Light use of system resources
Easy to use interface
Resistant to drive-by exploits
Bootable Rescue CD
Runs a daily full scan
Did not remove some malware from already-infected systems
Free version has annoying nag screens
Daily full scan may be overkill
Avira is widely known in the antivirus community for its excellent security products. We recommend Avira Antivir Premium for its excellent protection against infection from viruses and malware, its small footprint, and ease of use. While some are content to use the free version of Avira’s Antivir antivirus solution, we find that it nags too much with large, full-screen advertisements to buy the full version we are recommending.
The strong point of Avira Antivir Premium is protecting your system from infection from viruses, trojans, rootkits, and other web-based exploits. We found Avira to be extremely effective at blocking access to malicious websites, preventing installation of infected files, and detecting malware processes.
Avira additionally installs rootkit detection and removal as part of its basic package. Rootkits hide from the operating system (and most antivirus programs) by gaining administrator-level access, and then loading themselves into protected areas of the system. These will remain undetected by ordinary antivirus engines and usually require the use of separate, dedicated anti-rootkit programs.
Drive-by exploits are another common problem these days. Certain websites will attempt to automatically install malicious software on your computer, by prompting you to click OK to download and run a program, or by taking advantage of security holes. Our real-world malware testing of drive-by exploit sites showed Avira to be extremely resistant to this type of attack. Downloads were usually intercepted before they could even begin.
We also tested Avira by installing it on a system already infected with various types of malware and common trojans. It was able to stop unwanted processes and remove most malware by itself, but required the help of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to completely remove all infections. We recommend running Malwarebytes once a week as a supplement to all antivirus programs anyway.
Ease of Use
We think the configuration wizard which runs as part of default installation may be too complicated for users who might not know which settings would be best for them. Simply choosing all of the defaults is the best course here and results in an installation optimal for casual users.
Once installed, Avira is very easy to use and does not require user intervention for most functions including blocking malware attacks and infected file removal. The interface is well-designed and clean and shows a big green check mark which lets you know Avira’s virus guard is active, its updates are current, and the product is activated. If you need advanced configuration options, it is very easy to drill down through the options and find exactly what you are looking for. The history of events is apparent, there are detailed reports available, you can view quarantined items, and so on.
By default, Avira schedules a complete scan for every day. While very thorough, this is probably unnecessary for most users, especially if you are using your computer heavily all day. We prefer to set this to a weekly scan. Many antivirus programs such as Norton and BitDefender are now using idle time to run scans. If Avira wanted to protect the system by scanning the entire hard drive every day, we would prefer they implement this kind of idle time scanning instead of a full normal system scan, which could interfere with your work.
Avira Antivir has one of the smaller footprints of the current crop of antivirus programs, having only a slight negative effect on computer speed. Our in-house testing shows that it is a bit slow to load up at boot time on most systems, but once it loads it requires relatively few system resources to do its job. Installation is very quick. Full system scans are also quite speedy, often taking less than thirty minutes on our test systems. System resource usage does spike during these scans, but our test systems are still usable for Internet browsing, email, and word processing.
$29.99 1 PC 1 Year
$59.99 3 PC 1 Year
$39.99 1 PC 2 Year
$79.99 3 PC 3 Year
Premium Security Suite
$49.99 1PC 1 Year
$79.99 3PC 1 Year
$59.99 1PC 2 Year
$99.99 3PC 2 Year
We recommend most users purchase Avira Antivir Premium. However, if your email inbox is always full of spam, or you want additional protection from hacking attacks, Avira’s Premium Security Suite implements antispam and antihacking measures.
While we believe the free version of Antivir provides adequate antivirus protection, we cannot recommend it because of the number and size of annoying advertisements it displays.
Avira Provides comprehensive support for the paid version of its antivirus solutions
Support for the free version is limited to FAQs and a knowledge base of articles. Phone support for the free version is available only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and is charged by the minute.
We recommend Avira Antivir Premium for its excellent malware, trojan and virus prevention. We also like that anti-rootkit capabilities are included in the basic product Avira has a minimal effect on system speed, and there are many support options from which to choose. The interface is easy to use and configure for users of all skill levels.
Even though Avira offers a free version of its antivirus software, we don’t recommend it unless you can live with the large, intrusive advertisements for Avira’s Premium Security Suite.