Bloated Avast turns into a hog

As is the case with most software packages that start off lean and mean and then slowly begin to bloat, Avast antivirus is the latest to heave its blubber onto the groaning bandwagon under the guise of “improvements”.

I’ve used the free version of Avast antivirus for years and it always served its purpose well. Fast to load, minimal impact on system resources, comprehensive protection without impeding usability and capable of working on older hardware.

Last years’ version 7 started the inevitable decline to crapulence when toaster ads started appearing with virus updates and the journey to the hog factory is complete with the latest release, version 8 that proudly boasts an interface straight from the Windows 8 bumper book of Offensive GUI’s. Version 7 was just about palatable but this new version 8 is rude, obnoxious, full of hidden software updates without prompting the user and worst of all, leaves behind a venerable sewer of software flotsam and shit if you try to remove the app. If there’s one thing I hate on a PC, it’s an arrogant software package that refuses to cleanly uninstall.

Upgrading your existing version 7 of Avast to version 8 promptly installs the auto software updater and tries to slip in some Google crapware without user interaction. Then, when you fire it up, you’re presented with the new Avast GUI that wastes no time in punting a feeble collection of rubbish Avast software that nobody will ever need along with ads, social media junk and other crap designed to annoy and slow down your PC.

Then there’s the actual bloat itself. Running on both XP and Windows 7, boot times have vastly inflated and the whole system just feels far more sluggish. Open up the GUI and it’s not difficult to see why; despite your current version 7 custom installation, Avast 8 will see fit to install all the shields whether you want them or not.

Now you might say well it’s a free app so some degree of advertising is acceptable and that for a free package it’s pretty damn good. I disagree. I’d argue for a free app, it’s far too aggressive in shoving ads in your face and given that there are far more agreeable alternatives available, it’s time to get rid of Avast for good and kick it into the bin marked “sod off”.

As for replacements, I’m going with the freeware Panda Cloud Anti Virus version 2. It’s lightweight, unobtrusive, has a panda face for an icon, doesn’t bombard you with ads and offers a nice tidy single interface with no fuss or annoying toaster ads. I’ve used this on a few PC’s over the last year and it’s time to move over for good.

Avast can stay in the pig farm and continue wallowing in its own slurry of lame ass advertising.

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22 Responses to Bloated Avast turns into a hog

  1. Redwing Summer says:

    Absolutely. Many people including myself have used Avast for many many years.

    In my opinion it’s getting pretty hefty in its advertising schemes.
    The latest versions try to sneak in an automatic install of Google Chrome. While this doesn’t bother many people, it bothers me because the options are already ticked and rather discreet at the bottom of the accept window. That’s very deceptive in my opinion.

    This is quite typical of software that starts off as the underdog, then makes it big. It may well be time to start hunting around for alternatives, of which there’s plenty.

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      I like Panda Anti Virus. As far as I’m aware, it was the first to use cloud based security and it has a lovely minimalist interface that quietly sits in the background without causing a fuss. The free version offers to install the Panda browser security bar, change the home page and make Google the default search engine but crucially, this is well sign-posted and gives you the option (are you listening Avast?) to deselect if not required.

      Once installed, there’s hardly any advertising. The small but efficient UI tells you everything you need to know and flips between just a few panels, one of which has a one liner about upgrading to the full suite (you never have to see this though). Very very occasionally (every few months if that), you get a little envelope icon in the tray to tell you there’s a message which is just a small popup menu with another one liner about other Panda security products. I don’t mind that at all since it’s unobtrusive and in fact, it actually encourages me to go look at the paid for security product. I get that free software
      might need advertising but as long as it doesn’t become obnoxious or tries to take over whatever you’re doing, I don’t mind.

      Contrast Panda’s approach with pigheaded Avast who insist on toaster popups with every virus update, a huge bloated UI that takes up half the bloody screen, endless opportunities to bombard you with social media rubbish and worst of all, a bully boy approach to asking for an email address just to register the ‘ckin app.

      Have also tried AVG, Avira, MSE and God knows how many others but they’re all far too heavyweight. Malwarebytes is good but I prefer Panda.

    • kris says:

      Thank you all for these observations. I recently became quite tired of Avast telling me about “critical software updates” as an excuse to advertise Chrome, as well as inflicting other symptoms of bloat. I too am looking for an alternative, which is how I found this site.

      Panda, you say? I shall check it out.

  2. David says:

    Not only pushing ‘piggy back installs’ sometimes does it without users input!

    Another thing is the amount of BSOd’s Avast is causing, look at their website, many are plagued by BSOD’s. This say’s a lot about their beta testing. It seems the user’s are being used as guinea pigs, so much for their beta testers.

    One day they will realize not everyone wants these problems and that everyone is running the latest operating systems…. computer users comes in all shapes and sizes from slow to fast from Win 2000 to Win 8.

    The sad thing is Avast are not getting a grip of the situation, many of their so-called helpers somehow don’t seem to grasp what is being said or asked, this itself causes annoyance.

    Sorry I too am looking for an alternative

  3. David says:

    Malwarebytes Isn’t an Antivirus, yet I’ve heard folks on other forums calling it an Antivirus

    Malarebytes is MBAM – right?

    MBAM would be something like Spybot, Super Ant Spyware etc., but they’re not Antivirus programs. I guess it would be beneficial using any of these alongside ANY Antivirus program.

    I’ve got my doubts about Panda Cloud, certainly not got a big following and the reviews I read are so-so.

    It’s worth noting that some ‘latest’ AV’s may not work on older o/s, like XP sp2 32bit, for example Avira 2013 will only work on XP Sp2 with 64 bit or XP with Sp3 with 32 bit are OK for Avira 13…..

    .. to run Avira on 32 bit with XP Sp2 you’ll need Avira 2010 (Avira 10), so worth checking the requirements.

    Ah well, I’m still looking.

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      Yes, Malwarebytes is MBAM (Malwarebytes Anti-Malware) and yes, it’s not an anti-virus so worth running both an anti virus and an anti spyware suite.

      To be honest, in 20 years of using PC’s, I’ve only ever had the one virus which was caused by a dodgy floppy disk back when floppy disks were the norm. Malware and spyware seems to be a far bigger problem, especially if you don’t download email and read it online as all the main webmail providers have their own virus scanners.

  4. Angel Phanuel says:

    Not 10 minutes ago I was staring at the “give chrome a try” page in the chrome browser upon starting up my PC, and I felt something almost like… rage.
    I have used Avast AV for many many years now and have been happy. But this STUNT they have pulled shows they have absolutely no respect for their users. It’s Avast saying to their users “you’re all dumb sheep who’ll bend over for anything we care to do to you. So here, take this.”
    I have not settled on an alternative AV program yet, but this day will end with every last trace of Avast totally eradicated from my PC and I will campaign where I can for others to do the same.

  5. angel phanuel says:

    I ended up going with Avira. I felt an AV program *should* be a local install. Lets hope Avira don’t go over to the dark side.

  6. David says:

    I’ve gone over to NOD32.

    You *may* be able to tame Avira nag screen see this link, many others no doubt if you do a search.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-the-Popup-Ads-in-Avira-Antivir

    I rather like Grumpy Bear comment “Sadly, there are far more dumb sheep than there are savvy users”, how true that is… is see Avast is back causing BSOD’s.

    My feeling is THEY ARE pushing those nagging pop-up adds that sure as heck is no bug as they say it is, if it was why hasn’t it been sorted?

    Dave

  7. WGH says:

    Totally agree! Been using Avast for countless years now it’s becoming too bloated and intrusive. Yesterday I “updated” Avast believing it was the engine update I’m so used to for many years only to have found later that it was some kind of trial version of another branch of Avast. It is causing problems with my e-mail client and browser. Avast is beginning to, if not already has, become “Norton”! I will ditch Avast if it still does not improve performance and usability!

  8. David says:

    WGH:
    I can’t see it improving, it will only get worse…. they are already pushing Grime, Avast purchased Jumpshot? And some people are finding it installed with their updates just like Chrome did.

    >http://news.softpedia.com/news/Avast-Acquires-Jumpshot-385789.shtml<

    I see BSOD and no-boot is back on the menu, the sad part is all you get is, "Un-install using the download tool then do a re-install", what sort of AV and advice is that?

  9. mark says:

    Iv’e finally had enough of AVAST the final straw was when my endpoint was up for renewal and every machine in my company had a renew popup that couldnt be turned off appear every couple of hours, now iv got safe price on my browser whether i want it or not on my home system (again the paid for version) its still got another year to run and then im off to someone else!

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      I’ve trying a few other free AV packages recently like Baidu along with some paid ones like F-Secure but I keep returning to Panda Free. They must be doing something right.

  10. Mo says:

    Thanks for the Panda suggestion, I’m trying it now.

    Revo Uninstaller is a useful tool to help remove remnants of programs that don’t know how to leave gracefully.

  11. Mike says:

    As of 2015, all of the article is totally true. AVG and Avast are both bloated and will render your computer useless (not to mention the countless bugs in their software that you have to Google every day or so to find out what is going on).

    I’m trying out German-made Avira right now, and so far it seems very lightweight and non-obtrusive.

  12. Dave says:

    Look at Avast now…. many of their long serving customers have given up, trouble is Avast isn’t Avast it’s also Jumpshot, that’s when all the nasty pop ups started.

    When choosing an AV always look at their forums, looking at Avast isn’t impressive, also too many ‘fan boys’ can’t comprehend what is being said, as soon as one complains they are ever eager to jump on you.

    I use Nod 32 on XP and Win7 64bit after leaving Avast, I did try Panda cloud but soon give up – no adverts, no pop ups, no hogs or BSOD’s.

    One AV type may work fine on one computer config. on another could be problematic, always best to see for yourself, Avast IS bloated and malware itself…. an antivirus should be just an antivirus.

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