Windows 7 is now out all over the world, but even as a more secure operating system, it’s still vulnerable to malware and viruses. To protect my PC from these threats I’ve been using avast! Antivirus from ALWIL Software for a couple years now and in the time I’ve had it installed on my PC its provided top notch protection from harmful websites and potentially infected files.

On January 19, 2010, ALWIL released avast! 5. This was a major update to their antivirus application that increased performance by a giant leap, decreased the amount of time it took to scan your computer, and features a redesigned user interface that makes it far easier to use.

avast! 5.0 is available in 3 versions at this time of writing: Free, Pro and Internet Security. I’ve been using their free antivirus program and it’s provided outstanding protection since I’ve had it installed. From personal experience, it uses barely any system resources but provides real-time scanning of files that are inbound from the web to check if they contain infected data and has a handy tray icon for easy access as well.

There are many great features that the free version comes with which makes it easy to keep tabs on what’s going on behind the scenes. For example: A pop up window appears in the lower right-hand corner of the screen when virus definitions are updated. It also plays a siren sound bite when a virus or potentially harmful connection to a web site is detected and displays a pop up window about the threat.

If you feel like your PC is potentially infected, avast! 5.0 makes it easy to select what kind of scan you want to run as illustrated below:

An additional goodie with avast! 5.0 is being able to password protect the application from being disabled or accessed by an attacker. If password protection is turned on, you’re greeted by the following prompt when you try to make changes to avast! 5.0:

Overall, I highly recommend PC users try out avast! Free Antivirus if they haven’t already. It’s a fantastic free antivirus solution that does a great job at protecting your PC and keeping it safe. When you install avast! Free Antivirus it will need a license key that can be obtained for free from their website that will work for a year until it needs to be renewed, at which point you can obtain another key for free.

Keep in mind that avast! Free Antivirus is for personal, non-commercial use only.

You can find more information about avast! Free Antivirus and ALWIL Software at