- Simple interface
- Easy to install
Today’s review looks at another free antivirus program, this time from Avira. Will it be a case of ‘you get what you pay for?’
Will it run on my PC?
The minimum suggested system requirements for this program are as follows:
- Windows XP SP2 (64 bit) / Windows XP SP3 (32 bit) / Vista SP1 (32 and 64 bit) / 7 (32 bit and 64 bit)
- 512 MB or more Ram (Windows XP) / 1024 MB Ram (Vista/7)
- 150 MB or more of hard drive space
- 1 Ghz or faster processor
Is it easy to install this program?
In theory Avira Free Antivirus 2013 should be extremely easy to install – I’ve certainly seen plenty of mention about it’s ‘two-click installation’. In practice, there were problems. In fact, it took me about 2 hours to get going. As part of the installation process the program checks for and removes any previously installed security programs. Unfortunately, in my instance, it left bits behind and I had to then manually play around with the registry (not something for the unitiated) to get rid of them. Until I did so I had some random lock-ups which I can only assume were related.
As part of the installation process you will be asked if you wish to install the toolbar and change your default search engine. Personally, I find this highly annoying but at least it is opt-in rather than opt-out. That said, it does offer many features (more on that later).
Get past that and you get the choice of either an Express or Custom installation. The majority of users will be best served by the former.
Next, the program will launch into a quick scan as part of the installation process.
This really is quick, taking just over two minutes on my system, and makes sure that the program is good to go when you need it.
What is the user interface like?
If you used the 2012 version of this program then you’ll feel right at home here as very little has changed since last year. The most appealing thing is the fact that it is very simple which always bodes well for the non-expert users who may want to give this antivirus program a try.
On the left hand side of the interface is the main navigation area whilst the larger portion of the screen interface is taken up with the main security functions. As you can see above, the program makes it crystal clear whether you are protected or not. The green box saying your computer is secure will turn red if a critical issue needs attention and yellow when there are less serious tasks to perform.
What features does the program offer?
As a free antivirus program the features on offer here are limited in comparison to, say, a full internet security suite. There are, however, still several areas of interest.
Obviously, the main items you’d expect to find in an AV program are here:
- Virus protection
- Defence against Trojans
- Protection vs rootkits and adware
The availability of some of these features will depend on whether you installed the Avira toolbar or not. If you did then you will have access to multiple in-browser features such as Do Not Track and Ad Blocking. There are also other features which will give you a reputation rating for websites and also social network protection via SocialShield. Additionally, the ‘Experts Market’ gives you access to crowdsourced tech support where you can buy and sell support with other Avira users.
Will it keep me safe?
In my own testing I found this program to be good rather than excellent.
Both detection and removal of threats were pretty good but this level of protection did come at a cost that I think you should be aware of (see description and screenshot below).
Overall I would say that Avira Free Antivirus 2013 is a fair program and you certainly can’t grumble at it’s performance in terms of its zero cost.
I did, however, have problems getting it installed in the first place which are concerning – I’d like to hear if any of you have had these issues with Avira or any other brand come to mention it.
The other concern for me was the resource usage whilst a scan was in progress. As you can see above, both memory usage and CPU usage are on the high side and remained thus for the entire duration of the scanning process. During this time the computer was very unresponsive to say the least whilst attempting to multitask.
In conclusion then I would say that this program may be worth a look if your budget is zero but I suspect there may be better options available to you this year.