Antivir Personal Edition Classic


Antivir Personal Edition Classic is a free, award-winning antivirus software. It provides scanning on demand as well as real-time protection against a wide array of malware including viruses, trojans, worms, and dialers.

Antivir also offers excellent heuristic virus detection (i.e. its ability to identify yet-unknown threats).

This review was borne out of an email exchange with Freewaregenius reader Sinkhan, whose emails I quote below with permission.

For a comparison of the best freeware antivirus programs see my article: The best free antivirus: a comparison (where, incidentally, Antivir came out on top).

Sinkhan: “I feel that there is some freeware that should definitely belong on your site. First of all, in your top ten picks, you list Grisoft’s AVG as your third favorite pick…. I would like to bring up AntiVir from Avira. This program is very near and dear to my heart. Although I’ve tried AVG and a close competitor that you may have heard of, Awil’s Avast!, Avira’s AntiVir Personal Edition Classic is a free program with an outstanding performance record.

At, an independant organization that researches anti-malware software, recent tests show that AntiVir has stellar detection rates, beating other commercial giants like Norton, McAffee, and quite substantially beating Avast! and AVG. The tests conducted were yes, done on the paid versions, but according to this part of Avira’s site, both the free and paid versions use the same engine for detecting viruses. The only features that the free version may lack is *fully* automatic updating (which however can be configured in the program to be automatic) and e-mail scanning (which I find rather unnecessary when using web-based email such as Yahoo!, G-Mail, or Hotmail).”

Me: “Thank you for your email. Indeed you’re right, there’s a lot of titles missing from my site. This is primarily a function of time, but I will say something about some of the titles you mentioned… I simply stayed away from [Antivir] because of the email scanning issue; for work, I have to use a POP3 account and I simply cannot have that vulnerability. But for anyone who only uses web services (Gmail, Hotmail) like yourself I agree it might well be the antivirus of choice.”

Sinkhan: “I still encourage you to use AntiVir at home if you can’t at work (Despite my incessant effort to try and encourage as many people to use AntiVir, I don’t work for them, of course, I wish I did. I’m just a huge supporter.) Of course, there are probably several robust freeware programs out there that could compliment AntiVir in its work. One would have to admit that the results from av-comparatives are rather conclusive.”

Me: “I’m going to install AntiVir on my home computer to test it out. I was very impressed with the results for this program on AVcomparatives.”

Sinkhan: “It’s great to see that I’ve convinced you to try out AntiVir. I’m confident that you’ll be satisfied”.

After a few days of using Antivir on my home computer I installed it alongside AVG on my work computer as well. Here are some noteworthy observations:

  • According to the tests conducted by (Feb 2007), Avira’s on-demand scanning outperforms not just AVG and Avast but for-pay heavyweights such as Kaspersky, NOD32, McAfee and Norton. Note that av-comparatives ask that these results are not reproduced or linked to directly (?), but you can easily find them from the main page.
  • The test for pro-active detection of unknown viruses (conducted Nov 2006) produced similar results, with Antivir trumping all of the above mentioned programs by a wide margin (except for NOD32, which it was on par with for that test).
  • Note that these tests were conducted on the commercial versions of these programs, although, as Sinkhan has pointed out, the free and paid versions of Antivir use the same detection engine.
  • Updates: Antivir by default installs itself with a daily update schedule every 24hours. This means that although the free version will not update itself at each and every point that an update is made available, it will update itself every day at a set time. No need to worry about updating manually.
  • Antivir is a well designed, slick-looking program that does not seem to hog the computer’s resources.
  • Nag screen: please note that whenver the free version of Antivir installs new updates, a browser window appears with a nag screen urging upgrading to the paid version. This nag screen can be removed by following the instructions here, here, or here.
  • Email scanning: although the free version of Antivir does NOT offer real-time email virus scanning and detection; it is not clear, however, that this makes it any less effective with threats that might make their way to the hard drive via email, as it will protect you from these threats anyway after they are downloaded (see this article and this article for more in support of this position).

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The Verdict: This is one of the best antivirus programs out there and probably the most powerful free antivirus option. If you only use web mail (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) then this definitely should be your free antivirus of choice. If you use regular downloadable email you can still use this provided you install another antivirus program that can do email scanning for you. I recommend AVG to do this, as it has a light footprint and co-exists well with other antivirus programs. To lower these program’s claims on your computer’s resources, simply de-activate all of AVG’s services except the update manager and email scanner.

Version tested:

Compatibility: Windows 98/ME (only supported until 30.06.2007), NT (only supported until 31.03.2007), 2000/XP, Vista.

Go to the download page to get the latest version (approx 13.7megs).

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Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started
  • Nerkel

    So.. Should i uninstall my copy of AVG for this then?

  • Hercynium

    I use and like AntiVir’s free product on my PC at home, and recommend it heartily.

    However, friends whom I’ve recently convinced to “switch” have been complaining that every few times they boot their computer AntiVir puts up a screen asking them to buy the Full Edition.

    While I don’t think seeing a periodic ad for the paid version is a problem (especially considering the quality of this software,) some people may find it an annoyance worth considering.

    One more note: scheduled scans are *fairly* CPU and disk intensive. Not more than many other anti-virus software, but in my experience, more so than NAV 2005.

  • Nerkel

    well, it works great, but detected a game i had as a false positive, and deleted it 🙁

  • Anon

    Hercynium, I haven’t ever seen the nudge screen for AntiVir and I’ve been using it for 1 year.

    anyways, great app! I like it much better than AVG or avast!, but they’re decent too though.

  • Marc Lambrechts

    I’ve been using the Antivir solution and have 2 POP3 accounts. But I use Mozilla Thunderbird to access these accounts. I don’t know if this is a safe enough solution for my e-mail protection. (I also use spyware terminator, spyware blaster, the comodo firewall and firefox as my browser).

  • Samer

    My advice is that if you like AVG stick with it. Its still one of my favorite programs ever. If you don’t download email to your computer and just use web services then replacing AVG with Antivir might be a good idea.

    My guess is that this setup (which, incidently, is exactly what I use minus AVG) is not enough to protect you against viruses that may be slip in with emails.

  • Fred

    I´ve been using Antivir for 2 years now and it performs wonderfully catching every virus or trojan I downloaded from hacker sites.

    I don´t care about email scanning because the attachment are eventually scanned.

  • Hi, your web site is fantastic!
    Just on question: why don’t you insert Antivir instead of AVG in your top 20?


  • I would just like to say that I have this antiviurs on my personal computer at home and it has really been a very very good one. Thank you so much!!

  • Norm Wehrmeister

    I like Anti Vir and just could not have it updated, and it sounds good to have it scheduled….So lets try…Norm

  • Adebisi

    Great AV, but it is something I consider AdWare.

    Sorry but there was no obvious warning it was going to give me pop-ups asking me to buy it. While its only once a day or so, it still annoys the crap out of me.

    When anti-malware uses the same marketing methods as malware, I lose interest fast. Might be the best AV ever created and will never be duplicated, but to me it is just another piece of adware.

  • Samer

    I understand what you’re saying, but differ on one important point: I would say this is NOT adware but rather nagware.

    What I failed to mention in the review is that whenever the free version of Antivir updates, the user is presented with a browser window containing an ‘ad’ for the paid version of Antivir. This is not much different from getting a nag screen whenver you launch a program, except that it is prompted by the updating process not by launching the program.

    However, it is in my opinion quite different from adware: adware exposes you to unpredictable third party messages, including typically online gambling, online dating, or worse. The ads, moreover, are plastered within the program interface to be visible at all times, and not restricted to a single screen or function (in this case the update function).

    I will update the review to point out the existence of the nag screen.

  • good software, catches viruses and removes them nicely as wel, and doesn’t use up your memory like the expensive software will, and you know who I’m talking about.

    The only thing I don’t like is the daily popup trying to get me to pay for the pro software.

  • Sinkhan

    Wow, I honestly have no clue where these mysterious nag screen is coming from. 4 solid years of using it from my 98 PC to my new one now. Of course, I did do a manual update now and again and I suggest doing that to anyone who may find this apparent nag screen annoying.

    (Go to the support forums found on the main site, go to the AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic thread, go to the manual update thread, follow the instructions. [Note: Instead of downloading it onto a CD or something that it tells you to, just download it to a random folder on your desktop or your Documents folder.] By the way, the forums are all in German, so I suggest you using something like the Page Translate function built into online translators like altavista’s babelfish.)

    Of course, these steps may of course seem more cumbersome to the average user (of course, you could easily make it a simple routine like making the ftp server a bookmark or downloading a browser you know you’ll never use [K-Meleon isn’t bad) and make the ftp server a homepage]), as it would be non-automated and you’d have to go through much more trouble. However, it gives one the feel of not being presented with an advertisement.


  • jkl


  • Gokool

    I am installing Avast because Avast is Vista ready whereas Antivir isn’t. Using Vista comes with a lot of disadvantages because not many softwares are ready for Vista yet.

  • erdeminur

    thank you

  • Bruce

    Most people “in the know” that I have spoken with don’t share your concern about pop e-mail service and Avira. If the guard scanner is set to detect on both read and write any “nasty” will get caught before it can do anything anyway. At any rate I tossed Norton about a year ago and have never looked back. In fact I can say from experience that Avira is more effective than even Norton’s most expensive corporate and server versions. I’ve had to help out a few cube-mates at work get rid of things that happily resided on a Norton protected system at work. Avira detected them and dealt with them.

  • Mike

    How well does this work with Outlook/Exchange? AVG has an Outlook plugin that works well (but inserts a nag in all mail messages). I’m concerned that with on-access scanning, AntiVir might decide to quarantine my entire “.pst” Outlook mailstore just because I get emailed a virus.

  • James

    During test Avira didn’t find more but actually less than other AV scanners. It identified a virus and a trojan correctly but missed a spy ware programme. Now spy ware is not a virus but other A/V scanners(except Zone Alarm) found it.
    The most annoying part is their next to non-existent customer service and we’re talking the paid for version here. They refer you to their discussion forums and ask you to run Highjack this and post the log. My question is: Do they really think that a system admin is allowed to publish the config of the computers of the company he’s working for? I don’t think so.

  • Gokool

    Delete the nag screen from your Avira program directory. Mine is C:\Program Files\Avira\AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic. Once in the directory,find the “Notifier” with the umbrella logo and delete it. I forgot the exact name of the file but it should be something like “Avira Notifier.” That will take care of the nag screen that comes up when you start your computer. Deleting it will not have any negative effect on your AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic or your system. Hope this helps guys. Enjoy the great virus software without the nag screen!

  • heirloom

    antivir personal edition classic’s shortcomings:
    It doesn’t provide: (from official website)
    (1)Protection against spyware and adware
    (2)Special protection against email viruses(POP 3) (3)Protection against annoying adware
    (4)WebGuard to surf and download safely (5)Antispam and proactive antiphishing

    Any idea?

  • Sid

    The free Antivir Personal Edition Classic does not detect maleware/spyware as is stated on their site here
    “The only features that the free version may lack is *fully* automatic updating (which however can be configured in the program to be automatic) and e-mail scanning” is not an accurate statement. This is why you can NOT go by test of the full versions to rate the free version.
    I have tested it and it did not detect some worms or trojans that it sees as maleware/spyware. The free version of AVG did detect the same malware. Antivir is decent but it misses malware that AVG free detects.

  • Joe Davis

    In my personal studies I have recently found this article which shows the results of PC World’s review of free antivirus software. I love Avira, though PC World does indicate that Cloud Antivirus by Panda may be better. As to the pop up, which some found annoying, one can either use AutoHotKey to kill it or Process Lasso as I write on And of course there are other methods that I have found here on this site that seemed a lot more elaborate.

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