While running my PC Repair business, I have to deal with a lot of virus and spyware infestations on my client’s computers. One of the most common questions I’m asked is: What kind of anti-virus should I use? The answer, of course, is one with updated virus definitions!

There are many choices for anti-virus, like commercial applications Norton and Trend Micro, which are definitely effective and provide an almost overwhelming amount of features, but if you’re looking to save money, free personal anti-virus applications are a very sound choice as well.

Over the next few weeks we will take a look at a few of the reliable free options.

Avira AntiVir Personal

Avira’s AntiVir Personal Edition is a popular and well rounded anti-virus solution.  AntiVir scans quickly and efficiently, is light on system resources, and provides real-time protection with AntiVir Guard. The personal version is completely free for private use.

private use agreement

Installation is a smooth process.  If you’re looking to quickly secure your PC with AntiVir select the Complete install.  Personally I like to have a bit more control over components during installation. If you have any doubts on what components you need, err on the side of caution with a full install.

custom install

AntiVir allows you to update the virus database right away during installation so you can activate a thorough full system scan right away.

update right away

After a successful installation you are prompted to register with Avira.  Registration is certainly not required, but if this is the first time using AntiVir you might be interested in getting up to date updates and news.

I found full system scans to be surprisingly quick.  While scanning, a window pops up to show the progress.  There is also the ability to pause, stop, and resume a scan from this panel.

With any anti-virus program you will notice a lag in performance during an active scan.  If possible schedule a full system scan for off hours.  To schedule a scan launch the Avira UI and to to View Administration Scheduler.

Highlight the default Complete System Scan and give the job a name and description.

Then select a profile or what you want to have scanned in this job.  As you can see you can do a complete system scan or narrow it down to individual sections.

The next step is to choose a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and time for the scan.  This is where you can schedule it for “off-hours”.  The actual time is military so you know if it’s AM or PM.

Finally choose the display mode the UI will have while scanning.  You can select Maximized, Minimized, or Invisible.  Also you can have your computer shut down after the scan to save power and add to your Green Computing.

AntiVir will integrate into Windows Explorer so you can scan individual files.

If a virus is detected you can get detailed information from the Avira database.  This comes in handy for several reasons.  You find out the threat level of the malware, specific removal instructions if necessary, or may determine it is a false positive.

AntiVir does have a pop up screen urging you to purchase a premium version every time you update the definition database, but that seems a minor inconvenience for free anti-virus protection.

avira pop up ad while updating

One final feature to point out is Reporting.  You can get a detailed text based report or all scans and updates that take place.

Download Avira AntiVir Personal Edition