Avast is by far my favorite antivirus application. I firmly believe that every home user should be using its free antivirus engine. In fact, I have never had to clean up a machine from a malware/virus infection that was running Avast! and I have cleaned up a large number of machines. None of those machines leave my service without having Avast! installed. It just works well. It doesn’t take up tons of system resources like many commercial antivirus applications. Looking at the changes, if you liked it before, the improvements they’ve made will make you an even bigger fan.
From the Avast! blog, Avast! 5 should be an improvement to an already great product:
These products are not minor updates from the existing products. They are all new. Some of the changes—such as the new user interface—are obvious. Some are not obvious at all (such as the new scanning engine). All-in-all we think they are a vast improvement from the current products—modern, light, fast, and very effective.
Here are some of the prime features of Free Avast! Antivirus product from another Avast! blog post.
- Built an entirely new user interface. The old car stereo interface is gone replaced with a very modern and easy to use graphical interface.
- Eliminated the email registration process. The free product still lasts for a year but now it only takes seconds online to register the product. All a person has to now do is to click a “register” button—no forms to fill out and no email information to provide.
- Added a gaming mode—elements of this were there in 4.8 but now we have made this a central function. No need to buy someone else’s “gaming” product. All the capability is right here in the free product.
- Ensured protection is top-notch. This was also a hallmark of the 4.8 version. We have long believed that free products should provide just as much malware protection as paid products. So in addition to the signature-based AV protection that you would expect, you also get all the modern detection techniques. Central to this is protection against web threats. These are 85% of the threats our users see—and the free product provides protection against them. There are also heuristic detections, behavioral detections, and just about any type of protection you can think of.
- Continued our hands-off approach to asking for money. We don’t agree with how many free products try to monetize their free users. So with us, we don’t hide the free product (it is front and center on our home page); you will not see a daily pop-up asking you to upgrade; the product will not find problems and then ask for money to fix them; and we won’t scare you into upgrading. Now of course, there are sales messages. There is a message when you download the free product. There is a message when you register the free product. And at expiration time a year later, there is a message. But in all of this messaging, you are presented two choices: download/register the free product or upgrade to a premium product. The choice is yours.
- Today January 19th, the free product (and all products) is being released in English and French. Over the next 10 days we will be rolling out the product in Czech, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
The new interface is indeed sexy. Hands-down it beats the old radio-style interface of Avast! 4. It seems very functional, clear, and offers new features like statistics and easy access to scans and enabling gaming mode.
You can install Avast! 5 right over Avast! 4 if you have that installed. After a quick restart, Avast! 5 will be protecting your system.
The Avast! site and all other products are updating today. Avast! Home Edition is free for home users. You can currently download Avast! 5 through CNET and the Avast site has updated to reflect the new products.