Avast's freebie finished second in PCWorld's 2012 free antivirus roundup. Avast Free Antivirus 7 mostly excelled in protecting against malware, it has a versatile interface, and it sped through our battery of malware tests.
Avast's defenses were weakest at blocking new real-world threats: It caught just 78.6% of them--not outstanding, but slightly above average. Avast did far better at stopping well-known malware, detecting 99.1% of samples in our zoo test--a very good showing. This package cleans up malware infections effectively, as well. It detected all the malware residing on our test PC, and disarmed the invaders 93% of the time, tying for second-best in this test. The utility also removed all traces of infections two-thirds of the time.
The Avast offering won't slow your PC down much. It completed the on-demand scan test in 1 minute, 34 seconds, for second-best in the group; and it finished the on-access test in 4 minutes, 16 seconds, good enough for third-best.
Avast's interface has a lot going on; advanced users will find many settings to toggle. Despite this complexity, it is nevertheless friendly enough that it shouldn't scare away less-geeky users.
This story, "Review: Avast Free Antivirus" was originally published by PCWorld.