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Avast Free Antivirus

By Avast Software Free Editors' Rating

Key Details of Avast Free Antivirus

  • Safeguard online privacy, secure devices, and go beyond essentials with cloud-light, state-of-the-art protection
  • Last updated on 11/13/20
  • There have been 4 updates within the past 6 months
  • The current version has 0 flags on VirusTotal badge_icon
  • Also available on Android, iOS, and Mac

Editors' Review

shelbybrown Oct 6, 2017

Avast has one of the most popular antivirus apps around, due in part to offering a free version, and it's one that performs respectably. The company acquired its rival AVG in September of 2016, and now both use Avast's malware scanning engine, but their distinct personalities remain. Here are the highlights of Avast's latest release.

Pros

Easy to use: Avast has four main protection components: File Shield, Behavior Shield, Web Shield, and Mail Shield. If, for example, you use webmail and/or you find that Avast's Web Shield interferes with your web browsing, you can disable both relevant protection layers, while keeping the others active. Now, ordinarily, an antivirus app will keep warning you to turn these features back on. But if you really don't need them enabled, you can tell Avast that you want to ignore those warnings, and it won't bother you about those settings again.

Solid protection: According to independent labs, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, Avast Free isn't quite as sharp as industry leaders like Trend Micro or Bitdefender, but it's arguably the best protection you'll find that comes without a price tag.

Aggressively low pricing: If you do decide to order Avast Pro, you can do so from within the app, and Avast offers a one-year subscription for a reasonable $15, which is about half of its street price. If you change your mind, Avast offers a 60-day trial of Avast Internet Security, which was priced at $20 a year. Pro purports to add enhancements to online banking security and "a test space for checking suspicious apps." This latter function appears to be a sandbox, in which you can open an app and investigate its behavior without risking an infection.

Relatively muted sales pitch: Free antivirus apps have a reputation for being pretty pushy about paying for a subscription, but Avast is on the low-key end of the spectrum (and it has been for a number of years). There are a couple upgrade buttons on the main console, and a number of features (a firewall, URL safety verifier, and "Webcam Shield," among others) that redirect you to an order screen when you click on them, but nothing felt particularly tricky, and the sales pitch doesn't make ironclad claims about what the program can do.

Data collection transparency: Avast tells you right off the bat that it wants to gather anonymized usage data, some of which may be used to help fund development, but you can disable this function in the Privacy settings. Though it would be nice if it explained what "certain" information it wanted to gather.

Cons

Some settings could use more explanation: Avast's settings menus have a number of icons marked with an exclamation point that you can click on for further details. But the description for CyberCapture doesn't sound substantially different from what a virus scanner already does: It "analyzes unrecognized files, defends and warns you about new threats, and helps keep your system secure." And Hardened Mode is there "to further lock down the security of this computer." But in what way?

Subscription offers can get confusing: The $15 Avast Pro offer is available via the upgrade buttons on the main console, but it's not an option when you click on one of the features that has a padlock on it. There, you get two different offers: $20 a year for Avast Internet Security or $30 a year for Avast Premiere. But if you, say, click on the padlocked "Sensitive Data Shield" icon, you only see the Avast Internet Security offer, and it has a different list of advertised features.

Bottom Line

While there are some quirks in the interface, Avast is a respectable and respectful antivirus app overall, and the paid version is notably budget-friendly.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 20.9.2437

  • CyberCapture results — Miss a notification? Now in your notification center, you can see all results for suspicious files you’ve sent to our Threat Labs
  • More versatile Password Protection — Along with Chrome and Opera, we now support Microsoft Edge and, our personal favorite, Avast Secure Browser (Premium versions only)
  • Vote for features — Vote for your favorite premium features, or submit your ideas for new ones. Simply go to Menu > About and let us know your preference (Premium versions only)
  • Performance improvements — Your antivirus components should now load even faster thanks to simultaneous loading of our main service and VPS

General

Release November 13, 2020
Date Added November 13, 2020
Version 20.9.2437

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
Additional Requirements None

Popularity

Total Downloads 421,083,926
Downloads Last Week 2,847
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27,410 User Votes
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Developer's Description

Lightweight, state-of-the-art protection that won't slow down your PC. Avast Free Antivirus has been redesigned to be easier to use while staying light on your PC. It offers proprietary, cutting-edge CyberCapture technology that finds and stops unknown files, as well as improved Wi-Fi Inspector which can identify even more weak points in your router. It also features SafeZone, the world's most secure browser, and an enhanced Game Mode which turns off background checks and updates to maximize your gaming experience.