My 2012 Review Of Avira Free Antivirus

The latest in my series of reviews of free 2012 antivirus programs is for the 2012 version of Avira Free Antivirus which can be downloaded from

The Good:
  • 1. Good detection and removal of malware
  • 2. Low system resource usage
  • 3. Quick scans
The Bad:
  • 1. Incorrectly identified 3 legitimate files as malware
  • 2. Not much else!

For a free antivirus program I thought this was really rather good. Read on to find out why.

Avira Free Antivirus scans on installation

Installation and first impression

After downloading the program from Cnet you will, obviously, need to double click on the file in order to get started. As part of the installation process Avira Free Antivirus will search for any potentially conflicting programs, i.e. any other security software you may not have uninstalled yet, and will then launch into a quick first scan, as seen as above.

As you can see from the image below, this isn’t a huge scan, but it will check for obvious signs of malware on your computer immediately rather than relying upon you, the user, to conduct your first scan.

Luke Filewalker

For anyone who notices the top of the dialogue box which references “Luke Filewalker” there is a Help link at the top of the scan screen which gives more detail:

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 Luke Filewalker

Why exactly its called Luke Filewalker I don’t really know but I’m guessing there may be some Star Wars fanboys at Avira? If so, users of this free antivirus program will have to hope its more Obi Wan than Jar Jar!


After installation and that quick first scan you can open the program proper and look at the interface. As you can see in the image below its a reasonably simple affair which is always good for the less computer savvy users out there.

You may notice that some of the options on the left and sliders on the right are greyed out. This is because they are not available in this free version of the software; you’ll have to hand your cash over to get to play with those features.

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 interface

The options you do get to use in Avira Free Antivirus 2012 are as follows

  • System Scanner
  • Realtime Protection
  • Quarantine
  • Scheduler
  • Reports
  • Events

For most users the ones you’ll be most interested in are the scanner which allows you to choose what exactly is included in any given scan.

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 scanning options

and the scheduler which obviously allows you to choose when exactly a scan will take place.

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 scheduled scanning

System Requirements

The minimum spec machine required to run Avira Free Antivirus 2012 is as follows:

  • Windows XP (SP2 for 64 bit / SP3 for 32 bit) / Vista SP1 (32 bit and 64 bit) / Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit)
  • 512 MB of RAM for XP / 1 GB of RAM for Vista and 7
  • 150 MB or more of free hard drive space
  • Processor speed {awaiting reply from Avira on this but would guess not too high}

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 low resource usage

Everyone has different expectations from whichever antivirus program they use. It goes without saying that you want it to protect you from malware but another important factor may be the impact it has on your system whilst running a scan.

On my machine a full scan was not only quick but, as I hope you can see from the image above, very easy on the CPU in addition to using a relatively small amount of memory.

+ Plus Points

  • 1. Good detection and removal of malware
  • 2. Low system resource usage
  • 3. Quick scans
  • 4. Prevents USB sticks autorunning

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 USB protection

– Minus Points

I only have one grumble about this program and thats it’s detection ability. When it comes to detecting malware it is excellent both in my own tests and those conducted by the independent labs. But it falsely detected a few bonus items too!

In the screenshot below you’ll see it flagged up 3 objects but I know they are not an issue at all – they’re all related to my Blue Snowball microphone. Luckily, thats not a huge problem for someone like myself who knew straight away what was being highlighted in the report but I could envisage some users removing important files by mistake if they experience a similar situation so watch out for that if you choose this program.

Avira Free Antivirus 2012 false positive


There really isn’t very much not to like about Avira Antivirus Free. Sure, some of the paid competition is better and has more features but this program is free and, for once, you get more than you pay for! False positives aside, its an effective program that won’t tax your system too much.

Get it for nothing from Cnet.

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.


  1. Anti Antivir says:

    Popup, thy new name is Avira. It has turned into a horrible 80MB bloatware, slowing down your computer and annoying users with permanent and hard to close advertizing popups, in other words it was turned into a horrible POS. Avira is dead. Rest In Popups.

  2. I´ve just upgrade to Avira Free Antivirus 2012, everything was fine until a wanted to start Scan; it just don´t work at all – I click on the Scan button, but nothing happens, can somebody tell me what´s wrong? thx

  3. preeti kandpal says:

    its a goog enti virus

  4. I used this for last 8 years

  5. I like this accurate antivirus

  6. this antivirs is the best i m intrsted

  7. Yup… its working now… I just had to add it to the scheduler for some reason and that seemed to do the trick cuz now I click on scan system for a manual update and it does it =)

  8. Hi, I’m not sure what to do I just installed avira free antivirus program and it won’t start the scan. I’m running windows vista. I had another antivirus program before. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  9. ajay kumar kajal says:

    this antivirs is the best i m intrsted

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