Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +

CNET 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.

Ad-Aware gets a face-lift

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.

The new Home landing screen for Ad-Aware 10. It doesn't look much like the old one.

The new Home landing screen for Ad-Aware 10. It doesn't look much like the old one.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

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 Not unlike the major interface change that Avast introduced for its fifth version, the interface's quirkiness has been replaced by usability.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.

The old Ad-Aware 9.5.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

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.

The new Ad-Aware completed its Quick Scan noticeably faster than its predecessor.

The new Ad-Aware completed its Quick Scan noticeably faster than its predecessor.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

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:

    3.8 stars

    out of 14,252 votes

    • 5 star: 6400
    • 4 star: 3903
    • 3 star: 1114
    • 2 star: 723
    • 1 star: 2112
  • Current version:

    3.3 stars

    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 33

  • 5.0 stars

    "Fast and no furious!"

    November 11, 2012  |   By Camp888

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    All my problems were fixed after I installed this tool. Cleaned my computer, all bad stuff and now the machine runs like new. For me like a regular home user, Ad-Aware works just great.

    Cons

    Deep scan long in my opinion!

    Summary

    Pretty impressive program.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Blekko yes, blekko no!"

    November 11, 2012  |   By Ultralght

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    Usually I don't write reviews but today I decided to. and after I won't do it anymore. For our Blekko friends I 'll say that: very easy to not have it. Be careful at the beginning of the install. Chose CUSTOM and do not check the Blekko. HARD???

    Cons

    I don't like Blekko!!!!!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "I feel my computer is very well protected with Ad-Ware"

    November 10, 2012  |   By c00kie43

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    this is very good protection.

    Cons

    none that I have encountered

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 4.0 stars

    "There isn't a better free antivirus out there!"

    November 6, 2012  |   By basketcaz

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    It's easy to download, easy to use. I can set up scans whenever I like and it sends me reports and allows me to decide what I want to 'clean' or delete.

    Cons

    I can't think of any.

    Summary

    Ad-Aware is an easy to use, free antivirus.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (2)

  • 1.0 stars

    "Long time customer, never again"

    November 5, 2012  |   By utlawag

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    Ad Aware was once a great product but newest release is trash

    Cons

    Lavasoft partnered with Blekko which is a search engine, and unless you carefully opt out, you will be stuck with Blekko as a homepage on your browsers. Much like malware (which is the very reason I use Lavasoft's products) Blekko hides itself and is very time consuming to remove. It also continues to change homepage settings even after being uninstalled and requires further attention to the registry and browser settings to totally get rid of it. I have completely removed Ad Aware and will NEVER use or buy Lavasoft products in the future. Let this be a lesson about being careful who you partner with and what you allow them to do. A great product has been ruined in my opinion.

    Summary



    Updated on Feb 11, 2013

    Corina:

    Thanks for the suggestion, but that does NOT work. Once it has been installed with the Blekko box checked, there is no getting rid of it. I tried deleting adaware and blekko completely to no avial. I tried your suggestion and Blekko is still my default homepage. No matter how many times I change it in Explorer-Tools-Internet Options, it resets the next time I open IE. From a google search, this is a common problem with Blekko. Again, I wish Lavasoft would have been more cautious about who they partnered with.

    I readily admit that I SHOULD have opted out upon installation. I have trained myself to carefully scrutinize what I am downloading. Its just that I had downloaded prodocuts from Lavasoft so often in the past that I just blindly clicked "continue" without carefully reviewing. Definitely my fault, but I think Blekko is taking advantage of the goodwill Lavasoft/Adaware had built up with its customers to push its product on us (in my case I am now a FORMER customer).

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 4.0 stars

    "One of the rare dependable antiviruses"

    November 4, 2012  |   By Rock966

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    It's surprising how accurately and thoroughly ad-aware scans and detects malware on my PC than others ant viruses I have tried. I would never expect this high level of protection from a free product.

    Cons

    Scans are faster than the last version but still slightly long

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Not afraid to try!"

    November 4, 2012  |   By Petrorodi

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    Fast to instal however be prepared to follow plain and simple instructions....fast scan plenty options,like any other just time will tell...can always uninstall if...give the small players a chance....

    Cons

    Only that it does not give specific clarifications about the warnings it finds and puts in the reports.

    Summary

    Considering it's free, it's a great product. It altered my perception and standards for free antiviruses and it will be hard for the others I have tried in the past to compare.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "It spams me more than the bad guys"

    November 3, 2012  |   By AFF-guy

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    It still provides some basic privacy protection

    Cons

    It very frequently pops up windows saying "This is the free version, upgrade now!" or similar nonsense.

    Summary

    I don't buy spamware that spams me, I'm uninstalling the free version and looking elsewhere.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Can not boot up computer"

    October 31, 2012  |   By Bucke1964

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE

    Cons

    BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE

    Summary

    I downloaded free version to try. I ran full scan to see what is slowing down my computer. After software ren for couple of hours, computer is not able to boot up. I called Lavasoft and they told me that I need to by their service for $250 dollars to fix problem since I used free version.I was asking to talk to manager but 3 times I got disconnected.
    BAD SERVICE, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (5) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Finally... something good has happened"

    October 29, 2012  |   By SandyStrong

    Version: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus + 10.3.45.3935

    Pros

    Fast and very effective scanning engine. I have used other anti virus software and Ad-Aware was introduced to me late in 2011. I will never e-mail, surfing or playing without this program. A nice product.

    Cons

    I've had no problems using it.

    Summary

    An effective application with a fast response and does not really slow down the computer

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Results 1-10 of 33

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