Avast antivirus has gained some extreme popularity over the past couple of years, currently it has over 100 million users worldwide. Having such a wide fan base also means that it makes for a great alternative to the big brands out there, such as Seagate Norton and Kaspersky antivirus suites.
Set-up and installation:
The installation of Avast Pro Antivirus 6.0 is simple and straightforward. The complete installation was done well under a couple of minutes and the best part about that was, it did not demand any reboot.
There are very few software interfaces that can be both great looking and perfectly functional, well, the Avast Antivirus Pro 6 is one of them. The main page lists the current security status of the system at the top and right under that, there is the on and off options for silent and gaming modes. With these options, you will be able to prevent the suite from displaying any pop-up messages for a set time period. It is also worth mentioning that the suite will automatically stop showing any pop ups if any application is running in full screen mode, which is a very thoughtful feature to include. There is a set of menu options to the left of the screen that provides you with quick and simple access to the suites extras such as the real-time protection features, virus scans and other miscellaneous protection features.
Avast’s System Tray context menu provides you with shortcuts to some of the popular Avast commands like SafeZome and Gaming Mode. You will also be able to disable the real-time shields for a while from the main menu. All of Avast Pro Antivirus 6’s bells and whistles are stored in the Additional Protection menu. In the sandbox, you will be able to run the notorious applications within a limited analysis state. In the situation where the application has malware, the suite the try and limit the damage it will cause to your system.
The only disadvantage that we found with the Avast interface is that, the suite plays a voiceover whenever something important happens. Your very first experience of this will be when you launch the application for the first time. A woman’s voice says “Welcome to Avast”, which can be quite annoying to hear over and over again. The good news is, you still can disable this feature in the settings menu and disabling the enable Avast sounds.
Avast is certainly much better than many of the leading antivirus suites when it comes to the department of features as well as protection.
The Real-Time Shields is one of the suite’s features where the software performs instantaneous scanning on the potentially unknown virus threats. And the suite has a broad spectrum of such real-time scanners for items such as instant messaging, web scripts, mail, P2P apps, arbitrary network connections, file system, and other such malware. On each of the scanners, there is a graph that details the current scanning activity and there will also be a red bar that comes up on the screen in case an intrusion is being attempted.
Another of the new features of the Avast Pro Antivirus 6.0 Version is the AutoSandbox feature that utilises the real-time heuristics to put the applications that show suspicious behaviour in the sandbox without the user giving any sort of input.
The most interesting and notable of the miscellaneous features is its SafeZone. This feature is a unique one that brings in a separate desktop that is a nag-free and stripped down Google Chrome, known as the SafeZone Browser. The feature is just built from the open source code of chrome, with just a few exceptions, but it is technically equivalent to the chrome itself. This feature of the suite makes sure that none of the other applications or browser extension get access to the Safezone’s execution context as well as traffic from network. This also makes sure that the keystroke loggers and other malware from getting your personal and sensitive data.
Avast Pro AntiVirus 6 offers a wide range of virus scanning options; such as a Full Scan of the drives, Quick Scan of the critical system areas, a custom scan for some specific files and directories, a scan of all the removable storage devices that are currently attached to the system and also a boot-time scan that will initiate each and every time the system is being restarted. Unfortunately, the suite is in the bottom in the scale when it comes to updating the virus definition database as it has an average of 2 updates for every day.
Since the Avast Pro Antivirus 6 is rich in functionality, it can be forgiven if the software is not setting any particular records with the performance capabilities. The suite was able to scan just about 19MB of data per second, and for a 1GB file it took about a minute. While this is not the worst among the suites, it does place the software in the bottom three.
One of the biggest performance factors that consumers look for in the current antivirus suites is not only that the software provides top class protection to the system, but also does not slow down the performance of the computer too much by eating up all of its resources. The memory usage is quite minimal at 6.6MB, it increased about 22 seconds to the restart time, the installation of the program itself requires 280MB of your hard drive space, which it quite nominal. The first scan rates at about 20mbps and the subsequent scans take about 19mbps. The suite added fractions of a second to application launches and file conversions. Hence, as the numbers indicate, the Avast Pro Antivirus 6 is one among the best with less performance impact on the system.
Virus and Malware Detection:
Protection is the most important functionality that we expect from a software suite. So let us have a look how the leading virus and Malware testing industries have certified the suite. AV Comparatives have two main tests that they conduct, the first one is the Proactive Test in which Avast was rated 2 out of three stars and the second test is called the ‘On Demand Detection Test’ and Avast excelled in this test getting all three stars. AV Test performed three tests on the suite with Windows 7 platform, Windows XP and Windows Vista and had scores that were good enough to get the lab’s certification. The ICSA and Virus Bulletin Labs have also certified the suite 100%. The West Coast Labs specialises in functionality testing and performance validation, and the Avast Pro Antivirus 6 has managed to get the WCL’s checkmark.
Avast always has had excellent help file assistance and the technical support options are quite good too. As we had mentioned previously, the suite has an excellent interface, offering great on-screen assistance and has great pop-up texts that define what are the features and options are all about. There is a great local help file, which is quite thorough and well written, simple to look for and organised well too. Unfortunately, it is not that simple to get help from Avast. The only link that you will be able to get through to the support site is in the local help file and when clicked, it opens the company’s support centre only in the help browser and not on your default one. Even after you manage to get there, all you get is a knowledge base, looking through the forums, and finally providing a support ticket. There is no live chat support either.
Overall, the Avast Pro Antivirus 6 is great with very few downsides. The only thing annoying with the suite is the woman’s voice over that will definitely force you to mute the speakers. The average scanning performance too is below average. However, the suite offers a fantastic interface with some of the features that are hardly provided with other suites. It also has some solid performance against viruses and malware. Autobox and SafeBone are fantastic features to be included in an entry-level commercial software. The Avast Pro Antivirus 6 is a great alternative to Norton and certainly deserves some serious consideration.
Avast Pro AntiVirus 6 Security Software – Package Details
|Software Name||Avast Pro AntiVirus 6|
|Suite type||Antivirus protection|
|License type||Three users|
|License Validation period||1 year|
|Package type||Complete package|
|Operating System||Windows XP SP2+ 32-bit
Windows Server 2003, Vista, 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) only
RTM versions are supported (Windows 7 SP1 RC is
currently also supported)
|Software Requirements||Processor: Pentium 300 MHz or faster
Hard Disk: 210MB free space
MS Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
|Supported browsers||Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
Mozilla Firefox 2 or higher
|FireWall||Security that blocks intruders
and hackers, even in your wireless network
|Identity Protection||Confidential information filter that protects your personal data|
|Core technology||Antivirus and anti-spyware engine
Real-time anti-rootkit protection
|Hitech Features||Boot-time scanner
|Real-time Shields||File System Shield
P2P Shield/IM Shield
|Other security features||64-bit support
Smart virus definition updates
Fast application of updates
Multi-threaded scanning optimization
|Special Operating Modes||Multimedia/Gaming Mode|
|Support||Technical Support by e-mail and web|