Avast Pro Antivirus

Avast Pro Antivirus

Download Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
4.4
out of 910 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    7.0.1474
  • Total Downloads:
    9,252,673
  • Date Added:
    October 31, 2012
  • File Size:
    4.61MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    3,658
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Editors' Review

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Looking to compete with both paid and free security suites, Avast wants to create a unified approach to your computer security. Long gone are the days of the quirky interface. Avast is accessible and robust, with an impressive list of free features and strong, though hardly stellar, performance benchmarks.

Installation
Avast has improved its installation process so it's faster than before. It's not the fastest on the market, not by a long shot, but a standard installation took us about three minutes -- around the same as last year.

Some items of note during the installation that will come up later in the review: To avoid the Windows 7 and Vista desktop gadget, or the WebRep browser add-on, you must choose the Custom install option and uncheck those here. Firefox and Internet Explorer will all block WebRep from installing by default, but it may be easier for some to cut it off here.

Automatic installation of these features is frowned upon, although Avast does provide a clear method for uninstalling them. It's just not as simple as a check box that gets its own installation window, since you have to go through the Customize menu, which makes the auto-install sort of surreptitious.

Also during the install, you are opted into Google's Drive desktop manager. If you're a Google services addict, this is a good reminder to get the client app. If not, well, it's a small piece of bloatware to uninstall later. Such are the installation blues.

Unlike last year, installing Avast once again requires a reboot. Still, the uninstallation process left no detectable traces on the desktop or in the registry.

One installation option, available only from the custom install menu, lets you sideload Avast as a secondary security program to supplement your main one. We're not big fans of this option from a security point-of-view, because it can bog down your system resources without actually making you safer. However, as a way to see if you like Avast, it's not a bad thing as long as you remember to choose one security suite to go with.

Interface
After three years of nearly identical interfaces, Avast 8 brings an entirely new suit of clothes with it -- sort of.

While the underlying submenus and settings screens look and feel similar, there's a new home screen that emulates the Windows 8 blocky tile-and-icon style. A colored status box on the left lets you know in green or red whether you are secured or not, while six tabs to its right give you access to the suite's security features.

These tabs provide quick access to specific features: Scan, Software Updater, SafeZone, Browser Cleanup, AccessAnywhere, and the Market. With two direct links from the home screen, Avast is really pushing the market idea, which is basically a landing page from which you can purchase additional Avast-branded tools such as a password manager, data backup, or download the free Android and Mac suites.

At the top of the home screen are links to Security, Maintenence, Market, Recommend, and Support. Account and Settings access lives to the far right of them. The Security tab is the most important one, and gives you access to Avast's numerous shields, as well as a list of subcategories on the left nav: antivirus, anti-spam, firewall, software updater, and tools.

One smaller but noticeable change is that the free version now decorated with a white background, to separate it from the dark-themed paid upgrades. Yeah, it's a color scheme change, but since most of Avast's customers use the free version, it's a noticeable one.

Overall, the new interface is more user-friendly, and that's a plus. The workflow behind the touch-friendly large icons makes it easier to go directly to key features, such as Avast's popular shields, and much of the jargon has been replaced with more easily understandable terms.

It still runs in Windows 8's desktop mode, so it's not a true Metro-style app, but it has that look.

Features and support
Avast 8, comparable with the 2013 version of competing suites, includes several new features that directly affect your security. Changes to existing Avast features include increasing the number of virus definition file updates per day, from 20 or so in the previous version to more than 70 per day in version 8. When running on battery on laptops, Avast will automatically disable scans until the device is plugged in, and the suite now offers full IPv6 support.

Like both the paid and free competition, Avast has a file reputation system for evaluating downloads. The browser add-on WebRep for on-the-fly site evaluation that also checks for fake site certificates is lighter on your browser than competitors' heavyweight toolbars.

The free version of Avast is arguably the most comprehensive set of freely available security features on the market. There's a reason these guys have more than 170 million active users (at the time this review was written). The antivirus, antispyware, and heuristics engines form a security core that also includes multiple real-time shields. Along with the new features, it's got Sandbox for automatically walling off suspicious programs; a full complement of shields that guard against scripts, P2P networks, instant messaging, and potentially dangerous program behavior; a silent/gaming mode; on-demand boot scanning; and a healthy output of statistics for the data nerds.

Avast's Sandbox, by the way, automatically places programs in a virtualized state when it suspects them of being threats. It walls off suspicious programs, preventing them from potentially damaging your system while allowing them to run. As the program runs, the Sandbox keeps track of which files are opened, created, or renamed, and what it reads and writes from the registry. Permanent changes are virtualized, so when the process terminates itself, the system changes it made will evaporate.

The company hasn't said whether the virtualized state begins after the program already has access to your system, so it's theoretically possible that it could be compromised. There's not a single security feature in any program that hasn't been been compromised at some point, though, so "theoretically hackable" is true of all security features.

But it's the new features that drive interest in the suite, and this year's got some very interesting improvements and one dud. The new Software Updater tells you when your programs are out of date, but it doesn't leave you hanging. It provides links to update them directly from within Avast.

This includes known security vectors such as Java, Flash, QuickTime, and PDF readers. In the free version, the updater will automatically download the software update, which then opens its installer. It still relies on user interaction to complete the install, though. In Pro and Internet Security, you get a one-click update that downloads and silently installs the update. The Premier version removes the requirement for any user interaction whatsoever -- updates happen automatically and silently.

The new Browser Cleanup tool is available as a standalone download that doesn't require you to use Avast, but it also comes baked into all versions of the suite. It checks the internal storage and registry of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, searches for plug-in and toolbar references and helps you uninstall them.

Two entirely new features do the most to differentiate Avast Premier from its siblings. The suite includes a Data Shredder to ensure that deleted files and folders are unrecoverable using "conventional" techniques. It offers the industry standard three shredding options: a random overwrite, which overwrites files a user-specified number of times with semirandom bytes; a Department of Defense standard of overwriting; and the Gutmann method, the slowest of the three but the most secure.

You'll also be able to wipe only free disk space of remaining instances of data, or wipe an entire partition including on solid state drives, creating some nuance to its deletion options.

It looks like last year's Remote Assistance feature, for single-instance, friend-to-friend remote tech support, has been overhauled and turned into the new AccessAnywhere feature, the second Premier-only feature. It requires you to have Avast on both ends, which wouldn't be so bad, but the installation process for Avast is not as simple or fast as the installation for programs that focus on remote access, like LogMeIn or TeamViewer. Avast's installer alone runs more than 100MB, and the Avast requirement -- as opposed to gaining access through your browser -- hamstrings its utility.

Data shredding and remote access are interesting, but just not enough to get us to shell out for Premier. And sadly lacking from Avast 8 are any tools to directly address privacy concerns, a security issue which will only continue to grow as advertisers, network providers, and browser makers squabble over personal data collected and collated on people using the Web.

Avast also doesn't offer an on-demand link-scanning feature, as AVG and Norton do, although the company says that the way that Avast's Web shield behaves ought to protect you automatically from any malicious URLs by automatically preventing the URL from resolving in-browser. A page will appear letting you know that Avast has blocked the site because it is suspected to contain a threat.

Avast has plenty more nifty extras to help you out. The Troubleshooting section now comes with a "restore factory settings" option, which makes it easier to wipe settings back to a familiar starting point, and comes with the option to restore only the Shields settings, leaving other changes untouched, like permanently running in silent mode.

While these tools are clearly nonessential, and some of the prices struck us as high -- $10 for a Rescue disc? $50 for an annual backup service? -- we like that Avast gives its fans a chance to stay in its ecosystem. The Avast EasyPass, for example, is an Avast-branded version of RoboForm's premium password manager and is well worth the $9.99 annual fee.

In a day's worth of testing, none of the new features appeared to cause any negative impact on computer or browsing performance. Assuming these technologies work as advertised, your computer ought to be a fair bit safer from malware than it would without them.

Performance
Avast was generally well-received by the independent testing organizations, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.

AV-Test.org gave the previous version of Avast a passing rating in its most recent test, on a Windows 7 computer from December 2012. Avast 2013, the suite's name for version 7, passed handily with a total score of 14 out of 18. A year before, Avast 6 struggled to pass, hitting the bare minimum of 11. Avast 2013 reached 4.5 out of 6 in Protection, 4.5 out of 6 in Repair, and a 5 out of 6 in Usability, for a total of 14. Usability includes testing for false positives.

AV-Comparatives.org also saw room for improvement in Avast during December 2012. The suite blocked only 95.5 percent of threats tested during that month, but then you could kick those up to a more respectable 98.7 percent with some settings tweaks by the user. This user-dependent margin of around 3 percent to 3.5 percent was consistent throughout the year.

Basically, AV-Comparatives found that Avast will keep you reasonably safe, but significantly safer when you turned detections and blocks up high. The testing organization gave Avast its Advanced certification in both the first half of 2012 and the second half, a marked improvement from the lackluster Standard certification in the second half of 2011.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 47.5 7.8 11.5 n/a 412 124 344 17,116
Average of all tested systems (to date) 59.9 13.7 12 1,008 413 125 345 17,147
Avast Free Antivirus 8 61.6 12.3 18.6 669 401 125 345 17,199
Avast Pro Antivirus 8 67.8 10.7 10.2 671 404 126 344 17,066
Avast Internet Security 8 61.3 12.6 16.6 686 411 125 344 17,067
Avast Premier 8 63.9 18.7 16.8 705 414 124 347 16,959

Note: All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, higher numbers are better.

CNET Labs system performance benchmarks show Avast 8 as being fairly middle-of-the-road. It's weak on startup time, generally adding 10 more seconds than average. Shutdown time impact was a bit faster than average, while virus scans were quite speedy and faster than many paid-suite competitors. Avast 8's footprint during common-use tasks such as MS Office performance, iTunes decoding, and media multitasking was average, as well. We'd like to see a much smaller hit on startup times, but other than that Avast 8 Free offers a reasonable trade-off. Avast 8's paid upgrades, however, could do much better.

As far as Avast's impact on system performance goes, in a real-world test Avast completed its scans in a timely yet not blazingly fast manner. A Quick Scan averaged about 28 minutes, slower than last year. The Full Scan averaged to 73 minutes. RAM usage was surprisingly light, with Avast only eating up about 16MB when running a scan.

Judging from these results, Avast has righted some of its benchmarking wrongs from the previous version, but we may adjust that judgment when CNET Labs' scores come in.

Conclusion
When it comes to your security, Avast 8 gets a lot right. It's got a usable, uncluttered interface, solid although not stellar benchmarks, and a set of features that keeps it at the forefront of Windows security.

We'd like to see the innovators at Avast HQ in Prague tackle the real privacy concerns of the modern Web, and the unimpressive AccessAnywhere keeps us from giving the Premier suite stronger marks.

Avast Antivirus 8 Free, on the other hand, continues to be a stellar choice for free Windows security, and we enthusiastically recommend it. Few people want security that turns a good machine into the malware equivalent of Swiss cheese, and on that count, Avast has your back.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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Results 1-10 of 863

  • 3 stars

    "It makes u use Yahoo or Bing on PAID and free version!"

    June 08, 2014   |   By tetech2

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2018

    Pros

    It works, and rings bells when you are about to visit a suspect site. Never had a virus.

    Cons

    Browser scan makes you switch search engine Yahoo or Bing (useless for B to B searches) on PAID and free version if you want to get rid of any bad plugin it finds. Looking through Chrome, I can't find a voice recognition ap, plugin or add-on that it was referring to.

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  • 5 stars

    "instation serial avast 2014"

    June 08, 2014   |   By victorball

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2018

    Pros

    more serial avast 2014 download full updated
    link http://******/pOMTU

    Cons

    installation + crack download link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdPQU2K0LCI

    Summary

    installation + crack download link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdPQU2K0LCI

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  • 2 stars

    "Expensive unnecessary tech service disabled my computer"

    May 19, 2014   |   By Gasu81

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2018

    Pros

    Avast antivirus software seems to work well.

    Cons

    If you call to upgrade or extend your subscription you will get a high pressure scare tactic sales pitch to buy their expensive computer 'tuneup/clean' which, in my case, did MUCH more harm than good. The sales person had me allow him to connect to my computer remotely. He then proceeded to show me some 'dangerous' files on my computer and told me that luckily my one year free Avast had trapped them but to totally wipe them from my computer I needed to purchase the tech service for $120 and that would fix my problem. He strongly recommended i do this. So I paid $20 to renew my Avast for one year and $120 to 'tuneup' my computer. Even though my computer had been running perfectly fine.

    Summary

    After updating my virus definitions and renewing my subscription the sales person connected me to the tech department for my $120 'tuneup'.

    After he connected to my computer remotely I watched as the Tech 'cleaned' my computer. This entire process took a little over an hour. I watched as many files were deleted and many registry values were changed. After completing the process I had an onscreen message from the technician that they were finished and my computer was now ok to use. I closed the windows and shut my computer down. When I tried to turn my computer back on I couldn't get it to reboot. I can hear the hard drive running but it will not load windows and my monitor remains blank.

    I called tech service back and told them my problem. The technician had me disconnect the power cord, wait one minute and then reconnect it and try again. I got the same result. The technician then told me it must be a hardware problem and there was nothing he could do.

    I have an HP PC that I have had for about nine years. I have never had any problems whatsoever with it not starting right up or rebooting. My computer has been running perfectly and the only reason I called them was to update my virus subscription. I know that a hardware problem could occur with any computer, however in this case I am convinced that the technician deleted some file or changed some registry value that is keeping my computer from rebooting. What are the odds that after nine years the computer would just happen to not reboot for the first time ever immediately after an extensive 'tuneup' by Avast.

    I talked with customer service and explained my problem. They just said it must be a hardware problem and they are not responsible. I said I wouldn't hold them responsible but I would like to at least be refunded for the service that disabled my computer. They refused and said there was nothing they would do. Now I am out a total of $140, and a computer, with no recourse possible. They didn't even offer an apology for disabling my computer and were rude on the phone. DO NOT USE AVAST TECH SERVICE!!! I feel that they are nothing more than a high pressure SCAM to get you to purchase unneeded and possibly damaging services. Could this be how they subsidize 'free' antivirus software?

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  • 5 stars

    "Great software"

    May 09, 2014   |   By CurlyCoyote

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2018

    Pros

    Great software

    Cons

    no cons at all

    Summary

    Great software

    Updated on May 9, 2014

    You have to add your own firewall

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  • 4 stars

    "Comprehensive protection, easy to use, and good value."

    March 14, 2014   |   By dejoyf

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2013

    Pros

    Comprehensive suite of AntiVirus, Firewall, and Maleware settings. Also scans Internet Browsers for malicious or suspicious ad-ons.
    Easy to use with GUI.

    Cons

    Animated task-bar icon. Auto-renew a pain to cancel, but it can be done in about 5 minutes.

    Summary

    Comprehensive protection, easy to use, and good value for money. Includes AntiVirus, Firewall, and Maleware utilities. I tried MS Defender, and AVG first. They were easy to use but didn't protect as well as Avast. I have also used paid versions of McAfee and Norton Security Suites and they are no better than Avast but much more expensive. I bought the one-year Avast license for $19.99 and recommend this product.

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  • 1 stars

    "IF YOU BUY, IT WILL AUTO RENEW FOREVER at HIGHER PRICE"

    January 23, 2014   |   By asaberPC

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2013

    Pros

    Good Anti-Virus software but the FREE version is better in the "response to threats" test according to Consumer Reports.

    Cons

    The FREE version is rated better in Consumer Reports in the "response to threats" category and you will NEVER and I mean NEVER get Avast to cancel the auto-renew function. I had to cancel my debit card and have a new one issued just to get this company to not renew my subscription.

    Summary

    Use the FREE version. It is rated slightly better than this version in Consumer Reports in the "response to threats" category and if you pay for this version, you will NEVER get Avast to cancel the Auto Renew feature.

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  • 1 stars

    "Should be no stars. It was like loading malware."

    January 17, 2014   |   By sams1son

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2011

    Pros

    loved free version for years.

    Cons

    decided to add firewall and Password add-on, which only left my program functionality not working. I called them up and their tech support said they would fix only to begin to tell me that there were problems with my pretty new dell computer and that I should buy their tech support service. when I told them I wasn't going to spend any money, I just wanted them to remove the new programs and wanted a refund, they closed down all the windows they opened and hung up the phone. I then realized that my antivirus was totally not working, so I uninstalled it and called my credit card company and told them not to honor the charge. I hat being scammed. Tech support guy told me that they operate out of Czech Republic. So, if you buy or download their programs and need to call them to fix it, they will deny that it could be them and then try to upsell----If I didn't know what to do I would have been up the creek without a paddle for my business computer.

    Summary

    Avoid this software at all (or no)costs. I felt like I was dealing with crooks.

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  • 2 stars

    "Poor interface"

    December 21, 2013   |   By FrankPizza

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2011

    Pros

    Under the hood improvements such as re-writing web shiled make it very responsive on low resource systems.

    Cons

    I wish I could stay with / choose version 7 interface. It is very difficult to find functions, the layout is not intuitive, it's a very retrograde step, that's why it gets such a low score from me; I want my Windows 7 computer to have apps in Win 7 style, not "Fisher-Price" kiddy blocks of Windows 8, like version 8 and 9 of Avast, they are awful, although v9 is slightly better than v8.

    Summary

    Good detection and performance but awful interface for anyone not using Windows 8.

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  • 2 stars

    "No Manual & No Help. Poor."

    November 21, 2013   |   By mwsoft--2008

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2007

    Pros

    Regular up-dates and good protection.

    Cons

    No User Manual for the 2014 avast pro antivirus. Last one on-line was for ver. 8.0 Revised procedure to get support is awful. you jump thru hoops to state your problem. No way offered to let you upload screen shots of your problem. About 1/2 the time the reply you get when you describe a problem in detail is a boilerplate "one size fits all" response. No way to exclude certain files from the scan. What they tell you doesn't work and there is no manual.

    Summary

    I wish they had not up-dated to the 2014 version. The previous one was a lot easier to use.

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  • 1 stars

    "bad install ,good program before going to ver 2014"

    November 21, 2013   |   By over40grz

    Version: Avast Pro Antivirus 2014 2014.9.0.2007

    Pros

    excellent program before upgrade to 2014 version

    Cons

    hosed my IE 10, had to reset, hosed ZA fire wall, had to uninstall both Avast and ZA firewall, reset IE10, and then install ZA Firewall with AV Scanner as well to get working again.

    Summary

    Avast doesn,t play well with other programs. Lost my future support.

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  • Results 1-10 of 863

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    Full Specifications

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    What's new in version 7.0.1474

    V 7.0.1474

  • Win8 BSOD fixed (but still investigating some issues)
  • Crashes, freezes on WinXp 64b fixed
  • WebRep issues fixed
  • Sandbox stability improved
  • General
    Publisher AVAST Software
    Publisher web site http://www.avast.com
    Release Date October 31, 2012
    Date Added October 31, 2012
    Version 7.0.1474
    Category
    Category Security Software
    Subcategory Antivirus Software
    Operating Systems
    Operating Systems Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows, Windows 7
    Additional Requirements None
    Download Information
    File Size 4.61MB
    File Name avast_pro_antivirus_setup_online.exe
    Popularity
    Total Downloads 9,252,673
    Downloads Last Week 3,658
    Pricing
    License Model Free to try
    Limitations 30-day trial
    Price $39.99

    Previous Versions:

     
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