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Avast! 4.8 Home Edition Free: The Classic

2009 Anti-Virus Roundup

Probably one of the best-known free anti-virus software offerings, the previous anti-virus software that Avast! offered suffered from a few chronic glitches. We were curious to see if they had been corrected.

A Classic Interface That’s Very Effective

The classic interface from Avast! has been redone for its newest arrival. For those novices out there, it does take a certain amount of time to figure out this program, but once you become used to it, it becomes really easy to use. That being said, it is not exactly the easiest software to use that is available on the market today.

The default settings suffer from a major failure: when Avast! scans for viruses, your archives are completely ignored. In order to fix this, choose the option “All Files.” Despite the relatively few possibilities available for advanced settings, the unique choice of functions (“settings” and “repairs,” notably) is practical and perfectly convenient for beginners.

The Weakest Protection That We Found In This Test

The hard drive scan showed us that this software has some serious problems (even after selecting the “All Files” function), and the resident protection only works during the scanning process. Moreover, it systematically leaves text files unchecked, even though they are a classic refuge for malevolent programs. However, it’s the email-attachment scans that have disappointed us the most–Avast manages to find the viruses more or less easily (with the notable exception of text files), but our version was completely incapable of getting rid of threats correctly. After a dozen or so tries, we gave up.

A Notable Influence on System Performance

Although the extra time it takes Windows to start up after Avast! is installed is limited (+10%), as is the case for all of the free anti-virus software we tested, the scan is far from easy on PC resources, despite its reasonable scan period (28 minutes). The use of memory resources is not excessive, but the processor is given quite a workout. All the same, it must be said that effectiveness of the uninstall process is really good.


The performance of Avast! is largely inferior to that of  competing offerings in every way and is definitely not better than what Antivir or Comodo offer. The results speak for themselves, and despite the presence of some utilities, like the P2P shield, we really can’t recommend Avast!.

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  • 1 Hide
    shurcooL , May 21, 2009 9:58 PM
    And here I thought AVG Free was the best free antivirus.
  • -1 Hide
    Doctor Rob , May 21, 2009 10:30 PM
    Kaspersky internet security/ anti-virus does not look like that.. what the heck
  • -5 Hide
    Shadow703793 , May 21, 2009 10:46 PM
    No NOD32?
  • -2 Hide
    spydeyrch , May 21, 2009 10:56 PM
    What about Microsoft's own Oncecare
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2009 11:14 PM
    These guys sound like they don't know what they are talking about. They claimed that Avast skips text files even though "they are a classic refuge for malevolent programs." Text files cannot be executed and therefore cannot contain viruses. The pictures they have are different as well. In any case I am a happy user of Avast and prefer it to McAfee and Norton but have not tried the others.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2009 11:35 PM
    the picture they use for Avast is with a different skin. You can switch the skin at anytime.
    I m using avast home too. I think the scanning for HD is bit longer and taxing a lot on my P4 2.6. But its complain...
  • -4 Hide
    romain_75 , May 21, 2009 11:37 PM
    what about Kespersky ??? lol so much missing good antivirus software
  • -1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 21, 2009 11:42 PM
    Spanish Kespersky = norman?
  • -1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 21, 2009 11:43 PM
    French... T_T?? not english there we go
  • -5 Hide
    Ciuy , May 21, 2009 11:57 PM
    KASPERSKY Ftw ...
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2009 1:37 AM
    what I used to like on Tom's site was the use of graphs... can't find any in this round up. More over how the can you judge resident scan performance just on start up time? What about disk R/W after all services have been initialized?
    Anyway quite poor article
  • 3 Hide
    Twoboxer , May 22, 2009 4:28 AM
    I use Norton NIS 2009, and have had problems that made me look for another. When I saw this article, I said "Great timing lol !"

    Unfortunately, there is nothing in this article that inspires confidence in either the comparisons or the conclusions. There are comments about Norton that my personal experiences tell me are incorrect (at least in the US).

    And, as said before, no tables, etc.

    Very disappointing.
  • 0 Hide
    goose man , May 22, 2009 6:05 AM
    @Shadow703793: NOD32 is in page 14,review-1315-14.html

    @romain_75: Kaspersky in page 15,review-1315-15.html

    @shurcooL: So do I, use AVG for last 3 years thinking it was best one.
    May be good time for change ...
  • -4 Hide
    dandy , May 22, 2009 6:17 AM
    eset smart security 4!!!and zone alarm extreme security 8
  • 6 Hide
    lumpoco , May 22, 2009 7:31 AM
    I'm very surprised to hear that Norton is not a resource hog. It is the reason I switched to free AV software like Avast and AVG. I'm not going back to Norton even if they paid me...OK I might consider it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2009 7:39 AM
    Why do you have pictures of Kaspersky on the page with AVG antivirus?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2009 7:52 AM
    haha kapersky became norman.. avg became kepersky.. lol
  • 5 Hide
    falchard , May 22, 2009 12:58 PM
    Was this review bought or something? For Norton to get such a good review I am leaning towards it being bought. I mean c'mon, Norton not being a resource hog and stealing your system. How do you expect us to believe that?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 22, 2009 3:06 PM
    Why not review Kaspersky Internet Security, instead of just the Antivirus, when the Internet Security package for other brands were reviewed?

    Also, The KAV Internest Securitiy is $54.99 at Walmart. The review stated it was double.

    I seriously have my doubts and found myself shaking my head after reading the reviews for several of the products in here.
  • 1 Hide
    bigbadbrad , May 22, 2009 3:37 PM
    I'm surprised you didn't give a "Best Value" award... I'd say for best value go with Trend Micro, for less than $20 you can get protection for 3 PCs for one year (Look online you will find it). I use it on all my computers and no complaints.
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