System, Mail, Web, P2P, IM, Network, and Behavior shields. And each of these shields offers options to tweak the settings to suit your needs.
It’s also possible to schedule Avast to run as often, or as seldom, as necessary.
If you’re looking for free and dependable protection, try Avast. You can download it here.