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Avast Free 5, an A-list freeware antivirus app, provides the same steadfast protection of well-known, pricier antivirus programs. 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, antispyware, 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 behavior, network, instant messaging, peer-to-peer, and Web shields. The behavioral 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’s recent independent third-party testing has been notably solid, able to hold its own against better-known programs from Symantec and Microsoft. Avast 5 Free lacks features in the paid upgrade including antispam measures, a testing sandbox, a Script shield, and a firewall. Even without those, Avast Free 5 is probably the strongest, free antivirus currently available.

CNET video review of Avast Free Antivirus

 

Avast Free Antivirus is based on multiple protective layers that work together to provide security. The product is designed for the average consumer who wants easy-to-use protection for basic email and web surfing. It is limited to home and non-commercial users.

New features match top detection with increased efficiency. Computer memory requirements for the new antivirus and antispyware engine have been cut in half. Scanning is 40 percent faster, saving both time and computer resources. Complete rootkit protection includes real-time detection to ward off initial installation, on-demand scanning and boot-time scans. The user friendly 5.0 has a new interface with easy-to-adjust settings, a context-sensitive help menu and graphs showing ongoing protection activities. Users can set the time and conditions for complete scans, with avast even waking up their computer from hibernation for midnight scans before putting it back to bed. Multiple shields prevent the spread of malware via email by checking incoming and outgoing emails for suspect content, identify malware by its anticipated behavior or by looking out for unusual activity and attempts at system modifications.

CNET Editor’s Note: Avast Antivirus Home Edition is free to use but requires e-mail registration before the end of the initial 60-day trial period. Following the registration you will receive by e-mail a license key valid for a period of 1 year.

What’s new in this version:

  • Antivirus and anti-spyware engine
  • Real time anti-rootkit protection
  • Potentially unwanted program detection
  • Code emulator
  • Heuristic engine
  • Wake-up for scan
  • Scheduled scanning
  • Fast application of updates
  • File System Shield
  • Mail Shield
  • Optimized for Intel’s new Core i7 chip
  • Multi-threaded scanning optimization
  • Graphical user interface

License: Free

Limitations: No limitations

Download Now (38.29 MB)

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is a high performance anti-malware application that thoroughly removes even the most advanced malware and spyware. With one of the fastest, most effective quick scans and malware removal capabilities on the market, this program is the perfect addition to your PC’s defenses. The full version of the product includes a number of key features, including the ability to schedule updates and scans and most importantly, a real-time malware protection module that blocks malicious processes before they even start.

Version 1.36 adds new heuristics for Vundo infections.

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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a surprisingly effective freeware antimalware tool. It’s a relatively speedy malware remover, with the quick scan taking about 8 minutes even with other high-resource programs running. The heuristics engine proved on multiple computers during empirical testing that it was capable of determining the difference between false positives and dangerous apps.

The app has some nice features rolled in, too. It supports multiple drive scanning including networked drives, context menu options including a scan-on-demand for individual files, and the FileAssassin option under the More Tools section for removing locked files. The interface is simple, but pleasant-looking and well-organized. Tabs live just below the oversized logo, with few options per tab to keep down the clutter. The installation process was fast enough, but interestingly offered up the well-kept changelog and an instant definition file update.

Do note that the real-time protection is restricted to the paid version, as is the scheduler for updates and scans. Overall, though, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a responsive malware remover that does what it should with a minimum of fuss.

License: Free to try

Limitations: Realtime protection disabled

Download Now (2.83MB)

 

AVG Anti-Virus – AVG Antivirus has been an up and coming virus scanner for many years. Its free version is one of the most downloaded files on the Internet in the Computer Security sector. The new interface is clean and intuitive while still remaining useful. AVG went through a re-write of their virus scanning engine and included two of their stand alone products with AVG Antivirus as well. AVG Antispyware and AVG Antirootkit were both integrated with the virus scanner. Also revamped is the way AVG Antivirus uses the hardware within your computer. It has been changed to make better use of the multiple cores which are common in todays computers. This should speed up scanning as well as reduce slowdowns.

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AVG Free Edition is the well-known antivirus protection tool. AVG Free is available free of charge to home users for the life of the product. Rapid virus database updates are available for the lifetime of the product, thereby providing the high level of detection capability that millions of users around the world trust to protect their computers. AVG Free is easy to use and will not slow your system down (low system resource requirements. Highlights include automatic update functionality, the AVG Resident Shield, which provides real-time protection as files are opened and programs are run, free Virus Database Updates for the lifetime of the product, and AVG Virus Vault for safe handling of infected files.

Go to  http://www.avg.com/product-avg-anti-virus-free-edition to download AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus – Kaspersky Labs has been one of the best antivirus software developers in the world for over a decade and now Kaspersky Anti-Virus  only strengthens that reputation. Founded by Natalia and Eugene Kaspersky in 1997, this Russian company is often the first to find and identify new viruses. Long used in Russia and Europe, Kaspersky is now making inroads in the North American market. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 is one of the most effective antivirus packages in the world today and boasts a great interface with easy to use and intuitive controls.

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The Kaspersky Online Virus Scanner scans your computer for malicious code and offers the same   exceptional detection rates as other Kaspersky Lab products.

Kaspersky Labs has always been known for its ability to effectively detect and remove viruses as well as or better than any software program on the market. Like BitDefender, Kaspersky was able to remove over 98% of all viruses it encountered in the most recent  objective tests of AV-test.org. Kaspersky is also certified by all of the major virus/malware testing laboratories. Tests confirm Kaspersky’s effectiveness. It found every virus on the test computer. 

Go to http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner to scan your computer for free.

 
 

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