Archive for February 2009

Free AntiVirus and No Catch

Good morning, blogosphere!!!!

On the rare moments when conversations turn to antivirus programs, people often ask which one I use. My answer is avast! (lower case “a”) from Alwil Software. Yep, avast!, just like the pirates said.

If you only have one computer you can download, install, and use it for free. No catches. It’s fully functional for free.

avast! Home Edition is suitable for use on a family computer, and their license allows you to install the software on a home office computer, too. It’s free for one computer, and if you have more than one computer you can purchase 2 avast! Professional Edition licenses for $68 total. Discounts are available for two or three year purchases.

For more than 2 computers in your household consider using their avast! Professional Family Pack for $80 which allows you to install it on up to 10 computers.

Get avast! Home Edition

logo_avast_02Go to the avast! Home Edition download pageto download the program. It’s small enough to fit onto a thumb drive if you need to install it on a computer other than the one you’re sitting at. (The downloaded file is named “setup***.exe” The asterisks stand for the letters of the language version you chose, so the English version is setupeng.exe.)

save-or-runIf you’re going to install on the computer you’re sitting at just choose the “Run” option instead of “Save”, but make sure you’ve removed any existing antivirus on your computer beforehand. If you don’t know how to uninstall software, checkout this Windows XP uninstallation tutorial at About.com or this simple Windows Vista program uninstallation tutorial from Microsoft.

After you’ve installed the software, you’ll be told to restart the computer, and you’ll be asked if you want to run a virus scan when it restarts. If you’ve been without antivirus software for a while, I recommend running the start up scan.

When your computer has returned to the desktop screen, you will see the little blue ball with the white lower case “a” and another with a lower case “i” next to the clock in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Those are the avast! icons. Point at the one with the “i”, right click and choose “merge” and you’ll have one less icon there.

Register avast!

Now you should register the program so that it is fully functional after the trial period.  It’s free, so go ahead and register. they just ask for your email address, name, and country. Use your real email address so you will receive the registration number.

To register avast!

  1. licenseRight click the avast icon! by the clock, and choose “About avast!” A small dialog box appears (shown at right).
  2. Click the “License key…” button, and the Registration dialog box appears.
  3. Click “Program registration” and a browser window will open onto the avast Program Registration page. Fill in the form, etc., and click “Register”.
  4. regmailCheck your email for a message from avast. You’ll see a message like the one at right. Highlight the line of numbers and letters between the two “cut here” lines. Then copy the highlighted code. (I like to use CTRL+C on the keyboard, or right click and choose Copy with the mouse).
  5. regscreenClose some windows and get back to the Registration dialog box. Highlight the license key area, and paste the code you copied in the last step. (I use CTRL+V on the keyboard or right click, Paste with the mouse).
  6. Click “OK” and you’re set. No need to re-register for another year.

Click here to see a video demonstration of the avast! registration process.

One last thing

settings

avast! updates the software periodically, and you’ll want the software to install automatically. Here’s how to set avast! to update for you.

  1. Right click the avast! icon by the clock on the lower right of your screen, and choose “Program Settings…”. A dialog box appears onscreen.
  2. Click “Update (Basic) on the left hand sidebar of the screen.
  3. Click the two radio buttons labelled “Automatic”, click “OK”, and you’re done! avast! will keep itself updated automatically from this point forward.

I’ve been using avast! for over 4 years now, and I’m very happy with the program. I’ve seen it catch stuff the better known programs have missed, and it doesn’t slow down my computer like some of the better known antivirus programs do.

Other Versions

avast! is also available for Macs and Linuxbased computers. Mac users often overlook antivirus protection because there are so few Mac viruses out there, but I find many Mac computers turn into PC virus carriers, and unknowingly end up spreading viruses to their PC using friends.




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