Avast Pro Antivirus
• Advanced antivirus scanning
• Light and unobtrusive
• Fast scans
• Virtual desktop protection
• Not as good as others at detecting malware
We like many things about the Avast Pro Antivirus. The software offers a virtual sandbox desktop for testing and running programmes and apps safely away from your computer. The advanced scanning methods provide good quality protection. And Avast is also speedy – we found the software had hardly any impact on the smooth running of the computer, and the scan optimization makes system scans stress free.
Avast may be best known for its free antivirus offerings but this paid Pro version gives you much better protection. See what you think after reading the review of Avast’s features.
Running Avast is pretty simple, you download it from the website onto a supported computer system (Windows XP or newer) and you're good to go. If you want, download a trial version of the software straight from the homepage.
Avast recommends you remove any other antivirus systems from your computer before you install the programme. Once you have started to install the software you are prompted to run a deep scan that aims to get rid of any major viruses that could prevent the programme installing correctly; a great feature that helps you if you’ve got a heavily infected PC. Once we’d completed the scan we found the installation straightforward with just a few clicks to make.
Avast Pro offers a number of different tools to keep your browsing and working safe. There's automatic sandbox browsing where you buy or browse online in a virtual desktop, and an Auto Sandbox that puts suspicious files or applications straight into the protected sandbox zone. Avast works well, we think, to keep your computer safe from spyware, Trojans, rootkits and malware.
Avast uses a FileRep system to keep tabs on different files that could cause you problems. You’re warned beforehand if you are about to use a risky file. The software also protects you against phishing, hackers and spam.
One of the effective parts of the Avast offering is its heuristic scanning system than can pick up malware even if it looks like a harmless file.
Online shopping – The antivirus software includes a small virtual window (the "sandbox") you can use when you shop or bank online.
Social networking – Avast is good for you if you spend a lot of time chatting online. The software has built-in IM, P2P and Web shields to make sure you are safe on Facebook or IM.
Email – Avast Pro adds protection against malware spread via email by checking inbound and outbound messages for anything strange.
Internet – When we looked closely at the Avast features we found the WebRep plugin to be useful – you avoid the risk of clicking on dangerous websites when you look at the colour-coded ratings posted beside them in the search. The ratings are formulated by anonymous data from Avast users and you can add your own ratings too.
Avast Pro Antivirus scores well with the major testers – a good, solid performance. Virus Bulletin gives the software a VB100%, while AV Comparatives says the Avast virus detection rate is one of the best in the business.
Scans & updates
We looked at Avast in comparison with other antivirus systems and although it has one of the most comprehensive antivirus scanning systems, Avast Pro is pleasingly speedy. There’s an Intelligent Scanner that cuts down the amount of time you spend scanning files that haven’t changed. You can schedule scans to take place at night, or whenever you are not using your computer.
The Auto Sandbox prompts you to push certain files through the virtual desktop if they suspect them, and it will also push files through automatically, leaving you with fewer decisions to make.
Using its cloud technology, this antivirus offering streams updates in real time so you’re always provided with the latest virus definitions. Of course, if you want to check for updates in the meantime you can.
Gamer mode – Avast provides a silent and unobtrusive gamer mode for you to play games or watch movies without any interruption.
Sandbox - The Sandbox feature is a real plus, allowing you to run your web browser in a virtual window and keep a track on any damaging file behaviour. You can also try software or apps within the sandbox if you’re unsure of them. When you try out potentially damaging files they won’t transfer to your PC.
Ease of use
We liked the Avast Pro approach to antivirus scanning – pretty much everything happens behind the scenes and you can get on with surfing the web or completing your report without worrying about it. There's not so much in terms of advanced customization of the scan options but we think the “sit back and let it do its work” approach is a good one.
The interface is well organised and you’ll easily find your way to wherever you want to go.
Help & support
We see that Avast gives a good number of support options including user guides, tutorials and knowledge bases. You can also email the support team if you wish, and the forum is a good place to pick up tips and share information.
Although it's not exactly Avast who are providing the support, we like the added extra help you can put in place. This remote assistance feature lets you route support from an "expert" friend or member of your family direct to your PC, who can help you with any problems.
We're impressed by the Avast Pro Antivirus offering because the package is simple to use, fast and unobtrusive, with a few good features. The Avast paid-for option makes a decent choice for those of you who want a comprehensive yet economical solution to antivirus protection, and a system that’s easy to use.
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