Avast has kept the same basic design over the past few years and editions however the 2016 version has given the program an entirely new design. Instead of including a wide menu with a lot of stuff going on everything is now hidden behind a top menu that makes it rather confusing for new users.
When you go to install Avast its a pretty simple setup and you are able to remove some of the useless features that you may not want which is always a bonus. You can remove things that may not be available in your current version that are basically downloaded for the sake of upselling their premium versions.
Avast 2016 has had solid protection scores according to AV-Test where the program earned a solid 6 out of 6 points for protection and scored a 17 out of 18 overall which is a fair score. The program was docked a point because of performance impact on the machine but it still joins other champions such as Bitdefender in terms of protection.
Scans & Protection Features
Avast offers a variety of scans that are meant to clear up various parts of your computer. Out of the box, you have the smart scan, quick scan, full scan, scan for browser add-ons, scan for performance issues, scan for network threats, and scan for outdated software.
Now while these may seem confusing all of these are essential to keeping your computer safe. Let’s break down the core features of each scan.
Smart Scan: Smart scan is meant to check the computer memory, startup folder and other places where malware is commonly found and is likely to be running on the machine. This is also the first type of scan that is run by Avast when it’s installed onto your computer.
Quick Scan: A quick scan is a form of file scan where it goes through various files (normally core windows files and folders) to check where malware commonly tries to hide or infect your files.
Full Scan: Full scan is a scan that scans everything on your hard drive to check all files for malware.
Browser Addon Scan: Browser addon scan checks your browsers for malicious toolbars, extensions and more. If you are plagued by annoying things such as the Ask Toolbar this should find, and remove it from your computer.
Performance Issue Scan: A couple years ago Avast purchased Grimefighter and has since integrated it into its core product. This is meant to scan for junk files, and registry keys that are not needed and it will remove them to improve system performance.
Network Scan: Network scan will scan your current network to see if it’s secure and it not it will recommend that you use its paid for tool Avast Secure Line.
Outdated Software Scan: Outdated Software Scan will check various software such as flash, browsers, and more to make sure you keep them updated. If you have the premium version it will keep them up to date automatically.
A new feature that comes with Avast is a basic password manager. This is a very lightweight password manager and is likely to be expanded in later updates.
The Password manager has add-ons for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. We might even see one for Edge if Microsoft finishes its testing phase and porting tool. Whenever you log into a website the information will be saved to Avast’s Password manager and if you change the credentials they will be automatically updated, and if you have multiple login credentials Avast will display a little key that when clicked will allow you to choose the login ID you want to use.
Avast will also give you a password security score based on the strength of your passwords. So if you are one of those who are using Password123 you are going to be in trouble. However, Avast allows you to automatically generate a password that is 15 characters long and uses a combination of letters, digits, and symbols. The downside is that there doesn’t appear to be a way to change the characters used because some websites don’t allow you to use special characters, and certain symbols as login credentials.
Another downside is that the program doesn’t support all websites and the reason for this is because it has to be able to register what websites are using login forms and it uses this by gathering information from its users. So common websites like Facebook, and Twitter are going to work but very specific sites or intranets are not likely to work.
Avast has made a poor design choice with its latest program and its something that will take time for users to adjust to. That being said the program has made many new strives to further its reach into consumer security. If you are looking for a familiar antivirus then you can’t go wrong with Avast Free Antivirus 2016.