Microsoft Security Essentials
Free and simple antivirus software from Microsoft
Avast Antivirus is a computer security application, which provides protection against a range of potential threats, including viruses, spyware, malware and ransomware. It is currently recognised as the most popular antivirus program on the market and the free version of the software is suitable for personal and home use.
The software is completely free and, in terms of virus protection, is sufficient for most users. The free version is designed for personal use and offers the same level of protection as the paid 'Pro' version of the software. However the 'Pro' version adds a number of peripheral features and can be used for commercial purposes.
Not only is it safe to use the software, doing so will make a computer safer to use in general, because Avast will protect it from viruses and other threats that could potentially cause damage.
Although the software is classed as being an antivirus application, it is able to protect against, detect and remove viruses, spyware, malware, trojan horses, worms, ransomware and many other security threats.
In addition to the Windows application, the software is also available on the iOS, Android and Mac platforms.
The software requires a Windows-compatible PC, with an Intel Pentium 4 processor or above. It is also necessary to have at least 256MB of RAM and 2GB of free hard drive space. Moreover, a regular internet connection is strongly recommended in order to keep the software and its virus database up-to-date.
To install the application, download the file, saving it to an easy-to-find location, such as your desktop. Then, locate the file and double click it to run the application. This will then start the installation process. If you see a 'User Account Control' prompt, select 'Yes'. Then, simply follow the on-screen instructions.
Users who currently have version 7.0 or later will not need to uninstall their previous version before running the installation, as it will automatically detect and update the exiting version of the software. However, users with an older version of the software will need to uninstall that version first, before installing the new program.
Although the application is not able to scan web-based email accounts, it will provide continuous protection against threats contained within messages. Moreover, when an email management program is being used, such as Outlook, the antivirus software is able to directly scan both incoming and outgoing messages for viruses.
New versions of the antivirus software are released, on average, several times a year in order to fix issues and improve features. However, the program's virus database is updated much more regularly and this can occur several times a day, in order to ensure the software is able to protect against all current threats.