TO SAY THAT Avira is popular in the antivirus space is a gross understatement. According to Avira, over 200 million users around the world put their trust in its software. So should you, if you’re looking for free security.
Of course, this isn’t a popularity contest, though there are advantages to serving a large number of users. In this case, Avira has a large pool of users to draw information from regarding new and emerging threats, which are then stored in a database in the cloud. Unless you have the unlucky distinction of being the very first out of over 200 million users to stumble onto a brandnew strain of malware, there’s a good chance that whatever evil lurks in the shadows will have already been cataloged.
This isn’t just a theory of ours-Avira consistently scores high marks from third-party testing labs. In our own tests, Avira knocked nearly every harmful file unconscious, and in many cases it would follow up detection with a supplementary scan just to make sure no traces were left behind. One thing Avira doesn’t seem to do is skip over unchanged files during subsequent scans. Other AV programs use this technique to reduce scan times, and we’re not sure why Avira doesn’t.
Traversing Avira’s menus feels a bit convoluted at first. If you spend enough time poking around, you’ll feel better about your ability to drill down to an advanced option without any missteps, but who wants to spend time studying an AV software’s layout? At least there’s a fair amount to play with.
As with most freebie options, Avira lacks extra features like a two-way firewall, spam controls, and a game mode, which hushes the software when it detects you’re playing a game. Still, this is our top pick for no-cost security. Free, www.avira.com
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