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Home Reviews Antivirus avast! 4 Professional Edition

avast! 4 Professional Edition Review

Manufacturer: Alwil Software

Product: Antivirus, Antispyware

Licenses: 1

Systems: Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4 (No Server), Windows 2000 (No Server), Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Overall Score: 9
avast! Professional Edition



Overall: 9

The basic level of functionalities offered by avast! 4 Professional gurantees a solid protection and earns it one of the top spots in our table. It is very light and can be one of the very few options on pre-XP Windows versions. More demanding users would need to add accessories for a complete control of their computer security. Highly recommended as an alternative to the "big boys" and practically a "must" on very old Windows versions.


  • High detection rate
  • Very light on resources
  • Extremely fast scan speed


  • Uninspiring user interface
  • Solid but limited set of features

Detection rate: 9

The detection rate of avast antivirus is excellent, whether we consider pure viruses or spyware. This very high protection barrier comes at the price of few more false alarms than other top of the market antiviruses. It really represents a best-in-class antivirus solution for any Windows-based workstation, that means literally "any" (non server) Windows versions. You won't find many alternatives, if you need an effective protection for pre-XP Windows OSs.

Light on resources: 10

Certainly one of the lightest "touches" around. Avast antivirus deserves a full "feather" in our review. And it couldn't be otherwise, if it were to run effectively on Windows 95! The impact on any system is close to negligible and, very reassuringly, it has consistently stayed so over several versions. Let's hope that it won't follow the same route as many other strong products, which became too bloated, over time.

Ease of Use: 6

The user interface is "ugly". No two ways about that. despite the Outlook-ish structure, it is fair to say that it would perfectly match a pre-2000 environment. If you manage to get over the first brutal impact, it is really easy to navigate. But then, how often would you? Avast antivirus' installation is straight-forward an settings can be left at their default; just make sure that automatic update is enabled. The web-shield, which is a useful function to monitor incoming website traffic, can be turned off, should it affect the Internet browsing experience. All in all, one of the less obtrusive protections available.

Features: 6

  • Standard Shield protects the file syste
  • Generic SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 scanner
  • Specific MS Outlook plug-in
  • Heuristic analysis in e-mail modules
  • Script Blocker
  • Web Shield, able to monitor and filter all HTTP traffic coming from the Web sites on the Internet and compatible with all major browsers
  • PUSH updates immediately when published

Scan Speed: 10

Very fast on-demand scanner, with minimal impact on the computer performance. Avast antivirus offers a folder-only scan option through the user interface or integrated in the Explorer contextual menus. 4 default preset tasks for typical scannin, make the scanner configuration a one-click operation.

Value for money: 8

Avast antivirus is one of those products that "does exactly what it says on the tin": antivirus/antispyware. It is very good at it, but don't expect any additional frills. No fancy registry/application monitoring, vulnerabilities reports, energy-saving modes, etc. If you have got more than 1 computer to protect, you might find more conveniently priced alternatives.Even so, this remains a very strong product.


Supported Operating Systems and Hardware and Software Requirements

Windows® 95/98/Me
486 Processor, 32MB RAM and 100MB of free hard disk space.

Windows® NT® 4.0
486 Processor, 24MB RAM and 100MB of free hard disk space and Service Pack 3 (or higher) installed

Windows® 2000/XP® Workstation (Not Server)
Pentium class Processor, 64MB RAM (128MB recommended) and 100MB of free hard disk space

Windows® XP® 64-bit Edition
An AMD Athlon64, Opteron or Intel EM64T-enabled Pentium 4 / Xeon processor, 128MB RAM (256MB recommended) and 100MB of free hard disk space

Windows® Vista
Pentium 4 processor, 512MB RAM and 100MB of free hard disk space

Internet Browsers

MS Internet Explorer 4 or higher is required for the program to work.