Why I switched from Avast to Avira: better computer performance and speed [Opinion]

speed

The first ever anti-virus/anti-malware program I used was Kaspersky, a 1-year 3-user license I purchased from Wal-Mart for $60. Soon after, I discovered something I never could fathom before: free anti-virus/anti-malware programs, specifically Avira, Avast, and AVG. So I ditched paid anti-virus for free ones. I originally started with Avira, but over three years ago switched over to Avast due to Avast’s superior features in their free version. Yesterday, however, I made the switch back to Avira. Why? Better computer performance.

You see I’ve been plagued with an issue for the past eighteen months or so: my computer would often temporarily freezes whenever browsing for or downloading files or opening programs. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t deal with it, which is why I put up with it for eighteen months. (Laziness is too stronk.) But it was bad enough to be bloody annoying.

I blamed this poor performance on bloatware that came with my computer — bloatware I foolishly didn’t remove. And, to be fair, the bloatware did play its part; yesterday after reformatting my computer to get rid of the bloatware, I noticed an increase in performance. However, I came to the realization Avast was also causing those temporary freezes.

After I reformatted my computer, and the first thing I did was install Firefox. The second thing was to install avast! Free Antivirus. That is when I noticed it. Before installing Avast, I had little to no computer performance issues. After installing Avast, the familiar temporary freeze was back — such as when I download a file in Firefox or browse a folder in Windows Explorer.

At first I was reluctant to believe it. I love Avast; it is the only free anti-virus to provide so many features: real-time shield, web shield, IM shield, behavior monitor, script shield, etc. You name it and avast! Free Antivirus is more likely to have it than other free anti-viruses. However, I eventually bit the bullet and decided to test my theory.

If my theory was correct that Avast was causing the temporary freezes, then the temporary freezes would go away if I uninstalled Avast and installed a different anti-virus. So I did it. I uninstalled avast! Free Antivirus and installed Avira Free Antivirus. Guess what? I experienced a noticeable increase in computer performance. I’m not going to say the temporary freeze issue has gone away completely; it still happens sometimes, like when I have fifty billion Firefox tabs open. However, now this temporary freeze issue is more related to my hardware than software and something I cannot avoid without upgrading computers. The temporary freeze issue that was caused by avast! Free Antivirus is now completely gone.

I have no scientific data to backup my claims. In fact, if you look at performance tests by AV-Comparatives (my favorite website for anti-virus/anti-malware software testing), Avast scores a better rating than Avira — 187.3 (avast! Free Antivirus 7) vs 175.3 (Avira Antivirus Premium 2013). However, my own personal experience has shown me Avira has less impact on computer performance than Avast. And if you think about it, it makes sense.

avast! Free Antivirus has many more features than Avira Free Antivirus. Avira Free Antivirus has real-time and on-demand anti-virus/anti-malware protection (including anti-rootkit). avast! Free Antivirus also has real-time and on-demand anti-virus/anti-malware protection (including anti-rootkit). But avast! Free Antivirus goes beyond general protection and provides more features in the form of specific shields, including but not limited to Web Shield which proactively blocks malicious web connections, IM Shield which protects from malicious files received over IM protocols, Script Shield which proactively blocks malicious scripts, Network Shield which specifically protects against worms, and Behavior Shield which blocks programs based on behavior. If you think about it, although in-the-lab tests may prove otherwise, it is only logical that avast! Free Antivirus would cause more of a strain on a computer than Avira Free Antivirus because it has more features.

Now does that mean I am less protected by Avira Free Antivirus than I was with avast! Free Antivirus? Not really. avast! Free Antivirus has specialized shields for specific types of threats, which is good but not absolutely necessary. If you are going to be infected by some sort of malware, that malware must eventually find its way onto your computer. When malware hits your computer, at that point any anti-virus/anti-malware program with real-time protection will (should) catch that malware — regardless of if it has special modules for that type of malware or not. The difference between Avira and Avast is avast! Free Antivirus may catch/block malware sooner but Avira Free Antivirus will also catch/block malware… just at a later step but still before it infects you. For example, avast! Free Antivirus’s Mail Shield will block an email in Outlook that has malware attached. Avira Free Antivirus won’t block the email but it will block the attachment if you download it. So you have less shields with Avira Free Antivirus but are still protected.

To conclude, I’m not going to throw Avast to the dogs. It is still a very good security program and not everyone may experience the same issues as me. In fact, I know plenty of people who are happy with avast! Free Antivirus with little to no performance issues. However, personally speaking, Avira does not cause the same performance issues as Avast does on my computer and still provides excellent protection; so I’m sticking with Avira for now. How about you? Which one do you prefer? Maybe a third option? Let us know in the comments below!

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116 comments

  1. melen001

    [@Gggirlgeek]

    Hi ggirlgeek…

    Can you recommend what size i should set my Virtual Memory so i can use my 6GB of RAM more efficiently? How should i set it up, please include details; I’m not a GEEK so that will be helpful. I assume that if i use more of my RAM and less Virtual Memory my machine will be much faster. Am i correct? My OS is Wins 7-64 SP1. Hope this is not a hassle for you and your advice will be appreciated. Thanks, George ……

  2. Gggirlgeek

    Regarding Avira: I just installed it on my Win7x64 system after removing Avast 2014. My Startup time almost tripled! (Monitoring with BootRacer.) I’m disappointed! However, my system doesn’t feel sluggish — maybe even a bit lighter. Memory usage is about the same as Avast though.

    I installed Avira on my friend’s old Win7x86 and it seems down right perky! Avast acts the same way on my x86 system. (I’m starting with the same programs because they were all modeled after my system.) I think I’ll try Panda on my personal x64 system since I don’t surf shady sites that have ransomware. But this doesn’t help my Newbie clients.

    Avira also gave me 3 false positives on standard driver files (Nvidia, Asus.) It didn’t add them to Exclusions when I said ignore either. It continued popping up several times. I’ve switched the heuristics to low sensitivity.

  3. Gggirlgeek

    I put my page file at the front of my fastest HDD in it’s own partition.

    I know this is controversial but I have recently reduced my page file to 528mb and Explorer feels smoother. It was pretty sluggish with a page file of 2GB or more. I’ve got 12GB Ram so why let it sit there?

    I simply increase my page file to 8GB when I need to run a couple of VM’s (this frees most of the Ram up for their use.) No reboot needed.

    I use CleanMem to keep a close eye on memory usage. Process Explorer works fine too.

  4. melen001

    sL0j0n…
    Virtual Memory is handled by Windows OS actually without any of our assistant. It does an excellent job and we should leave it alone. If you need or want to add more speed and eliminate “freezes” you should consider adding more RAM to your machine. Adding more Virtual memory will not add much speed to your machine because it’s only swiping files to your HD when your RAM is at it’s limits.

  5. sl0j0n

    Hey, ll, I almost forgot; Comodo has a better than average free version.
    In the past, I’ve seen problems w/ avast!, Comodo, and especially Zone Alarm, but I hear its better now.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

  6. sl0j0n

    Hello, all.
    Temporary “freezes” may not be hardware issues, per se.
    In “Windows”, one way to help diagnose such issues in to adjust the virtual memory, or “page file”,
    to determine whether or not its “Windows” [software] or the hardware.
    To use this technique, first you need to know how much RAM your computer has.
    If you don’t know, “Belarc Advisor”or other system interrogator program,
    such as “AIDA32″, “Sisoft SANDRA”, “CPU-Z”, or TSS’s “SIW”, can determine it for you.
    With that info, the next step is to adjust Windows virtual memory/page file.
    The easy way is to press the “Windows” key on your keyboard, & tap the “Pause Break” key.
    Next, click “Advanced System settings”.
    Then, click the “Advanced” tab of the “System Properties”.
    On the “Performance Options”, look for the “Virtual memory” or “Page file” section,
    click the “Change…” button.
    Then you want to uncheck the “Automatically manage” box,
    & click the “Custom size” button,
    then type in the number, in MBs, in the size field.
    Set “Initial size” & “Maximum size” to the same number.
    Using the same size for both eliminates Windows from wasting time/resources changing the size.
    A good starting choice is twice (2X) your RAM, in MBs.
    I have often used 4X the RAM, *IF* the HDD will still have at least 25% free space,
    after deducting the virtual memory/page file size.
    If you have more than 1 HDD, AND it has enough free space, use the second HDD.
    [Windows XP, 7, & 8 can use USB flash drives, but it MUST remain plugged in, at ALL times!]
    I think a SD card, or MicroSD card, is the best choice, but most flash drives seem to work too.
    SD & MicroSD cards require a reliable card reader also.
    After setting the size, click “Set”, “OK”, & then reboot.
    Assuming all goes as expected, now you have a slightly faster computer,
    and you may have eliminated the “temporary “freezes””, too.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

  7. melen001

    I was using the latest Panda version but there was an issue with a driver which I don’t recall so I had to remove Panda. It’s a pity since Panda Free is considered the best Free antivirus in detecting malware and is very light on resources. I have switched to Avira Free V 14.0.7.468 and it’s doing a great job. You do get intrusive adds but it’s not a big deal and I can put up to it. Avira is very easy and simple and very light on resources. The default settings are okay so after I installed it I just left it alone. I guess you can call it a “set it & forget it” antivirus. As we all know, there is no such thing as a “perfect antivirus” either Free or paid version so we have to choose what we consider best for our own likings. I did use Avast a log time ago but it would slow down my PC (Wins 7-64 OS) considerably so that’s when I started using Panda to latter use Avira which I use now.

  8. Gggirlgeek

    On slower computers that I repair I often install old Avast 6 and disable program updating (allowing engine updates of course.) This seems to help a bit (available at Filehorse.)

    On my own computer (Avast 2014.9.0.2021) I get the slow boot event log every restart… but ONLY on my x64 Win7! On my x86 Win7 partition it produces no slow-boot events. :-(

    I have avoided Avira for a long time now because of the extremely intrusive ads. I may give it another shot because I am really fed up with Avast’s pokiness. (Same with AVG and MSE.) I used to use Panda but found it vulnerable to ransomware on my clients’ computers. *Sigh!* What’s a geek to do?

  9. cdg

    In my experience, Avast is no longer a viable product!

    -Their “new support/customer care system” is a horrendous waste of valuable customer time!

    -Avast Anti-Virus prevents MS Word from SAVING the file being edited, which results in total loss of the file (since MS Word, like all word processors, saves the work file, deletes the named file, and then renames the work file as the named file). Apparently Avast prevents the rename operation from completing. This problem began with Avast Anti-Virus 8.0.1483.72, was apparently fixed in 2014.9.0.2018, and was reintroduced with 2014.9.0.2021, and remains with 2015.10.0.2206!

    -This problem has been widely reported for several years, and Avast has ignored it. (However, it does NOT seem to occur on all systems).

    -Avast 2014.9.0.2021 was responsible for a severe performance degradation on one of my systems. With Avast 2014.9.0.2018 installed, my read/write speeds are 140 MB/s. With Avast 2014.9.0.2021 installed, my read/write speeds degraded to 0.2 MB/s!

    -The “Backup and Import Settings” function DOESN’T WORK. Settings that have been backed up (with Avast) do not import (which make reinstallation that much more time-consuming).

    -The AvastSupport.exe tool falsely claims “WARNING another antivirus is detected! Please uninstall it, if you want to use avast!” when NO other AV program is installed! This problem also occurred with SOME earlier versions of Avast. “Windows Management Instrumentation” is the process that the “support tool” thinks is another AV product running!

    -Like so many companies today, Avast “technical support” only provides time-wasting boilerplate “solutions” (such as uninstalling, re-downloading, reinstalling, etc. ) that do not solve any reported problem.

  10. cdg

    I can’t speak for Avira, but Avast and AVG have caused more problems for me than any conceivable virus could do!

    Avast Anti-Virus 8.0.1483.72 prevented MS Word from SAVING the file being edited, which resulted in total loss of the file (since MS Word, like all word processors, saves the work file, deletes the named file, and then renames the work file as the named file). Apparently Avast prevented the rename operation from completing. And thus, not only the current session’s work would be lost, be the original file as well. Thank G-d for backups! And, of course, Avast’s “technical support” had no solution, or suggestion other than their standard “remove and reinstall” (which accomplished nothing), even though this problem has been widely-reported for many years, with many versions of Avast.

    So, I switched to AVG, but after a myriad of annoyances (such as a two-hour update after installation, messages claiming a “whole system scan has not been run” and urging me to do so even WHILE a scan was running, and “summer updates” (released in winter) not being available for download, but only by automatic update arbitrarily over a month’s timespan)), the same (inability to save MS-Word files) cropped up with AVG version 4569! Additionally, AVG regularly results in lost chains and other file errors (as detected by chkdsk) amongst its plethora of log files.

    So, I went back to Avast, version 2014.9.0.2018, which had solved the MS-Word problem, but added a few annoyances (such as a “browser cleanup” tool, that destroys your browser configuration; a “grime fighter” that warns of non-existent “grime”, and pop-up advertisements and inaccurate warnings which cannot be disabled.)

    Then, Avast 2014.9.0.2021 reintroduced the MS-Word problem, as well as slowing down my measured disk speed from 140 MB/s to less than 2 MB/s! And, again, Avast “technical support” has no suggestions other than to remove and reinstall, which accomplished nothing.

  11. melen001

    Well what do you know….. It seems that we all agree on one thing…. AVAST is to heavy on resources and has brought my PC to a crawl and freezes like it never had before…. AVAST is so darn effective that it’s now scanning everything you do on your computer and I mean EVERYTHING…. It wants to verify, check and scan every process, EXC, DLL, DOWNLOAD, script… you name it and AVAST wants to “play” with it 24-7 ….. It’s a pity that the programmers are doing this to what was a really excellent AV program…. SHAME ON YOU… now you guys have “junked” a very good program down to “spyware”…. going to install AVIRA which is an excellent choice……

  12. John p

    I found out that Avast was tracking my web use and sending stats back to Avast. It is suppose to an AV program, but it is basically spyware. I also have been getting freezes on a new computer with Avast running, it never occured to me that it could be Avast. Bye bye Avast you piece of sh*t.

  13. bob

    Avast seems to have issue’s with it’s web shield primarily, but also several other issue’s as well, essentially it wants to scan every thing you do on your PC, every process, every action and every file download, I found turning sensitivity from normal to low helped but the web shield is so f’ed that it ignores any exclusions you add for sites and scans them anyway.

    Avast is a very effective program at what it does, however it’s now TOO effective and has become a nuisance…

  14. Dennis Teel

    Had the same problem with Avast ,the pay version.My pc slowed to a crawl..I resolved it by first ,in main settings in web shield I checked the option,”scan traffic from well known browser processes only” and I also unchecked the “script scanning” box. This might not work for everyone.But truthfully,An antivirus that’s going to check and scan every one of your movements online in and out back and forth,is bound to create some drag on the system..If I
    find that it begins again,i’ll more than likely dump Avast for Avira which I’ve had in the past and liked.I don’t know about equating Avast however to a virus..That’s more than just a tad extreme imo.

  15. David

    Just removed Avast pro and guess what, the computer runs smoother and a wee bit faster.

    Avast is very buggy , anyone looking for an AV look at their forums first, you can tell a good AV by it’s user forum.

    With Avast Privacy Guardian cleaned on average 30 to 40 files when moving to NOD32 it now only cleans 10 to 15 what is it cleaning – the sewers?

    Why it should contact Google servers when you open the GUI I don’t know, there’s VPN bug that keeps popping adverts up at boot up – yes this is Avast pro. then there’s the emergency update starting at boot up.

    Also, since removing Avast there is quite a lot less of Google being clocked in my Firewall…. and the dreaded Google Chrome install sometimes installed without ones knowledge.

    Avast IS a virus itself – why all the bugs, beta testers gone to sleep?

  16. Sputnik

    [@Tom]

    Your choice of returning to Avira Free is a very wise one, well, as long as Avira will keep its good standing for the detection rate.

    Concerning BitDefender, have you read this Ashraf’s article :

    http://dottech.org/105687/windows-review-bitdefender-antivirus-free-edition

    Beside this article you may also read the comment #39 written by a BitDefender’s representative.

    I think that you should wait till about the next month of september to give a try to BitDefender Free : there will surely be some good updates to this software at that moment.

  17. Tom

    What an amusing thread!

    I stumbled upon this as I pondered moving from Avira Free to a paid subscription. No thanks to Google, that topic isn’t here. But while I’m in the AV free-for-all, I’ll toss in my experiences… As an longtime MSE user, I had to find another solution after their detection results slipped significantly. I ended up purchasing a 3-seat Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) 2013 license with a full cost rebate (so it promised to be “free”). Now three and one-half months later, my rebate is still “processing”. Another Google search will discover that Kaspersky rebates are seldom fulfilled.

    After 2 months of KIS, I uninstalled it from my Win7-64 laptop after too many heavy-handed site blocks and hosts file corruptions, and scans that went on for hours (with “one minute remaining” notices). FWIW, I still have it running stable on a Win 8 machine. The thing I hated most about KIS was that you couldn’t drill down on most of the actions it took to take whitelist action. If a website failed to fully load due to KIS, it was near impossible to determine which element of KIS was involved, or how to override KIS short of shutting it down.

    KIS disallowed any firewall administration. If I couldn’t connect with another machine on my local net, I had to VPN with Teamviewer to work around KIS blocking.

    KIS took over Windows updates, and even now with KIS uninstalled I cannot manage those manually because of some nefarious “administration restriction” that defies discovery.

    To add insult to injury, KIS stripped out ALL of my network adaptors during its uninstall, and I was left to rebuild all that with some pain.

    With KIS gone, I returned to Avira Free. Its presence has been satisfyingly simple, yet effective. Perhaps I’ll give Avast and Bitdefender’s free version a try on the Win 8 machine when my KIS license expires.

    Y’all have fun now… I hope I haven’t awakened the lions… their pride runs loud in this thread.

  18. Sputnik

    Recently some people argued here about the fact that the detection rate of Avira was inferior to that one of many other antiviruses and also that the rate of false positive was higher with Avira than that one of other antiviruses.

    I told that people that we must wait and see for new reports on this subject : well, this is where we are today.

    Here is the link to download the pdf file of AV Comparative Report about the file detection rate and rate of false positives of selected antiviruses for the month of March 2013 :

    http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/docs/avc_fdt_201303_en.pdf

    In this report, we see clearly that Avira gets the second best detection rate on a total of 13 tested antiviruses, and we will also see that its rate of false positives makes of this antivirus one of the best on the market (4th rank on 15).

    In this report, Avira is better (for the detection rate and for the rate of false positives) than BitDefender, Avast and AVG…

    Please take note that I don’t say that there will always be results like this one : Avira, like any other antivirus, may have better reports and worse ones.

    But, in the long term, Avira has always shown itself, since a couple of years, as one of the best antiviruses on the market and it seems that this antivirus maker intends to keep its rank.

    I still agree with Ashraf for his choice to go with Avira : this antivirus is at least as good than Avast if not better, and with a least negative impact on the resources of the computer.

  19. Sputnik

    The choice of an antivirus or any other security software is a very personal choice.

    It is true that if we were doing all the necessary tests, we would be able to classify all the security softwares, from the best to the worst, in regard of all the aspects under which we would be able to compare them.

    But all depending on what we are doing with our computer and what are our personal priorities, one may choose a certain antivirus and another one may choose another one.

    In each case, the choice would be the best if each person would have made a good evaluation of its own needs.

    Take all the information you need, evaluate your own needs, discute with other people who share your own needs and make your choice : you will have, after that, the best antivirus or any other security software for your own needs.

  20. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    I do not need to admit anything before you. My so-called errors are the product of your imagination – they do not literally exist. I do not care about your “trolling” conclusion – it’s a sign of a feeble person. You said “I have loose enough time with you” – your time is always “on the loose”.

    @Ashraf

    Thank you for your patience.

  21. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    In my last comment (#88) I asked the question “Are you able to do the same ?” concerning the fact that someone may have or not the capacity to admit his errors.

    Now I have the answer…

    I have loose enough time with you, so please don’t bother me anymore as it would be a proof that you’re just trolling me.

  22. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    1. Regarding PC Tools ThreatFire.

    On 10-11-2012, moderator of TF forum announced that PC Tools ThreatFire™ has been retired as a standalone product: http://www.pctools.com/forum/showthread.php?69741-PC-Tools-ThreatFire-retired

    What means retired for the security software as a standalone product with the real time protection? It means no more development, no more security updates, no more new malware samples, no more ability to fight the present danger = It means the dead/demise of the security product.

    Therefore, your question to Ashraf – ” Do you think that the last version of ThreatFire would be a good complement to Avira Free, even though ThreatFire doesn’t exist anymore as a standalone program ?” – revealed your incompetence in understanding that any security standalone product without security updates cannot be “a good complement” to anything.

    2. Regarding Martin Brinkmann’s article “Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition review”.

    Martin said that “Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, was released a day before Christmas with “an English interface.” What does it mean? It means that BD became available before Christmas 2012 in the new English language version. BD developed by Romania-based software company Softwin (Headquarters: Bucharest, Romania). It means that BD Free addition with the Real Time Protection (not in English, but in Spanish version, e.g.) was released and tested much earlier: in 2011.

    Read the thread of posts at http://malwaretips.com/Thread-BitDefender-Free-Antivirus-2011-Romania?page=2 and you would see that the Community Admin “Bogdan” posted in 04-12-2011: “The BitDefender 2011 Free av. version has real-time protection. Currently it is not available in English.” During that time, all the “the experienced users” got an English version of BD with Real Time Protection if they modified a file in the installation package with 7-Zip.

    Therefore, I was right about the release of BD at least a year ago.

    (also, take into account that dottech.org has visitors from 29 different countries around the Globe, including non-English speaking countries, with approximately 13,230 various visitors per day).

    On top of that, it’s not understandable, why we need to be restricted to the Martin Brinkmann’s article chosen by you. Why not to read the Review on BitDefender on Daily Softexia at http://www.softexia.com/bitdefender-antivirus-free.html and see: “BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition is the free antivirus that uses #1 ranked technology and is light on resources! It has been designed from ground up towards enabling you to do whatever you enjoy doing most with your computer, while staying 100% safe from e-threats. This program is called “artificial intelligence” because it will always find the best solution for your system without requiring configuration and, more importantly, without having any impact on your system. Some of these technologies, also common with our main product line, have allowed Bitdefender to outpass major competitors such as AVG, Avast or Avira….”

    3. Regarding the date of Ashrafs’ old article “Microsoft Security Essentials vs Avira vs avast! vs AVG: Best free anti-virus/anti-malware program for Windows [3rd Edition]

    That addition was written and posted on December 18, 2011, i.e. less than 2 years ago. If you unable to understand it, ask for assistance.

    4. Regarding the rest.

    I will skip all of your whipping statements watering down the substance of my position on BitDefender and other security software related to the present Ashraf’s article. If you unable to see that my position was/is always constructive from the beginning, you need to apologies before “all our friends here” and, especially, before Ashraf for taking the space on his Server and by asking him in post 70, in the form of the frivolous joke, for “10% of the money”… To me you may get just a couple of cents.

  23. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    Dear ovl,

    Concerning the quote taken from my comment #86 that you qualify of “obsessive attention to some petty details”, I will say that I am certainly not worse than you under this point of view because you did the same about me in your comment #65 where you said “The Virus Shield (Real Time Scanning) was incorporated into BitDefender free addition at least a year ago, so your burst your own bubble.” as an answer to my comment #62 where I said “Maybe you are right about the BitDefender Free’s active protection (Virus Shield), but I think that this protection is incorporated in the product only since the last edition of it and I didn’t know that BitDefender had released such a new version…”

    So, when I wrote, in my comment #86, that “It is clearly said that : “…Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, was released a day before Christmas” (Christmas 2012), so 101 days (just a little bit more than 3 months) ago and not a year ago as ovl wrote in an earlier comment.”, I was just saying, because you seem to be that kind of person for whom the accuracy of things is of a vital importance, that you said something that was inaccurate. I was far more accurate than you concerning the launching date of the new version of BitDefender Free when I said “…I think that this protection is incorporated in the product only since the last edition of it…”. I would also like to stress here that I didn’t made this declaration with a categorical tone, categorical tone you used yourself when you have replied to me your inaccurate answer.

    I would also note here that in my comment #62 I said “Maybe you are right about the BitDefender Free’s active protection (Virus Shield)…”, this showing that I am this kind of person which is able to recognize when I am wrong. Are you able to do the same ?

    Concerning the fact that I qualified myself of “an experienced user” in my comment #86, that was in reference to the Martin Brinkmann’s article on ghacks.net about the new version of BitDefender Free of which you made yourself the valiant defender in your comments #47, #56, #61 and #65. In the Martin Brinkmann’s article this one says “The lack of options makes it a less desirable product, especially experienced users may want more control over security software they install on the system.”. That means that he consider that probably most of the possible users or defenders of BitDefender Free are or will be inexperienced users, and that the people who will use antiviruses with more options are certainly more experienced users. Does that make it a little bit clearer now to you the fact that I qualified myself of “experienced user” ? I am really not bluffing here, that was what I had in my mind when I wrote it.

    Now, about the ThreatFire question, first of all this product is not a “demised” product as you say, it has only been retired as a standalone product just to be incorporated to PC Tools Internet Security, as you will see on this website :

    http://www.pctools.com/product-eol/index/product/threatfire/?ref=cm-c-eol-tf-site&utm_source=pct_cm&utm_medium=site&utm_campaign=cm-c-eol-tf-site&cm_ext_cid=hho_em_pctools_en_tf-site_2012

    So, we may, in a certain manner, consider “ThreatFire” as a still “alive” product, not existing by itself under this name, but incorporated in a new product.

    The question I asked to Ashraf about ThreatFire (which we can still download from many places) in my comment #26, was about the fact that I am not sure if the last version of ThreatFire would still be considered as an efficient solution.

    Maybe that I could have avoided to ask this question to Ashraf, because in this Ashraf’s article :
    http://dottech.org/3174/top-6-programs-that-will-provide-the-best-security-for-you-and-your-computer-for-free/
    Ashraf talk about ThreatFire as a good behavior blocker.

    Note that you are perfectly legitimated to think otherwise than Ashraf, who, I am very sure of it, will not in any way feel offended…

    A little further in your comment #87, you make a reference to my comment #35 where I wrote “Well, it is as if we were back 3 years ago when Ashraf did a comparison between Avira, Avast, AVG and MSE…” and you said, with a categorical tone : “No, that’s incorrect info, because Ashraf posted this article on 12/11/2011, i.e. less than 2 years ago.”. As you are, again, that kind of person for whom the accuracy of things is of a vital importance, I will just answer that if you go on the concerned website :
    http://dottech.org/14151/windows-best-free-antivirus-antimalware-program-microsoft-security-essentials-vs-avira-vs-avast-vs-avg/
    you will see, just a little bit above the Comments section, that it is clearly written “Originally written on February 14, 2010″.

    So the first version of this article is really a little bit more than 3 years of age and not less than 2 years as you said.

    Now, when you say about this thing I said “I also have no problems about discussing, with respect, with someone who doesn’t share the same point of view than mine.”, that “That is simply baseless and untrue statement.”, it is not entirely false, but also not entirely true. I recognized that at only 2 places I have been irrespectful towards you, but you began before me (look at your comment #61 and try to find in one of my previous comments something which would clearly be an insult towards you). I am also able to insult someone if I wish so, but usually I don’t and if someone would really want to know the truth about all this, he just have to read all the comments which were made by me and by you and I defy anyone to prove that I told you as much insults as you told to me : amongst all your comments concerning me anybody will easily find some comments which are real tsunamis of insults against me.

    Concerning the last paragraph of your comment #87 I will just say that it is not because, for a reason or another, someone didn’t get an information about something that makes of him an inexperienced person… But if you strongly want to make a decree about the fact that this would be the sign of an inexperienced person, that is your problem.

    Finally, do you remember when you told, at the beginning of your comment #87 that I was “paying obsessive attention to some petty details”, well, what have you done in this whole comment #87, where it has been proven by the facts, that you were wrong for many things ?

    That being said, have you something constructive to say to all our friends here about the different security solutions ?

  24. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    “…Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, was released a day before Christmas” (Christmas 2012), so 101 days (just a little bit more than 3 months) ago and not a year ago as ovl wrote in an earlier comment”.

    You started to nitpicking some details from my prior post paying obsessive attention to some petty details. Well, that’s fine if something is itching, but what about your own messages here as “an experienced user” as you titled yourself in your last post.

    In post 26 you seriously asked Ashraf if it’s a good idea to use the demised (!) ThreatFire to protect the system, “even though ThreatFire doesn’t exist anymore as a standalone program ?”

    In post 35 you said: “Well, it is as if we were back 3 years ago when Ashraf did a comparison between Avira, Avast, AVG and MSE”. No, that’s incorrect info, because Ashraf posted this article on 12/11/2011, i.e. less than 2 years ago. Also, just yesterday (04/04/13) you placed the post to the comment section of that 2011 article and announced: “I also have no problems about discussing, with respect, with someone who doesn’t share the same point of view than mine.” That is simply baseless and untrue statement.

    In your post 57 you insisted: “I didn’t missed anything as you said, because BitDefender Free is only a scan solution without any active protection as the one that Avira or Avast have, so BitDefender Free is really not a good idea for a main antivirus solution.” That was solidly proclaimed by you – “the experienced user” on March 31, 2013, i.e. after more than 3 months (according to the chosen by you article) since BitDefender came out with “The Real Time Protection” and was working/tested and already protected millions of free AV users around the World?! That is mesmerizing.

  25. Sputnik

    Hi everybody !

    Those interested to know a little more about BitDefender Free Edition will find some information on this site :

    http://www.ghacks.net/2012/12/29/bitdefender-antivirus-free-edition-review/

    It is said that it is a cloud base antivirus and you have to open an account with BitDefender if you want to use it after 30 days of use.

    It is a very simple antivirus with a good detection rate but very few options, which makes of this antivirus a less desirable product especially for the experienced users.

    One of the missing options which could eventually leads to some real problems is that you have no control on the cleaning process and that means that the false positive files will be deleted without a choice of blocking that from happening.

    It is clearly said that : “…Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, was released a day before Christmas” (Christmas 2012), so 101 days (just a little bit more than 3 months) ago and not a year ago as ovl wrote in an earlier comment.

    As I am an experienced user, I will therefore stay with Avira Free which stays one of the best solution for anybody who wants a good control on its antivirus, a good detection rate and with a minor impact on the system, a package deal that the other free antiviruses really can’t match, IMHO.

    This is a short summary of the article you may find at the website for which I have supplied a link before.

  26. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    [@ovl] [@Sputnik] Okay, cool it with the insults. I know you both are passionate about your points of views and I respect that. However, everyone can do without the insults. Either part ways now before this goes further or carry on your debate in a more civilized, adult manner. I don’t want to start deleting comments but name calling and other unpleasantness is unwelcome in these parts of the woods.

    New rule: Treat everyone as if they are your boss and you are trying to convince them to give you a pay raise — be firm but respectful.

  27. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    Fool, read the combination of sentences what you wrote down in your last “masterpiece”: “The personal insults will not lead you anywhere except, maybe, to your exclusion from the comments section on dotTech. And soon after that “What kind of shit do you sniff, exactly ?”.

    I do not need to sniff any shit, you gradually smell all other dotTech. And it’s not for you to decide who will be or will not be on dotTech comments section. You are too tiny for that.

    “Would you please try to keep the focus on the very core of the actual subject ? Are you able to be constructive ? “

    Are you completely blind or under constant influence? I was trying to explain you in my prior numerous postings that you were simply wrong and outdated with your judgment on the best free AV. What was your reply to that? – You answered: “I would suggest to you to return at the primary school…”

    As usual (which is normal for you) you do not get that your last calculation on the paid programs does not help any of the people (especially in this economy) who cannot afford to pay 45 bucks for any security software. Your can divide it on minutes, days, months, years, etc. – it does not help the people with the tight budget whatsoever. Retain your swindle explanation for your household or impaired friends.

  28. MikeR

    @ ovl and sputnik: I did thank you both, I seem to recall, for highlighting Bitdefender Free on this comment thread, and as it’s now running happily and utterly unobtrusively on my system, complete with auto scans and a virus shield that, as now, kicked in the instant I came on the Net but didn’t tell me about it, we-ell. . . I’m truly grateful.

    But as passions seem to be running just a leetle high with you pair right now, maybe you’d like to go get us some OJ (actually, mine’s a whisky, thanks) and we can then all settle back down again in blissful serenity and maybe discuss something less inflammatory like oh, I dunno, bankers? Lawyers? Politicians?

  29. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    The personal insults will not lead you anywhere except, maybe, to your exclusion from the comments section on dotTech.

    Would you please try to keep the focus on the very core of the actual subject ?

    Are you able to be constructive ?

    These things being said, I will give an answer about the last paragraph of your last comment. Malwarebytes Pro and SpyShelter Premium costed a total of about 45$ because I have got a bargain on one of these two softwares. I have Malwarebytes Pro since 5 years and SpyShelter Prmium since 2 years. If I calculate these two softwares as only one, that will give 5+2 divided by 2 = 3 1/2 years of use. 45$ divided by 3 1/2 = 12.85$ per year of use up to date. As years will go by, this amount will go down year after year because these 2 softwares are under lifetime upgrades licence.

    Actually, at 12.85$ per year of use, it is still cheaper than what you proposed yourself : the use of a commercial antivirus at about a minimum of 25$ which you will have to pay year after year…

    What kind of shit do you sniff, exactly ?

  30. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    As a very primitive sissy who likes gabbing about nothing, you are unable to capish the simple things – you were blatantly wrong about the free Bitdefender due to your low intellectual potential. Your delusional brain produced here the number of foolish pearls like “we are not talking about singers but free antiviruses”, “it’s unknown what Ashraf will write in the future and whether he will write what you mean he would eventually write”, “telling a true lie or a false truth” – so it obvious that you successfully completed the full course of cretinism.

    Your new goofy phrase: “Well, now that the storm is behind us”. What storm are you talking about, baby? You exhibited lack of technical knowledge and should really stay away from these kinds of “reviews” until you know what you’re talking about. Your misinformed twaddle is somehow entertaining, but in this case you’re just a joke. You can give a try to any software but the result will be the same- nonsense.

    You are bragging about your “not so costly security solution”. What means in your silly interpretation “no so costly” if you already paid for Malwarebites Pro about 25 bucks and for SpyShelter Premium 32 bucks? $57 means no so costly solution?! What are you smoking, puto?

    So touche, touche.

  31. Sputnik

    Well, now that the storm is behind us, I must say that a while ago, before Ashraf wrote this article, I gave a try to Avast because of it’s many shields : I was thinking that I would probably get a better security with it even if its detection rate was, at that moment, slightly inferior to that one of Avira.

    I experienced the same problems as the one Ashraf talked about in the actual article. So, I kept Avira which has always been given a good service to me, without any intolerable impact on my computer. The Ad window which appears at each update of Avira never bothered me as it seems to do for many, anyway there are solutions to prevent this Ad window to show for those bothered by it.

    When we use security solutions it’s for protecting the computer from being infected; but what is one of the major results of such an infection ? A slow down of the operations of the computer. If you are using an antivirus which is too much slowing down your computer, it is about the same as if your computer was continually infected. What is the advantage of taking a remedy if this one gets you sick ?

    That is the reason why I have almost always used Avira free as my antivirus : it doesn’t slown down noticeably my computer and it has an excellent detection rate.

    I have coupled it with Malwarebytes Pro which is recognized for a very good complement to ANY antivirus, to COMODO Firewall (with HIPS active), probably athe best firewall on the market, and to SpyShelter Premium, an excellent antikeylogger with a lifetime license as Malwarebytes Pro.

    This combination of security solutions gives me a very good protection without a too big negative impact on my computer and it didn’t cost me too much because the two paid solutions (Malwarebytes and SpyShelter Premium) are a one time fee solutions for a lifetime license as I already said.

    A couple of days ago I curiously found at about the same time than “Sammo March 28, 2013 at 10:30 AM” this link : http://www.raymond.cc/blog/disable-avira-searchfree-ask-com-toolbar-popup-nag-alert/

    It allows the use of the Avira’s web protection without the need of the installation of the Avira’s (in fact Ask’s) browser toolbar. I followed correctly the instructions ans everything went fine. This web protection was something I wanted, but not at the price of the browser’s toolbar.

    Now, for the actual state of security solutions on the market, I may say that I have an excellent and not so costly security solution. I am confident in that combination and it has always protected correctly my computer : what can someone ask more ?

  32. ibsymon

    This was an interesting discussion until some of you started trying to outdo others.

    It is said in some quarters that Microsoft’s antivirus/malware tools will replace all others. MSE for Vista/7 (I think) but Microsoft Defender (reborn, incorporating MSE) for Windows 8.

    Logical?

    It is MS system code so they should know how to defend it!

    Unless a psychiatrist, it is not sensible to try and read another’s thoughts, especially inside Ashraf’s scrambled brain :-)

  33. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    I think the best way to solve this, um, debate between Ovl, Sputnik, and crew is for Ashraf himself to clear the matter. So listen up peeps.

    My intention for this article was not to say XXX is better than XXX or to say free is better than paid or whatever. My intention was simply to let everyone know my experience and why I switched away from Avast, so people who may be having the same issues can follow suit (and to get a lot of views so I make a lot of money from ads and become a lot rich). This does not make Avast bad or Avira better than Avast. They are different and both are excellent in their own right; both have pros and cons. This is not a comparative review. A comparative review, although a bit outdated, can be found at http://dottech.org/freeware-reviews/14151/windows-best-free-antivirus-antimalware-program-microsoft-security-essentials-vs-avira-vs-avast-vs-avg/.

    Kapeesh? Now carry on — I’m kind of enjoying this back and forth. Just let me grab the popcorn.

  34. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    In one of your earlier comments you wrote : “It’s unknown how Avira will perform in future and whether it “will be able to get and stay at the near top” (as you wrote), but 2012 was horrible for many Avira users.”.

    Now, concerning the last sentence of your last comment, I will say that to you : “It’s unknown what Ashraf will write in the future and whether he “will write what you mean he would eventually write””…

    Almost everybody knows that things doesn’t stop from changing, so all the actual antiviruses will change in the future and some new will appear. As a consequence of that Ashraf will certainly use another antivirus next year and a new one maybe at each new year.

    But all what I say concerns what Ashraf ACTUALLY says and not what he will probably say next day, next week, next month or next year…

    If you don’t know how to read correctly a given piece of text, I would suggest to you to return at the primary school…

  35. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    The Virus Shield (Real Time Scanning) was incorporated into BitDefender free addition at least a year ago, so your burst your own bubble. You can wait for the upcoming reports and the comparisons as long as you want, but the Free BD already has been showing the great results in many different tests.

    I don’t know why it took for you so long to get to the simple point that Avira is not my favorite AV– the dissatisfaction with Avira was stressed in all of my postings.

    Regarding proclaimed by you the identity of your and Asrhaf’s AV choices. I think you’re wrong, because he could be much more knowledgeable and flexible than you. You are citing Ashraf’s sentences from the article like they are 10 Commandments and written in stone. If needed, he may update any article as he did it many times in the past. So nothing was outside of the discussion frame, except for your outdated view on the best AV.

  36. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    Hi MikeR and thank you for your comment.

    As I said to ovl in my last comment, it seems that the active protection of BitDefender Free has been recently added to this product.

    It’s up to you to be an early tester of this new version, but personnally I prefer to wait for the upcoming reports about it and the comparisons which will surely be made between this product and the three other main free antiviruses (AVG, Avast and Avira).

  37. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    Hi, ovl !

    Well, at last I think I get your point : you just don’t like Avira ! ;-)

    It’s your choice, not mine neither Ashraf’s one…

    Maybe you are right about the BitDefender Free’s active protection (Virus Shield), but I think that this protection is incorporated in the product only since the last edition of it and I didn’t know that BitDefender had released such a new version…

    If this is the case, I think it would be a good thing to wait for the surely upcoming reports on this new version before using it as our main antivirus solution and the first thing I know about it is that it seems that the on demand scan takes very long, compared to other free solutions…

    You say : “The central aspect of the article is to find out (for Ashraf and of course for his dotTechis) which AV protection is the best for now (free and/or paid).”.

    But didn’t you read that Asraf wrote : “The first ever anti-virus/anti-malware program I used was Kaspersky, a 1-year 3-user license I purchased from Wal-Mart for $60. Soon after, I discovered something I never could fathom before: free anti-virus/anti-malware programs, specifically Avira, Avast, and AVG.”

    That clearly means that Ashraf’s intention is to work with free antiviruses and you may clearly see it by yourself if you read again this article because the only time he spoke about paid antivirus solutions it was to say he left them for free solutions…

    That’s the real frame of the actual article, as clearly defined by Ashraf’s writing.

    You wrote : “Your personal experience means nothing for me because I had the very opposing experience with Avira (free & paid).”. I am in the exact position towards your own experience and many happy Avira’s users will say the same as I…

    That said, I clearly recognize that you have the right to your opinions and to say that some paid solutions are better than Avira Free, but this is clearly outside the frame of the actual article. Please consider that I am not saying that you have no right to do so, I am only saying that by doing so you put yourself and your comment outside the frame, that’s all… Here is a nuance that I hope you will grasp.

    Concerning the case of BitDefender, it goes as I said earlier : maybe you are right but I think it is better to wait for upcoming reports about it.

  38. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    1. You wrote: “I didn’t missed anything as you said, because BitDefender Free is only a scan solution without any active protection as the one that Avira or Avast have, so BitDefender Free is really not a good idea for a main antivirus solution. BitDefender Free would be the less impacting solution upon the computer’s activity because of its lack of active protection. However you would not have any real time antivirus protection with it”.

    You posting regarding BitDefender is incorrect. The Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition contains three main sections: VIRUS SHIELD, Auto Scan, and My Bitdefender. To prevent viruses from infecting your computer the Virus Shield protection must be enabled. The major section – Virus Shield – offers on-access protection for your system. This means that all files are scanned as they are accessed or copied. Bitdefender automatically scans the Web Traffic, and the files you have just downloaded from the Internet are immediately scanned. On-access scanning ensures Real-Time Protection against malware and being an essential component of free Bitdefender program. This module also is dedicated to blocking malware that is not yet included in the virus detection signatures but can detect it based on its behavior. Virus Shield (or Active Virus Control) continuously monitors the applications running on the computer, looking for malware-like actions. When such a process is considered to be harmful, it is blocked automatically in this location.

    2. You wrote: “If the thing seems to “go round” here, it’s because some people tends to always escape from the central subject of the actual Ashraf’s article”.

    The central aspect of the article is to find out (for Ashraf and of course for his dotTechis) which AV protection is the best for now (free and/or paid). You don’t see it that way – that’s your problem, not others. Stop creating any frames for the forum discussion, simply because these frames were not created by the author of the article.

    3. You wrote: “I really don’t know what you are talking about when you speak of the problems of Avira Free: I am using this software since about 6 years without any problem, may it be a malfunction or a virus infection…”

    Your personal experience with Avira does not coincide with experience of other Avira users, that’s why people are/were criticizing Avira performance and not your happy “marriage” with Avira. Your personal experience means nothing for me because I had the very opposing experience with Avira (free & paid).

    4. You wrote: “If you were telling that a particular singer is better than another and with reason, but we are not talking about singers but free antiviruses…” “You would be welcomed to keep the focus into the central aspect of the present article and not to say that the ones who are keeping such a focus are out of focus”.

    I assume you answered your own irrelevant question about your imaginary “singers”. So stay focus on focus, but if you prefer to sing on dottech.org – I do not mind, as well if you change the orbit of your sputnik – you are flying too high, what’s why you, probably, have some “singing” issues.

  39. MikeR

    Shields. Engines. Pro-active. Scans.

    Just thought I’d put that first in case this turns out to be a lengthier post than planned: it means dot tecchies are forewarned and if they aren’t interested in the above, then there’s no need to read on. . .

    Sputnik’s post @ #59 accurately sums up the situation which, I think, is what Ashraf was writing about. But we’re *still* not getting to the heart of the actual dilemma. So-oo. . . how about we all back up a bit and think things through? Starting with this contention:

    ** Pro-active defence is better than inert (passive) defence.** Yup. It is. But the assertion simply cannot be left like that. Why? Because the question now arises: just exactly what *is* that defence?

    Answer: something whose effectiveness derives entirely — *entirely* — from the calibre of the underlying AV engine.

    On which basis, an AV with a 100% detection rate offers a 100% effective pro-active defence. But what if — what if — that underlying engine isn’t actually very good? What if its entire pro-active regime is based on an inadequate definitions library?

    If such be the case, then there seems little point in tolerating the known, and inevitable, performance hit of all those shields: they are only going to ‘defend’ against threats known and identified on the AV’s radar — which means that threats which that radar *doesn’t know / doesn’t recognise*. . . are going to get through.

    The issue of pro-active versus passive thus moves a whole new step forward. It’s not, after all, a simple either / or, an easy question of which is better per se: it’s a question about the quality of the shields, the calibre of the defence.

    Avira, then. It’s pro-active. But, but, but. . . **so what?**

    Its underlying threat detection ability is, according to the surveys quoted earlier on here by various posters, not up there with the best-in-class. Using it means that all you’re doing is running pro-active performance-obstructing bloatware through which various threats can still walk straight through because Avira wasn’t up to the job of recognising them in the first place. You’re also running one of the worst pieces of nagware around, not to mention software from a developer which, in my past experience, isn’t exactly a class-act when it comes to sorting out problems which the developer itself has caused.)

    Anyway. Today, I’ve scrubbed PC Tools Free from my system and installed BitDefender Free. As has been pointed out by others here, PCTools whether free or paid-for is an unimpressive performer. Me, I’ve had no infections during its time on my pooters, but whenever fellow dot techies have something useful and constructive to say, I generally take note.

    BitDefender has been frequently mentioned in this comment thread because, as I imagine most savvy pooter users already know, its AV engine and proprietorial technology is ranked top of all AVs worldwide. Unusually, and perhapsd comfortingly, BitDefender’s business model has never relied on trying to up-sell users from free to paid-for. Rather, it has developed its income stream from a wide commercial user-base. That means it’s well-funded and has the financial resource to sustain its product performance (with the usual caveat about all software: just because it’s great today never guarantees what it’ll be like tomorrow.)

    The threats that Avira is unable to detect *are* detected by BitDefender. There’s no pro-active ‘live’ defence in the Free version. Nothing in the way of user-chooser control either. But then, there’s not a single nag screen, either. The developer says the Free version is ‘intelligent’ and runs silent, non-intrusive background scans as and when without the computer user being aware of it — so either one decides to run with the developer or walk away. I

    BitDefender Free hasn’t run an ‘intelligent scan’ yet because installation is so recent — it scanned on installation, which isn’t the same thing at all. But I already have experience of BitDefender’s on-demand free scanner: it’s a little red button icon which BitDefender installed some time back in my Firefox browser bar, discreet, instantly accessible, and with one click off it goes. I’ve never had any performance hit with it nor any intrusion by the scanning process.

    To conclude, then. I’m grateful to sputnik, ovl and others here — and especially, and as ever, to Ashraf for starting this debate — for alerting me to something I should’ve spotted before: that there is a BitDefender Free version powered by what is currently — currently — reckoned to be the world’s best virus definitions library.

    So that’s now my set-up. No ‘shields’. No bloatware. No ‘active’ interference by AVs which may well allow infections to pass ‘em by because they don’t actually know / haven’t yet identified that such a threat exists.

    I’ve teamed BitDefender Free with my usual little collection of defences: Mike Lin’s delightfully tiny ‘Startup Monitor’ (freeware), Bill Pytlovany’s legendary WinPatrol (freeware, though I do have the paid-for PRO version), and MBAM PRO (for selective use only: the damn thing can be *very* obstructive if you allow it to start file checking on start-up and it’s been a pig in obstructing giveawayoftheday downloads in times past.) I also have the freeware SUPER anti-malware installed and it’s easy to leave it running an exhaustive — and ye gods, but it is just that — overnight once a week.

    To sum up then: a massively protected computer that I can then barely use is of absolutely no interest to me at all — and especially if that massive protection has a fair few holes in it anyway. This new BitDefender Free route seems an interesting way to go, so maybe if this comment thread remains extant for a while, I’ll post an update in due course.

    Again: many thanks to Ashraf, Sputnik and ovl. And sorry for the length of this post!

  40. Sputnik

    [@MikeR]

    I’ve just read again Ashraf’s article and I clearly understand that Ashraf changed Avast for Avira because Avast has too much shields, which were impacting too negatively its computer.

    But Ashraf’s choice went with a free antivirus with an active protection : his choice didn’t went with BitDefender Free, which he certainly knows, because this antivirus doesn’t have any active protection.

    He doesn’t say it openly, but anyone who can interpret correctly a written text will understand that Ashraf didn’t want an antivirus without any active protection, but a free antivirus with an active protection which is minimally impacting the computer’s activity, and that’s why he choose Avira…

    But you would be right if you should say that BitDefender Free would be the less impacting solution upon the computer’s activity because of its lack of active protection. However you would not have any real time antivirus protection with it : with the use of it you could be infected until the time when you would do scan, and maybe you could stay infected after the scan, because it’s one thing to spot an infection and another to clean it. An antivirus with an active protection has the advantage of protecting the computer from an infection before it happens…

    If the thing seems to “go round” here, it’s because some people tends to always escape from the central subject of the actual Ashraf’s article.

  41. MikeR

    @ Symon, post 55: Bitdefender is by a Romanian software company. It’s been around for a long time and over the years has made massive inroads into commercial user markets worldwide. It has never been that bothered about the domestic market and all the up-sell attempts that have to be made (most excruciatingly, by Avira) to convert free edition users to the paid edition.

    @ Sputnik, post 57: I think we’re beginning to go round in circles here. You’ve said Bitdefender Free Edition doesn’t come with the active scanning that Avast and Avira do — as if that’s a downer. But it’s the very existence of those shields which has seen so many AV programs transform into bloatware in recent years and cause often serious performance impairment. . .

    The issue at the absolute core of what this article is all about.

    The question seems to be (and I did mention this a coupla days back): d’you define an AV by how many window shutters it rolls down to stop a potential burglar getting in — and thus leave with too little light to see what you’re doing / too little light to be able to progress properly around the house?

    Or d’you forget all about the damned shutters and go instead with an AV which isn’t pro-active?? Nowadays, with so much in the way of supplementary defences available free of charge to all to protect windows, doors and, for all I know, even chimneys, a non-obstructive stripped-down back-to-basics AV may well be the preference of many.

    I’m still running the apparently much-despised PC Tools Free AV and yet have had no infections thanks to my security set-up overall. Note, too, that I’m running a Vista OS system that hasn’t even had a Windows Update for three years (which makes it a telling refutation of the paranoia that seems to grip so many folks where computing’s concerned.)

    Kudos to you and ovl for highlighting the fact that Bitdefender offers a free edition *with no upsell nag screens* that runs fast and light and deploys Bitdefender’s proprietary AV technology:

    http://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html

    Tomorrow, I’m going to give it a whirl. Clearly, it draws upon a parent software with a considerably higher reputation than PC Tools. Thanks for the heads-up!

  42. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    I know that some people talked about some paid security solutions as Malwarebytes Pro or Zemana Pro or about a free software as ThreatFire, but it was only in a sense to mention security solutions, free or not, which would be a good complement to a free antivirus software as Avira or Avast.

    I didn’t had any problem with the fact that some people talked about this, I was even one of these…

    Also I didn’t missed anything as you said, because BitDefender Free is only a scan solution without any active protection as the one that Avira or Avast have, so BitDefender Free is really not a good idea for a main antivirus solution.

    Last thing, I really don’t know what you are talking about when you speak of the problems of Avira Free : I am using this software since about 6 years without any problem, may it be a malfunction or a virus infection…

    If you want to say that BitDefender or any other paid solution in the top of your list is one of the best antivirus, you are right, but it is only not what is the main subject of this article : it is as if you were telling that a particular singer is better than another and with reason, but we are not talking about singers but free antiviruses…

    You would be welcomed to keep the focus into the central aspect of the present article and not to say that the ones who are keeping such a focus are out of focus.

  43. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    You do not need to strive reminding me about the core of the discussion – it’s in the topic of the article in big letters.

    Also, you are missing something, because some visitors discussed here the demised ThreatFire, Malwarebytes Pro, Zemana Pro, which are not antivirus software at all and the latest two are not free at all). So don’t artificially narrow down what the people want freely to share with you.

    By confirming that “one of the four first antiviruses of (my) list” are the best AVs, but free “Avira is certainly the best choice” (which is not among these four), you missed something once again. According to your own logic, if Bitdefender is on the top of that list – the free edition of Bitdefender should be the best choice, not free Avira, which inherited well-known malfunctions from the commercial/paid edition.

  44. kikin

    [@Solyluna]

    Thank you “Solyluna” but I’ve always had the doubt if 99% of antivirus programs, when one applies a complete examination of the computer for viruses, this process takes several minutes, even to more than an hour, analyzing file by file, how wonderful or poor detention capacity will virus programs like Webroot, which completes a full scan in less than 3 minutes?

    On the other hand, are able to install a firewall to work with Webroot on the same computer? … if only you could disable the protection function (firewall) that brings Webroot, that does not conflict with another program Firewall? Again, thank you very much “SolyLuna” and thanks to all too ! specialy to: DOTTECH.ORG !

  45. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    I just want to remember to ovl that this article of Ashraf is about the choice he decided to make about a “free” antivirus.

    The link you supplied to a list of different antiviruses also includes commercial antiviruses.

    If Ashraf, or almost anybody who is reading the actual article, would have wanted to use the best antivirus, he would have selected one of the four first antiviruses of your list.

    But we are now talking about the best “free” antivirus one could or should use.

    In this aspect, Avira is certainly the best choice.

  46. ovl

    [@MikeR]

    “Tables aside, reviews are also misleading”…

    The chances to be infected through Avira protection (or thru your PC Tools) are much higher because their detection rate is mediocre – it is obvious b/c the aforementioned AVs are missing more targets than the top AVs. Comparison Tables/Charts are not misleading, they are helping PC user to decide which AV has better PC protection.

    “There’s no need for Ashraf to think about devising another comparison table”.

    I suppose that it’s not your business to decide what and how Ashraf is going to be thinking and/or doing.

  47. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    It’s unknown how Avira will perform in future and whether it “will be able to get and stay at the near top” (as you wrote), but 2012 was horrible for many Avira users. Check out Avira support forum at http://forum.avira.com/wbb/index.php?page=Thread&postID=1179702#post1179702 and read just one complaint posted by an Avira user who goes by the name of AaronH: “Our enterprise uses Avira… extensively. We have 100 centrally managed users at this site alone, and a dozen users we support on the road. This update has been pretty catastrophic. The whole company ground to a standstill. Upon arriving at work this morning, users were greeted with an Avira update prompting them to restart their machines. Most users did so. Unfortunately, upon reboot, most users could not log in, as Pro-Activ was blocking the login process. Some users managed to log in, but they could not open Outlook, Excel, or any other apps, due to them being blocked by Pro-Activ… the off-site users received the update, but are now unable to connect to the VPN to receive the centrally-deployed configuration update. Trying to support a dozen off-site users who cannot even start their computers is not much fun, that’s for sure. I’ve been a big proponent of Avira within our company, but I think that may change when it comes time to renew our license in a few months”.

    Thus, Avira has sent out in May 2012 a defective antivirus update that was causing its product to block critical Windows processes and third-party software, effectively rendering millions of PCs unusable.

    The good news was that the free edition (Avira AntiVir Personal) did not include ProActiv. The bad news is that the paid consumer editions (Avira Antivirus Premium & Avira IS) as well the business edition (Avira Professional Security) do have it, and thus all were affected. But if the Big sister (paid Avira) has problems, who can guarantee that the small sister (free Avira) will not be spreading the similar malformed updates, etc.

  48. MikeR

    @ ovl & Sputnik: Like you two, I used to check the AV comparison tables but found them not as helpful as might be thought. That’s because the percentage difference amongst the best is statistically so small as to be not worth bothering about: if any of them are less than 100% — which is like asking for the impossible — then there’s a remote chance you’re going to be infected whichever one you opt for. Where the tables were useful was in identifying those which really were a waste of space (and a positive threat to that space, too, seeing as they might lull a user into a false sense of security.)

    Tables aside, reviews are also misleading: I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read that such-and-such an AV is ‘resource lite’ (but it isn’t on my machines) or ‘resource heavy’ (but, er, it turns out not to be on my machines.)

    At the end of it all, I’ve come to the conclusion that — as with so-called ‘optimizers’ — each individual’s pooter is different and each pooter user has different expectations and experiences. It’s as subjective, and therefore as varied, as that. Which kinda means, there’s no need for Ashraf to think about devising another comparison table: as like as not, it will be Ashraf’s experience. Not mine.

  49. Sputnik

    [@ovl]

    In fact, I’ve stopped checking these comparisons between AV since a couple of months, but I’ve been checking them for a couple of years and what I said is the reflection of true data.

    Maybe that, in the report your link shows us, Avira is not at the top, but it has been at this position or near it for a couple of years…

    You can also see, in the report your link shows us, that Avira is still a little bit better than Avast and AVG.

    But let’s wait a couple more of months or years to see if Avira will still be able to get and stay at the near top, where it has been for a couple of years…

  50. ovl

    [@Sputnik]

    “Avira has always had a better detection rate over most of antiviruses”

    That’s a wishful thinking. If you check now AV-Comparatives.org. (an Austrian Non-Profit-Organization, which constantly provides independent Anti-Virus software tests free to the public), you’ll see that both Avira & Avast have similar & mediocre protection rate and in the middle of the Chart, to wit: Avira – 97.7%, Avast – 97.1%. (AVG is far behind and below PC Tools with 96.2%). Compare, for example, to BitDefender’s protection rate which is 99.9%.: http://postimg.org/image/jxnukhm75/

  51. Strahd

    As a few have mentioned in regards to Avira, i decided to stay away from Avira because of the massive amounts of false positives. It has lessened some with newer updates, but i find it being worst when it comes to false positives.

    Although others have posted about Avira being a good AV software, I choose to use Avast, as I have had the best experience and great results using it.

  52. AFPhy6

    [@Symon]
    Great comment. Your “Clearing PC Tools off my laptop was a nightmare, in some respects worse than even Norton, which says something!!!!!!!!!” really brought back nightmare memories for me. I have tackled both of those problems in the past, and I almost forgot about the PCTools experience, though I’ll never forget the Norton(Symantec) experience. Your MBAM Pro thought intrigues me…

    [@Oliver Thomas]
    I am a happy AVG user, without vprot.exe toolbar, though that product is not popular around here nowadays. No matter what, AV programs will necessarily slow a ‘puter. I have not yet seen a compelling argument to go to either Avira or Avast, other than dislike of the toolbar, about which I agree. They have swapped places in performance tests I have seen for many years, speed, accuracy, and efficiency. I sure don’t enjoy the slowdowns that occur from time to time, but I don’t know of any AV products that are free from that.

  53. Sputnik

    [@chump2010]

    The more shields you remove from Avast, the more you take off the advantages of Avast over Avira and as Avira has always had a better detection rate over most of antiviruses, at this moment you are better to go with Avira instead of Avast.

  54. chump2010

    Just a comment about Avast. I use it quite regularly and install it quite regularly. Avast allows you to custom install your installation so as to trim the fat good and properly.

    Usually I remove lots of the shields and so forth. If you already have it installed, go to repair and do a modify. Then remove most shields that you don’t use. I certainly did. I usually only leave the web, script, behaviour and file shield.

    Removing the gadget and lots of other features which I don’t want or need.

    Then I disable streaming updates and reputation services.

    That keeps Avast relatively slim.

  55. AT

    I continue to use Avast. In the past, I have used both Avast AND Avira at the same time. I would have continued to use both if Avira did not have so many popup ads and false positives. I got so many false positives that I let a real virus infection get through (I was using Avira only at that time).

    That said, both Avast and Avira continue to be good software. You just have to decide which one works best for you.

  56. longfeng

    If not for your article, I may not realised that the frequent hangover of the system is caused by Avast!

    Indeed, I am irritated by the sudden without warning lag and now I have got rid of it.

    Thanks for the heads-up and save me time for debugging.

  57. Louis

    @ Symon :
    Yes, PC Tools ThreatFire is still alive, but now resides in the Paid Version of PC Tools / Symantec Norton’s Spyware Doctor. Now, it sounds great in principle (which is why I installed it at first, with it monitoring everything for suspicious behaviour, but it significantly slows down your system —- I’ve properly Revo uninstalled it from my, and some friends / family’s computers, and in each instance there was a huge improvement in general performance.

    One doesn’t need “behaviour monitoring” software, either freestanding or as part of other software, like Avast (and all others) — it should be uninstalled, or disabled if part of multi-featured software, and you’ll notice the different.

    As Ashraf duly noted : ” avast! Free Antivirus has specialized shields for specific types of threats, which is good but not absolutely necessary. If you are going to be infected by some sort of malware, that malware must eventually find its way onto your computer. When malware hits your computer, at that point any anti-virus/anti-malware program with real-time protection will (should) catch that malware — regardless of if it has special modules for that type of malware or not.

    Indeed : Anything that monitors ‘suspicious behaviour’ will slow down your system. For the record, that type of software has never been proven to be effective, or actually stopping any real malware (apart from many false positives) — I do know that I monitored PC Tools ThreatFire’s reports constantly, but it never reported anything found, ever — even when on occasion I did pick up malware which was sorted out by my always on AV (currently paid for ESET NOD32) or manual scan using SpyBot / SuperAntiSpyware.

    @ Jyo :
    Most of these Cloud Scanners are only that in name — once you’ve logged on, they make you download a rather big database of virus signatures (just like an update of installed AV, only longer since the whole thing must be downloaded), and then proceed to scan your pc with that, which speed then depends on the software. I’ve tried all the cloud based scanners (I think the best of the lot may be Trend Micro’s HouseCall), but that whole procedure each time I want to do an on-demand scan just irritated me too much. So after having tried all these free AV’s (except Comodo AV), and all the free cloud scanners, I bit the bullet and got the paid for version of ESET NOD 32 (very light on resources), plus initially combining it with PC Tools ThreatFire, now long removed.

    As for using free AV products, there’s only one I haven’t tried, being Comodo (due to some bad criticism of some aspects of the company and/or its software which I read here on dotTech and also elsewhere, some time ago). Many people now seems positive about it, so I may load that on my netbook whose paid AV just expired, and see how it goes (I’m only going to use the AV component though, no extra components, and retain my pre version 10 Zone Alarm Free as my firewall). If that works well there, I may switch to it permanently on my main pc as well in the future.

  58. Oliver Thomas

    @ Ashraf – how does Avira and Avast compare to AVG (with which you recently had the toolbar problem) as far as slow downs and other problems?

    I have been using AVG, and after reading your article I discovered that I, too, have the #&@ %^% AVG toolbar. Aside from taking up space and perhaps cpu time, does it cause any problems?

    I used Autoruns to prevent Vtoolbar from loading, but then had to restore to an earlier restore point in able to get XPSR3 to load. #$#$# !!!!

  59. Jyo

    Hey! It’s been long since I’ve last commented on here. I hope all is well.
    Anyways, I also coincidentally switched back to Avira from Panda Cloud (because of small annoyances) about a month ago and I noticed the ondemand scanner takes quite a while to scan. It takes like 10 seconds to “initialize” then it will begin the real scan, which is fast. Maybe it’s just me, but can you confirm this for me on your system?
    As to your comment on avast being bloatware, I saw this happening a long time ago, that’s why I opted to try Panda. From time to time, I get little quirks caused by Panda, like my wireless freezing for a minute on boot, or the shield disabling(very very rarely but it happens). Recently I’ve gone back to trying Avira again, but this ondemand scan thing is really bugging me. Sigh, why do these companies always ruin their products?? Avira was superb ages ago, avast was great a year ago, and Panda was bug-free half a year ago. It’s an endless cycle of switching back and forth….=[

  60. Symon

    Interesting. I have had many, free and paid. Paid included Norton, McAfee, Bit Defender. Free includes Avast!, Avira, Comodo, Bit Defender 8, Microsoft Security Essentials.

    I will never use Avast! again. I received a programme update just before I was scheduled to run a scan in boot mode (Avast! is good for that, or was). After the Avast! programme update, I left my laptop to get on with it.

    Imagine my horror when this new Avast! removed all the essential ‘bits’ of my other programmes, mauled Windows (Vista HP) and generally ruined everything on it.

    I thought maybe a computer tech could bring all of it back but after 6 weeks, they needed permission to put it down, erm, I mean reformat.

    Since that was a software issue my 3 year Warranty did not cover it and free Avast! cost me £35 for a reformat (which ruddy well did not take properly) plus all my missing data; so I eventually just started all over again by myself. Probably should have in the first instance but I had a Warranty and felt I should use it. The Lappie – a great ASUS G1 was newish but by then software was not covered; you will be familiar with the story.

    Anyway, that was my Avast! experience. Apparently they reissued the programme update but it was too late for me.

    So Avira was back and I have never had any problems with it. It is fast and it is secure. There are many single use downloads, even a restore disc, that Avira provides FOC.

    Today, I use MSE…. though full scan is very slow and updates come via Windows Update too. That seems to do the job but as an admin of many websites, I felt I needed more and upgraded Malwarebytes to the Pro Version, for a ludicrously cheap price (one PC for life). If you have not tried Pro, you really must use the trial period to see just how great it is.

    My Firewall is currently Comodo (I blocked the antivirus element).

    Fixing a friend’s computer last week, I replaced Macafee security centre (free with Dell products for a year) but now expired, with Comodo Security Centre. Lordie, that has changed. I may remove MSE and get the latest Comodo myself. This is the free version too. I was very impressed by the revamped product and it’s ease of use.

    Oh finally, someone mention PC Tools. Since bought by Symantec it is nothing but bloatware – expensive at that. Threatfire was great but if it is now out of date (supposed to be inbuilt with PC Tools). Clearing PC Tools off my laptop was a nightmare, in some respects worse than even Norton, which says something!!!!!!!!!

    Malwarebytes fully replaces all other Malware products and Pro is updated up to 20 times a day if needs be.

    Well, that’s my experiences to date.

    You can shove Avast! where the sun don’t shine :-)

  61. Louis

    [@Sputnik] @Sputnik, @Ashraf, Hi, see my post earlier (Nr 11) about the way the behaviour monitoring of PC Tools ThreatFire (now owned by Symantec / Norton) severely slows down your whole system, and how that may also be the case with Avast when the “behaviour monitoring” feature in Avast is on in real-time as well.

  62. ovl

    @ Ashraf

    None of the popular free anti-virus programs (your former defender Avast and your present protector Avira) are perfect. Each has its own advantages & disadvantages.

    Avira (the power of German engineering) picks up a lot of false positives,
    and these false positives are more than just alarming. They can prevent the AV program from functioning properly. In some cases Avira does not remember the last command even after telling it to “Always Remember” and after numerous times telling it that “It’s not a virus”, pop-ups just continue for the same clean file.

    I think that under a wide range of situations, including system scans, Avira tends to require more CPU resources than Avast does.

    Avira does its job and keeps the clients updated, but it seems in some cases to have trouble keeping track of hosts and their IP addresses. As a result of that, you are unable to update Avira and that is a dangerous scenario. Also, I think that Avast outperforming Avira on backdoors/bots and Trojans.

    So each AV program could make you unhappy in its own specific way.

  63. Sputnik

    @ Ashraf

    Do you think that the last version of ThreatFire (v 4.11.2.22, I think) would be a good complement to Avira Free, even though ThreatFire doesn’t exist anymore as a standalone program ?

  64. sci

    Firefox was causing my ‘puter to stutter. I miss the multirow tool bar but not the gapiosis. Chrome runs fast & smooth. I use Norton, MBAM and SAS. And Zemana Antilogger runs well with this mixture.

  65. Seamus McSeamus

    Hmmm. I have used avast! free on my laptop for as long as I have had the laptop. Recently, I have noticed occasional freezes such as you described. I just put it down to needing a reformat, but perhaps I’ll investigate an alternative a/v as an alternative.

    It won’t be Avira, however, because the reason I switched to avast! in the first place was Avira’s annoying and intrusive ads. I used Bitdefender on my Windows 8 machine for a short time just to try it. but wasn’t satisfied with it. Perhaps I’ll give Panda Cloud a try.

  66. n8399

    @Ashraf: Similar avast experience most noticeable past 6-9 months with 2 different, similarly configured 2GHz P4 PC’s, Win 7 SP1. One PC had been running smoothly with Avira before avast. Will switch most problematic PC to Avira.
    A 1.5GHz Pentium M laptop with Avira has been running smoothly over the same period.

  67. Andrey

    ?????
    ? ??????????? ??????? ESET,Bitdefender 1913 (??????? ?? ?????),MSE,Iobit Malvare PRO, ? ?????,??? ?????? ???????? ???????? ???????????, ????????? ????????? ?? ??? ?? ? ??????.? ??? ?????? ? ?????? ??? ?????? ??????? ??? ???? ??????.? ??????? ????? ???????????? ????? ????????? ????? ??????? ?????? ???????.???????? Reg Oreganizer.? ????? ?????????? Anvir Task Manager.? ?????? ??? ????????? ??????.

  68. Louis

    Ashraf,
    I’ve a theory (but not proof) about the slow performance of Avast on your system : That it may very well be the “behavior monitor” feature that causes the problem. Reason I think that to be the case, is that it sounds similar to the software PC Tools ThreatFire, when it was still available as a standalone product (before PC Tools was taken over by Symantec / Norton), and was designed to run alongside your regular AV software, monitoring everything for suspicious behaviour — this caused my pc to slow down significantly, which disappeared immediately after I removed it (I can’t really say anything about other PC Tools products such as PC Tools AV Free — except that I would not be comfortable about using it, when its new owner, Norton, has its own paid AV software — surely it can’t be at the same level of protection ?). However, this is about Avast, and if its “behaviour monitor” feature works on the same principle as PC Tools ThreatFire used to work when it could be checked running as standalone software, I would not be surprised if this is the cause of the problem. Are you able to run Avast , but with that feature turned off ? It would be interesting to see if you experience any difference then.

  69. MikeR

    [@NickK] Informative post, much appreciated. Agree with you entirely about MBAM Pro (even if we may well be in a minority of two) and I also note your reservations about PCTools being, perhaps, too ‘lite’. Those were my thoughts, too. But in practice, it’s turned out to be just fine (so far: I’m into my third month running it.) Oh: someone else here recommended Bitdefender. Absolutely. I tend to regard it as the gold-plated, copper-bottomed real thing when it comes to AV. But it’s a paid-for and that’ll put some folks off, especially when money’s tight. However. . . for on-demand system scanning (which, of course, isn’t pro-active) it’s excellent, and draws upon the same definitions engine as the commercial version. I’d commend it to anyone looking for a second opinion:

    http://quickscan.bitdefender.com/#

  70. stephan

    Ashraf,
    Not knowing what hardware you are using makes it difficult to really analyze what’s going on. It is my experience that Win XP “needs” at least 1.5G of RAM to behave itself, and a fast hard drive doesn’t hurt.
    More importantly, a regular schedule of cleaning out the hard drive (start->programs->accessories->system tools->disk cleanup ), especially of system restore points, and defragmentation greatly improves performance. I recommend defraggler for this.
    This is especially true right after a fresh OS install.

  71. NickK

    Ashaf – Thanks for the article. I’m assuming you have avoided installing the Avira Free Toolbar? If you have not installed their Toolbar, Avira Free comes without its web-protection shield. Are you not concerned that Avira Free (without the toolbar) does not provide web-protection? If you are not concerned, please share why this is the case.

    As per my response on your article re the AVG toolbar, I’m an AVG2013 (paid) user, but I am considering free AV alternatives, possibly something to use along with MBAM Pro (which is heavy on memory usage). The only reason I crossed Avira Free off the list is because you have to install their crap toolbar to get web-protection. MSSE might be light enough, but its AV-Test results are discouraging. I’ve read over and over about how many users love Avast, but there’s also a growing amount of users claiming that it has become too bloated. I agree – all those shields would have to mean too many hooks – the tighter the security, the more checkpoints in your system that can only result in slowing down traffic (I like “MikeR’s” analogy about not being able to see where you’re going :) ). I’ve thought about Panda Cloud Free (but there’s not enough reviews about it to get a better idea on how it might perform). “MikeR” mentions PC Tools Free, but it sounds like the free version is light only because its so cut-down that it probably just compromises security. I’m sure they all have their own unique stengths and weaknesses. Here’s hoping you’re daring enough to run a few tests for a review over the next couple of months ;)

    Cheers,

  72. m

    Avira is the best free antivirus out there. I’ve tried it with many different computers (including my colleagues and friends). AVG is the worst antivirus program. AVG only pretends to be a program, something like a ‘placebo’. You feel secure seeing the AVG logo, but hackers and people running root-kits know how to tackle AVG.

  73. V

    My experience with Avast with the exact opposite. Barely noticeable on my machine, it worked fast and efficiently for years.

    In fact, the only alternative that could catch my eye was Bitdefender. BD is a *little* more difficult because it insists on marking a *few* known false-positives but in the 6 months that I’ve been using it I’ve found it even lighter and faster than Avast with almost no noticeable effect on performance. Add that BitDefender routinely gets the best marks for effectiveness from the ratings services (far ahead of Avast and an evidently declining Avira) and I am sold on it.

  74. unicorn02

    I am still an avid avast user, but slowly they overcrowd their AV with too much services. So most importantly, I would recommend to install avast in user defined mode and just select the protections you really need to have. E.g. if you used a webbased email-service, there is no need to have the mail-scanning shield running.

  75. MikeR

    Excellent report, Ashraf. My experience mirrored yours — though in some quarters, actually saying that is disapproved of: I was chastised by a mod on a Gizmo forum thread for complaining about Avast’s performance impairment when (as he said) don’t blame Avast, it’s your computer that’s at fault.

    Rubbish. The problem stems from an imbalance in the trade-off between prevention and obstruction. And it isn’t confined to Avast, either. The much-vaunted Malwarebytes PRO actually played havoc with my Giveawayoftheday downloads: I never received the executables, only the read me txt. Then I turned off MBAM and lo and behold, everything functioned as it should. (No: I’m not knocking MBAM. But I certainly don’t have it running full time, the way I once did.)

    It stands to reason that the more “shields” there are in play, the greater the weight and density of those shields. That burden can effectively build to the point that you’re living in a house with so many security shutters over the windows, you can’t see what you’re doing because there ain’t no daylight — or, if there is, it takes an age to filter through.

    Having — reluctantly — abandoned Avast, I switched to Panda Cloud because of its ‘light touch’ promise. Obviously, it’s useless as an on-demand scanner because no definitions are stored locally and so everything has to be re-checked against the cloud. At first, Panda Cloud seemed fine, though irritatingly minimal in terms of information provided and user control. But then — sadly — I found its performance to be deteriorating: I run SUPER antispyware free edition once a month on an in-depth overnight scan (which is actually still continuing, on my machine, the following afternoon.) Over a 3-mon th SUPER re-check period I realised the Panda was no longer worth feeding, so switched to PCTools Antivirus Free.

    This has turned out to be light, fast, and efficient. It doesn’t hit you with nag screens, and the inevitable upsell attempts to the fully paid-for suite can be ignored, despite the fact they’re just a little bit too alarmist (in my view.) I turn MBAM on when Internet surfing, but off for when downloading, and both WinPatrol PRO and the tiny (but much faster) Start Up Monitor are in operation anyway.

    As to Avira. I quit Avira way back when because its updating was clunky to the point of being broken. Avira denied anything was wrong, this despite hundreds of posts on the Net from users experiencing the exact same problems. Avira finally — finally: because it certainly seemed to take it forever — fixed the still-denied update mess, and I tried it again. But the nag screens were just downright stupid and a massive irritant — I know there’s a work-around for it, but even so, I’d become much less enamoured of that developer than before, so couldn’t be bothered to spend time and effort on finessing its upsell efforts.

    I’ll be very interested to hear how your Avira experience works out.

    PS: Oh, just to add: I’ve used Kingsoft AV too. . . and though initially promising, it turned out to be a mediocre performer that I really couldn’t depend on. However, that was 18 months ago, so perhaps it’s improved since then.

  76. Jeanjean

    I had exactly the same problems as you under XP-sp3. Consumption was such that the PC froze completely.
    I tried another solution given the post of Raymond about antivirus :
    – Avira gives me just the same problem but to a lesser extent;
    – BitDefender free removed without warning;
    – Ad-aware refused to put itself in the taskbar at the launch and has too few options;
    – AVG and Panda Cloud rollback the installation after a time, one invoking a driver, the other without other explanation than “error”.
    I finally installed Kingsoft Antivirus (local version) based on the definitions of Avira 2013.
    It may be a little bit less effective than others, but I do not have any worries!
    Combined with other software like MalwareBytes or/and Zemana, I think it will protect me as well.

  77. rol

    I have recently switched from Avast! free to Panda Cloud free. Not that I’ve noticed slowdown problems with Avast, but I’m tired of having to do signature updates all the time (I have a Win7/Win8 dual boot). Also, in the past, when I’ve tested Avira free, I was disappointed by its numerous intrusive ads, so Avira is not an option for me. With Panda Cloud, you install it, and you can forget it. It is extremely simple, and it has not that lot of shields that Avast! has, but it is extremely fast, and it doesn’t slow down your system at all. You need a good internet connection though. Currently, I’m sticking with it.