Avast's latest professional antivirus tool extends its capabilities with improved detection and malware-fighting engine
Avast! Pro Antivirus 2014 is avast!'s latest commercial malware-hunting engine.
Installation is fast, perhaps due to a major reduction in product size. Compatibility seems good, too, with the package running happily alongside Norton Internet Security on our test PC.
Scans can apparently be much faster, for some file types at least; in terms of in-memory scan times, EXE files are now checked around twice as quickly, text contents (web pages, scripts) are up to 10x faster. (The program still needs to load this content in the first place, though, so final scan times won't change very much.)
There are several important improvements to avast's protection features. You get enhanced streaming updates for real-time detections; a new DeepScreen technology helps the program make smarter decisions about unknown files; extended cloud scanning again assists in detection; and if something does turn up, then improved cleaning will get rid of it more reliably.
Still not enough? A new "Hardened" mode can be set up to run only known safe programs. It's a little drastic but can work well for inexperienced users (see Settings > Antivirus > Hardened Mode to set this up).
And all this is presented in a vastly simplified and more configurable interface (there are now only three shields to worry about, for instance).
Please note, the program will by default install Google Toolbar. If that's not what you want, pay attention during setup and clear the relevant checkbox when it appears.
The program also comes in a Pro version, which is available here. The difference between Free and Pro is significant. Pro offers a SafeZone to protect you whilst you do your online shopping, a sandbox so you can surf the internet without any malware affecting your computer and a program sandbox to enable you to test and examine new software, without it affecting the operating of your PC.
If you're an avast! Free Antivirus user, why not move up to the commercial Pro edition using this special offer?
Includes a 1-PC, 1-Year license.
Review by Mike Williams.