Avast! Free Antivirus 2017 is avast!'s latest malware-hunting engine.

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

The program interface is clean and very easy to use. Just click "Run Smart Scan" and Free Antivirus immediately runs a quick check for malware, missing software updates, network vulnerabilities, even looks for weak passwords and junk files.

When it's finished, clicking "Resolve all" allows you to review the results and fix whatever the program has found.

Avast! Free Antivirus 2016 extended the package with a new password manager. This generates strong passwords on demand, stores and fills them locally, and syncs them with free iOS and Android apps.

The network security scanner detects more router vulnerabilities and displays extra details.

WebShield has switched to a smarter and more compatible system of HTTPS scanning, as used in Firefox, Chrome and Opera.

The interface has been optimised and improved.

It's not available in Avast! Free, but upgrading to a commercial edition also gets you a new SafeZone browser, which now does an even better job of protecting your web transactions from keyloggers and other malware.

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.

What's new in v17.6.2310?

- Improved Anti-Phishing prevents you from falling victim to scams and fake sites (no browser extension needed!)
- New standalone Avast Cleanup Premium product with improved cleaning (to be rolled out in stages)
- We now recommend scanning for hidden network threats when you first connect to a new network
- Our systray icon now shows when you have a security notification
-  Improved threat detections are now more visible and more informative about threats

Verdict

A solid antivirus engine with a good range of features, made even better by the new password manager.