Avira AntiVir Personal 9 Review
Avira AntiVir Personal is free antivirus solution that offers basic virus protection. The software is available from www.free-av.com instead of the Avira company website (which is www.avira.com). The recently released version 9 requires 40MB of free hard drive space and uses less than 42MB of system memory in idle mode. In addition to virus protection, it also offers real time file access monitoring (AntiVir Guard), hidden malware protection (AntiVir Rootkit Detection) and Windows Explorer files and folders monitoring (Shell Extension).
The Free and Paid Version
In addition to antivirus protection, the free version offers basic anti-spyware. The Premium version (from Euro 19.95) additionaly features MailGuard that scans e-mail traffic and ability to create recovery CD. The Premium Security Suite (from Euro 39.95) is the most complete solution in Avira product line. It includes amongst others firewall and parental control.
As Avira AntiVir is a free product, you need to agree before the installation starts that the product will only be used privately. As part of the installation process, AntiVir generates a serial number randomly which is not linked to a customer. It is used for antivirus definition update. The personal information protection goes even further on the registration page. Personal details are not required for the installation to continue.
When the installation has finished, Advanced Heuristic Analysis and Detection (AHeAD) level, type of threats and start up type can be set. The next screen is an option to immediately perform short scan on the system. AntiVir automatically downloads the latest virus defintion at the end of the installation. One minor thing is a pop up advertising that appears offering upgrade to a paid version of the product. Sometimes, this also appears when performing a virus scan.
User Interface and Virus Scan
The Avira AntiVir Control Center is simple and easy to navigate. It resembles the interface of Windows Security Center. The Configuration option at the top of the screen sets how the AntiVir perform its scan. The Expert mode provides additional options such as extended threats categories and virus signature updates settings.
The Scheduler option allows you to setup how Avira AntiVir performs an update and set a schedule scan. The default duration for virus definition update is every 24 hours. The complete system scan is scheduled to run daily at 12 pm.
To perform a manual scan, click on Local Protection link which is located on the left hand pane. The user friendly interface provides option to scan amongst others Local Drives, My Documents folder and removable drives. For advanced users, the drive lettering options is also available under the Manual Selection. With the Shell extension enabled, scan can be performed directly on the drive by right clicking on it.
The manual virus scan only uses about 50 MB of system memory. On a standard Windows XP SP 3 (with all current security updates installed), the virus scan with default settings takes about 5 minutes.
For free product that offers basic antivirus protection, Avira is a great product that utilizes very little system memory. The only minor annoyance is a pop up of product offering that sometime occur when performing a scan. The interface is very user friendly with configurable advanced settings.