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Avast Free Antivirus 2014

Free
Reviewed
December 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Avast! Free Antivirus

Pros
  • Comprehensive scans
  • Clean interface
  • Lots of useful features
Cons
  • Average performance in some tests
  • Can mistakenly identify good programs as malware

Bottom line

Avast Free Antivirus 2014 doesn't perform as well as some other free antivirus programs, but it's still a decent and free choice. The redesigned user interface presents tons of information without subjecting the user to information overload. Lots of useful tools to keep you safe while online are included.

Setup and installation

Guessing games. The two professional reviewers who report on Avast Free Antivirus 2014 don't have many complaints, or much to say one way or the other, regarding difficulties getting things to run on clean or infected machines. Eddie Cho grouses that it would be nice to know more about what certain optional components (such as browser plug-ins) do so that it's easier to decide on whether or not to install them.

Features

Streamlined interface a hit. The user interface has been completely re-done for 2014, and it earns kudos. Neil Rubenking at PCMag.com notes that the main window reports security status, with four other icons used to select important or favorite program features. There's a browser plug-in option that marks search engine results to let you know of a site's reputation. A Do Not Track feature lets you know what tracking cookies have been placed on a current page, and most are blocked by default. You can create a rescue disk malware removal tool to defeat ransom-ware or other malware that blocks access to your computer.

Performance

Catches most, if not all, threats. Testing from the major independent labs is still incomplete, but Avast Free Antivirus 2014 has fared well thus far, similar to earlier versions. PCMag.com's own tests place it below average in keeping malware out, however. It's also a little bit aggressive in identifying malware, sometimes tagging perfectly good programs as viruses, and getting wrongly identified programs unblocked can be a challenge.

Our Sources

1. Virus Bulletin

Virus Bulletin is an independent testing lab that certifies security products for a variety of separate operating systems. Avast earns VB100 certification for every operating system except Linux and Windows 8 (not yet tested). You need to subscribe to Virus Bulletin to see detailed testing results.

Review: VB100 Results Summary, Editors of Virus Bulletin, As of March 2013

2. Download.com

CNET's Download.com awards Avast Free Antivirus 2014 its Download Pick award. It's called a "huge leap" over its predecessor, though much of that is based in its modified user interface that is very usable despite also displaying lots of information. The only caveat is that testing by the major independent labs has yet to be released.

Review: Avast Free Antivirus 2014, Eddie Cho, Oct. 15, 2013

3. PCMag.com

Unlike many reviewers, PCMag.com still conducts its own malware testing. In the case of Avast, malware blocking is only "middling," and the program was a little too aggressive in identifying benign programs as malignant. With its streamlined user interface and abundant features, Rubenking calls Avast a "contender in the free antivirus space," but gives the Editors' Choice nod to other products.

Review: Avast! Free Antivirus 2014, Neil J. Rubenking, Nov. 14, 2013

Antivirus Software Runners Up:

Avast Free Antivirus 2014 Free

2 picks including: PCMag.com, Virus Bulletin…

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus Est. $30 for 3 PCs/Macs

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Norton AntiVirus Est. $50 and up

1 pick including: Amazon.com, PCMag.com…

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ Free

1 pick including: PCMag.com, Download.com…

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