Avira Free Antivirus 2013 13.0.0.2832 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Avira Free Antivirus 2013

CNET Editors' review

Review:
Avira returns to the security field with a second major revamp in as many years of its flagship free antivirus and paid upgrades. Whereas last year's overhaul focused on a breezy new installation and modernizing its interface, the 2013 version is all about offering competitive and forward-thinking security features.

All that sounds well and good, and Avira has even killed off its obnoxious, interrupting pop-up in the free version. However, some aggressive components of those features gave us pause when using the suite.

Installation
Last year's improved, zippy install has been changed slightly, and that may cause problems for some people.

Getting into Avira has never been easier, and it still has a two-click install. The company says that it developed the two-click installation as part of its "less is more" strategy, where it offers the same level of protection as before without the hassle. Of course, that's a tacit acknowledgement of prior problems.

Anyway, the install is the simplest of the major free security suites. The two-click process will autodetect competing security components and remove them, so be warned if you think you're going to be more secure by running two overlapping AVs. Avira won't let you.

However, this is so aggressive that sometimes the program won't install properly. A conflict between Avira and a security suite previously installed on our test computer that left half a dozen registry keys behind caused the computer to crash and resulted in a "blue screen of death" on an otherwise stable computer. At the end of the day, whether it's the fault of Avira or the previous security suite is irrelevant. Nobody wants to be faced with a BSOD when installing a program, and most people will blame the new software.

Another click will take you past the Ask.com toolbar and search engine redirect, but at least Avira is polite: it's an opt-in, not opt-out, experience. The toolbar screen itself is a bit unclear: it's actually Avira's WebGuard feature, powered by an Ask.com search engine that's part of the toolbar. There's also an option to have Ask.com become your browser's default engine, although that's not checked by default.

We discuss the toolbar and the changes to it in the 2013 version in the Features section below.

At the end of the installation process, Avira will begin a quick scan. On our test machine, it took about 1 minute, 43 seconds to complete, a completely reasonable wait to endure before the suite is ready to go.

Interface
The interface is virtually unchanged from last year. It has been tweaked to include the new features, but it's the same look and feel as in the 2012 version. This is perfectly acceptable, as the interface is simple and mimics that of many competitors.

A left nav shows you your tools, while the center pane focuses on a deeper dive into your security. On-off buttons make it easy to toggle features, although it's noteworthy that the free version is still quite restricted when compared with the free competition.

A red banner with the program name serves as a wrapper to anchor the suite, with a Windows XP-style menu bar above it. It doesn't look bad in Windows 7, although it is definitely archaic. It looks even older in Windows 8. The only feature that you can't reach from any other part of the interface except the menu bar is the Help menu -- a little tweaking here could've made this more appealing.

The main interface is the Status window, with a green check box letting you know when you're safe. It turns to yellow when there are security tasks to perform or when you've turned off a feature, like real-time protection. It turns red when there's something mission-critical that requires your attention.

Below that, you've got two categories: PC protection, and Internet protection. What this really means is that the former protects you from threats locally, while the latter guards you against new threats from attacking you. Under PC protection, you can toggle your real-time protection, manually run a scan, start an update, or upgrade to a paid version of Avira. Use the gear icon next to each option to open the configuration window, which has its own slider in its upper-left corner to quickly change between the standard view and expert mode.

One hint about the system scanner option from the left nav: this is where you would go to initiate specific types of scans, or scans on specific parts of your computer, such as a rootkit scan in C:/Windows. For a generic scan, use the Scan System option from the Status window.

Under Internet protection, you only get one option in Avira Free: Web protection. If you chose to not install the toolbar, then this entire section will appear grayed out.

It doesn't sound like much, but that's the point. This is the easiest-to-use version of Avira yet.

Features and support
The new features in Avira are the best part of the 2013 update, but they do come at a price. The company has focused on expanding its security features to cover social networking, tracker blocking, and Web site verification, as well as a huge push into crowdsourced tech support. Longtime Avira Free users no doubt will be delighted that the daily upgrade pop-up will go away permanently if you install the Avira toolbar.

The toolbar has become a major focus for Avira, and the company is using it to provide multiple in-browser security features. The company has partnered with Abine to bolt its Do Not Track Plus tracking and ad blocker to the toolbar. Also in the toolbar is the new Web site reputation adviser, also on loan but from CallingID, and social networking protection courtesy SocialShield, a company Avira bought earlier this year.

A new "Experts Market" is also accessible only from the toolbar. It's crowdsourced tech support, where Avira fans can sell their expertise to others and set their own rates. The Experts Market is designed to connect tech experts to people who are looking to solve tech problems. These user-experts can then charge whatever sum they'd like for their services, and Avira will take a 10 percent commission.

The toolbar is a mixed blessing. If you install it, it grants you those security extras. But it also redirects your default search to Avira-branded Ask.com search. This is not insurmountable in Firefox, which has a dedicated search box, but it makes Chrome painful to use since that browser uses a unified location bar/search. Abine's Do Not Track Plus is available for free on its own, so if the search commandeering is intolerable to you, there are still other ways to get the protection it offers.

Avira has changed other parts of the suite, as well. The virus definition file and protection engine now checks for updates every six hours instead of once a day. Premium Avira makes the same check every two hours. There's also an Android app that provides anti-theft and device tracking features, but unlike competitors both free and paid, Avira's Android app lacks a security engine. Basically, it won't protect you against Android malware.

Avira's core security features remain intact. The scanner checks for virus, Trojans, rootkits, and adware. There's a generic threat removal engine, but Avira -- like many security suites -- is much better at preventing threats from infecting you, rather than removing ones you've already got.

The advanced options menu doesn't contain much that's new, either. It's quite easy for a savvy person to drill deep into security settings and either extract the information they want or set a very customized level of security. This includes scanning as Administrator from the main interface, a window showing real-time scan performance, configuring how to scan of archives, and a restart reminder in case you enjoy that kind of automated nagging.

The engine powering the scans protects your Hosts file by default, and resource usage remains low following last year's update. If a problem is discovered, a one-click Fix problems button appears at the top of the Status window. Click it, and even if the fix is something as simple as reactivating a deactivated module, the program will do it for you.

The WebGuard feature, available only if you install the Avira toolbar, takes a more aggressive approach to detecting sites that could be hosting malware before they load on your computer. This is not unlike Avira's competitors. However, for the performance cost to the browser for a toolbar, search result ratings would be a nice compensation. Too bad they're only available if you use the dedicated search box on the Ask toolbar.

Features-wise, the free version provides the kind of security that most people will be comfortable with. For people who want more, Avira Antivirus Premium 2013 ($29.99 for a one-year license) comes with malicious Web site blocking and live telephone support. Avira Internet Security 2013 ($59.99 for a one-year license) rolls in parental controls; an e-mail spam guard; antiphishing measures; Wi-Fi guard; and a firewall that I found to be obnoxiously chatty and intrusive. If you're obsessed with Avira, you can upgrade to Avira Internet Security Plus 2013 for $81.99, which gets you an additional system performance optimizer and file encryption.

Performance
Avira's performance in the past has been hit or miss, with strong detection rates but high false positives. Avira's been doing a lot of work in that area, though, and this is one of the best-performing versions of Avira that we've seen.

Avira Free Antivirus 2013 shares the same detection engine as its premium upgrade siblings, Avira Antivirus Premium 2013 and Avira Internet Security 2013, so all three are discussed here.

In a real-world test, Avira completed its initial scan during installation in 1 minute, 51 seconds, about 30 seconds slower than last year. The Full scan averaged 1 hour, 25 minutes over three installs, which is an appropriate benchmark for such a resource-intensive scan.

CNET Labs' benchmarks found that Avira benchmarked slower than most competitors in most cases, with room for improvement across the board. Boot time was much slower than average, as were scan times, iTunes decoding, and two of the three Cinebench tests. The only test that all three versions of Avira 2013 did well on was shutdown time, where they added only 2 to 3 seconds to the unprotected computer's marks.

1,142 405 125 343 17,390 14.9
Security program Boot time Shutdown time Wake from sleep 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) 59.7 11.2 12.3 1,004 412 125 344 17,140
Avira Free Antivirus 2013 58.7 10.6 13.8 1,085 410 125 342 16,825
Avira Antivirus Premium 201354.3 11.3 14.9 1,142 405 125 343 17,390
Avira Internet Security 2013 60.3 10.2 11 1,081 408 127 343 16,985

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

Independent testing agency AV-Test.org has marked excellent scores for Avira Internet Security 2012 in a Windows XP test from September 2012. The suite hit 5.5 out of 6 on Protection, 5.5 out of 6 on Repair, and 4 out of 6 on Usability, for a total of 15 out of 18. That's an excellent score, especially on the notoriously Swiss cheese-esque Windows XP.

On a Windows 7 computer during June 2012, Avira Internet Security 2012 didn't fare as well. It scored 4.5 out of 6 on Protection, 4 out of 6 on Repair, and 4 out of 6 on Usability, for an overall score of 12.5 out of 18, just clearing the minimum of 11 for an AV-Test.org certificate.

Note that AV-Test.org defines its categories as follows: "The 'Protection' covers static and dynamic malware detection, including real-world zero-day attack testing. In case of 'Repair,' we check the system disinfection and rootkit removal in detail. The 'Usability' testing includes the system slowdown caused by the tools and the number of false positives."

The most recent AV-Comparatives.org Whole Product test, which looks at on-demand scanning, retroactive tests, and "real-world" guards including cloud-based protections, puts Avira Internet Security 2012 on less stable footing. The September 2012 test found that it blocked 97.3 percent of attacks and threats thrown at it, in the middle of a competitive field of 21 suites. Meanwhile, looking at Whole Product test results cumulatively from January 2012 to September 2012 found that Avira 2012 did a bit better, with its 98.1 percent success rate placing it about the same. The numbers are good, but not great.

It's fair to conclude that according to third-party tests, Avira 2012 tested this year better than average, but with room to get better. This is a far cry from where Avira 2011 had been, which struggled mightily when launched but gradually improving its scores over time. While not the indisputably safest suite around, Avira will in general protect you from most threats. However, be prepared for a not-insignificant system impact.

Conclusions
We really wanted to like Avira 2013. Its new features are innovative and forward-thinking, and innovation in the security suite world is hard to come by. It's extremely important to help educate people about broader security concerns like privacy that are not necessarily related to viruses.

However, it could leave a smaller footprint on your system. Combine that with our finding that its toolbar causes too much browser interference, and we're going to advise that you give Avira a skip this year unless you're a big fan of the product. If you're looking for free security, go for Avast, AVG, or Panda.

Publisher's Description

More Products to Consider

  • Malwarebytes Anti-M...
    Detect and quickly remove malicious threats to your computer.
    Download Or, Learn More About Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • IObit Malware Fight...
    Scan and remove the deepest malware that your antivirus/antispy...
    Download Or, Learn More About IObit Malware Fighter

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Spybot - Search & D...
    Search your hard disk and Registry for threats to your security...
    Download Or, Learn More About Spybot - Search & Destroy

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Avast Free Antiviru...
    Protect your PC against the latest viruses and spyware.
    Download Or, Learn More About Avast Free Antivirus 2014

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • AVG AntiVirus Free ...
    Protect your computer from viruses and malicious programs.
    Download Or, Learn More About AVG AntiVirus Free 2014

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Ad-Aware Free Antiv...
    Protect your personal computer against virus and spyware attack...
    Download Or, Learn More About Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • SuperAntiSpyware Fr...
    Detect and remove spyware, malware, rootkits, trojans, hijacker...
    Download Or, Learn More About SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Hotspot Shield
    Provide secure, anonymous, and private browsing on Wi-Fi hotspo...
    Download Or, Learn More About Hotspot Shield

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • RoboForm
    Login everywhere automatically, so you'll never need to remembe...
    Download Or, Learn More About RoboForm

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Avira Free Antiviru...
    Detect and eliminate viruses, get free protection for home user...
    Download Or, Learn More About Avira Free Antivirus

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Comodo Internet Sec...
    Protect PC from viruses, Trojans, worms, buffer overflows, zero...
    Download Or, Learn More About Comodo Internet Security

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Comodo Firewall
    Guard your Windows PC from malware and Internet based attacks.
    Download Or, Learn More About Comodo Firewall

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • AVG AntiVirus 2014
    Download and exchange files safely, enjoy games and Web surfing...
    Download Or, Learn More About AVG AntiVirus 2014

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Hotspot Shield Elit...
    Secure your connection to public Wi-Fi networks with premium VP...
    Download Or, Learn More About Hotspot Shield Elite

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Avast Internet Secu...
    Protect your Windows PC from online threats.
    Download Or, Learn More About Avast Internet Security 2014

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Anvi Smart Defender
    Protect computer against viruses, Trojans, adware, spyware, or ...
    Download Or, Learn More About Anvi Smart Defender

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Kaspersky Anti-Viru...
    Protect your PC against viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, rootk...
    Download Or, Learn More About Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • AdwCleaner
    Search and remove unwanted adware and toolbars from your comput...
    Download Or, Learn More About AdwCleaner

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Spotflux
    Stay anonymous, change your IP address, and protect your comput...
    Download Or, Learn More About Spotflux

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Trend Micro HijackT...
    Scan your Registry and hard drive for spyware.
    Download Or, Learn More About Trend Micro HijackThis

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Comodo Antivirus
    Detect and destroy malware and viruses.
    Download Or, Learn More About Comodo Antivirus

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • SpywareBlaster
    Prevent Spyware and Malware running from your PC.
    Download Or, Learn More About SpywareBlaster

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Kaspersky Internet ...
    Keep your PC protected from all Internet threats, never slowing...
    Download Or, Learn More About Kaspersky Internet Security 2014

    Installed

    Smart Install
  • Remove PowerPoint P...
    Modify locked Microsoft PowerPoint 2007/2010/2013 presentations...
    Download Or, Learn More About Remove PowerPoint Password to Modify

    Installed

    Smart Install
All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 3930

  • 1.0 stars

    "I had a Horrible time with this version"

    April 20, 2014  |   By Shocktribe

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.3.350

    Pros

    Well, I read from av test websites, that this has a very high detection rate. Also, the new interface looks good. That's it.

    Cons

    Slow. Broken. Uncontrollable.

    Summary

    I have used avira in the past, and liked it. This however, gave me problems from the start. I couldn't run a full scan. When I was running a scan, it would lock up on me. Then, Luke Filewalker would start out of nowhere, and take over my computer, completely. I couldn't even shut it off with task manager. My normally fast computer was barely functioning at all. I also felt that it was taxing on my system, at least more so than avg or panda. I felt this was the worst free av I've used in a very long time. I'll stay away from avira products for a while.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 1.0 stars

    "Wouldn't install! I tried twice to install it."

    April 19, 2014  |   By galet09

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.3.350

    Pros

    None cause I couldn't install it.

    Cons

    I clicked on a tab in the error window and it said Avira doesn't support my operating system. I HAVE WINDOWS XP!!!! It states right in the info here that it's for Windows XP and Vista. What the heck?

    Summary

    I used to use Avira years ago, so I don't understand what the heck is going on.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 2.0 stars

    "Supposed to be free....rrrrrrigggght.!"

    April 16, 2014  |   By Cobber73

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.3.350

    Pros

    None...Just another joke.!

    Cons

    From the onset...constant hammering with popups.! Read this, scan that, do this, do that..! After a month another popup came up saying there was a problem... A bar on the page says "fix problem"..I clicked on it...! To fix the problem, you have to accept one of three PAID versions.! I immediately uninstalled this joker and went back to AVG..!

    Summary

    Just another of the "Free to download" programs...but you have to pay for it to use it.! If it's free, it's free.! If it's not....say so up front.!
    Stop the BS..!!

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

    Was this review helpful? (1) (1)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Surprisingly good!"

    April 12, 2014  |   By santalazy0

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.3.350

    Pros

    Works quietly in the background. It has blocked many threats so far. Highly recommended....

    Cons

    Nothing so far....

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (1)

  • 5.0 stars

    "On first day, it is doing very good."

    April 10, 2014  |   By randolphgarrison1gmail

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.3.350

    Pros

    easy interface,

    Cons

    on first use information windows would have been helpful,
    somewhat slow response.

    Summary

    Could use a longer trial period, acknowledgement of selections. It has removed some known problems and did speed up operations a bit.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (1)

  • 3.0 stars

    "ok product"

    March 7, 2014  |   By ChoiceVoice

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.3.338

    Pros

    -excellent scores in independent testing
    -excellent company with solid track record.

    Cons

    -i like a layered security approach. avira doesn't like to be installed with anyone else. it flagged: superAntiSpyware Free Edition portable (a backup scanner), mcafee's siteadvisor extension in my browser, and webroot secureanywhere (which can run parallel to other antivirus companies - it is designed to do this) and refused to install unless i uninstalled them. i uninstalled them and tried to install avira, but got an error. i tried multiple times, redownloading it from source and here, but it would not install. i gave up and moved on. likely something particular to my system (i have other layers of security that were turned off, they must have done something??? - though i had no problems with avg or avast, when i used them, and didn't need to uninstall things).

    Summary

    likely a 5 star for people that don't layer security and want a well rated product.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (2)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Avira best AV for 2014"

    January 25, 2014  |   By toyotakoala

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.2.286

    Pros

    Great rate detenction

    Cons

    There's no lot of features like avast

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (4) (0)

  • 2.0 stars

    "Impossible to Activate"

    January 17, 2014  |   By grfinch

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.2.286

    Pros

    I can't think of any at this time.

    Cons

    Bought the 2014 3 computer version from Fry's. The 1st computer took 2 hours to get activated as keys didn't work. The 2nd computer wouldn't activate at all. Same with the 3rd computer. Keep getting message to "Buy Now" The call center is in India. His response, "you need to hire a certified technician as there is nothing wrong with the software". Contacted Fry's mgr with the problems, never heard back from him. No software I've ever purchased has ever been as problematic as this software.

    Summary

    Over 8 hours wasted tying to get the software activated.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (3) (5)

  • 1.0 stars

    "Two Words: Pure Garbage"

    January 14, 2014  |   By idudexxxx

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.2.286

    Pros

    Not one pro

    Cons

    all the cons you can think of

    Summary

    It completely stalled my old xp box, this is the worst av I ever tried, pc came to complete crawl.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (7)

  • 4.0 stars

    "Great Antivirus for everyone!"

    January 8, 2014  |   By Mir_Pouya

    Version: Avira Free Antivirus 2013 14.0.2.286

    Pros

    low system impact
    clear UI
    high detection rate
    low false positive
    notifications are gone
    available for Iranians
    automatic and fast autorun check (helpful when facing a suspicious USB flash disk)

    Cons

    NO GAME MODE
    WEB PROTECTION
    FIREWALL

    Summary

    this is a great AV. from a well known German company. It has always had great scores in detection and in new version it has very very low FP. avast and avg among some others don't let iranians use their free products but not avira, thanks avira!. believe me av should be a kind of install and forget software and avira really is. it should have low system impact and on my dell inspiron n5010 with 1st gen. core i3 m350 2.27 ghz, windows 7 64bit sp1 full updated takes up to 35 sec to boot. i should mention that i've disabled some unnecessary features of windows like tablet pc and i use some free tune up tools like ccleaner. i mean fast pc comes from a responsible user not a tech savvy. the UI is really easy to understand. look i'm not engilsh but i can't understand why someone would complain about UI. i can understand it so everyone should.
    but not too fast bro! don't install web protection. i've tested it a lot on many newly installed windows and eventually it causes IE to crash. maybe it works fine with ie8 but it WILL crash newer ones. a bit slowing down on internet speed is an expected effect of a web protection but NOT A BROWSER CRASH! those home page and search engine changes are another annoying side effects of this feature. just use adblock plus add on for privacy and web protection
    firewall option is a JOKE! it gives you nothing except an illusion of a third party firewall. it is just an unnecessary control over windows firewall. windows control panel will give you sufficient, advanced and more extended control over firewall.
    NO GAME MODE! SADLY! i really miss this feature in free version. as you know avast, comodo and some other av offer this in their free versions. for a game lover like me it's like a godsend.


    more features for a free av needs more system resources and they might cause crashes as they do in many free famous AVs. vista to 8.1 have powerful two-way firewalls, a mail client isn't a must-have software, not everyone has a child to worry about, not everyone is a gamer, so seriously many people don't really need extra features. you don't turn on your pc to work with your av so it doesn't need to have a fancy look and whistles instead it should have a serious and straightforward and yet clear UI to lead you exactly where you want to go.

    I recommend Avira Free Antivirus without web protection and firewall to any one who needs a working av without BS and crashes

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (3) (1)

Results 1-10 of 3930

Add Your Review

Log in or create an account to post a review.
You are logged in as . Please submit your review for Avira Free Antivirus 2013 13.0.0.2832
Add Your Review

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

Submit your reply

Submit

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

cancel

E-mail this review

Submit cancel

Report offensive content

If you believe this comment is offensive or violates the CNET's Site Terms of Use, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the comment). Once reported, our staff will be notified and the comment will be reviewed.

Select type of offense:

Offensive: Sexually explicit or offensive language
Spam: Advertisements or commercial links
Disruptive posting: Flaming or offending other users
Illegal activities: Promote cracked software, or other illegal content
Submit cancel

Previous Versions:

Error

close

ERROR MESSAGE

If you think this is an error, please contact CNET TechTracker Support for further assistance.

Ok

Running Request

close

loading

Smart Install Software

close

CNET TechTracker will now automatically install software without requiring further action by you. (Note: This feature automatically accepts associated EULAs and third party applications on your behalf.)

You have selected the following software to Smart Install:

CNET TechTracker will attempt to install this software without interrupting you again. If an application requires manual installation, CNET TechTracker will download the installer and prompt you to take further action.

Proceed with Smart Install?

Confirm Standard Install Cancel

Submit a problem report for Avira Free Antivirus 2013

close

Please describe the problem you have with this software. This information will be sent to our editors for review.

Problem:

The CNET Installer isn't working as expected

The download link does not work

The software has a newer version

The software contains malware

Other

Description:

Please select a feedback type.

Please enter a description.

Submit Problem Report

Problem Report submitted

close

Thank you for submitting a problem report! The Download team is committed to providing you with accurate software information.

OK

Or, Learn More About Avira Free Antivirus 2013

Installed

Smart Install
Avira Free Antivirus 2013