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Avira Free Antivirus

The latest version of Avira's anti-malware scanner has had a name change (the AntiVir brand is no more). And, as is generally the case with new releases, the software features an improved interface and is both lighter and faster.

During set-up, the program will check for incompatible security tools on your system and give you the chance to remove them before proceeding. You'll then be asked if you want to activate AHeAD protection (Advanced Heuristic Analysis and Detection) and can choose which additional threats you want Avira to safeguard you from. The list includes adware and spyware, fraudulent software and phishing attacks. Hovering your mouse over a category will tell you more about it.

You can select all options or accept the default choices if you're not sure which ones to tick. Finally, you can choose between Normal and Secure start. The latter loads Avira as early as possible during Windows start-up, so you'll be protected from the moment you turn on your PC. The downside is you'll have to wait a little longer before you can use your computer.

The software offers real-time, scheduled and on-demand protection, and has a comprehensive selection of manual scans to choose from. You can perform quick or complete system sweeps, focus on particular drives (fixed hard disks or removable devices) and target specific areas, such as the Windows System folder. Avira can also scan active processes, and find and remove rootkits.