HolidayBuyer's Guide

Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum


Good alternative to Avast Free AV

by Big Steve / February 17, 2012 5:29 PM PST

I've had Avast Free Version AV on both of my computers for several years now but for the last few months I have not been able to do full or thorough scans on my Dell Vostro 1510 Vista 32 bit system laptop.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Good alternative to Avast Free AV
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Good alternative to Avast Free AV
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
I think you need to
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 17, 2012 5:50 PM PST

solve the problem of why your anti-virus cannot run a full and thorough scan first, before considering switching to any other AV.

Why? There may be good reason why your AV is failing, such as malware that is preventing it from scanning, and installing another AV may just add to the problems.


Collapse -
Re: I think you need to.......
by Big Steve / February 18, 2012 1:40 AM PST
In reply to: I think you need to

There must be something wrong in my computer because for several months now I have not also been able to do thorough or complete system scans with my SuprtAntispyware or my Malwarebytes, have only been able to do "quick" scans. Where would I check to find the problem? I temporaril switched last night to another free AV from CNET Downloads called AVG Internet Security; it was been scanning for more than 7 hours but it has reached the 84% mark and has detected 3 potential security threats. I have it still scanning as we speak. If AVG Internet Security was not a good choice to select for an AV to replace my Avast which other free AV at CNET Downloads should I have selected?

Collapse -
There may be good reason...
by gordon451 / February 25, 2012 12:51 PM PST

One thing many people don't bother with is the scan settings. For example, in Avast! File scanner, you can tell it to scan the entire file... But if it's a big -- say 50MB++ -- one, this could take some time. So uncheck that box, and Avast will only look in the places where malware inserts its code. Much faster, and 99.9% as effective.

The same applies to archives. Large ones take time. And some archives contain archives... They should only be scanned on download. Avast! and other good AVs will automatically scan them any time you open them -- or you can do a spot scan thru Windows Explorer before you open them.

Still on settings, what -- exactly -- did you tell Avast! to do? Specifically, but not limited to, Sensitivity. The higher the sensitivity, the longer the scan takes. Then we need to be a bit selective. OK, there are many who think the Adobe folder (for example Devil ) should receive the same attention as the %windows% folder... But really? My own feeling in the matter is that only the Windows/root, /Documents and Settings/, %windows%, Java and all MS-related folders in /Program Files/ need to be scanned, even on a deep scan. The chance of infection in any other folders is remote.

If you feel your defences lack a certain something, then a "boot scan" is in order, around once a week. "Boot scans" happen (essentially) before Windows is loaded, well before any other software can run. Again, be selective. The fact is that regardless of public opinion, your Nero Devil folders are not prime targets. So why bother?

The other thing that come to mind is that much malware actively seeks to disable AM software. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. You can test for infection simply by navigating to one of the major online scans -- Trend Micro for example -- and see if you can in fact go there. Many infections will one way or another prevent your browser from accessing AV sites. A popular way they do this is by slipping the AV addresses into the "hosts" file. Of course, just because you can go there is no indicator -- do the scan.

BTW. If your machine is infected, changing AV won't help. The malware will see it as you install it, then kill/disable/delude it.


Collapse -
dont like avast
by Loctite2301www / February 17, 2012 8:23 PM PST

Hy I must admit that I absolutely do not like this software.
Too color overloaded and the scans need extremely long to finish.
The results may be good but before I would install Avast I prefer ESET or Kaspersky.
If it must be an free AV try Antivir. It is also better and not so childisch like Avast

Collapse -
by Bob__B / February 18, 2012 1:46 AM PST

"I have not been able to do full or thorough scans".

Can you expand on that a there some sort of error?

Collapse -
Re: Avast - New!
by Big Steve / February 18, 2012 10:02 AM PST
In reply to: Avast

All I can say is when I attempted to do a "full" or "thorough" scan using Avast after the scan had been running for 4, 6, 8 hours it would show only 16% of my computer had been scanned so in aggravation I would abort the scan. I've still been able to do "quick" scans but not "thorough" scans. After almost 7 hours today AVG's Internet Security scan finally finished.

Collapse -
Well, that's good.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 18, 2012 6:38 PM PST
In reply to: Re: Avast - New!

I assume you completely uninstalled Avast before installing AVG so that's fine.

I can't say why Avast had this problem on your system and if this was me I would have preferred to troubleshoot that first, but no matter, it's done.

AVG's firewall is as good as any and might be more easily configurable than Windows' own, so if your Windows Control Panel > Action Center, (used to be Security Center in XP), shows no problems with the AVG firewall then that should be fine.

And you are correct, only one firewall running, and only one anti-virus running. I am fairly sure AVG also has some anti-spyware component built in to the anti-virus scanning, but nevertheless malware detection does need other scanning tools, like MalwareBytes' Anti-malware and/or SUPERAntispyware, both have free versions and both need not run in the background all the time, but instead use them once a week or so to run quick scans, then once a month or so for full scans.

But back to your first question, complete and thorough scans, sometimes called deep scans, can take hours. However your Avast only completing 16% or so after that many hours does not seem right. I have ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite and I have scheduled deep scanning for only once a year. It was taking hours like your experience, but just not as long. So now it performs a quick scan once a week and a normal scan once a month. All anti-virus applications will have different settings.

Good work.


Collapse -
by Bob__B / February 18, 2012 10:49 PM PST
In reply to: Re: Avast - New!

If AVAST won't run a full scan and SAS won't run a full scan and MBAM won't run a full scan......I think you've got a problem.

What it is? idea.

It seems that AVG did run it's scan and sent "something" to the chest.
Can you open the chest and see what this "something" is?
Does AVG have a log you can look at?
Does SAS and MBAM now run a full scan?

As for how long a full scan should take.....that depends on the amount of data to be scanned and the horse power the machine has.

On this machine......AVAST+full scan+15GB of data......about 10 mins.

Collapse -
As has been said, ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 19, 2012 5:43 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Avast - New!

How Long anything takes is dependent upon the amount of data to be scanned, the priority given to the scan process, the amount of RAM and the speed of the processor as well as exactly which data gets scanned and how (one AV might be set to unpack and scan archive files (such as those with a ZIP or TAR or MIM or CAB or such extensions) while the other is set to ignore them or some of them.

Since you also mention that other scanners fail too it might also be that malware is the problem and one way you could check would be to download RKILL then boot into Safe Mode and first run RKILL (to stop suspect processes) the run full MalwareBytes then Super Anti-Spyware with no re-boots between scans. Also it would be a good time to run Sophos Anti-Rootkit in the event that you have a rootkit running -

Collapse -
Re: As has been said, ... - New!
by Big Steve / February 19, 2012 7:01 PM PST
In reply to: As has been said, ...

I ran another "thorough" scan on my laptop last night with the recently installed AVG Internet Security and the 2nd "thorough" scan took less than an hour and ended up with "zero" security threats. I will attempt to run a "thorough" scan using my SuperAntiSpyware later today to see what happens with that scan and if that scan runs smooth I'll do another "thorough" scan using my Malwarebytes.

Collapse -
Avast Uninstalling
by Carseela / February 23, 2012 2:14 PM PST
Collapse -
Re: Avast Uninstalling - New!
by Big Steve / February 24, 2012 12:03 AM PST
In reply to: Avast Uninstalling

Well I had a detailed reply I was trying to post but this board kept popping up this error message:

"Your submission includes invalid characters. Note that only characters on a standard English keyboard will be accepted.

This is a first. Is the board's system smoking crack today?

Collapse -
Re: Avast Uninstalling - New!!
by Big Steve / February 24, 2012 12:05 AM PST
In reply to: Avast Uninstalling

Let me try posting again:

If I use Comodo AV can I still use Super AntiSpyware and Malwarebytes or will those programs conflict with Comodo? I posted a question about Avast on their fb wall this morning, got several replies, one member suggesting I defrag this laptop.

Here's what the guy said who was speaking for Avast:

Before doing the scan, try to clean it up first. De fragment the disc. Get rid of the garbage in temp files and so on. Then run the scan again and pls start with "boot-time-scan". You could find it in the avast GUI in the scans menu

Here's what someone else said on Avast's fb wall in response to my original post:

When I run a full system scan on 100Gb it takes Avast maybe 25 minutes to complete but I also have a 6 core processor and 8Gb of RAM. If Avast boot-scan doesn't find anything then try Comodo Cleaning Essentials which is free. When my Avast fails I always turn to Comodo and it always detects and removes all viruses.

What is a "boot time" scan?

Collapse -
What is a "boot time" scan?
by Bob__B / February 24, 2012 1:39 AM PST

The Avast boot time scan is a scan that runs very early in the boot process.

With a little luck it might be able to find malware before it has a chance to load and hide itself.

Collapse -
If this were me
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 24, 2012 3:49 AM PST

I would be very cautious about changing AVs, (anti-virus utilities).

There's nothing wrong with continuously changing of course, especially if using free scanners, but if you wait long enough in this discussion you will get every one of the recognised, and some unrecognised, AV scanners recommended by those who use them personally.

But I have two reasons for saying that.

1] Keeping one allows us to get used to it and its foibles, they all have them, and when we get to know software we become more comfortable with it, and that helps us use it at its best.

2] This one is a little more pragmatic but a little less scientific. I am a great believe in stability. I'm out of touch with much of the developed world it seems where we 'change' at a moments notice and demand results immediately. For example here in the UK we are continuously bombarded with TV advertising and cold call telephone calls telling us to 'switch energy providers', electricity and gas, to get the cheapest deals we can. Another example; if we have a mortgage, change lenders to get a better deal, can be arranged 'online' or 'over the phone', in minutes. Did I have an accident recently? take them to court, sue the hell out of them, no win no fees.

I got a text message recently referring to the accident I had recently and to get back to them so they could sue whoever did it. I did text back. I said I was "very worried" about what they said in their text because I didn't remember anything about an accident, and could they tell me more as i must have suffered amnesia. Needless to say, they never responded.

I don't do any of that, (I no longer have a mortgage anyway), but people don't understand my reluctance to change. And yet I see them rushing about all the time wanting to change this, alter that, order something else and complain when its not delivered "immediately". I don't do rushing, and I complain very little.

The point of all that? I believe in a computer that works well with little that changes. I didn't in the past. My first computer I was continuously installing software, uninstalling software, deleting folders where software didn't delete properly, changing settings, and so on, and finally my system gave up. I think it was exhausted! So I stopped doing that and now I prefer a stable system with which I think carefully and long before I add or remove software. I think I'm on a winner with this philosophy, but others might disagree.

Er.. sorry for the lecture. Not what I intended, Devil


Collapse -
Re: If this were me - New!
by Big Steve / February 24, 2012 11:19 AM PST
In reply to: If this were me

Damn that was one long book report you wrote. I'm not one who likes to change much either, I'm trying Comodo out today; I set it to do a "thorough" scan this afternoon, came to check and after 7 hours it was still scanning so I stopped that scan. There's obviously something wrong with my computer. I too would like to find one good highly rated AV that would work with ease.

Collapse -
by mchainmchain / February 25, 2012 6:03 AM PST

If your main drive is too full?

Example: A 200 GB drive has only 14GB free

Example: A 40 GB drive has only 4 GB free.

A running program needs to have somewhere to put it's files (swap file) and if there is not enough memory, this data will be written to the hard drive, and if not enough room, has nowhere to put it. Swap file usage will shoot up enormously in this case, slowing everything down.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Cameras that make great holiday gifts

Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.