Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +

Editors' Rating:
3.5
Very good
Average User Rating:
3.9
out of 15208 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

Version:
10.3.45.3935
File Size:
2.68MB
Date Added:
September 25, 2012
Price:
Free; paid upgrade available
Operating Systems:
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Total Downloads:
386,582,676
Downloads Last Week:
108,177
Product ranking:
#1 in Anti-Spyware
Additional Requirements:
Not available

Editors' review

The bottom line: The new owners of Lavasoft have revamped Ad-Aware to the point where it has almost nothing in common with its predecessors besides function. It's a good reboot, but it's not out of the woods yet.

Review:
While the name Ad-Aware remains the same as it has for the past 13 years, everything from the user interface to the code powering Ad-Aware 10 is entirely new.

More so than any recent version of Ad-Aware, the suite is usable, lightweight, and worthy of your attention.

Installation
The installation is straightforward, although it still does opt you in by default to the Ad-Aware browser toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. A software installation ought to get your program installed as quickly as possible, with as little requirement for input from the person installing it. Ad-Aware's installation was zippy and generally painless.

Unlike nearly all of its competitors, it does not require you to register to use the free version or the trials of the paid upgrades. What it does do similarly to its competitors on install is good, though: it automatically downloads new virus definition files and runs a quick scan. A reboot is unfortunately required; that's an occupational hazard for security suites like this one that have deep hooks into the Windows OS.

Interface
A big reason that the new Ad-Aware stands a good chance of surviving is because it's finally a usable product again. Gone is the tripartite vertical sectioning, replaced instead with a more traditional layout. Not unlike the major interface change that Avast introduced for its fifth version, the interface's quirkiness has been replaced by usability. The interface is divided into three horizontal sections: the top contains navigation to Home, Info, and Options; the second shows you a large, protection status icon with links to dive deeper into recent protection on the right; and the majority of the interface offers additional protection tools such as gaming mode, firewall, and safe browsing.

The interface is multithreaded, which means that using text "breadcrumbs" you can easily find your way back through the interface the way you came, or directly to the Home screen.

Even though tools are categorized into Basic and Advanced, they all have buttons on the main screen for quick toggling. More advanced configuration options are still available, but as with most of the competition, they've been buried one level down to avoid confusing beginners and to keep visual clutter to a minimum. Click the name of any feature and a pop-up provides a brief explanation of what it does. Click the gear icon next to it to dive into config options.

Features and support
Ad-Aware's features have been improved as well. It offers the same level of core protection against malware across the board, in free and paid products. Nag screens have been removed, a silent/gaming mode has been added, and Ad-Aware now gives advanced heuristics and rootkit protection to people using the free version.

Ad-Aware's antivirus engine is powered by Vipre, a well-known security suite that's more popular in Europe than North America. Vipre has never set the security world on fire for its results, but it is a good, solid, middle-of-the-road engine that will detect many, and in some cases most, of the threats you'll face on a regular basis.

The toolbar's been streamlined, stripped of most extraneous features, and offers a search engine powered by upstart Google competitor Blekko. It also detects bad URLs and blocks you from loading them, so it has a legitimate security purpose.

Assouline also said that people can expect to see new features land in Ad-Aware regularly, as the program has adopted an aggressive release cycle not unlike Chrome and Firefox. He cautioned, though, that it was not the six-week cycle that those browsers have.

The differences between the paid versions and the free versions have shrunk, as more features have been front-loaded into the free version. Ad-Aware Personal Security 10 adds reputation and anti-malware filtering for $12 per year. Ad-Aware Pro Security offers e-mail phishing protection, USB guards, a two-way firewall, and network protection at $36 per year. If you don't care about the lack of spam filters or parental controls, or the lack of reputation-based protection, and you trust Ad-Aware -- always a key point -- $36 could be quite a deal. Considering what's offered, it's very nearly priced to disrupt the market.

One interesting problem we encountered was the program updates were pushed out in separate installation files. Unlike most competitors, which offer in-place downloads so that the suite updates without having to run an installer, an offered software update opened a Web site and asked for approval to start downloading.

It's an extra step that's unusual because it leaves the installation of the new security suite version up to the individual, and that could potentially create security risks.

Performance
3 When it comes to threat scanning, our tests on a real-world computer found that the Ad-Aware Pro Security 10 averaged 4 minutes, 23 seconds over three clean installs for its first scan, a competitive score.

We don't have any third-party security efficacy results to share at this time, but Vipre, the company that provides Ad-Aware's engine, received passing grades from AV-Test in 2011 and the first few months of 2012. It wasn't tested by AV-Comparatives.

The new Ad-Aware is off to a good start when it comes to performance. The suite's impact on system performance was slightly better than average.

Security Program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Average of all tested systems (to date) 66.4 15.6 1,195 414 125 347 17,116
Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 10 55.6 14.3 3,215 427 126 345 17,215
Ad-Aware Personal Security 10 63.6 12.5 3,127 412 126 348 16,810
Ad-Aware Pro Security 10 54.3 13.1 3,112 409 126 346 17,049

*All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, the higher number is better.

Ad-Aware's lowish impact on computer boot time and shut down time, and average impact on in-use tests, were marred by exceptionally slow scan tests. Nevertheless, these scores were better than we were expecting for a completely new security suite.

Conclusion
The new Ad-Aware is an enormous turn for this longtime player in the Windows security field. Lavasoft's plans to update the suite more regularly than its competition bodes well for keeping people safe independent of traditional annual update schedules. If you trust the Lavasoft and Ad-Aware names, Ad-Aware 10 is worth a close look. However, it's got some important gaps that must be filled, and until we can see the impact of the Ad-Aware engine with the Vipre engine, it will be challenging to honestly evaluate the suite.

If Ad-Aware's reboot takes the way that Webroot's has, then we could be watching the rebirth of yet another aggressive competitor in the field, and at the end of the day that bodes best for your computer security.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All Versions:

    3.9

    out of 15208 votes

    • 5 star: 7115
    • 4 star: 4111
    • 3 star: 1136
    • 2 star: 725
    • 1 star: 2121
  • Current Version:

    3.3

    out of 33 votes

    • 5 star: 11
    • 4 star: 7
    • 3 star: 3
    • 2 star: 4
    • 1 star: 8
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

    Results 1-10 of 177

  • 5 stars

    "You can't go wrong with this antivirus."

    September 16, 2014   |   By Mad_burnett

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    I like this antivirus because it is not a resource hog of a antivirus. It has great protection and has been around since 1988 and is great at protecting people and always has great security.

    Cons

    Haven't found any.

    Summary

    I like it very much.

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    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 4 stars

    "Favorite antivirus software."

    September 16, 2014   |   By Shall888

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    I've used every free anti virus software ever made and none can out perform this one. Best detection and removal I've ever seen in freeware. I've been using it for over a year and have been virus and trojan free the whole time. To top it off, I have bad surfing habits

    Cons

    Sometimes a little slow.

    Summary

    I recommend this antivirus cause you get automatic updates and you get great protection that is fast and safe.

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  • 4 stars

    "Great detection rates."

    September 16, 2014   |   By Dick-liedtke

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    1] High detection
    2] Low system usage
    3] Fast scanning speed
    4] Scans web and emails.

    Cons

    1] Download can be long
    2] Interface needs to be updated.

    Summary

    More than good enough if you just want to protect your home computers.

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  • 5 stars

    "Good protection for free."

    September 16, 2014   |   By D75borden

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    Easy to set up. Followed the directions, turned on and forgot it was there. Lets you know if it finds something, or else it is invisible. I have not found anything easier to work with and it's free!

    Cons

    No cons for me.

    Summary

    A good basic antivirus.

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  • 5 stars

    "Best antivirus for me"

    September 16, 2014   |   By Pace_Stephanie88

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    This is the best antivirus for me.It doesn't even take too much of the computer's memory like others.

    Cons

    I don't see any cons.

    Summary

    This software is helpful during your work,you should have a try,I think you will like it.

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  • 4 stars

    "No issues with this"

    September 16, 2014   |   By tylerdwalker

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    Didnt really experience any issues with this, it kept my system clean as advertised.

    Cons

    good antivirus software with even better updates

    Summary

    If this software continues to perform well then I might even consider paying for the upgrade.

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  • 5 stars

    "Must have on my laptop"

    September 16, 2014   |   By HelenKMorris88

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    I bring my laptop everywhere... my whole life is in that thing! Can't afford to reformat my drive when it gets infected so I searched for a robust and most importantly - free - antivirus and antispyware software. The one that came most recommended was ad aware by lavasoft. I installed it as a preventitive measure so I haven't seen it deal with any viruses for the last few months since i've installed it. That could only be a good thing the way I see it.

    Cons

    No viruses to report as of late.

    Summary

    What more can I say ? I guess just that it works well from what I can see.

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  • 4 stars

    "Simplified my life a bit"

    September 16, 2014   |   By TiffanyLSteelman

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    between having to worry about the kids running around the house and all my other chores, the last thing I want to do is have to deal with an infected computer. Seeing as how my kids use the computer for their homework and playing games daily, it was enevitable. I called my husband at work for advice, he suggested downloading the software he uses on his work laptop - Lavasoft Ad Aware, which I did. After the first scan and clean it found something like 32 infections! Holy crap ! I feel better knowing this is installed with my kids using the computer every afternoon.

    Cons

    It was actually pretty simple so nothing negative to report

    Summary

    The family computer now runs way quicker and smoother. Wasn't all that hard to figure out how to use. I'd recommend this !

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  • 3 stars

    "nice little product"

    September 16, 2014   |   By HenryJLandrum

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    its a workhorse/bodyguard for my computer which desperately needs it. I've seen it all from pop ups and slowdowns to boot times that took forvever! Thankfully most of that has been dealt with thanks to ad aware free

    Cons

    haven't used anything that works better

    Summary

    Reliable up to now so no complaints.

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  • 5 stars

    "Pure speed!"

    September 16, 2014   |   By gavinlanwar

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 11.3.6321

    Pros

    MAn, this thing is super quick at scanning my entire computer, really impressed !

    Cons

    I'll wait to comment on this till I see a virus made it through

    Summary

    Nice clean look, and crazy fast scanning!

    Reply to this review

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  • Results 1-10 of 177

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