Sunday, March 25, 2007

Avast! 4 Home Edition Review

The slickest-looking of this group is surely avast!, with its fancy, media player-like interface. You choose where to scan, set a few options, and click the Play button. The product can hide in the background while scanning. In a nod to the piratical program name, the quarantine area is called the "Virus Chest."

When avast! detects malware running in memory, it offers to restart the system and run a boot-time scan (Windows NT/2000/XP only). You can also request a boot-time scan manually. This scan takes place before Windows has fully loaded, which means it may remove rootkits and other persistent threats. When we tested it on spyware-infested systems, it requested an on-boot scan. We let it delete all suspicious files. On restarting, it again detected malware and asked for another on-boot scan. In the end, it removed half of the spyware.

When preinstalled, avast! blocked a third of our test spyware instantly, blocked installation of another third, and missed the remainder. It did, however, block one keylogger and disable another.

The program's Virus Recovery Database helps to restore files if a virus can't be removed cleanly. By default, it maintains this database while the system is idle, though you can choose "Generate VRDB Now!" to finish the initial analysis quickly.

In addition to scanning e-mail and attachments (both incoming and outgoing), avast! blocks suspicious e-mail activity—too many messages in a short time, or too many recipients per message. It can scan attachments arriving by any POP3 or IMAP mail account, through newsgroups, via P2P file sharing, or from over a dozen different instant-messaging clients.

Unlike the other two, avast! won't schedule a regular full virus scan—that feature is reserved for the professional version. The pro version also offers an enhanced user interface and a handful of added features like script blocking and scanning from the command line. But the free version functions perfectly well without these additions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Avast Antivirus For Windows Vista

Yay! It is finally here. A Vista RC1 compatible version of the Avast! Antivirus. I just got done uninstalling AVG and I now have Avast 4.7.881 Beta up and running. It looks pretty good so far. Here are the available download links:

After you install and run Avast! for the first time you will receive a compatibility warning, but you can ignore it…the team is working with Microsoft to fix that issue. I also checked the “don’t show me this again” box so that I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing the warning every time I start Windows.

ATI has also updated their video card drivers which is important for you to use if you want the best visual experience possible. I didn’t notice much of a difference from what Vista had automatically installed but I am sure it would affect any gamers out there (I’m not really into gaming).

Guide Review for AVAST AntiVirus 4 Home Edition

AVAST 4 Home Edition provides free antivirus protection for Windows XP/2000/NT/ME/98. The scanner installed just under 40MB and 6 running processes to our Windows XP Pentium 4 test system, taking a slightly bigger toll than other free antivirus scanners, but still well suited for older PCs or those with limited system resources.

  • Small footprint ideal for even older PCs
  • Scan on bootup helps thwart resuscitators
  • Removes some adware and spyware
  • WinAmp-style interface may not appeal to all users


  • AVAST 4 Home Edition is a free antivirus scanner.
  • Support options are limited, but this is increasingly the case with even paid-for scanners.
  • Sports standard antivirus features, plus adware and spyware removal.

Guide Review - AVAST 4 Home Edition

AVAST 4 Home Edition installs an interface that could be described as either clever or cumbersome, depending on your point of view. Borrowing on the WinAmp-style skins, the look can be changed by downloading a new skin from the vendor's website. Regardless of the skin, however, it's less than intuitive for those who prefer a standard Windows interface with easy-to-browse menus. AVAST 4 Home Edition is the only one of the free scanners to offer scans on bootup. This can greatly increase the chance of removing stubborn infectors, particularly those that use resuscitators to thwart removal attempts. (Each of the free scanners can be run in Safe Mode, however).

AVAST 4 Home Edition provided limited adware and spyware removal, nabbing 33% of the active components we tracked on our test system. Though 33% is certainly a poor removal rate, it is the only one of the free antivirus scanners to offer adware and spyware removal - and is one of the few to do so even among paid-for antivirus scanners. Further, the deficiency appeared to be due to a lack of signatures, rather than any particular struggle to remove infectors. (Indeed, the scan on bootup option virtually ensures AVAST an easier time of removing adware and spyware, provided the appropriate signature is in place).

Alwil Software, makers of AVAST, offers support for the free version via email, online help forums and knowledgebases.

Avast Antivirus Review

When you open AVAST 4 you'll find two different interfaces-one for the average user and one that is for the more advanced user. The simple interface has the look and feel similar to that of DVD player software. It is very easy to use and navigate. The advanced interface provides plenty of options to customize the program to fit your needs.

This software provides good protection with the on-demand scanner and the resident scanner. The email protection is adequate for POP3, SMTP and IMAP accounts.

AVAST 4 didn't receive the West Coast Labs Checkmark level 1 or 2. AVAST wasn't as effective as some of the other products reviewed. For better virus protection refer to some of our higher ranked products

The AVAST update feature checks for product and virus definition updates at either a user-defined interval or manually. When you do a manual check for updates, you decide which updates to install. When the software automatically checks for updates, it can update the files at that time or at a time previously specified during setup.

This product is very easy to install and we didn't encounter any problems.

The manufacturer offers online support with a knowledge base search and FAQs page. You can contact customer support through email-they responded to ours within 36 hours. The telephone support is only for commercial users.
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