Avira AntiVir Personal - Free Antivirus

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CNET Editors' Rating 4.5 stars

Outstanding

Average User Rating stars

out of 4,191 user reviews

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Best freebie and best free or pay for heuristics"

    April 18, 2010  |   By the_mick

    Pros

    Very high detect and remove scores and top heuristics [detect/remove new viruses by telltale actions] scores (AV-Comparatives.org, AV-Test.org) -use most sensitive setting.
    Doesn't slow computer down as much as others.
    Fairly user-friendly interface.

    Cons

    Program navigation and selections could be more straight forward and less "tech-speak".
    Doesn't check email like AVG does [but usually your ISP does].
    Nag-screens when it updates files - once per day and tolerable for me.

    Summary

    I checked test sites (AV-Comparatives.org, AV-Test.org) and magazines (PC World, etc.), and liked the Avira results better than Avast, Panda Cloud or AVG -which I also tried.
    In general, it's very comparible to or just a tiny bit below Norton in detection/removal and above McAfee, except Avira is unsurpassed in heuristics (detecting new, unreported viruses by their telltale activities) according to the tests.
    It runs compatibly with Spybot (great for monitoring registry changes).
    It does NOT slow my 1.8 Gz, 512 MB RAM computer like those other freebies.
    It has quickly caught and removed several viruses that tried to climb aboard my computer and has NOT generated any obvious false detections despite highest sensitivity setting.
    It has intercepted several websites on its bad site list for me and blocked them when an action on one site caused them to pop up.
    I have NOT had trouble with updates with version 10 as another rater has. Once it said it failed to get an update [a small popup tells you when it's done updates, scans, etc.], but I had no trouble doing it manually just after the notice.
    My one real gripe: when looking into settings, it's not as clear and easy as it could be. First of all, "Configuration" is listed under the "Extras" tab - something not intuitive. Most reviewers stress selecting "heuristic", "high detection level".
    There is a choice in "Configuration" under "Scan" of "search for rootkits before scan" that is by default NOT checked, and the "help" file confusingly says: "This process does not scan your computer for active rootkits as comprehensively as the scan profile 'Scan for rootkits', but it is significantly quicker to perform." The 'Scan for rootkits' must be automatic because there's no check for it anywhere! It's this kind of "tech speak" and "geek layout" that creeps into an otherwise wonderful freebie that's the only drawback I see.

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