Those who have read my list  of top 6 security applications know that I recommend Avira as the free anti-virus of choice. Well today Avira has released v9 of their awarding winning protection software. The best part of it all: Avira Free now includes the ability to detect spyware and adware were as it did not before:
Anti-spyware detection and removal is now available for the free version of AntiVir as well as the paid upgrades. There’s new scanning tech that can crack open “locked” files and verify that they’re not malicious, along with improved internal security to prevent AntiVir’s files from being maliciously altered. AntiVir 9 also offers a rebuilt heuristic detection engine, and according to Tony Anscombe, director of consumer products for Avira, Download.com reader comments have been the impetus for the new one-click threat removal option–no more baby-sitting the scans.
The one-click threat removal is a nifty quarantining feature that logs and sets aside all detected threats so you can deal with them individually or as a group at the end of the scan. It’s simple, but means that you can run a scan at night and not worry about the scan pausing and waiting for user input before it continues.
[via CNET ]
If you have Avira 8 Free installed (i.e. the version available before today), upgrading to Avira 9 Free will be a little pain. You have to manually uninstall Avira 8 Free, download Avira 9 Free and then install it again. However the new features are well worth it.
Update: Avira has now added Avira 9 Free to Free-AV.com. Therefore you should be able to automatically upgrade from Avira 8 -> Avira 9 from within Avira 8. However, keep in mind that you will still be uninstalling Avira 8 first – it will just be a little bit more automated then if you did it manually.
Lastly, recall in my article  about recommended security software that I recommend Threatfire to supplement Avira Free because Avira Free was unable to detect spyware. Now, if you want, you can uninstall Threatfire since Avira 9 Free has the ability to detect spyware and adware. Avira has excellent detection rates of spyware/adware so you don’t have to worry about a thing. However if you would like to keep Threatfire installed, you can. Just note that while there shouldn’t be any conflicts, since there are new features for Avira 9 no one can guarantee Threatfire and Avira 9 will not conflict because Avira 9 is new so not much testing done with it and other software yet (I will update if I know of any conflicts).
Ready to upgrade to Avira 9? Click here  to download it.
NOTE: Because Avira AntiVir 9 was rebuilt in some areas, such as the heuristic detection engine, if you are not comfortable upgrading until more tests are done with the new features that is OK – just stick to Avira 8 Free + Threatfire for now and I will update when I find out more information on actual tests done. However, personally, I am upgrading from Avira 8 -> Avira 9 right now. I trust Avira enough to know they did not screw up like AVG =).