avast! Pro Antivirus silently run in the background and checks the files you download or use for viruses and spyware. If you try to open a file infected with a virus, avast! Pro Antivirus will prevent the program from being started and will warn you about the threat.
Spyware is not necessarily unwanted. Typically, spyware is not malicious programs. They do not try to steal you access codes to your online bank. However, they do collect information from your computer about your use of a program or the internet, which can be a violation of your privacy. Normally they cannot see who you are, only that a user on a particularly computer do this or that.
Some times you might want to use a program despite it being spyware in order to get a special feature from the program, thus spyware is treated different from viruses. When avast! Pro Antivirus blocks a spyware program, it will inform you about the spyware and then you will be able to choose to run it anyway.
Rootkits are very different from spyware. Like spyware, they can collect information, but in this case, it is not your privacy that is at stake. If a rootkit collects information, it will typically be your access codes to your online bank and other sites where they can get access to your valuables. Some rootkits can be used to remote control your computer.
Rootkits will try to hide deep in your Windows where they are very difficult to find and where they have total access to your computer. avast! Pro Antivirus checks all kernel-mode drivers that your Windows is loading for signs of rootkit behavior. That way, even unknown rootkits can be detected and stopped before they can do any damage.
avast! Pro Antivirus will furthermore protect you against malicious scripts on websites; when you download files with your browser, P2P programs, or instant messenger programs; and when you receive attached files in e-mails.
avast! Pro Antivirus has a built in sandbox that it can use to run potentially exploitable programs (such as your browser) in a safe environment. That means that even if a malicious website should be able to attack your computer, it can do no harm to your Windows.
Using a code emulator, avast! Pro Antivirus can check the behavior of a suspicious program without actually running the program. That way it is possible to see if the program is malicious without putting your computer at risk.
The heuristics engine in avast! Pro Antivirus is designed to detect unknown malware. In the virus arms race the virus makers usually has an advantage to the makers of the antivirus programs. The heuristics engine minimizes that advantage.
You can create custom scans where you specify files and folders to scan as well as when to scan. If the computer is in sleep or hibernation mode, avast! Pro Antivirus can wake up Windows, perform a scan, and then return back to sleep or hibernation mode. That way you can let the program scan at night when you do not use the computer.
The Gaming Mode will automatically disable pop ups and messages when you are running an application in full screen mode - typically games. That way you can play without being disturbed. avast! Pro Antivirus will still protect you, it is only the messages that is disabled.
Pentium 3-processor, 128 MB RAM, 100 MB available space on your hard drive. That means that avast Pro Antivirus should be able to run on any pc that is less than 10 years old.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 in both 32-bit versions and 64-bit versions.
A special Mac version is available: avast! Mac Edition.
avast! Pro Antivirus's installation file is 42 MB. For an extra price, you can choose to receive the program on a CD/DVD.
avast! Pro Antivirus is available in 29 different languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Turkish, and Swedish.
You can download a free version of avast!, but it is lacking some important features that are found in the pro version.
You can only use the free version for non-commercial use.
The free version is not updated as often as the pro version, and since time is essential in the arms race with the virus makers, updates are very important.
The free version will not protect you against malicious scripts on websites, and it does not include the sand box that makes it possible to protect your computer from attacks against potentially exploitable programs like your browser.