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Unless you opt out, the toolbar makes Google your default search engine, but it doesn't take over your home page.
The installer also presents a full page devoted to explaining how Avast uses your nonpersonal data, and how you can opt out if you wish.
If you reject the upgrade, it offers a 60-day trial. One of this product's 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.
To avoid conflicts, it disables all real-time scanning and other active protection. There's precedent for this behavior—Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center does something similar.
It may seem counterintuitive, but antivirus makers typically pay for the privilege of having products included in testing by the independent labs.
Products that do well enough to pass the test receive a Standard rating, while those that show advanced features and capabilities can rate Advanced or Advanced .
Out of the four tests, AVG and Avast both earned three Advanced ratings and one Advanced.
However, in the real world, many of the most popular free antivirus tools pack full-scale protection along with a ton of extra features.
Products that don't manage perfect or near-perfect protection simply fail.
Avast passed the banking Trojans test, and achieved Level 2 certification in the all-types malware protection test, meaning that it let at least one attacker install, but remediated the problem within 24 hours.
And the underlying antivirus engine is exactly the same in Avast and AVG Anti Virus Free, as demonstrated in my tests and independent lab tests. In the past, those wishing to use Avast in a business setting had to upgrade to Avast Pro Antivirus.
Currently, Avast is de-emphasizing the Pro product; it didn't get an upgrade with the rest of the product line.
The biggest part of Avast's main window is a slate-gray rectangle with a bit of texture, decorated with a status icon and a big button titled Run Smart Scan.