Avast! Free Antivirus 2015 is avast!'s latest malware-hunting engine.

Installation is simple and straightforward. Compatibility seems good, too, with the package running happily alongside Norton Internet Security on our test PC.

The program interface is clean and very easy to use. Just click "Smart Scan" and Free Antivirus 2015 immediately runs a quick check for malware. But it now also scans for missing software updates, runs a new Home Security Network Check (wifi status, weak router passwords etc), and even looks for junk files and poorly configured Windows settings.

If you're in a hurry then you can click "Resolve all" and leave the program to sort out the details.

But if you need more control then Avast! Free Antivirus 2015 has plenty to offer. For example, the antivirus engine can check individual files, folders, removable media, commonly infected areas of your PC or the entire system. If that's not enough, you're able to create your own custom scan type by tweaking 30+ settings. And this can be scheduled to run at boot time, daily, weekly, monthly - whenever you like.

The 2015 version can also scan TLS/SSL protected traffic, detecting threats even on HTTPS connections.

Avast DeepScreen now uses hardware virtualisation to run processes in standalone virtual machines, completely isolated from the rest of your system, improving security and detection (you'll need hardware virtualisation to be supported and enabled, of course).

Help has moved completely online, where it's both more complete and more up-to-date.

Of course there's the usual round of bug fixing, too, which this time reportedly involves "a lot of stability & performance changes in all components".

Please note, the program will by default install Google Toolbar. If that's not what you want, pay attention during setup and clear the relevant checkbox when it appears.

Avast 2015 R3 includes these improvements:

- Grimefighter is now redone and called Cleanup.
        - runs without need of reboot
        - much faster
        - runs on more devices (better compatibility)
- Improved Windows 10 compatibility
- Ability to check compatibility issues with other antivirus software
- Host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS): an installed software package which monitors a single host for suspicious activity by analyzing events occurring within that host
- StreamFilter with HTTPS scanning  is now available also for Windows XP/Vista
- NG is not using Volume Shadow Copy Service anymore

Verdict

A solid antivirus engine with a good range of features, now even easier to use, and generally very compatible with other security tools.