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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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