avast’s new v7 brings more features, performance improvements

avast!, a popular security solution best known for its excellent free anti-virus, has recently released a new v7 — and it brings juicy changes:

New Technologies in Version 7

Hybrid Cloud Technologies

New Streaming, real-time virus database updates

Now you get each virus signature sent to you in real-time via connection to the AVAST Virus Lab cloud, rather than needing to wait for a traditional database update. Your database will be continuously updated with latest definitions.

New File reputation system

FileRep lets you know whether a file is safe before you open it – determined in part by how many people have the file and how new the file is. The technology is also used internally, to help the scanning engine make more intelligent decisions.

New Protective Features

Improved AutoSandbox

Suspicious programs are now automatically placed inside the avast! Sandbox. When the program finishes, a comprehensive report is generated and, based on the program’s behavior, you are given a recommendation on how to treat it in the future.

Improved Browser Sandboxing

Enabled by a single click of the mouse, it allows you to completely isolate the browser from the rest of the system – even if the browser gets hijacked, your system stays clean.

Improved WebRep

The version 7 WebRep browser plugins provide greater protection against phishing sites, including heuristics detection of new phishing sites. Also, we can now detect fake/planted SSL certificates, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks against https sites.

Additionally, we have extended browser support to Apple™ Safari™.

Improved SafeZone™

Available only in Pro Antivirus and Internet Security, our SafeZone™, your ultimate clean and secure window for financial transactions, now auto-prompts you and moves to the SafeZone from your regular browser.

Greater Usability

New AVAST Management Portal

Your web-based AVAST Account portal is your personal directory for all your avast! related data. It allows you to track all your avast! installations, complete with their health data, status information, and useful statistics. And it’s multiplatform, allowing you to manage avast! installations on both Windows and Mac computers, as well as Android devices.

New Remote Assistance

Our new Remote Assistance tool lets you initiate remote support from any ‘geek’ among your friends or family who agrees to help. Initiated by you, it routes through AVAST’s servers, bypasses firewalls, and can be terminated by you at any time. You will never have to ask for help over the phone again.

Improved Easy-to-use user interface

The avast! user interface has been optimized to be more intuitive. Novices will find it easy to use, while experts are still able to customize every aspect of the software to their individual needs.

New Customizable installation

Your avast! software can now be installed in Compatibility Mode, meaning that it will run perfectly along with your other antivirus software to act as a second line of defense. And even if you install avast! in normal mode, you are given the possibility to install the components you really need.

Now even faster AND less resource-hungry

Independent tests showed that avast! 6 was one of the fastest and least resource-intensive antivirus products available. We made version 7 even better: this is our best-performing product ever.

Windows 8 Beta compatible

avast! 7 runs great on Windows 8 and even has some cool new Windows 8 specific features, such as the Early-Load Antimalware Driver (ELAM), which snaps into the Windows 8 Secure Boot process to provide additional protection against system-level rootkits and bootkits.

[Above description as per the developer.]

Of course all the features mentioned above are not for avast! Free Antivirus. avast! Free Antivirus, whiile providing excellent protection, doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as avast! Pro Antivirus and avast! Internet Security. Aside from the performance improvements (it will be interesting to see how much avast! has improved in the fourth edition of dotTech’s Best free anti-virus/anti-malware program for Windows article), in my opinion the most interesting new features for avast! Free Antivirus are the FileRep and Remote Assistance capabilities

In regards to FileRep, I’m not totally sure how useful it will be considering that avast! should already be flagging malicious files – prior to people opening them – via its active guard. So telling someone the “reputation” of a file before they open it seems like a useless redundancy — it would be a lot more useful if reputations were given prior to download. That said, however, I haven’t used FileRep yet so it may be implemented in a way that makes it more useful than I make it sound.

The new Remote Assistance feature is very interesting because it doesn’t seem like a feature an antivirus would have. Remote access has typically been the realm of standalone programs like TeamViewer. I haven’t used Remote Assistance yet so I cannot say for sure how it compares to TeamViewer; but it surely will give TeamViewer a run for its money considering it could save business users a lot of money coupling remote access with anti-virus.

Update: It seems like avast! 7 may be more buggy than hoped. Many dotTechies – see comments below – are reporting issues with avast! 7. If you are on avast! 6 you may want to stay there until these bugs with avast! 7 have been fixed. Personally speaking, I was planning on upgrading to avast! 7 but now will wait until avast irons out the issues.

If you already have avast! 6 (or lower) you can upgrade to avast! 7 from within the program itself. If you don’t already have avast!, you can grab avast! 7 Free Antivirus from the links below; when installing, just note avast! comes bundled with Google Chrome — don’t install that if you don’t want it:

Version: v7

Download size: 71.4 MB

Supported OS: Windows 2000 Pro and higher

avast! homepage [Download page]

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49 comments

  1. Becca

    I upgraded to 7 2 days ago, but opted to restart later. Yesterday after my laptop restarted, the start menu would freeze, some programs just refused to open, those that did went “not responding”, but couldn’t be closed via task manager. After many things I restored to factory settings, first thing I reinstalled was Avast 7, during the installation, my laptop blue screened. It blue screened again on directly after logging in. After that I got the freezing problems again, after another restore it works fine, no problems since… Version 6 was great! I’d used 6 on my last laptop and on this laptop for about 9 months … for now i’ll use AVG =/

  2. Rob (Down Under)

    In my Post 33, I recommended that those who have the central installed Chrome, should uninstall it.
    I have just taken my own advice, and uninstalled it, and then downloaded and installed the official version.
    All appears well, as my original Start Menu shortcut, now works again.
    I of course have lost all my settings etc.
    So I was in there (Options), setting a few settings.
    I did my usual search for NoScript , and got the usual answer NoLuck.
    It now occurs to me -
    All you avid Chrome users out there -
    Are you running Chrome without NoScript (disabling JavaScript)
    “Surely, you can’t be serious”

  3. Seamus McSeamus

    I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I upgraded my laptop and desktop when v7 was pushed and have encountered no issues, although I haven’t tried using the remote assistance tool. I was disappointed to find Chrome being foisted upon me, but unticking the box fixed that. It would be nice if all the crapware that comes bundled with installers was opt-in and not opt-out, but then no one would install any of it. Anyway, very pleased with avast! v7 so far!

  4. Krushkos

    I was offered to upgrade to Avast 7 , which I did, but I opted out of chrome. Everything went smoothly, then the laptop became sluggish and final turned off with a buzzing sound and a pink screen?????. I have a Dell running win 7.

    After reading the above the inputs, I have decided to remove Avast and give Avira a try. I could not understand why none of my restore points where working. And yes.. the sandbox seems to be opening up as if out of control.

  5. Guido

    Very curious bug, and very strange installer : it seems to have as many different install as people who comment on this forum! For me, I confirm to have no problem.

    I have also solve the small problem with the windows that pop-up at every start of my PC.
    To do that, look for a file named avast5.ini (with any finder, I use “Everything” which is a very good freeware) and open with Notepad.
    Go near to the end of file, and find a line with that instruction : ShowSetupOutro=1
    Modify the number 1 into a zero.
    Save the file. (avast try to stop the action, confirm by yes, and save a second time).
    A good thing is also to do a log out/log in, because sometime, Avast modify again the file before the next start of your PC.
    Guido

  6. Guido

    @Paul:
    I am asking myself (and myself don’t answers …) if problems encountered by some of you, occurs with a complete install after downloading the new and complete version from Avast’s site or if it occurs also when they perform directly an updating from the former version, like me.
    Installation could be very different along this two ways, no ?
    Guido
    (thank you for understanding, I’m french, so, English is really a foreign language for me, not so far a alien language)

  7. Guido

    Updating with no problem as far as I see since 5 days, only this annoying windows at every start-up telling me to finish the install (already finished anyway !).
    everything goes well, virus database up to date, no Chrome installed (I don’t want it)
    Updated on demand from Avast, that I used since many years with great pleasure.
    No demand to install Chrome, so no problem to refuse it.
    I take a look on my restore points, everything seems OK, but I have not tested any restoration.

    Guido, one of the lucky boys that install Avast 7 without any problem….. I hope …

  8. chuck

    @Rob (Down Under): Thanks for the links-confirms a lot of my suspicions.
    The restore previous versions trick would normally work,but in my case,I always delete OldChrome.exe. and last version folder right after the update.
    All the effort made to run a clean,fast,and tight rig,just shit-canned by piss-poor code!

  9. Rob (Down Under)

    I am just about to go offline to image my hard drive.
    For any of you Chrome users out there, I have a suggestion.
    If you read both the links, that I just posted, you will see that the official chrome installer does not place it into Programs folder.
    If I were a frequent Chrome user, and you have copped the clobbering that we have been discussing (lost your preferences, etc). I would uninstall all vestiges of both your Chrome’s.
    Then do a fresh install of Chrome.

  10. Rob (Down Under)

    @chuck:
    One of the posts in this forum -
    http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=94095.0
    says this -

    http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=93980.0

    is the same or similar problem. I don’t mind Avast bundling Chrome, I just don’t want to pay the consequences of a bungled Chrome install especially for existing Chrome profiles/installations. The official chrome installation file from google defaults into the user directory.

    Why is Avast using a custom version of chrome that installs into program files directory? Just use official Chrome installer that everybody else uses, and that will solve the problems. Even if Avast installs Chrome again, as long as the new install and the old install are in the same directory, nothing changes…no profile reset, no conflicting processes.

    The best thing would be for Avast to properly detect Chrome existing installs like past version have, but for ever reason, Avast 7 didn’t such as in my personal case. The second best thing would be to use a official Chrome installer to avoid bonking existing Chrome installs that Chrome users actually have.

  11. Rob (Down Under)

    Forget my request regarding the 30 day history, also triggering the Chrome install.
    I just went and checked to see when my new Chrome was installed.
    It went in at the same time that Avast was updated.
    I too, definitely declined that Chrome offer.

  12. chuck

    @Rob (Down Under): Pretty much what happened to me-see my first post.
    Avast aside,what I need to figure out is if Chrome now installs to Program Files as of it’s latest version.
    It’s been C:/Docs&Settings/User/etc. in XP and C:/Users/User/ etc. in Win7.
    I have 2 comps with Chrome (1 XP and 1 Win7) w/no Avast-I’ll wait for latest Chrome update to see where it goes and post back.
    I suspect the updates will go to the current location,but who knows.Maybe only fresh installs of Chrome go to new location.
    But for sure,uninstalling the Avast generated version of Chrome from the Start Menu,wipes out your current short-cut to Chrome,even though all files seem to be intact in the original folder.Note: even the Chrome exe. will not launch from there.
    Looks as though one problem has uncovered another.
    If anyone has info on where Chrome installs now (fresh download/fresh install) please post back with location and version # installed.
    Thanks guys!

  13. Rob (Down Under)

    If we have not “polished Chrome off yet” (couldn’t resist) …
    I managed to avoid the Chrome install offer, when updating Avast.
    I already have Chrome, but do not use it much because -
    - I like NoScript, which Chrome ain’t got.
    - I don’t like smarmy interfaces (Hello Apple Mac) (Hello MS Office Ribbon) (Hello Windows 7 Start Menu) that decide on my behalf, to get rid of Classic menus.

    I always have my browsers set to remember last open Tabs (shouldn’t everyone want that ?) .
    My Chrome surely has a few that it is remembering. But …. read on

    Avast today popped up a Dialog offering to show me what it had detected in the last month.
    I said why not.
    My FF was running with it’s usual plethora of open Tabs.
    There was a long delay, and Chrome opened up with the month’s history.
    Just a single Tab.
    As I was typing this, I thought it best to open up Chrome to see if it had clobbered my previously open Chrome Tabs.
    And it did not open Chrome. instead showing this message box –

    —————————
    Google Chrome
    —————————
    An administrator has installed Google Chrome on this system, and it is available for all users. The system-level Google Chrome will replace your user-level installation now.
    —————————
    OK
    —————————

    After I clicked OK, Chrome did not open, so I tried my Start menu shortcut again, and copped a message saying – it could not locate Chrome.

    I then checked my Start Menu (under ‘Programs’ this time), and there is a new entry for Chrome.
    When I click that, it works. but my previously open Tabs have gone forever.
    If I had been actively using Chrome. I would be very pee’d off.

    Regarding the long delay, when I accepted the offer to see the last 30 days of virus detection, I wonder if it took that as an authority, to do it’s install of Chrome ?

    When any of you get the invitation to see your last month’s activity, let me know if it takes that as authority to install Chrome.

  14. Paul

    @Mags: If you had bothered to read the links I posted you would find that is not always the case.

    I do NOT miss notices such as that. I have been using PCs and installing software for over 20 years and have never (until this) allowed something I do not want to be installed. So I will say it again, very loudly. THAT NOTICE DOES NOT ALWAYS APPEAR. And that is well documented in the links. The installer is buggy. Or perhaps it has been quietly fixed since I updated.

  15. Mags

    @Paul: “I ended up with Chrome installed with no warning. As I didn’t have a previous install of Chrome no harm was done and I was able to uninstall it, so in my case no big deal. But reading through the two threads I posted links to, it is very clear that this particular installer doesn’t always deliver that warning.”

    As for the installing of Chrome. I found that during the installation, Chrome is not installed, what does happen is that once the installation has been done and the pc restarted a pop up screen will appear asking to continue with the installation. THAT is where the Chrome installation notice appears AND it is checked to be installed on one’s pc. It could easily be missed if one does not fully read that screen.

  16. Mags

    Just my 2 cents re updating with Avast.

    I’ve been using Avast for about 10 yrs now. Early on I discovered with Avast (and many other programs) that it is not wise to upgrade right away. I generally wait about a week or two until the initial bugs have been worked out, then I upgrade. For me I find this works best.

    However, having said that, on the day that the notice popped up about that upgrade I was busy and wasn’t paying full attention and clicked on upgrade. Then cursed myself for doing so.

    However, I have not experienced any problems like some of the others have posted. Therefore, I’m going to make some assumptions.

    1) Some software just does not play nicely with some computers. For me it is Paragon. As good as it is, it just doesn’t want to work on my computer.

    2) There may be other programs on one’s computer which interferes with other programs. This problem is frustrating and can sometimes be a b*tch to try and figure out what program is causing the problem.

    3) There could be problems with one’s computer, i.e. either outdated drivers or outdated software or a virus, malware etc. This is another one which is difficult to figure out what is causing the problem.

    Hope this helps.

  17. Sal

    I just got the automatic update on my Android phone, too, but it looks there is no way to link to the Avast management portal (simply I don’t find any place where to put the Avast username to link with my profile).
    Is it a problem of mine, or is the portal not yet implemented in Android version? (although the developer features say it is)

  18. Safe and Sane

    FWIW, I’ve had absolutely no problems with updating to Avast 7, other than the annoying auto sandbox that kept intercepting programs that I knew to be safe. It got so annoying, in fact, that I disabled the feature but beyond this I’ve had zero problems.

    After *years* of struggling with the effects of multiple security programs — ranging from virtually *every* AV at one time or another to add-on behavior blockers and firewalls — nearly 2 years ago I dumped everything but Avast Free and my hardware router. No software firewall, no resident Malwarebytes, no Mamutu, no ThreatFire, no UAC and none of the other garbage that was robbing me of system performance and my sanity.

    I have remained happily virus-free and sane ever since (diligently checking regularly with various on-demand alternatives to Avast), and my systems have never run better. Turns out, my paranoia was my own worst enemy. I’m a BIG fan of Avast Free and, IMHO, the nicest part of Avast is the lack of false positives. With other AV’s, the number of FP’s was such a problem that I found myself ignoring warnings on many occasions, relying on VirusTotal.com as an ultimate decision-maker. Now, my rule is that if Avast warns, I listen. Period. No second-guessing the program, *ever*. As I say, I’ve never had a problem since I’ve been doing this and I have been (shall we say) “adventuresome” in higher-risk computing activities.

  19. Jeanjean

    Hi Ashraf,
    Never had a problem with Avast so far; this is a great product for sure.
    Just recently, I uninstalled version 6 to find the cause of sudden shutdown of the PC.
    Avast was not responsible, but I came to realize at that time how it slows down the use of Windows and all my programs.
    I hesitate therefore to install the new version, especially since I have free Prevx.

  20. ebony

    I was wondering if it was just me. I have not had any problems quite severe as those mentioned above, however during installation, my machine hung at the sign on screen after reboot.

    The other thing I noticed is now I am getting tons of SPAM/CRAP mail. Like 10 to 15 a day and a lot of my good mail is going into junk mail.

    Not sure if I can go back to my other version 6.

  21. Jon Steedley

    Hello, all.
    I also had dwnldd+nstlld the new avast 7, on the 24th.
    The installer is buggy, but I haven’t had the kind of problems others are having.
    I think its because I most definitely do NOT want google’s browser anywhere near my computer.
    Google seems to be trying to out “Microsoft” Microsoft, if you know what I mean.
    For now, I’m still using google Earth, google search, & google maps, but that may change,
    when I find out more about their changing the way they use the info they harvest about us.
    Please keep in mind that NO company is ‘above suspicion’ when your ‘privacy’ is at stake.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!
    s10wj0n

  22. Paul

    @njwood60: The problem is that the screen you mention doesn’t always appear (it certainly didn’t in my case). The installer is definitely buggy.

    I ended up with Chrome installed with no warning. As I didn’t have a previous install of Chrome no harm was done and I was able to uninstall it, so in my case no big deal. But reading through the two threads I posted links to, it is very clear that this particular installer doesn’t always deliver that warning.

    Believe me, I do NOT miss screens such as that.

  23. jivadas

    @chuck (detailer):
    If the developer reads this stuff (I hope so!), I think Chrome might have something to do with it.
    It was not in the download (I use Internet Download Manager, Two Thumbs Up); but my computer is highly googleized, with Chrome and google Desktop.
    Or it may be a fault in the Compatability feature (I kept MSEssentials, One Thumb Up)–but surely they would take this service into account.
    I wasn’t scolding Ashraf, but was glad to see him insert an update note (like Chuck, I downloaded before there were two messages on this page–stupid me!); this may have been a heads-up, but the great amount of space, and Ashraf’s past enthusiasm for avast made it look like a recommendation.
    But dottech remains four thumbs up (if you count my big toes).
    xØx
    jd

  24. njwood60

    wow -was I lucky! Upgraded no problems and no problems running. I have windows XP

    I just checked and all virus definitions up to date, so it seems to be updating OK.

    @Paul: From memory there was a screen asking if you wanted to install chrome (I unticked that option). I think it was after Avast had installed on the ‘finish’ screen, so you’re quite likely not to read it.

  25. chuck (detailer)

    @jivadas: Glad to hear you are up and running.make sure you got all the left-overs,as they could raise hell with your next AV.
    In fairness to Ashraf, I see this article as more of a “heads up” than a recommendation.Hell,I jumped right on the new version before reading this article,based on my past positive experience with the program.

  26. jivadas

    Back home from shopping.
    I was able to start the PC with a few glitches, and uninstalled this piece of shit. Thanks for the suggestion, Chuck.
    Should dottech be offering untested software without a warning? (Judging by other comments, this lump of excremental design has never been tested).
    TWO THUMBS DOWN!!!!

    xØx
    jd

  27. Donald Bock

    AVAST is/was good as it had decent features and solutions, but I had many problems:
    1. Not loading fully
    2. Not updating fully
    3. Not resuming from a DOS System Scan
    4. Notification Area icons not showing
    5. Database of File Signatures not updating as fast as I thought (it took over 2-3 hours to do)
    6. No Rescue Disk

    I feel sorry for any who use AVAST and expect miracles.
    Look for an AVAST Uninstaller to rid you of it.

    I make a point of downloading a NEW Installer File for my AV (AVG) every 2-4 weeks just because I don’t want to bother with X-glitches or eternal updates…AV Rescue Disk too.

  28. jivadas

    DISASTER REPORT:

    I have used Avasti Free on my laptop with no problems, so I thought I would install the _compatability_ version on my PC, Win7 64bit, with MS Security installed already.
    I downloaded and installed it, then tried to restart. Nothing happened.
    I decided to uninstall, and clicked my WinOptimizer, where I uninstall things.
    I got a non-response message.
    My pointer turned into an hourglass.
    The hourglass froze.
    I changed the battery in my wireless mouse, in case that was the problem.
    After some time, I pulled the plug.

    Reconnecting, my PC gave a bad-shutdown message and opened normally.
    But when I tried to open WinOptimizer, to uninstall this Avasti monster, I got the no-response.
    When I tried the Control Panel, it was non-responsive, and I ended-process.
    Now I got a Black Screen, except the floating google deskbar was there. I made it show the dropdown menu, but it would not accept a click.
    Then the floating bar disappeared.
    BLACKSCREEN.
    I pulled the plug, and am going shopping.

    Does anyone have advice about the next step? HELP!!!!!!!!!

    xØx
    jd

  29. chuck (detailer)

    @Rob (Down Under): I agree-took all my restore points out to lunch.I discovered this when I forgot to opt out of the Chrome installation option.I was paying attention on my other PC-both already had Chrome installed.The problem is that Chrome now installs to Program Files (where it SHOULD HAVE all along),so I ended up with 2 Chrome installations.When I attempted to uninstall the Avast created version of Chrome from the All Programs menu,I lost Chrome completely.Even the exe. from the original file (C:/Users/ etc.) wouldn’t launch it.This is when I found the restore point problem.The first attempt from Avast’s RP left version 6 crippled,unusable,and irreparable.Any previous RP’s created were unusable as well.This sucks,and i should have waited for user feedback,just like I always do with Windows updates.I ditched Avira for Avast 2 years ago and just didn’t expect these types of problems.

  30. Paul

    But if you are a (a) Google Chrome user and (b) updating through the Avast program, be very careful. The installer appears to be buggy.

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r26929481-Avast-7-installs-Chrome

    http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=93980.0

    It seems the installer SOMETIMES installs a new copy of Chrome without warning to a non-standard location, and this installation hoses your exisiting Chrome settings.

    I should add that it installed a new Chrome for me which I was able to uninstall – I didn’t have Chrome on my system. And Avast itself seems to be behaving OK.

  31. Jyo

    @Michael Rainey: The remote assistance always timed out and after updating to version 7, I can’t ever update anymore – it just hangs. My boot-time increased as well. When I tried to uninstall avast, the uninstaller was broken -_-.. Maybe it’s just a phase, but for now I am giving Panda Cloud a test run.

    @Ashraf: Any future plans on including Panda Cloud in your Antivirus Benchmark?

  32. Rob (Down Under)

    Be warned, that Avast and Windows System Restore Points must be carefully managed BY YOU
    After Avast updates it’s PROGRAM version, and has rebooted, you should manually create a System Repair Point, and include Avast Program Version in the Name you give to that Restore Point.
    If Avast program has been updated, YOU MUST NEVER RECOVER TO ANY RESTORE POINTS PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

    My warning is less severe for Avast’s Anti Virus database definitions.
    I am not sure if my following comment relates to the very frequent updates to the virus Database, or whether they occasionally update the version of the Database ? ? ?
    If you Google, you will see that users have had problems with Avast updates and System Restore points.
    Some of those problems appear fixable (I am guessing virus Database version updates), when you go to Add Remove Programs, and use the Repair option.

    However if you do not heed my warning (regarding Avast program version updates), you will find that is NOT fixable, as Add Remove Programs won’t even let you click the Avast button. The only way to fix it would be to reformat your drive, and do a fresh install. (But see my PS)

    Beware the Ides of March,
    Rob

    PS For those of you, that do not image your whole Hard Drive (or whole Partition), this would be a good time for you to start doing it.
    I got into the mess caused by Avast’s program update, and my going back to an earlier Restore Point.
    I COULD NOT FIX IT.
    Luckily I had a Seagate DiskWizard image, from 3 days earlier, that I was able to go back to.
    If you check Ashraf’s recent web page on Farstone -
    http://dottech.org/freebies/26773/free-farstone-totalrecovery-7-express/comment-page-2/#comments
    And also search his site for the (FREE)
    “Seagate DiskWizard”
    you will find that I have been preaching for millennium, on imaging, and using 3.5″ Seagate (500GB) drives in open air Docks. (Avoid 2.5″ drives, and avoid enclosed external drives)

    PPS Teamviewer has 12 Million users in Europe, and one user in Australia (me).
    It is free for non commercial use.

  33. Michael Rainey

    I’ve used avast! happily for six or seven years, but version 7 is extremely buggy. It was released too soon. Many members of the avast! forum are reporting going back to version 6. I can’t update, my browser Back button was disabled, and I’m getting sandbox alerts for programs like Microsoft Word when opened with no file loaded!

    Wait a few weeks.