[Note: the product names no longer include the year so the free version is just called Avira Free Antivirus – I have added 2013 to more easily distinguish it as the new version]
Avira’s website points to a full installation download file. This has an advantage over online installers if you have more than 1 computer – you can copy the installation file from one to another without having to re-download the whole package.
It also means you can install Avira if the computer is not online which is of benefit – it is logical to leave the computer offline whilst you have no antivirus protection…
Note: during installation you are offered the choice of ‘Express’ or ‘Custom’ Install – choose ‘Custom’ if you want to deselect components you don’t need e.g. untick the Avira SearchFree toolbar and change of homepage/new tab page:
The download size is 97MB which is average compared to major free rivals – the single download covers both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows.
Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
Windows Vista SP1 (32-bit or 64-bit)
Windows XP SP3 (32-bit)
Windows XP SP2 (64-bit)
No mention of Window 8 compatibility.
Min. 1024 MB RAM (Windows Vista, Windows 7)
Min. 512 MB RAM (Windows XP)
Installation itself was not painless – Avira incorrectly flagged up Malwarebytes (free version) as potentially incompatible software and recommended uninstalling it:
I ignored this message and, as expected, Avira installed with no apparent conflicts – however, many users might end up removing a worthwhile product…
I have heard from other users that Malwarebytes is not the only security scanner flagged up incorrectly – SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot S&D and other may cause this error too, even though they are the free versions that offer no active (resident) protection.
Main Updated Features of Avira 2013 Free
Social Networks – available under the ‘Child Protection’ menu, this is the biggest new feature. You can monitor your children’s activities online and check their social network accounts for harmful comments, photos etc.
To use this feature, you will need to create an account with Avira’s Free SocialShield and connect your child’s social networks to the program.
Android Security – this is just a link to the existing Avira Free Android Security app available at Google Play here.
Note that this app only protects your phone from theft or loss – it doesn’t offer virus scanning or firewall etc like many free rivals. See our review of the best Android antivirus apps.
SearchFree toolbar – includes Browsing Tracker Blocker, the Do Not Track Plus product from Abine (available separately here) – this is a free product that blocks more than 600 networks from tracking your online activity.
Update Frequency – the frequency of updates is now every six hours (previously 24 hours) to provide more current protection.
Advertizing Opt Out – if you install the Avira SearchFree toolbar you no longer have to endure popup adverts.
Features that are not available in the free version are greyed out in the main program interface as shown below:
How Good Is The Security?
The 2013 version of Avira Free is too new to have been tested yet but the previous version provided good protection in our review of free antivirus products.
However, it still suffers from a lack of basic features such as email protection and gaming mode compared to its main free rivals.
Avira 2013 Free looks to be an overall improvement – if you are currently using the older version and want to stay with Avira it is worth upgrading.
However, the lack of basic features like email protection is still a disappointment compared to many free competitors.