My Review Of Avast! Antivirus Pro 2012
Today’s 2012 antivirus review features the latest offering from Czech company Avast!
I recently looked at the free version of this product which was marred somewhat by what was, in my opinion, excessive marketing looking to push users into a paid upgrade. Now that I’m looking at a paid for version of the company’s software (albeit a trial version) will things be any different?
- Automatic sandboxing
- Virtual desktop
- Reputation link scanning
What do I need to be able to run Avast! Antivirus Pro 2012?
The minimum system requirements for running Avast! 7 are fairly low by today’s standards 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
Does it look good? Is it easy to use?
Antivirus Pro 2012 does indeed look good, as well as sound good! Yep, this is the antivirus program that talks to you. Either in a female American accent or another style of your own choosing. Personally I found the speech part fun for a while but the novelty soon ran out. But thats not really important – its how the interface looks and how intuitive it is that really counts.
And on that front the program does well enough with all the usual features you would expect to find neatly laid out down the left hand side. The settings can be entered via a link at the top of the screen. Most importantly to me at this stage, because of the previous review I guess, was how forward Avast! were going to be about marketing the full paid version of the program. Thankfully, not very, was the answer with just a small buy now link at the top and a marketplace link on the left. +1 for that guys!
Using the program is quite an intuitive affair and the newest version does actually look quite stunning in places, especially some of the graphs that are on offer.
Support is also pretty damn good here. As you can see from the screenshot below you can get help / contact Avast! in many different ways:
- through a FAQs section
- Tech support
- user manual
- Remote Assistance (hopefully this is an area Avast have improved recently)
- Help section
What features does Avast! Antivirus Pro 2012 offer?
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.
- Code emulator – another way to check out risky files without potentially compromising your computer.
- Continuous updates – no need to remember to update manually (unless you want to).
- Email protection – reliably protects you against email attacks.
- Protection against viruses, trojans and rootkits.
- 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.
How effective is this antivirus program?
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.
The one missing feature that I think should have been included is some form of anti-phishing protection. Other antivirus programs include this as standard and it was noticeable by it’s absence here.
Will running this antivirus program cripple my computer?
One thing I liked about the free version of this antivirus program was the fact that it uses few system resources. The paid version actually seems better though as you can see in the Task Manager screenshot below.
In this instance the CPU usage peaked at somewhere around 35% and was often in single figures for the majority of the scan. Memory usage was also pretty low, and constant, for the entire duration of the full system scan that I ran.
My overall impression of Avast! Antivirus pro 2012
Avast! Antivirus Pro 2012 isn’t a bad program. There are surely better alternatives out there this year but this one genuinely works well on older computers which may be the most important consideration for those of you who are struggling with other security programs.
It is easy to use, leaves out the excessive marketing efforts of the free version, and it talks to you. What more could you want?!?
Do you want to see what the other vendors are offering this year? If so, read my other 2012 Antivirus reviews.