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Avira Premium Security 10
VERSION:  Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2000, 1 User

PRICE:  $49.99

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Other Versions:  Avira AntiVir Premium 10 download
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Information Below:  Review, Screenshots, System Requirements

Review of Avira Premium Security Suite Version 10

    By Jay Andrew Allen

Avira Avira GmbH is hardly a new kid on the block: the company has been producing anti-virus software since 1988, maintaining a suite of products built around its high performance antivirus scanner. Who wouldn't love a company that named its virus scanning engine "Luke Filewaker"? But the security software market has changed substantially since Avira's inception in the late 1980s. We took Avira Premium Security Suite for a test drive to see how it competes against its 21st-century competitors.

1) Features & Ease of Use:  4.5/15

Installation: While we usually don't comment on installation procedures for Internet Security software, we're making an exception for Avira, as it is the only antivirus application we've installed all year that reported a cryptic error message during install. In our case, Avira displayed a dialog that read, "The Installation of LSP failed. AntiVir Mailguard and AntiVir WebGuard therefore cannot be installed." Fortunately, we found an Avira Forum post that solved the problem. But that raises the question: if this is a known issue, why hasn't Avira fixed it?

Dashboard: Avira isn't the ugliest antivirus application on the market, but it's definitely among the bottom five. The Avira Dashboard consists of a left hand navigation menu with five groups for the program's major features. The names and groupings aren't intuitive; why refer to the scanning features as "Local Protection", for example, when you could have easily used the word "Scan"?

Avira Dashboard:

View Larger Avira Screenshots

New Features:
Unfortunately, this interface is touted by Avira as one of its latest and greatest features. Given how hard and non-intuitive the application was to use, we contend Avira still has its work cut out. Several of the UI elements didn't work as expected: the Configuration and Control screen, which contains configuration options for all of Avira's features, uses UI widgets for its menu items that implies the items have sub-menus - which they, in fact, do not.

In other cases, critical portions of new features were either buried or missing. The new Avira Premium Security Suite also sports an enhanced Parental Controls feature. According to the documentation, users should be able to configure custom parental control roles, specifying blocked URLs, restricted categories of content, and computer usage time restrictions. However, we couldn't find any way to edit existing roles, or add a custom role; the Add and Edit buttons for Roles described in the documentation were nowhere to be found. Whether this is to be expected, or is a consequence of our initial flubbed installation, is anyone's guess.

Another key new feature of Avira is ProActiv, Avira's real-time technology for detecting zero-day virus threats. This should add to Avira's already impressive virus detection capabilities.

Existing Features:
Avira MailGuard is a simple anti-spam technology with few configurable options compared to its competitors. Avira aims for simplicity above customization, omitting a slew of configuration details in favor of its Advanced Heuristic Detection and Analysis (AHeAD) algorithm. Users can set this heuristic to a detection level of Low, Medium, or High.

Avira's Firewall implementation is configured to prompt the user whenever an unknown application installed on the machine attempts to access the network. It seemed that Avira displayed more of these prompts than any other application we've reviewed to date (though that may be due partly to Avira's insistence on a system reboot after installation). Outside of this, we found the Avira Firewall decent, though a bit clumsy (like the rest of the interface) and not as sophisticated as some competitors' implementations.

2) Virus Scanner:  4/5

Scan Types: Avira supports a wide variety of scan types, including (but not limited to) Complete system scan, Quick system scan, Active Process scan, Rootkits scan, Windows System Directory scan, My Documents scan, and Removable Drives scan.

Avira Virus Scanner:

View Larger Avira Screenshots

Speed: Avira is a speed demon! On our reference system*, the application boasted a running time of 35.1MB per second. It chewed through our 1GB test file matrix in 29.2 seconds flat. This makes it the third fastest Internet Security platform we've tested. (See Scan Speed Comparison)

Updates: Avira updates its virus definition database a respectable 6.5 times per day - which is about average when compared to its competitors. (See Updates Per Day Comparison)

*Reference Computer:  Windows 7 Home Premium running on a Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200 (64 bit), with 3GB of RAM and a 210GB hard drive.

3) Performance Testing:  8/10

Avira 10.0 tested well in our Performance Tests this year - against the top Internet Security programs on the market.

Memory Use: Avira Premium Security Suite 10 uses 35.9 MB of system memory. #11 ranked program of the 15 Internet Security programs we tested.

Reboot Time: Avira added 15.5 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #4 ranked program.

Installation Size: Avira Version 10 requires 307 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #1 ranked program.

Initial Scan Speed: Avira Premium Security scans files the first time at a speed of 35.1 MB/s. #3 ranked program.

Subsequent Scan Speed: Avira performs subsequent scans at a speed of 40.3 MB/s. #11 ranked program.

Initial Application Launch: Avira Premium Security Suite 10 added 0.568s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #9 ranked program.

Subsequent Application Launch: Avira added 0.112s on average for subsequent web browser launches. #3 ranked program.

File Conversion Time: Avira added 0.26s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #4 ranked program.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a cumulative score tallied from the above 8 software tests (15 points given for a #1 rating, while 1 point is given for 15th place for each test). Avira Premium Security Suite 10 scored a total of 82 out of 120 points when compared to the other Internet Security programs tested. This placed Avira as the #3 ranked overall program we tested this year - just behind performance leaders ESET Smart Security and Norton Internet Security.

View above Internet Security Performance Tests.

4) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection) 13.5/15

Avira Effectiveness Scores

5) Help & Support:  2/5

»On-Screen Assistance: The help text provided in the application itself is often clumsy and insufficient to explain the feature at hand. And honestly, we're still reeling from that awful error message during install. Software targeted for end users should never use jargon and unexploded acronyms.

»Help Manual: Poor. As discussed above, the manual was of little assistance in teaching us how to use Parental Controls. Most of Avira's English help text feels like a poor translation from the original German.

»Online Support: The application offers a Help menu that provides quick access to Avira's support home page, as well as to the Avira Forums, Knowledge Base, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list. The company provides limited (non-24-hour) telephone support in the United States and other countries. There appears to be no option for technical support via Internet Chat.

»Quick Support Links:

     • Avira Customer Service Center Home
     • Avira for Home Customers Support Page
     • Avira Support Forums
     • Knowledge Base


Feature-wise, Avira isn't all that pretty or sophisticated. That's a shame: its clumsiness obscures the fact that it houses one of the best antivirus engines on the market, and boasts the third lowest System Impact Performance score amongst its competitors. Customers who value system speed and scanning accuracy above all else - and who can ignore Avira's oddities - might find happiness in Avira Premium Security Suite. More discriminating users should look elsewhere for another Internet Security program.

Overall Rating: Fair    (Total Score: 32 / 50 = 3 Stars)

*Installation Time:  65 seconds plus 1 reboot (excluding time taken for updates)

Misc Info:

    • Version Tested:
    • Release Date:
    • Review Date:
    • Last Updated:
May 26, 2011
    • Previous Version:
Avira Premium Security Suite Version 9
    • Other Avira Software:
Avira AntiVir 10 Premium, Free Avira AntiVir Personal 10

Useful Articles:

    • What is a Computer Virus?

    • Internet Security software vs. Basic Antivirus - Which is right for me?

    • Differences between Viruses, Trojans, Worms & Spyware

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Avira Premium Security Suite 10 Screenshots

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Avira Premium Security Suite 10 System Requirements:

Operating System:

    • Windows XP (32 or 64 Bit), SP2
    • Windows Vista (32 Bit or 64 Bit), SP1
    • Windows 7 (32 Bit or 64 Bit)
    • Windows 2000, SP4 and Update Rollup 1

Minimum Requirements:

    • RAM Memory: Minimum 256 MB (Windows XP / 2000), 1024 MB (Windows 7 / Vista)
    • Disk Space: Minimum 325 MB (additional quarantine space needed)

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