We put Avira's Free anti-virus to the test and got some surprising results
Excellent detection rate, light on the system, can exclude files from real-time scanner as well, impressive choices in the scheduler, good help file
Navigation is cumbersome, nag screen after every definition update, no email scan in free version, reports need to be better organized
Expert Rating :
I'm always in search of a smarter security system to take care of my computer at home. This always leads me to test multiple security solutions and see for myself which one of them is good. However, this review came out of a necessity rather than a need.
For years I've been using Avast Home Edition, which is a good anti-virus. It is the only anti-virus that I know which lets you schedule a bootable scan that scans before Windows loads (really effective for those leech-like viruses). But the same smart anti-virus had been flagging my aunt's favourite Mah-jongg game as a virus. Avast just like Norton doesn't give a way to ignore the file and yet run it, it's either denies access to the file, quarantines it, deletes it or performs no action, but it still doesn't let it run the file. Therefore the only option left is, disable the anti-virus, which is a not a very smart solution as she likes to play Mah-jongg several times a day and doesn't understand enabling/disabling of the anti-virus.
How do I know whether the file is clean you ask? Simple, the said game is a freeware, has not given an issue before an update last month and has been tested with VirusTotal (uses all the available scanners in the market) which reports that only 7 out of 30 odd anti-viruses report the file as a virus. This led me to look for a solution that allows me to run the anti-virus and yet ignore the file at the same time for free!
Happy to announce (for my aunt's sake) that Avira AntiVir Personal Free Edition allows the same while at the same time providing top-notch protection. Sounds too good to be true...read on!
This is just a silly observation but Avira's logo uses an umbrella that reminds me a lot of Resident Evil; you know viruses affecting humans turning them into zombies, ironic in this connection!
Difference between Free and Paid
When free is attached to anything, it's often considered sub-standard. But as experience has taught me this is thankfully not true in all cases. While Avira is a great free software, there are features that are cutoff, which you ought to know about.
The entire detailed comparison can be found at their website here between Free Vs Premium (Antivirus only) Vs Security Suite (which also includes firewall protection).
1. No protection from malicious websites (though Google/Firefox/McAfee toolbar can help here)
2. No e-mail protection at all 3. GameMode isn't available in Premium version of the Anti-virus either; it is only available for the Security Suite only.
4. The Free version cannot create bootable rescue CD's in case you cannot start your system at all. 5. No Anti-drive to stop malware downloads while surfing. So does it allow the infection or catch it after its downloaded? I really don't know how different this is from Anti-Malware protection it already has.