Free AVs: Avira vs avast! vs AVG vs MSE

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Free AVs: Avira vs avast! vs AVG vs MSE

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A comprehensive comparison to help you decide which (free) anti-malware security software you should use.

http://dottech.org/freewaresr/14151

 

A pity Microsoft Security Essentials was not included, though a helpful article nonetheless.


Edit: Original article updated to now include MSE.

Regards,

All Replies
  • RD:

    Indeed, a very good summary of the three 3rd party free AVs. Thanks for the link.

    I particularly agree with the following conclusions:

    - "Avira performs the best in terms of malware detections, with avast! coming in second, and AVG in third. However, it is worth noting Avira also has many false positives while the other two were rated by AV-Comparatives as "low" false positives."


    - "AVG is probably the most popular out of the bunch; however after reviewing the data, I wouldn't recommend AVG to anyone. That is not to say AVG is bad; it isn't. Rather AVG does not provide any clear-cut advantage over the other two. In fact, the lower detection rates could be used as a valid excuse to not use AVG."
    (emphasis added)

    Although AVG Free is a reputable program, I would go a bit further than that last quote in not recommending it. This review does not consider "the grief factor" we have seen with AVG over the past few years in this forum, such as:

    - System crashing false positives: AVG Damage Control

    - Also their less than friendly user support forum: AVG Marketing Escalation

    - Also AVG's incompatabilities with other security programs:
         AVG 8 Conflicts with SpyWareBlaster & Spybot Immunizations
         AVG AV disabling Online Armor Firewall

    - Also AVG forcing unwanted search toolbars on users:  AVG revamps free security scanner

    I haven't used AVG for several years now, and maybe it has cleaned up its act. But I still see no compelling reason to recommend it.

    _________________________________________

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  • i agree fully with Joe.   I see no reason to recommend (nor even "suggest" consideration of) avg, given all the aforementioned problems, together with the fact that we have 3 quality/viable free alternatives in (listing alphabetically) avast, avira, and Microsoft Security Essentials.

    EDIT:  To clarify, the above is just my opinion on what I'd personally suggest/recommend.  Anyone who wishes/chooses to recommend AVG here certainly has that right.   Additionally, I would like to emphasize that, while I no longer recommend AVG to anyone looking for an antivirus, at the same time, I am NOT telling/suggesting people who have already avg (and are happy with it) that they should remove it.

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  • I agree with ky331's sentiments expressed in his edit.

    While I may not recommend AVG for the reasons stated, I recognize it is a popular and reputable free AV that works for many.

    Chacun à son goût ...

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  • Original article updated to now include Microsoft Security Essentials, as well as stats from AV-Comparatives.org's August 2010 On-Demand Comparative and May 2010 Retrospective/Proactive Test.

    http://dottech.org/freeware-reviews/14151

    Regards,

  • Thanks for that, RD.

    I think the reviewer is too kind to AVG Free, but otherwise agree with his conclusions.

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  • joe53

    I think the reviewer is too kind to AVG Free

    Agreed.

    IIRC, he was a little more critical of AVG in the original article.

    Regards,

  • The most important factor for me for choosing an antivirus is the power of it for finding viruses, then speed of it. I have tested almost all antiviruses with some viruses and i found Avast and Avira better than the others. I usually don't care about these comparisons because every one has an idea and you see very different results in different websites and each of them gives you statistics too. But i only trust my experience :) to choose an antivirus.

  • bestis1980

    I usually don't care about these comparisons because every one has an idea and you see very different results in different websites and each of them gives you statistics too. But i only trust my experience :) to choose an antivirus.

    bestis1980:

    I doubt anyone here would disagree with you about choosing which free AV works best for you, (given one's particular environment, needs, preferences and surfing habits). Indeed, the author of this review states as much in his conclusions, and thus does not rank the AVs.

    But I would not be so quick to dismiss the value of a review such as this. Granted, many AV reviews are suspect and reach different conclusions, particularly those from magazines that depend on ad revenue from the very vendors they are reviewing.

    This review is recent, independent, comprehensive and outlines the features available in each product. It is buttressed with data from AV-Comparatives regarding detection rates. There are actually very few good comparative reviews  that I would recommend of the 4 free AVs , but this is certainly one of them. It's a good place to start for those researching free AVs.

    @Red Dawn:

    Maybe you should change the title in your first post to:  Free AVs: Avira vs avast! vs AVG vs MSE

     

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  • Done Wink .

    Regards,

  • Thanks, RD!

    Smile

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  •  

    For those of us who do malware removal (of infections that get past the AV's) I wish they would have a category on how cleanly those AV's can be removed. I used to think Add/Remove followed by the removal tool would do it, but I recently learned otherwise.


     

    Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security
    Social Media and Community Professional
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    I am not a Microsoft or a Dell employee. I am a volunteer.

     

  • Original article updated.

    3rd edition posted on December 18, 2011.

    Summary of Update

    In the 3rd edition of dotTech's guide on Best Free Windows Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware the following changes have been made:

    * Features Comparison section has been updated to reflect new features added to Avira Free, avast! Free, AVG Free, and Microsoft Security Essentials since the 2nd edition of this article was written. All four made tweaks and modifications to their existing features; the major new features are:

    • Avira Free - "WebGuard"
    • avast! Free - Behavior blocker, "Auto Sandbox", "Script Shield", "WebRep"
    • AVG Free - Largely unchanged
    • Microsoft Security Essentials - Behavior blocker, "Network Inspection System"

    * Performance Comparison section has been updated to reflect new on-demand and retrospective detection rates for Avira Free, avast! Free, and Microsoft Security Essentials. AVG Free did not participate in the latest retrospective tests so AVG Free's detection rates have been updated only for on-demand tests.

    * Performance Comparison's sub-section Speed and Computer Usage has been rewritten with a new source and renamed to Computer Impact.

    * Performance Comparison now includes a new sub-section, Malware Removal Effectiveness.

    http://dottech.org/freeware-reviews/14151/windows-best-free-antivirus-antimalware-program-microsoft-security-essentials-vs-avira-vs-avast-vs-avg/

    Regards,

  • Thanks RD.

    That's a fair review. A few criticisms:

    1) Personally, I don't think on-demand static detection rates, which always score in the high 90s, are useful to consider.
    2) Ditto for on-demand scan times.
    3) The differences in the comparative malware removal rates cited (for only 10 samples) are different at  AV-Test, which used 37 samples in its latest Sept/Oct. tests: MSE= Avira (5.0/6.0 pts), Avast=AVG (4.5/6.0) These are not big differences, and I suspect that all are equally effective at malware removal in the long run.
    4) This review placed little importance to the significance of false positives, particularly to those who obsessively run scans when their systems are working well, without investigating before deleting.
    5) This review buries in the fine print the fact that Avira installs the controversial Ask toolbar, and does not mention that AVG installs by default an unnecessary toolbar (last time I looked). My objections to AVG free stated above last year remain mostly intact.
    6) This review does not address the "simplicity factor", or ease-of use.

    This review has not changed my opinions and recommendations. I still would not recommend Avira or AVG.

    As ky331 said recently, "both Avast and Microsoft Security Essentials are two very good free programs. MSE is simpler to install/use [few options for the user to have to tinker with]; in contrast, avast offers anyone (who wishes to tinker with the defaults) a large menu of options to tweek."

     

     

    _________________________________________

    Dell Forum Member since 2,000

    WOT Web of Trust    Use OpenDNS   MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware Free

    (Mostly) Free Security Software- A Primer

  • Good points, Joe.

    joe53
    This review has not changed my opinions and recommendations. I still would not recommend Avira or AVG.

    I agree. 


     

    Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security
    Social Media and Community Professional
    SpywareHammer

    I am not a Microsoft or a Dell employee. I am a volunteer.