Essential downloads: Ad-Aware 10 Free released, packed with new features

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Essential downloads: Ad-Aware 10 Free released, packed with new features

Lavasoft has today released Ad-Aware 10, the latest incarnation of its flagship antimalware package.

Lavasoft has today released Ad-Aware 10, the latest incarnation of its flagship antimalware package. The program will be available in three versions – Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+, Ad-Aware Personal Security ($12 per year) and Ad-Aware Pro Security ($36 per year) – but, unusually, it’s the free release this time around which sees the most significant change.

Many technologies which were previously reserved for the commercial editions only are now available in the free build, for instance. So real-time process protection will detect and block malware before it can launch; Registry protection looks out for potentially risky Registry changes, and real-time network protection blocks connections to blacklisted IP addresses. Ad-Aware 10 Free gains advanced rootkit protection, too, and the new (to this edition) Game Mode means the program can maintain all this without hassling you with extra alerts.

The new release also includes some basic browsing protection. Ad-Aware 10 Free scans downloads before they hit your hard drive, for example, blocking threats before they can be launched. And an optional browser toolbar scans URLs and links in real-time to warn you about malicious sites (although this only works with IE and Firefox).

Ad-Aware 10 doesn't just look different - it's also gained many essential new features

The interface has also seen a complete redesign. We’ve seen varying opinions on this, understandable as the old look has been around for a long time, but on balance we like the new style; the core features you need are visible up-front, and more advanced tweaks are still only a click or two away.

Of course there’s the usual stack of enhancements to all the program’s existing features, including up to 3x faster boot times, enhanced performance, better scheduling and scan profile management, improved behavioural monitoring, an enhanced sandbox, and more.

And if this still isn’t enough for your needs, then you can always take a look at the commercial editions. Ad-Aware Pro Security, in particular, includes everything we’ve mentioned here, and adds a two-way firewall, an intrusion protection system, email scanning, automatic scanning of external storage devices on connection, a real-time web filter, social networking protection, and more.

For us, though, the real story here is Ad-Aware 10 Free. It was beginning to lag behind some of the other free antivirus tools, but this release makes the program a contender once more, and if you’re in the market for a free antivirus package then it definitely needs to be on your shortlist.

This article originally appeared at softwarecrew.co.uk

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