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Avast Free Antivirus 2016

Quick Specs

  • Version:
  • Total Downloads:
  • Date Added:
    Nov. 23, 2015
  • Price:
    Free; paid upgrade available; $37.49 to buy
  • File Size:
  • Downloads Last Week:
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Editors' Review


Avast Free Antivirus is one of the most popular antimalware products around. The 2016 version overhauls the interface, but it could stand to be more informative.


A better interface: This year's version gets a row of icons at the top with intuitive images and labels, which animate when you hover over them, to help you see that you've selected them. Clicking each icon drops down a submenu, so you can browse all of them before making a move. If you get lost, just click the home icon that's always in the upper left to return you to the main menu.

Lots of optional settings: Overall, you have a fine degree of control over how Avast behaves. Clicking the gear icon on the far right takes you to Avast Free Antivirus's settings window, which has categories in the left-hand pane, and options for each category on the right. Clicking Active Protection shows you a submenu that breaks down file protection, email protection, and browser protection into three subcategories. Each of the three has a toggle to disable the whole element, which is handy when you already have other software installed that you prefer for one of those three roles. Click Customize to drill down into another set of categories and options specific to that role.

Free syncing password manager: Tools bundled with antimalware suites range widely in utility and quality, and the free suites rarely include a password manager. However, the one in Avast is pretty respectable. It provides extensions for Firefox and Chrome, which you can use to autofill your login information at websites. You create a master password that protects your list of individual site passwords, and you can also sync your list across devices. This requires you to create an account, but it's free. You can also import passwords stored by your browser. Avast doesn't make it clear if its list is encrypted, and the password manager doesn't have many settings to customize its behavior, but if you don't have a password manager, this is a decent entry point.

To sync with Android and iOS devices, you need a different app named Avast Passwords, available for free at the Google Play store and iTunes App Store. The Android version of Avast's security software doesn't bundle the manager, and there is no iOS version of Avast Mobile Security. You can also subscribe to a premium version of the password manager that lets you transmit your login info from your mobile device to your computer, if they are on the same Wi-Fi network, by tapping a button on your screen. This feature costs a modest $10 a year.

Streamlined system software updater: Avast Free Antivirus can quickly scan your computer for outdated software, and updating is integrated into the app's interface. It creates a list of programs that need to be updated, and you need only click the button next to the program's name to get the latest version. Avast noticed that Java was out-of-date on our device, a problem that can create serious security holes. Because of Avast Free Antivirus's update integration, we didn't have to go to the Java website and hunt down the correct pages and links. This might not be important for advanced users, but it also won't get in their way, because the update scan is optional and doesn't hound you to use it.


The sales pitch can be tricky to navigate: A free program still costs money to make, and its maker will use a variety of methods to persuade you to become a paying customer. Avast Free Antivirus's main method is to put some tools in its interface that redirect you to purchase pages when you click them, or -- in the case of the VPN service -- entering you into a free 7-day trial that you can stumble into if you click too quickly. In the case of Avast Cleanup -- integrated into the Scan menu as "scan for performance issues" -- the tool goes through the process of checking for things that needs to be fixed, then redirects you to sales pitch when you tell the tool to fix the problems that it's discovered.

It's not necessarily a bad thing if an app integrates sales pitches into its interface. However, Avast Free Antivirus indicates two different price structures if you decide to upgrade to Avast Internet Security. The UI tells you that you will be paying $29.99, with an original MSRP of $69.99. But when you click that button, you'll be sent to a window with three choices, where the default choice is a two-year subscription of $39.99. Or you can get one year of coverage for $19.99. None of the MSRPs on this second window screen are $69.99, so it's not 100% clear if this is the same product, or what has been lost -- if anything -- by going from $29.99 to $19.99. On the bright side, PayPal is an option, if you prefer not to use a credit card.

VPN service overstates its abilities: When you log in to the seven-day VPN trial, Avast Free Antivirus tells you, "Your Internet activity is now completely invisible so nobody can spy on you," but that isn't necessarily true. Your Internet service provider can still detect that you're connecting to a VPN, and someone can monitor the VPN's exit point back onto the public Internet and keep logs of that activity. And a VPN doesn't necessarily protect you when you transmit personally identifiable information while using it, nor does it protect you from malware that may already be on your computer, recording what you type or which websites you access.

Bottom Line

According to AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, Avast's antivirus engine is relatively fast and accurate without bogging your system down, making it one of the best free antivirus apps around. And the password manager has cloud syncing across Windows, iOS, and Android devices, a feature that the other managers would usually make you pay for. But it would be better if the free and premium components were more clearly distinguished.

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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
  • Current Version


    out of 4 votes

    • 5 star 3
    • 4 star 1
    • 3 star 0
    • 2 star 0
    • 1 star 0
  • All Versions


    out of 27279 votes

    • 5 star 19889
    • 4 star 4907
    • 3 star 873
    • 2 star 502
    • 1 star 1108
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Results 1–4 of 4

5 stars

"Best Protection There Is"

November 26, 2015  |  By DaveOzric

 |  Version: Avast Free Antivirus 2016 2016.11.1.2241


Simply the best antivirus protection I have used. I have been using this program for many years. It has blocked all infections that come along. When someone else gets a virus I ask them what program they use and it's never Avast.

Plus the free version is all you really need. Buy it at a discount they have lots of offers that are amazing deals.


A few upsells for the free version, minor compared to what you get.

They have been removing the additional features with the newer versions. I used to like the software updater but that is gone on the free version. Oh well, FileHippo has one.


If you want to just feel safe and not pay a fortune for protection then this is it. I would say since it's not a US based company it's not rated in the tech mags like the big names you are used to. Don't let that fool you. This protection engine is as good or better than ANY there is.

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5 stars

"Best anti-virus I have ever used."

November 25, 2015

 |  Version: Avast Free Antivirus 2016 2016.11.1.2241


Been using Avast Free for many years, and not had a virus in as many. Very user friendly... non-invasive one could say. Never causes any errors for me, unlike some others I have had to trouble shoot on friends and families PC. Only time it has ever failed to stop a virus is when I told it I wanted to visit a site that it strongly recommended I did not visit. Ignored Avast's warnings, got a virus.


None for me.


I've been using this anti virus for as long as I can remember. I have never had a single problem with it. I have only ever been infected with a virus due to my own error and judgement. Unlike some other anti virus programs I have had to deal with, it has never caused problems on my PC. Just the other day I had to troubleshoot a friends laptop that for some reason had lost its ability to connect to the internet. AVG was to blame, it had firewalled the laptop from itself. Preventing all internet access. Avast has never done anything even remotely similar.

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4 stars

"very effective program and good protection"

November 24, 2015  |  By EAGLESURF

 |  Version: Avast Free Antivirus 2016 2016.11.1.2241


uses small amount of resources
easy to install and use
keeps virus definition database current


takes a little while to load on computer boot up, could be shorter
have had small issue with automatic updates, e.g. not updating after setting for automatic update


would recommend this protection to all
has protected my computers since 1999 and I have never had an issue with the program not working or problems with any virus infections

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5 stars

"Good product for free"

November 24, 2015

 |  Version: Avast Free Antivirus 2016 2016.11.1.2241


Catches issues


Have to buy upgrades

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Results 1–4 of 4

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Full Specifications

What's new in version 2016.11.1.2241
  • New features: Avast Passwords, redesigned user interface; Home Network Security, HTTPS scanning.
  • Improvements: Anti-malware protection, home network security.
Publisher AVAST Software
Publisher web site
Release Date November 23, 2015
Date Added November 23, 2015
Version 2016.11.1.2241
Category Security Software
Subcategory Antivirus Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 4.85MB
File Name avast_free_antivirus_setup_online_cnet1.exe
Total Downloads 375,037,873
Downloads Last Week 819,902
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

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