Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ Review

Screenshot of Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+. © Lavasoft

Lavasoft has been in the antivirus business for a while (since 1999), mainly providing premium products. However, they also have a free antivirus program called Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+.

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ is really easy to use, light on resources, and supports detailed custom scanning.

Important: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ provides free on-access or resident protection, meaning it's always running in the background to monitor files.

This means Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ can completely replace any premium or professional antivirus software that you might be paying for, like products form McAfee and Norton. While those programs might include tools you won't find in free software, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ can still provide the virus protection you need at no cost.

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  • Constant, real-time protection against spyware, viruses, and other malicious items
  • Requires little CPU usage to run
  • Scan files and folders from the right-click context menu
  • Updates definitions automatically throughout the day
  • Supports a silent mode when gaming or watching movies to reduce its impact on system resources and suppress notifications
  • Can run a quick or full system scan on a schedule


  • Some features only work if you purchase a paid version of Ad-Aware
  • Doesn't scan incoming or outgoing email messages
  • Takes longer to install than most other antivirus programs
  • Registration, though free, is required once a year to prevent expiration


  • Real-time protection allows Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ to monitor the Windows Registry for modifications
  • If malicious items are downloaded, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ blocks them before they even have the option of infecting the system
  • Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP users can install and use Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
  • A virtual sandbox is used in Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ to emulate a hard drive. This means that while potentially malicious files are analyzed in real-time, they can also be launched without fear of infection.
  • Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ reportedly uses less than 1% of CPU usage to run
  • If you choose compatible mode during setup, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ can be used with other antivirus software
  • URLs are scanned against a database of recognized malicious/phishing websites to prevent an attack

My Thoughts on Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+

Basically any antivirus program that's free will have my blessing. I don't find anything extra special about Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+, but it's still useful if you need antivirus software.

I do like how easy it is to use. Whether the program is open or if you're using the context menu scanner, things seem to start up fast and begin working without much delay.

Honestly, however, I don't think Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ should be your first choice when choosing a good antivirus program. There are too many settings in the program that would be useful but aren't allowed to function because it's just the free version.

For instance, email is a widely used form of communication but it's not even supported as a real-time scan location. Because of this fact, it'd be wise to use a program like avast! or AVG.

Don't get me wrong, though, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ is a nice choice if you're not concerned about the cons from above. Having real-time protection is extremely important, and it's included at no cost in this program.

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