Free antivirus you can trust

Can a free download really protect your PC? Yes, but you have to choose the right one.

By Nick Mediati, PC World |  Security, antivirus, free software

The work Lavasoft put into the UI shows right from the installation phase. Ad-Aware uses its own custom installer, which downloads the most recent definitions file as part of the installation process, so you don't have to update Ad-Aware immediately after installing it. That's slick, but what isn't is that you still have to restart your system before Ad-Aware can start working.

As part of the installation process, Ad-Aware suggests installing its browser toolbar, and switching your default homepage and search engine to Blekko. These are enabled by default, but you can opt out of them if you wish.

The home screen feels like the dashboard of a powerful application, but it will not confuse even a novice user. The Scan Now button can't be missed, nor can the current system status. More technically inclined users will easily be able to view scan reports, quarantined files, protection settings, and the status of definition updates.

It is very easy to switch features on and off, although there is no real reason to toggle protection off. The only toggle button I see users routinely using is the one for Gaming Mode, newly available in the free version. This is a silent mode in which Ad-Aware doesn't show pop-ups. Another significant new feature in the free version is real-time protection, or scans of your computer as you work.

All in all, Ad-Aware 10 is a promising product, and it feels polished and modern. As for its effectiveness, only lab testing can render a verdict.

(Ad-Aware 10 reviewed by Erez Zukerman)


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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