Most users will be familiar with Adaware Antivirus Free, the anti-spyware app that’s been around for over a decade. In version 10, developers Lavasoft made the jump from anti-spyware to fully-fledged antivirus. In version 11 and 12, they've improved and tweaked it to produce a security suite which they claim significantly outperforms all other free anti-virus and anti-malware products.
Slick and intuitive user interface
Adaware Antivirus Free looks clean and simple, taking advantage of the streamlined look of Windows 8. Installation is fast although it does try to launch a scan upon start-up. You can skip this if you like and you're presented with a clean interface that's clearly divided into separate functions along the left-hand side, namely Home, Scan Computer, RealTime Protections, Web Protection, Network Protection, App Management.
3 different types of scans
Ad-Aware offers lots of scan options, making things very flexible for the user. There are 3 initial scan options, Quick, Full, and Custom. The Custom option is particularly nice, allowing you to completely customize the scan with easy checkbox inclusions. You can also schedule scans, a must-have option for a modern antivirus. Scans aren’t particularly quick but can be paused if you find they are slowing down your system too much. LavaSoft have beefed-up the power of the anti-virus engine by introducing the award-winning
Easy to manage plus Gaming Mode
The rest of Adaware Antivirus Free options are divided into two parts – the ones under Protection Settings (top right-hand corner) and under Options. Under Protection Settings, you’ll be able to tweak the real-time protection and browsing options, although Safe Browsing can only be enabled and disabled, and not customized. Under Adaware's Main Options, there are various settings related to the basic operation, updates and an explanation of Gaming Mode (although this can be quickly toggled in the main interface and from the taskbar).
A serious competitor to the big boys
In all, we’re impressed by Adaware's addition of BitDefender to the antivirus suite, and we’re looking forward to trying it over time and seeing what future updates bring. Right now, it’s a solid app, with impressive detection rates, a slick Windows 8 modeled interface with all the basic options. It still doesn't have the brand trust of competitors such as
4 different versions available
Although Adaware Antivirus Free is comprehensive and powerful enough for most needs, there are actually 4 other versions of Ad-Aware available offering slightly different functionality which is something that users of Ad-Aware might find confusing under the settings of Advanced Protection.
They are different according to which version of Adaware you are running. Adaware Antivirus Free 12 is available in four versions including this one i.e.
In effect, they are the same but more advanced features become available as you move through the versions. This will annoy some users who would prefer a fully comprehensive free version but at least Adaware doesn’t nag you to upgrade.
Total Protection beyond the NSA?
It's worth noting that Lavasoft claims that Adaware Total Security also includes Lavasoft Privacy Toolbox which has been built in partnership with Sweden’s renowned SafeIT Security (which Lavasoft claim can even protect you from the reaches of the NSA). For those in search of serious protection, it may be worth checking-out what Total Security can offer.
- Full Windows® 10 compatibility Full scanning capability in Safe Mode Improved update mechanism Increased windows XP and Vista support Minor bug fixes