Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New free Avira antivirus problematic

I've been using Avira for several years, ever since I did some research on the best free antivirus products. Avira is consistently in the top three for detections, fixing, and speed. After using the latest version ( I can say that Avira has a lot of unacceptable problems. I'm using it with Vista, primarily.


1. Installation failed numerous times before it stuck and worked. Re-installation wouldn't work until I did an uninstall first, and even then the fresh install failed multiple times. It's unacceptable to spend three hours getting a successful install on a relatively small program that formerly worked flawlessly.

2. Realtime protection often fails on startup and then cannot be started manually. Only a reboot, sometimes two is required, gets it running again.

3. Side-swipe messages that appear on lower right bring me out of full-screen operations, such as watching movies. Even worse, they appear under the Vista Sidebar, forcing me to close the Sidebar, then close the message, then re-open the Sidebar, then put my app into full-screen mode again. Even worse, three out of four times I cannot close the message.

I don't mind at all that Avira is stepping up their efforts to make money, which seems to be the motivation for the additional messages in the latest version. Any CEO should have the same goal. The effort went off the rails in v.12, though, and I'm only willing to give them another month or so for a new release with all bugs fixed. They have a lot of competition, which means they will have to do better.

The Avira forms, on their website, are filled with similar complaints. Their fix for the side-swipe messages didn't work for me -- removing a non-numeric entry in the registry, because I had no such entry.

Well into 2012, there is no excuse for such bad programming (or bad testing prior to release). In the 1980s and 1990s this was to be expected, but with children being born into programming now, there can be no excuses for a product this bad.

I can already see the eyes rolling -- this guy's complaining about a free product! Yes, I am, and I've considered that Avira is frustrating customers on purpose to get them to buy the premium version. It's understandable for a free version of a product to be stripped down, it's expected, but that's not what's happening here. These are really bad bugs that have nearly rendered one of my laptops unusable. Maybe I will buy the premium version, but not unless I'm convinced in advance the paid version has none of these problems.

Here is a comment on the Avira forums dated Nov. 2011:
    Would be glad to be able to recommend Avira to people again. Cannot really do that for the moment. The new new slider ads are also too much for most people. Hope Avira put themselves together and realizes that all us Avira-free users are an important gate for getting customers via recommendations. Someone at marketing has made a very bad decision, imo.
Avira has been so good in the past I'm not going to abandon them quickly, but the clock is ticking.

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