Monday, January 18, 2010

Avira AntiVir V9 Review Best Free Antivirus

I’ve spent many hours, practically the whole day testing and writing my review on Avira few days ago. When I tried to save the article in Wordpress draft, the page went blank (so coincidentally there was a downtime on this site) and I wasn’t able to retrieve what I wrote by clicking the back button. So the whole review was gone and I had to rewrite. It might be a little simple but the main points are all there.avira review
avira review
I’ve been recommending Kaspersky to nearly everyone that I know if they are willing to fork out money to purchase an antivirus license. It’s pretty obvious that I am a big fan of Kaspersky because there are so many articles and tips on Kaspersky. However for some people that couldn’t afford to spend money on antivirus, I’d definitely recommend them to go for Avira AntiVir because based on so many antivirus test results, Avira mostly grab one of the top spots in detecting malwares. Trojan and cryptor programmers always face a headache to find a method to bypass Avira detection because every time they find a method bypass it, after a while Avira learns to detect it. So for the first time, here is my unbiased review on Avira AntiVir to share with you all on what I think about Avira.
I used Avira AntiVir Premium v9 for testing because I was able to easily get a genuine license valid for 3 months from this promotional page.

Avira Review
The difference between the Premium and Free version is the Premium version has extra features such as WebGuard, AntiDrive-By, RescueSystem, Enhanced email protection, and fast premium update servers but I think I can live without those extra features since there are replacements for them.

WebGuard = WoT
AntiDrive-By = Files are scanned anyway by the real time AnVir Guard when finished downloading
RescueSystem = Can be downloaded manually from Avira’s website
Enhanced Email Protection = Don’t need it if you are not using a POP3 email client
Fast Premium Update Servers = The personal update servers are also as fast as the premium servers

The Avira Premium installer (33MB) is considered small if compared to Kaspersky (50+MB), Norton (70+MB) and BitDefender(50+MB). After finished installing, the first thing I did was to update the program. Updating the virus definition and program the first time took merely 1 minute and 11 seconds because the update size was 8MB and I was downloading at 110+KBps.

Next I tested the scanning speed. A complete system scan took 5 minutes and 45 seconds to finish scanning 64398 files, 9744 directories and 195 archives.
Avira Full System Scanning Speed

When the scan has been completed, I ran a complete scan again for the second time and Avira also scans nearly the same amount of files and directories. A clean Windows 7 already takes 5 minutes to scan, I am sure that the scanning time will be increased by a lot if I scan my 1.5TB backup hard drive. Unlike Norton where it maintains a list of files that can be trusted which greatly reduce the scanning time.

During scanning, an avscan.exe process will launch and its memory usage kept increasing from 55mb to 67MB. However, the memory usage for avguard.exe drops to 16MB and finally goes down to only 1MB when the full system scan finishes. CPU usage is averagely around 30% but never goes above 50%.

As for the memory usage, only the real-time guard process (avguard.exe) and on-demand scanner process (avscan.exe) seems to be taking up quite a lot of memory. Avira is able to bring down the avguard.exe’s memory usage to 700K but of course when you start to use any programs again, the memory of the avguard.exe increases. As for avscan.exe, this process only runs when you start scanning any files and the memory usage surely goes more than 50MB.

I planted a total of 23 malwares on the computer, 22 of them are virus and 1 is a private version of trojan which is undetectable by most antivirus. Avira manage to detect all 23 malware as threats.
Avira Detected all virus

Avira is really good in terms of detection and the load that it puts on the computer is acceptable. To me, Kaspersky still takes the first place for “paid” antivirus and Avira takes the first place for “free” antivirus.

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