Avira Free Antivirus is an internet security suite, which was created by Avira and was initially released in 1988. Avira Internet Security, as it is also known, provides the user with protection from malware, spyware, rootkits, spam and phishing; it is free of cost to the user.
Installation of the software is very quick, and the two click installation process will recognise any opponent security components and remove them, making Avira the personal computer’s only such component. The latest incarnation, Avira Internet Security 2013, has a very unique, modern feel to it; having been through many revisions and edits which have invoked a great amount of change with its evolution, it has become a very easy to use product. There is also a firewall service, alongside several elements which allow parents to monitor and control what their children are able to access using their personal computers. This can be very useful, particularly if a customer has a child who likes to be ‘curious’ with their searches on the Internet, or has ‘accidentally found’ inappropriate material. MailGuard and back-up systems are also provided by the free software; the size of the product is 79.5 megabytes, and it can run on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.
The company has been focusing on expanding its security features to include tracker blocking, social networking and web site verification; this in addition to venturing into crowd sourced technological support. If a user installs the Avira Do Not Track Plus tracking and ad blocker toolbar, they will not be faced with an upgrade pop up window as they were in previous versions of the software. This toolbar is very useful for users who wish to block advertisements and pop ups from appearing in their browser; it comes at no extra cost to the user.
There is an ‘Experts Market’ which is available only via the toolbar and thus, only for users who have installed the toolbar. This market is crowd sourced technological support, which includes a section where Avira users can sell their technological knowledge and expertise to others. Moreover, users are also allowed to set their own rates, which make for a thriving market place for Avira users.
The Experts Market’s primary stated intention is to connect people who are technological experts and have a great amount of expertise in the subject, with other people who are searching for answers to their technology related problems. The users who provide the expertise and knowledge can alter how much they will be paid for the use of it. In order to make a profit of some sort from the venture, Avira takes a ten per cent commission on however much is earned by the Expert user.
Avira anti-malware software often comes installed on newly-purchased computers. Avira was once a lesser known competitor in the antivirus software industry, but the company is now known as a household name and is quite popular in various industries.
Avira Free Antivirus could be compared to Microsoft Security Essentials. Both pieces of software are free and both cover the basic security needs of most users. Antivirus and Antispyware are included in both pieces of software. Firewall is also included in Avira, but not in Microsoft Security Essentials. Firewall is not included in MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials), due to the fact that firewall is already built into Windows XP SP2 and above in the form of ‘Windows Firewall. During tests Avira came out as the clear winner when finding, quarantining and destroying digital threats, such as viruses and spyware.
Microsoft Security Essentials failed to find some threats and even had trouble combating some of them, meaning malware was able to run free on the system! Avira is a simple piece of software and is easy to use and so is Microsoft Security Essentials. Both pieces of software have some advanced options for more experienced users. Avira includes MailGuard, which helps to keep users emails secure and compromised, whereas Microsoft Security Essentials lacks this feature, which could be critical to some users and could ultimately affect their decision of which product to use. The UI on both Avira and Microsoft Security Essentials are both easy to navigate and are clear, though some of the menus deeper within the programs could cause some confusion to those who aren’t particularly great with technology. Neither programs is a resource hog, by this I mean they don’t use much hard drive space, RAM or CPU power.
Avira uses slightly more RAM, CPU power and hard drive space compared to Microsoft Security Essentials, but the amount of resources being used isn’t a vast amount. Microsoft Security Essentials is brilliant if you want the software to be practically silent and rarely disturb you whilst using the computer, whereas Avira is not particularly quiet and pop ups notifying you of the need to update etc, can become a regular occurrence. If I was asked by a friend which software to use it would be an extremely hard decision with both having their advantages and disadvantages. Overall, if you want an extremely lightweight piece of security software then go with Microsoft Security Essentials.
If you do not mind software which uses slightly more resources which does not compromise on your computer’s security then go with Avira. Both are great pieces of software and have their users in different situations or environments. A computer which rarely connects to the internet may benefit from MSE.
Overall, Avira Free Antivirus is a great piece of software, it may not be the best, but it is far from the worst. Avira came out top in a lot of tests previously mentioned and also includes some features which aren’t present in some of its rivals such as Microsoft Security Essentials or Avast. If a user chose to upgrade to a premium edition of the software, they would benefit a lot more as more tools and features become readily available. If a user is looking for free antivirus software, this is definitely a product which should be considered.
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