First page of this article describes how to register or renew avast! Free Antivirus 2014 and configure its settings for optimum security and performance.
To open avast! Free Antivirus, click its yellow ball-shaped icon in Notification Area of Taskbar (aka System Tray). A status message is also displayed, normally this should read "Everything is good".
In avast! 2014 user interface window, open Scan tab from the left, select Quick scan from combo box on the top right and then click Settings.
In avast! Scan Settings window, Scan tab opens. Find Scan Areas section and select Rootkits (quick scan) instead of Rootkits (very quick scan).
Move on to the Sensitivity tab. Tick the Scan for potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) check box.
Open Actions tab from the left. First, enable the Automatically apply actions during scan option. Then set the first action to Fix automatically and second action to Move to Chest in Virus, PUP and Suspicious tabs.
The automatic fixing option is new in avast! 2014: it means Decide for me and it either moves detected malware to Quarantine/Virust Chest, or deletes it, depending on threat level. The older and inferior Repair action only tries to disinfect files without deleting or moving a thing: this often results in failures if the file is fully malicious.
Make sure that the If necessary, perform the selected action at the next system restart check box is ticked.
Finally, select the Try to remove only the packed file; if it fails, remove the whole containing archive option.
The last step in automating avast! 2014 scanning is to open Scheduling tab and turn on the Schedule this scan option. Weekly scanning is selected by default.
In Schedule section, set a good Launch time and Launch day when your PC is probably not in heavy use. Remember, time is in 24-hour format!
Click OK to enable the scheduled scan.
If you want to see logs for all virus scans already performed, open Scan tab and click Scan history in the bottom right of the window.
Find a log that has red "virus found" in Result column (the others are not interesting, right?), click it once and then click the Detailed report button.
This will open the log in avast! Scan Results window where you can see detected items, performed actions and results. You cannot perform any actions here.
Click Close after you're done.
Do not worry about log files consuming too much disk space - avast! Free Antivirus deletes logs older than 30 days automatically.
As avast! typically moves infected files that cannot be fixed to a special folder called Virus Chest, this folder might start using some disk space in the longer run. Its default size limit is set to 256 megabytes in avast! Settings, General tab, Maintenance section.
You might want to open Virus Chest once every few months and remove older items from there to free up disk space. You can also restore items from Virus Chest to their original locations in rare occasions when avast! sounds false alarm.
Open Scan tab in avast! 2014 user interface window and then click Quarantine (Virus Chest) in the bottom right of the window.
avast! Virus Chest window opens.
Select the files you want to remove from Virus Chest by holding down CTRL key on your keyboard and clicking each item with mouse. After you've done selecting, release CTRL key.
If you want to select all items, click the first one in the list, hold down SHIFT key and then click the last item. Release SHIFT key.
To delete the selected items, right-click one of them and select Delete.
avast! will confirm the deletion. Click Yes.
Silent/gaming mode in avast! 2014 is mainly meant for gamers, frequent movie viewers and people giving a presentation.
By default, silent mode activates automatically while a full-screen Desktop program (not the Modern UI/Metro apps in Windows 8 and 8.1) is running.
If you are playing a game that is not full-screen, an avast! Free Antivirus pop-up message might interrupt the game by stealing focus from the game window. You do not want that, do you?
Just to remind you - avast! Silent/gaming mode does not mute Windows sounds, it just disables its own popups and notification sounds.
To activate the mode manually, right-click the avast! Free Antivirus icon in Taskbar Notification area and click Silent/gaming mode. If there is a check mark before the item, the mode is already activated.
Always remember to turn the silent/gaming mode off after you finish your games, presentations, etc!
For Windows Vista and 7 users, avast! Free Antivirus 2014 adds a Desktop Gadget with status report and buttons for opening avast! main window, updating databases and following avast! Twitter, Facebook and blogging accounts. Windows XP and 8/8.1 have no support for Desktop Gadgets.
The gadget is especially useful for Windows 7 users, because avast! icon in Taskbar Notification Area (aka System Tray) tends to be hidden and users might not notice if avast! status changes from secured to something else.
In Windows Vista, the Gadget is always fixed to one size, Windows 7 users can rotate it vertically and horizontally.
The button on the left opens avast! user interface, or main window with current status. The second button from the left allows manual updating of avast! engine and virus definitions. Do not get this wrong - avast! Free Antivirus 2014 updates both its engine and virus definitions automatically every four hours, this button is just for those who like to check for updates more frequently or need to make sure the virus definitions are up-to-date before performing a manual scan.
As with any Desktop Gadget in Windows Vista and 7, you can easily hide or show avast! gadget.
If virus definitions are out-of-date, a yellow exclamation mark is displayed on avast! Free Antivirus icon in Taskbar Notification area (aka System Tray). You should then right-click the icon, expand Update and click Engine and virus definitions.
On some slower machines avast! services start slowly and a yellow exclamation mark is displayed on avast! Free Antivirus Notification area icon. This might mean that one of the avast!'s Real-Time Shields is not running yet. The status then reads "avast! Antivirus: Attention, your system is not fully protected". Also, the avast! Desktop Gadget in Windows Vista or Windows 7 will change its status to yellow exclamation mark.
Wait for a minute or two and the status will usually change to "Everything is good" automatically.
If the status will not change back to normal after a few minutes, either click the avast! icon and then click the large yellow Resolve All button in avast! main window, or click the exclamation mark in Desktop Gadget. This will force all avast! Antivirus services/shields to start.
If avast! Free Antivirus 2014 Real-Time Shields are completely turned off, its service is not running, or it is unable to remove a threat automatically, a red X mark will be displayed in the lower left corner of Notification area icon and system status reads "You are unprotected!". The Desktop Gadget in Windows Vista and 7 will also change its status to red X mark.
This could also happen when your free license for avast! has expired. In that case, renew your free license (this must be done on yearly basis).
Either click the icon immediately to open avast! Free Antivirus window and see what's causing the problem, or click the red X mark in Desktop Gadget.
In avast! 2014 user interface window, click the huge red Resolve All button. This should help at most times. As you can see from the picture, avast! Real-time shields were disabled and that was the cause of the problem.
If clicking the Resolve All button does not help or you are unable to use it at all, I recommend running RKill for stopping malware components and then performing a full scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
You should also start your computer in Safe Mode for malware removal!
If some malicious program tries to turn off avast! Free Antivirus, a warning window will appear with text "An attempt has been made to turn off a key avast! module". Always click No here unless you tried to disable avast! Real-Time Shields yourself. Then perform an on-demand virus scan immediately.
To prevent malware from disabling avast! shields, activate the password-protection of avast! settings.
Here are two examples of alerts generated by avast! 2014 Real-Time Shields: "avast! File System Shield has blocked a threat" and "avast! Web Shield has blocked a harmful webpage or file". In both of these cases, no further action is required from your part.
In some cases, avast! Free Antivirus wants to schedule a boot-time scan and restart your computer to get rid of some nasty malware.
Because automatic boot-time scan requires manual actions from users, it can lead to unbootable or unstable Windows if a critical system file is deleted or moved. I strongly suggest running RKill for stopping malware components and then performing a full scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware first. This can remove the threats completely without affecting system stability.
It is safe to click Yes here only after running the two aforementioned scans.
Please also read the in-depth article about avast! boot-time scanning and suitable actions.