The all-new Avast *8* has arrived!


avastI have to admit, the recent release of Avast 8 has taken me somewhat by surprise. I hadn’t heard anything about an impending new major version. As a dedicated Avast Free Anti-Virus user however, it turned out to be a rather pleasant surprise.

Existing Avast Free users can install this latest version from within the program; simply right click on Avast’s system tray icon, select Update and then Program. New users can download here: http://www.avast.com/en-au/index

Avast 8 includes some nice new features and enhancements, all of which are displayed in a list at completion of installation (I’ve highlighted those which apply to the Free edition):

Avast 8 new features

The main interface has been revamped in an obvious attempt to give it a more minimalistic and Windows 8-friendly look. However, the large icons and clearly labeled menu items do make it easy to navigate to key features:

Avast 8 main interface

Two new features included in the freeware version which should be well received and have elicited most discussion are…


  • Software Updater: checks for and identifies out-of-date software installations. Simply click the associated Fix now button to download and apply the latest update (automatic silent updates is available only in commercial versions)

Avast 8 software updater

  • Browser Cleanup Tool: scans for and offers to remove installed toolbars – supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome (I know of quite a few people who could put this one to good use :))

Avast 8 browser cleanup tool

Avast’s historical commitment to providing ‘free’ users with the vast majority of its features remains unchanged, all the popular “Shields” are still there:

avast 8_shields

You can read more about Avast 8, including details of new technologies for proactive detection here: http://www.avast.com/pr-protection-at-your-fingertips-the-new-avast-8

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

14 Comments

  1. Wow. I’ll have to try this out when I get home. I’ve been liking both the system and the mobile product from Avast.

  2. I wondered where that update message came from after I upgraded Avast. It didn’t look like the regular Secunia messages. Have now turned off this unneeded feature that simply duplicates part of what another program already does. No wonder programs are getting bloated when they start trying to do part of what you already have a separate program to handle. I winder if there is any way to actually uninstall that part of Avast so as to recover the wasted disk space.

    • Hi Stephen – I can appreciate your point of view but I am seeing it in a somewhat different light. It’s becoming more and more apparent that, in today’s climate, a single-point approach to security is relatively ineffective. You have recognized that fact yourself, as attested by your utilization of Secunia. Maintaining up-to-date software installations is indeed an integral part of any overall security strategy and I fail to see how a feature integrated into Security software which plays such a role could be deemed “bloat”.

      I believe it’s an innovative move by the Avast people, catering for users who might not be quite as computer/security savvy as you or I.

      Cheers… Jim

    • Hi Stephen,
      You could have used the custom install which would have allowed you the option to choose exactly what you wanted installed.
      All programs should always be installed using the custom method to avoid any surprises once the program is installed.

  3. I’ve used Avast on and off over the years on my ancient XP machines. I say that because I have frequently had trouble after updating the program, in the form of complete computer crashes during or just after booting, eventually resorting to completely uninstalling, using their utility and a registry search and using something else for a while. Googling seems to throw up people having similar problems. The new version is no exception, causing me a lot of grief when I updated, with the usual crashes. System restore didn’t revert back properly and I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling the previous version which worked OK. Very reluctant to try anything new from Avast from past experience.

    • Hello Dave,
      Maybe it isn’t avast! but rather some of the other programs you’re running that are causing the grief.
      Try explaining your problems on their Support Forum to get some excellent free help.

    • I feel you. I’d been an avast! user for more then four years, and was happy with the AV until the release of version 7. It wreaked havoc on my XP desktop. Then they put out a stable release. The next program update I was back to square one, BSOD, system hangs and crashes. As a result I transitioned to AVG last June. To read the online commentary AVG is probably the most maligned AV product out there, mostly because people don’t take time to read the system requirements, or don’t read, or lack reading comprehension regarding the installer instructions, and blame the AV for their own shortcomings.

      @Norbert, It would be hard for me to understand how ‘other programs’ would be at fault if they worked fine with previous iterations of avast! Unless there is a compatibility issue inherent to the new avast! release.

  4. You never mentioned that the Avast upgrade, installs the Google tool bar on your browsers, without asking or giving you a chance to approved or reject.

    • I didn’t mention it because it didn’t happen… not in my case anyway. Did you upgrade from within the program or did you download the installer?

  5. It is true that one must think of security in several different ways. But, I would rather select stand-along apps that does one thing very well than to install a security suite that does everything half-assed. That’s what destroyed Norton. That’s what reduced Zone Alarm to a second rate firewall.

    There isn’t a single antivirus + internet security suite out there that does it all exceptionally well. So, you always end up with either a bloated suite of apps that slow your machine to a crawl, or an excellent firewall with a crappy antivirus+.

    Selecting single purpose programs for each element of your computer security requires more attention and more work, but, in my view, is far better than installing a second rate suite of bloated code that leaves you with a false sense of security, and a slow computer.

    • I agree with you in principle but we are talking chalk and cheese. You are discussing full suites with additional components which almost assuredly add extra load on system resources. I am talking about one simple component which does not in any way increase the software’s impact on system resources… yet is, IMO, a very useful addition. Certainly could not be described as bloat.

      Cheers… Jim

  6. Hai – Jim or?/and Dave,

    Thank you for sending us your weekly report to germany.

    I’m always wondering, why i do mostly find exactly ONE very interesting AND
    to our little system matching theme in your work!

    It’s like magic, when i find words about – for example: OnlineArmor, or today (week ago)
    Avast!free ‘8’ – your critical readers often ‘took the word from my tounge’….

    Your ‘style’ of writing is a pleasure when we compare it to ‘our spezialists’:
    straight, openhearded and with a clear will to help and give good OLD experience to others!

    We want to thank you AND your posting readers for giving us different aspects to the subject.
    (maybe for learning a better ‘english’ too – pardon for ‘our english’)

    Go on – good stuff – so long – T!LL from SailingCity K!EL