Earlier this week we took a look at free anti-virus application AntiVir which received great comments from everyone. Continuing with our series on free anti-virus tools, today we will take a look at Avast Home Edition.

Avast Home Edition offers great virus protection along with Spyware and Rootkit detection, and even has an interesting skinning ability.

Using Avast

The first time you run Avast after installing you will be greeted with a quick user guide to some features available.

Remember to update the database right away after installing so everything is up to date.

After the initial update I was prompted to restart Vista.  I hope this isn’t the case with every update.  Anyone who is a veteran user of Avast please leave your comments about this!

Avast offers real-time scanning with Resident Scanner.  You can set the protection normal, high, or custom.  If you are a “set it and forget it” user just keep the default settings.

Depending on the application sometimes real-time protection can bog down your system.  Avast Home Edition does not seem to eat up too many resources which is always good.

If you are a person like myself and need to tinker with everything, there is a cool Custom Setting mode.  Here you can set the different protection components to your liking.  For those who share files with your peers there is even a real time component for that!

The main menu is the command center where you can access all of the features of the home edition.  As with most anti-virus utilities, Avast integrates into Explorer so you can right click and scan a file.

Going into settings allows you to change and customize how Avast behaves on your system.  I am a big fan of this because I can decide how alerts and notifications are presented.  This is also where you can configure scanning reports and set Avast to automatically check for updates.

The scanning time in Avast is about the same as in AntiVir.  Unfortunately scheduled scans is not a feature available in the free Home Edition.  Scheduled scans are only a feature in the professional version which will cost you 39.95 after a 60 day free trial.

If a virus is detected it will be moved to the Virus Chest.  From here you can delete the virus, restore a file in the event of a false positive, and also email virus information on a virus to Alwil software.  Looks like my computer has no infected files!

Another cool feature of Avast is the ability to Skin it.  The default skin reminds me of a media player, who knew computer security could be so fun!

There are a bunch of skins for Avast on their webpage.  I thought this Atomic Arch was pretty cool.

So far out of the three big free anti-virus applications (AntiVir, Avast, and AVG), Avast is the only one that does not include a scan scheduler which seems a bit odd.  Otherwise it is a solid application and will do a good job protecting your system.

Download Avast Home Edition