Avast! Free Antivirus arms your computer with antivirus and antispyware protection. The latest generation of Avast! has updated its quirky interface. It now looks and feels more like an antivirus app—effectively launching the already-popular antivirus software into perfect visual competition with its rivals. The antivirus protection of the free edition of Avast! is the same as its commercial editions. Avast! schedules regular scans of your computer, even when the computer is sleeping. User reports regarding the speed of on-demand scanning are mixed. Though, the impact on system performance is generally light. An optional setup allows you to detect less-risky potentially unwanted programs. The antivirus program automatically scans email, IM, and P2P files. Gaming mode stops pop-ups from interrupting gameplay. You can manage antivirus updates and other behaviors, including password-protection, from the "settings" menu. From here, you can also choose not to anonymously send your data to the detection engine. Avast! now offers an AutoSandbox add-on, though this sandboxing feature is limited in the free version. When a program is deemed a possible threat, AutoSandbox quarantines it. This allows the program to continue running without potentially damaging your system. The sandbox tracks changes made in the registry. Since any permanent changes are virtualized, those changes won’t become permanent on your system after the program finishes running. WebRep is another add-on in the latest version of Avast! WebRep uses virus lab data along with user voting to determine the safety score of a website. The Avast! Free Antivirus download automatically installs a desktop gadget on Windows 7 and Windows XP as well as the WebRep browser add-on. To avoid installing any of these items, you must choose to do a custom install during pre-installation.
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