avast! Free Antivirus Review

A Full Review of avast! Free Antivirus

Screenshot of avast! Free Antivirus v11 in Windows 7
avast! Free Antivirus. © AVAST Software

avast! Free Antivirus from AVAST Software is one of the best free antivirus software programs you can download. It's a complete tool that protects you against threats from the internet, email, your local files, P2P connections, your instant messages, and much more. In fact, the 2018 version outdoes its competitors to a pretty significant extent. 

But is avast! really free? Yes!

Pros

  • Provides on-access protection from viruses and other malware
  • Includes a "heuristics engine" to detect previously unknown threats
  • Includes a silent mode to hide alerts during gaming and other full-screen activities
  • Very easy installation
  • Long history of excellent virus protection
  • Works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP

Cons

  • Cannot be used in commercial environments (home use only)
  • May attempt to install unrelated (but safe) software
  • Registration is periodically required but it is free
  • May show advertisements within the program

Description

avast! Free Antivirus includes fully functional antivirus, antispyware, and heuristics engines. It includes real-time protection of files, email, web surfing, P2P transfers, instant messages, and even suspicious behavior. It scans browser plugins to find installs that have a poor reputation and may be malicious.

The Home Network Security feature can scan your network to find infections and vulnerabilities, such as identifying routers that are using default passwords and checking if your network is accessible from the Internet.

Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP are all supported operating systems for avast! Free Antivirus. Yearly registration is required to continue use, but avast! Free Antivirus regularly updates malware definitions and the program itself to stay current against new threats.

Installation Issues 

You might be asked to install the free Google Chrome browser and IE toolbar during installation. These additions are not required. Just uncheck the boxes if you're not interested.

You're required to register avast! to use it for more than 30 days, but registration is free and pretty simple. You'll also have to re-register once each year, but again, this is free.

Don't Believe the Rumors 

Some users have stated that avast! Free Antivirus is not free or that it's not a truly complete antivirus program. That's simply not true. avast! Free Antivirus is a complete anti-malware tool. The only additional benefits you might get from purchasing "Pro Antivirus" or "Internet Security" from avast! are the firewall, privacy, and spam protections, and you can get from other programs for free ​if you want them.

So yes, avast! Free Antivirus provides constant virus protection, also called on-access or resident protection, for free. This means that avast! Free Antivirus can completely replace antivirus software from companies like McAfee and Norton that charge for their software and for yearly access to updates.

Our Thoughts on avast! Free Antivirus

avast! Free Antivirus has been around a long time and overall it's an excellent free antivirus program. It includes just about everything you'd ever want from an antivirus program, free or otherwise. avast! Free Antivirus is the only anti-malware tool you'll need on your Windows computer.