Avast! Free Antivirus 2014 is avast!'s latest malware-hunting engine.
Installation is fast, perhaps due to a major reduction in product size. Compatibility seems good, too, with the package running happily alongside Norton Internet Security on our test PC.
Scans can apparently be much faster, for some file types at least; in terms of in-memory scan times, EXE files are now checked around twice as quickly, text contents (web pages, scripts) are up to 10x faster. (The program still needs to load this content in the first place, though, so final scan times won't change very much.)
There are several important improvements to avast's protection features. You get enhanced streaming updates for real-time detections; a new DeepScreen technology helps the program make smarter decisions about unknown files; extended cloud scanning again assists in detection; and if something does turn up, then improved cleaning will get rid of it more reliably.
Still not enough? A new "Hardened" mode can be set up to run only known safe programs. It's a little drastic but can work well for inexperienced users (see Settings > Antivirus > Hardened Mode to set this up).
And all this is presented in a vastly simplified and more configurable interface (there are now only three shields to worry about, for instance).
Please note, the program will by default install Google Toolbar. If that's not what you want, pay attention during setup and clear the relevant checkbox when it appears.
What's new in 'Revision 4' (build 9.0.2021)?
- We've improved the security of the product - e.g security of our processes (guarded by the self defense component), we handle the conditions for the Guest account better, we are very senstitive for any incorrect inputs from the user with a negative impact on the system's security, or, we tuned the import settings functionality not to allow bypassing any protections
- We've added "resume" support in the setup component, so some of you should notice smoother downloading - depends on a "quality" of your connection (mainly during the program update where the amount of data is quite big)
- We've included a new antispam library (IS/Premier editions) for better accuracy of our anti-spam module
- We've put warnings during the installation process if there could be some obvious problems resulting in not 100% functionality after the installation (missing admin rights, insufficient space on disk, etc.)
- We've added ability to disable promotion popups (in PRO/IS/Premier editions). We strongly believe that our additional products can be valuable for you, but we also respect your will not to be bothered by such offers.
- We've performed a static analysis of our code resulting in many fixes (but don't worry, nothing was critical, just a small tuning
- General bugfixing - this covers a lot of stability & performance changes in all components (but the main focus was traditionally on the network & engine components)