AV-Test Institute rates antivirus products on three criteria: protection, performance, and usability (where usability means few false positives). Avast earned that six points in protection and usability, but it fell down in the performance category, earning just 3.5 points.Its total score of 15.5 isn't terrible, but many have done better.

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It seems only logical that a free antivirus company should offer basic protection for free, but reserve advanced bonus features for the paid edition.

However, in the real world, many of the most widespread free antivirus tools actually pack a ton of extra features.

Avast Free Antivirus 2017 in particular gives you more than many competing commercial products.

On top of excellent antivirus protection, it adds a network security scanner, a password manager, a secure browser, and more.

Of the antivirus products I track, only Avast, AVG, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 10, and Kaspersky Anti-Virus appear in the results from all five labs.

Avast's aggregate score of 8.7 points (from a possible 10) is quite good, even better than AVG's 8.4 points.

One of this edition's new features needs special mention, because it's virtually invisible.

If you install another antivirus with Avast already on the system, it automatically goes into Passive Mode.

I should point out one change I made to Avast's default configuration.

My samples include a range of malware, from vicious ransomware to merely annoying Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).

The very best products receive AAA certification; others may be certified at the AA, A, B, or C level. MRG-Effitas works a bit differently from the other labs.