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Configure Avast Free Antivirus, page 2

By , www.winhelp.us. Last modified: 2014-11-10.

How to schedule Avast Free Antivirus scans, access scan logs and Virus Chest in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1

First part of this article describes how to register or renew Avast Free Antivirus 2015 and configure its settings for optimum security and performance.

Automating and customizing Avast Free Antivirus 2015 weekly scan

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 "You are protected".
If you stop mouse pointer on Avast Free Antivirus icon, your system status will be displayed. Normally this is 'You are protected'.

In Avast 2015 user interface window, open Scan tab from the left and click Scan for viruses.
Avast Free Antivirus, Scan tab. Click 'Scan for viruses'.

Make sure that Quick scan is selected from combo box on the top right and click Settings.
Avast Free Antivirus, Scan tab. Select 'Quick scan' from the dropdown menu 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).
Avast Scan settings, Scan tab. Replace 'Rootkits (very quick scan)' with 'Rootkits (quick scan)'.

Move on to the Sensitivity tab. Tick the Scan for potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) check box.
Avast Scan settings, Sensitivity tab. Enable the 'Scan for potentially unwanted programs (PUPs)' option.

Open Actions tab from the left. First, enable the Automatically apply actions during scan option. Then set the primary action to Fix automatically in Virus, PUP and Suspicious tabs.

Make sure that the If necessary, perform the selected action at the next system restart check box is ticked in the Options section.
Then select the Try to remove only the packed file; if it fails, remove the whole containing archive option for the Processing of infected archives setting.
Avast Scan settings, Actions tab. Turn on the 'Automatically apply actions during scan' option. Set the action to 'Fix automatically' in all sub-tabs. Then select the 'Try to remove only the packed file; if it fails, remove the whole containing archive' option.

The last step in automating Avast 2015 scanning is to open the 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, not AM/PM!
Avast Scan settings, Scheduling tab. Tick the 'Schedule this scan' check box. Then set good 'Launch time' and 'Launch day'. Click OK to schedule the scan.

Click OK to enable the scheduled scan.

Checking scan logs in Avast Free Antivirus 2015

If you want to see logs for all virus scans already performed, open Scan tab and choose Scan for viruses. Then click Scan history in the bottom right of the window.
Avast Free Antivirus, Scan tab. To see scan logs, click 'Scan history' in the bottom right of the user interface window.

Find a log that has red "virus found" written in Result column, click it once and then click the Detailed report button. Reports are not available for the scans that completed without detections.
Avast Scan Logs/history. Click the log you want to check and then click 'Detailed report'.

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.
Avast Scan Results window. All detected items and performed actions are listed here. Click 'Close'.

Do not worry about log files consuming too much disk space - Avast Free Antivirus deletes logs older than 30 days automatically.

Managing Avast Free Antivirus 2015 Virus Chest/Quarantine

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 2015 user interface window and then click Quarantine (Virus Chest) in the bottom right of the window.
Avast Free Antivirus, Scan tab. To see quarantined items, click 'Quarantine (Virus Chest)' in the bottom right of the user interface 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 Virus Chest. To clean up quarantined items, select them first. Then right-click an item and select 'Delete' from the menu.

Avast will confirm the deletion. Click Yes.
Avast Delete files from Chest. Click Yes.

Using Avast Free Antivirus 2015 silent/gaming mode

Silent/gaming mode in Avast 2015 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? Smile

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.
Avast Free Antivirus 2015 system tray icon right-click menu. To turn off Avast pop up notifications and sounds during a full-screen game or video viewing, click 'Silent/gaming mode'. If the item has a check mark, the mode is activated.

Always remember to turn the silent/gaming mode off after you finish your games, presentations, etc! Smile

Avast Desktop Gadget in Windows Vista and 7

For Windows Vista and 7 users, Avast Free Antivirus 2015 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.
Avast Free Antivirus, Gadget in Sidebar of Windows Vista Avast Free Antivirus, vertical Desktop Gadget in Windows 7 Avast Free Antivirus, horizontal Desktop Gadget in Windows 7

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 2015 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.

Avast Free Antivirus messages

If virus definitions are out-of-date or some shields are note active, 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.
Avast Free Antivirus menu in Taskbar Notification Area. To update virus database, click 'Update' and then '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 Free Antivirus: Attention". 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 "You are protected" 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.
Avast Free Antivirus icon in Taskbar Notification Area. If Avast is not fully started (some real-time shields are disabled), the icon has a yellow exclamation mark and status is 'Attention'. If Avast is not fully started, Desktop Gadget in Windows Vista or 7 has yellow exclamation mark. Click it to start all Avast services.
Avast Free Antivirus main window, status 'Attention'. Click 'Resolve all'.

If Avast Free Antivirus 2015 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.
Avast Free Antivirus 2015 icon in Taskbar Notification Area. If Avast is not working correctly, the status reads 'You are unprotected!'. Click the Avast Free Antivirus icon to see what's causing this message. If Avast is turned off or it is unable to remove a threat automatically, Desktop Gadget in Windows Vista or 7 has red X mark. Click it to see the cause.

In Avast 2015 user interface window, click the Resolve All button. Here are two examples - All real-time shields are turned off, and Avast background service is not running.
Avast Free Antivirus 2015, You are unprotected, All real-time shields are turned off. Click 'Resolve All' button in Avast user interface. Avast Free Antivirus 2015, You are unprotected, background service is not running. Click 'Resolve All' button.

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!

To prevent malware from disabling Avast shields, activate the password-protection of Avast settings.

Here are two examples of alerts generated by Avast 2015 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.
Avast File System Shield has blocked a threat. No further action is required. Avast Web Shield has blocked a harmful webpage or file.

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.
Avast Information, To finish the cleanup process, we recommend running a boot-time scan. Click 'Yes' only after running RKill and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scans.

Please also read the in-depth article about Avast boot-time scanning and suitable actions.

 

 

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