Avast! Free Antivirus 7 – Flogging The Upgrade Over And Over Again

Antivirus:
Lee
Version:
2012

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3 Stars
On April 19, 2012
Last modified:June 2, 2012

Summary:

This free antivirus program offers a good level of protection. It runs well, even on older computers, but there is no doubting the fact that Avast! want you to upgrade to a paid version!!!

Avast! Free Antivirus 7 Review

avast-7-toolbar

Will you let us install a browser toolbar?

Do you want to upgrade to a paid version of Avast?

Can we temp you with Avast Internet Security?

How about a discount?

Have you registered yet?

upsell

If that annoys you then you’ll know how I feel about this latest free antivirus program from Avast! Before I even started testing it for the first time the company had tried to get me to take a course of action that would have put some money in their pockets.

Which is one hell of an off-putting shame as this free program is actually quite good.
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What are Avast! 7’s system requirements?[/box]

The minimum system requirements for running Avast! 7 aren’t too high at all which will please owners of older computers:

  • Windows XP SP 2 / Vista (not starter version though) / 7
  • 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows fully supported
  • Pentium 3 processor or better
  • 200 MB of free hard drive space
  • 128 MB or more of RAM

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What does this new free antivirus program look like?[/box]

And what does it sound like!?! Yeah, thats right, Avast! programs use speech for some notifications which is either kinda cool or a tad annoying depending upon your point of view.

main-interface

The program interface is quite nice and fresh, as you would expect from a newly released program.

it-really-looks-great-in-places

Everything that you would want is laid out nicely and intuitively and some of the graphs really do look the business.

nice-graphics

Plus, if you want to upgrade, you’ll never be more than a few screen inches away from a button or banner that will allow you to do just that!!!
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What extra features does this antivirus program offer?[/box]

Avast! Free Antivirus 7 offers a few interesting and welcome features which add to the protection it affords you:

  • Automatic sandboxing – if the antivirus program has suspicions about a program you are attempting to run then it will open it in a sandbox. This means that the program will be unable to make any permanent system changes (which is what malware would try to do). You can adjust how Avast! determines whether to auto sandbox a program. Additionally, continually using a program that has been previously sandboxed, e.g. a program you may have written yourself, will cause it to seem less risky and hence not get sandboxed after a while.
  • Remote access – got a problem you can’t resolve? If so, use this feature to generate an 8 digit code which you can then share with another Avast! user or tech support so that they can help by remotely accessing your computer.
  • Web reputation – when you surf the web after installing this antivirus program you’ll see a small set of bars in the top right of your browser. These will display a different colour depending upon how other Avast! users have rated the site, ranging from red (dangerous) to green (safe). This method of evaluating sites has it’s pros and cons of course – user voting means many sites can be rated in a very short period of time but it does make the results rather subjective too.
web-reputation

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How good is the scanning and how much will it slow my computer?[/box]

One thing I do like about this free antivirus program is the fact that it uses few system resources as you can see in the Task Manager screenshot below:

resource-usage

The CPU usage probably peaked at around 48% and was typically nearer single figures for the majority of the scan. The memory usage you see above was pretty constant for the entire duration of the full system scan that I ran.

In terms of detecting malware the program blocked the majority of the nasties I threw it’s way and dealt admirably with some trojans I’d put on the machine in advance of installing the program. I’ve seen better results with other programs but this one isn’t too bad at all.

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Conclusion[/box]

Will you let us install a browser toolbar?

Do you want to upgrade to a paid version of Avast?

Can we temp you with Avast Internet Security?

How about a discount?

Have you registered yet?

That the constant upselling is what I remember most about this program is telling. I know that security companies, like any other, need to make money in order to survive and flourish but is there any need to be so in your face about it?

In this day and age the art of selling has to be more about putting your product out there and garnering a good reputation surely?

Avast! Free Antivirus 7 is a capable antivirus program with some handy features. It runs well on my system and will likely be quite suitable for those of you who still use computers that are quite old. But the upselling is annoying as hell and for that reason alone I wouldn’t have this program anywhere near my computer.

This free antivirus program offers a good level of protection. It runs well, even on older computers, but there is no doubting the fact that Avast! want you to upgrade to a paid version!!!
About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. b Narsingrao Rao says:

    compleat security for my sistem

  2. Lee, thanks for the review.

    Of course we would like to see people upgrade — if it’s right for them. We owe it to avast! Free Antivirus users to let them know about our other software choices and, ultimately, our free version doesn’t keep the office lights on.

    Our business model was one of the first of the ‘freemium’ models. That is, rather than spending $ millions (of potential R&D investment) on advertising, as the majority of our competitors do, we instead offer a full-featured (freemium) software that spreads the brand via word-of-mouth.

    There are, however, definite differences between avast! Free Antivirus and, for example, avast! Internet Security, that we feel you should know about — in order to make the most informed decision about your PC security.

    If you’re ever in Prague, let us know, and you can come by our HQ and see how it all works.

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I totally empathise with your views on keeping the office lights on – not many people can offer something for nothing and still keep a roof over their heads – its just that I’ve seen it done far less obtrusively elsewhere (my opinion). I think in these austere times people are rather wary of the ‘obvious’ upsell (I know I and many people I know are at any rate). I think if your product is good, and yours certainly isn’t bad, then it ought to be able to sell itself without so many reminders!!

      Of course I am aware of differences between products or at least I hope I am by now. In fact, I’m looking at the PRO version of this AV on my laptop right now – there is less upselling evident in that one :) – and so subconsciously (or otherwise) I’m actually liking it a whole lot more already.

      As for Prague, if I ever find myself there you’re buying the first beer! :)

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