Verdict: Recommended for expert users only. Avira Antivir offers outstandingly good protection against all types of dangerous program, including ones which have just appeared and are not yet in its database. It also runs quite fast on a reasonably modern PC. Its major drawback is that there is effectively no support at all for UK users, other than forums. Because of this, along with a high rate of false alarms and a less-than-perfect program interface design, means that we only recommend it to IT enthusiasts and professionals.
Current version: 9.0
Antivirus or Internet Security? We would go for the simple antivirus program. We are not aware of any major malware protection features in the Internet Security suite that are not in the antivirus; also, we only recommend Avira for advanced users, who would be happy to use Windows Firewall and find their own solution for spam.
Price for Home Version, including VAT, for 1 year: 1 user €19.95; 3 users €49.95 (prices are of course subject to change, please check on the manufacturer's/supplier's website when purchasing).
Will it run on my computer? Avira Antivir runs on Windows 2000 Professional, and all versions (including 64-bit) of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The manufacturers state that it needs 192 MB RAM for Windows XP, and 512 MB RAM for Windows Vista. We suggest that for Windows XP to run well with Antivir, your computer will need a total of at least 256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended); for Windows Vista or Windows 7, at least 1GB (2 GB recommended). We would also suggest that a modern 64-bit processor is also a sensible minimum requirement. If you're not sure what these technical terms mean, or how to check the specification of your PC, we wouldn't recommend that you use Avira Antivir.
Protection: Outstanding. Avira achieved above-average scores in all 4 of AV-Comparatives' malware protection tests between November 2009 and February 2010, winning the "Proactive" test and coming a very close second on the "On-Demand Malware" and "PUA" tests. For more information, see Test Results.
Speed: Good. Avira Antivir received an "Advanced+" award in AV-Comparatives' 2009 performance tests. In our own tests, to see how much different antivirus programs increase boot time, Avira was a little below average, adding 16 seconds to the computer's startup time. However, the delay from logon time until processor activity dies down and the computer becomes usable is very small, so there is no irritation factor here.
False alarms: Poor. In all of AV-Comparatives' main tests in 2009, Antivir had its award reduced from Advanced+ to Advanced because of high numbers of false positives. In practice, users with fairly standard programs on their computers are not likely to be bothered that often by false alarms, but it's still a reason not to recommend the program to non-experts.
Ease of use: Fair. The user interface is definitely not a thing of beauty, but it does display the most important status information and features quite clearly. Once you go into more detailed options, things get a little more confusing, with unlabelled icons for some features. In short, it's quite decipherable by IT enthusiasts and professionals, but certainly not ideal for the average user. Aside from the occasional false positive, the program is unobtrusive and nag-free.
Support: There isn't any. It's pretty much that simple. For UK home/small business users, there is no phone, chat or even email support on Antivir Premium. Although premium rate numbers are advertised on the website, they do not work outside of the German-speaking countries, so you can't get help even at a price. The only assistance offered is via forums; these obviously represent a very slow and unreliable way of getting information.
Our experience with the program: We have been using Avira Antivir on one of our main computers for a couple of months now, and additionally done some testing with the program. Apart from the odd false positive, it's been very unobtrusive and trouble-free. We can live with the ugly interface and lack of support, so we're happy to carry on using it.
Notes: This review refers to to Antivir Premium, not the free Personal edition.
Lindauer Str. 21
Last updated: 27th March 2010 18:33