Avast Free 5, an A-list freeware antivirus app, provides the same steadfast protection of well-known, pricier antivirus programs. It has recently partnered with Google Chrome and crossed the 100-million-user mark. Avast is remarkable for both its effectiveness and arguably providing the most complete free antivirus on the market.
Avast Free 5, formerly known as the Home Edition, protects you with multiple guards. The antivirus, anti-spyware and heuristics engines form a security core that also includes multiple real-time shields. The adjustable mail and file system shields join the pre-existing behaviour, network, instant messaging, peer-to-peer and web shields. The behavioural shield is a common-sense feature, as security software publishers leverage their large user bases to detect threats early and warn others. Other new features include a silent-gaming mode and an "intelligent scanner" that only looks at changed files after establishing a baseline. The biggest change in Avast 5, though, is the interface. Gone is the music player default look, which was skinnable but confusing. In its place is a sleek UI that new users should find far more manageable. It's also Aero-friendly, with Explorer-style navigation buttons in case you can't remember where you tweaked a particular setting.
Avast 4.8 was the only freeware to score in the highest category, Advanced+, in the most recent independent efficacy tests done by AV Comparatives. It's also the only program that tested faster than Norton AntiVirus 2010, and was tied with Microsoft for second place in fewest false positives detected. The detection score was also high, at 98 per cent. That's worse than Avira, but Avast noted far fewer false positives. Avast 5 Free lacks features in the paid upgrade including anti-spam measures, a testing sandbox, a Script shield and a firewall. Even without those, Avast Free 5 is probably the strongest, free antivirus currently available.
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