I have used a number of different anti-virus programs to attempt to ensure that our desktop and laptop systems are kept in top running order. Over the years I've used some great ones and then there have been others that, well, just weren't worth the time it took to install them.
Avast 4.8 Home Edition Anti-Virus is one worth installing and keeping operational. Last December my oldest son began having problems with his computer, then another son, and another and suddenly our entire network was infested with a Trojan! We even ended up getting a call from our Internet service provider because something was definitely not right. It just happened that we had someone staying with us, a friend of one of my younger sons who had just enrolled in College and had decided that he wanted to hang out at our place rather than live at the Dorms. Unfortunately, when he hooked up his computer none of us even thought to check if he had up to date virus protection, we simply assumed that if he was hooked to the internet at home, he obviously had been diligent enough to ensure that his computer was safe.
At the time the popular scanners that everyone except for myself were using couldn't find anything. I on the other hand had scanned faithfully and at one point I had captured a pesky little Trojan and had placed it in my virus scanner's vault for safe keeping. At the time though I didn't realize that what I had nabbed was the same Trojan that was festering along happily from our visitors computer until I went to do a scan on his system, the only one we hadn't already checked and after installing Avast, located the same Trojan I'd collected earlier along with several others.
Although my scanner program caught the little pest my family wasn't very quick to change over to my handy dandy software and most of them remained with another program that was also free but proving to be failing in its effectiveness despite the fact that it actually use to be a pretty decent software program at one time.
Just last week while going to visit a site that was suppose to deal with Photoshop tutorials, I was greeted instead with a blank browser window. My Avast icon began circling and up popped a screen telling me that I had a Trojan attempting to gain access to my computer. I've never had the scanner do this before so I thought wow, what a great feature! I eradicated the little bugger and continued on my merry way after quickly closing the offending site and it's pathetic attempt to ruin my day. Since then, the entire family has dumped the 'other' program in favor of Avast and todate no one has reported any problems with viruses, Trojans, worms or other creepy crawler pests.
The Avast Anti Virus scanner is a regularly and frequently updated program and on some days the program will update the virus database 2 or 3 times, ensuring that I am always up to date with the protection from the latest threats as well as able to keep older viruses off my machine as well. Updates are automatic and painless and most times I don't even pay attention to it doing it's job.
Although a thorough scan can take literally hours on my laptop because I have not only my hard drive but also two other external hard drives which house a lot of Beta testing programs as well as graphics, the period of time in which the scans are taking place don't seem to affect the speed at which my computer operates. I am easily able to run virus scans in the background and still continue to do the work I need to without there being much if any degradation at all. The only time I can notice a bit slower performance is if I have both my Photoshop and my local machine server running as well as several other programs at the same time. To say that I tend to push my computer to the limit is an understatement but so far the virus scanner has allowed me to continue working pest free and without much limitation at all.
The virus scanner comes with real time monitoring, email monitoring, browser monitoring, upload and download file monitoring and a quick, normal and thorough scanning option. You can select whether or not you wish to scan the entire computer, external drives, zip folders or just do a single scan of only one file such as a zipped file you've downloaded from the internet. You can also schedule the program to run during those times when you know you won't be using the computer and then when combined with your hibernation or standby options, can have the computer shut down or standby til you are ready to use it. Avast sits unobtrusively as a small globe icon with the letter 'a' on it on the task bar and every so often it will spin to show that it's on guard and watchful. It has a pop up screen that indicates when it has downloaded the latest updated virus databases and after a second or so the screen quietly disappears. Although the program runs as a resident program, I've found little indication that it is a resource hog and the way in which my laptop performs, I would know for certain if that were the case.
The Home version of Avast is as powerful if not moreso and more effective than any program I have used where virus cleaning and protection is concerned and until Avast proves to me that it isn't doing an effective job, I'll continue to ensure that it is always up to date and that I have always downloaded any updated versions of this free program when they become available.
It is an excellent program that costs $0 and in my opinion those kinds of programs are becoming pretty rare. I'd recommend it to anyone and as someone who has a number of different types of software on the go most times and has configurations that would rival some of the biggest 'computer aficionados' out there, I would suspect that if there was a problem or drawback with this program, by now I would have found it. So far I've not run up against any kind of conflict or downside to this program at all.
I provided a link to the main page of Avast's site. Apparently there are websites out there that have been selling Avast with less than stellar procedures therefore I'd highly recommend that downloading if you choose to, be done *ONLY* via the official Avast website.