Avast announced version 8 of its free and paid antivirus is now available. It includes a number of new features and modules to the software. Updates to malware search capabilities, better use of the sandbox, and more efficient definitions through the Avast Evo-Gen feature make it a decent upgrade.
Avast 8 also includes a software updater to keep your frequently targeted apps up to date as well as a Browser Cleanup tool, which can remove common toolbars and plugins from your browsers.
The user interface also received an overhaul with version 8. On the Avast support forums, that change is what seems to be receiving the most complains. The low contrast and Windows 8-style, big button/touch-friendly redesign isn’t being well received.
During the install, you will want to pay attention to uncheck “install Google Chrome as my default browser” and uncheck “install Google toolbar for Internet Explorer”.
The latter there I find particularly ironic since Avast 8’s new Browser Cleanup removes toolbars from your computer. Did Avast manage to get a deal with Google for payment for every toolbar install but they then offer a tool that removes browser toolbars?
The browser cleanup tool can be downloaded as a standalone application. The download button on the application works to get the file and assumedly Avast will have the utility posted to their download page soon.
The Software Updater feature is a nice single place to go to keep programs like IE, Java, Adobe Flash Player and others up to date. With the paid, Premier line of Avast 8 this can keep your applications up to date automatically.
Not all of the new features announced with Avast 8 are included in the free antivirus for home users. You can see the full comparison at Avast’s version page.