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Do you ever wish you had anti-malware superpowers on your side when threats are popping up left, right and center?
Although proper browsing habits and common sense malware-prevention steps can go a far way, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on your own ability to prevent your computer from coming into contact with the wrong file or website — we’ve all made that mistake and clicked on a malicious link or downloaded a sketchy file from an email. That’s where Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 comes in.
Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Pro security suite is your sidekick in the fight against Internet villains, collectively known as malware. Curious about the features that make this real-time security suite stand out?
The Installation: A Few Quick Notes
The installation for Ad-Aware Pro is pretty hands-off, although it’s certainly not something you can start, walk away from, come back to and it be completed — it does require you to click a few buttons occasionally. One of the very first things I was prompted to do was to install in Compatibility Mode due to Windows Defender already being present. As everyone should know, you shouldn’t have two antivirus programs running in real-time simultaneously, as conflicts can occur.
You’ll also notice in the image above that there is a place to select different languages, and decide if you want a desktop icon to be added. Personally, I like a clean, icon-free desktop, so I opted out by unchecking the box.
On the topic of “opting out,” you should also be aware of the security toolbar that comes packaged inside the installation. If you’re like me, and toolbars aren’t your thing, you’ll probably want to be sure not to quickly click “Next,” but instead uncheck the boxes (just to be sure) and click the light-gray “Skip” button in the lower, left-ish corner.
After this, you’ll be prompted to download and install the latest definitions.
The installer will then prompt an initial antivirus scan.
After the scan, you’ll be prompted to register and activate Ad-Aware Pro Security 11.
A Slight Hiccup In The Installation
During the installation process, Windows alerted me that there was no antivirus currently installed. Initially, this wasn’t a surprise as I expected there to be a slight delay between Windows Defender being automatically disabled (as it’s intended to be when another antivirus program is installed) and Ad-Aware taking over the real-time protection.
However, Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 didn’t automatically reinstate, upon me trying to manually launch real-time protection from the Action Center.
Upon further inspection, I discovered the culprit — Ad-Aware was oddly clashing with Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.
I don’t have Malwarebytes running in real-time, so I’m not sure what the hang-up is, but if you use it as a secondary security protocol, you may run into this same issue. I hit “continue” because, again, since it’s not running in real-time, it poses no potential issues.
I installed real-time protection and restarted my computer. However, if this happened to you as well, you likely won’t have Network Protection installed either, as shown below when I went to turn it on.
So instead of clicking “Restart” on the Real-Time Protection window, click the gray “Close” button in the lower left corner and proceed back to the Home Product Summary window and turn the other options (Web Protection, Email Protection and Network Protection) on too. Then restart Windows to finish the process.
Walk-Through Of The Interface And Features
My first impression of the software was that it appeared very sleek and uncluttered, unlike its version 10.5 counterpart. Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 takes on a flat, squared theme and its ease of use follows in its footsteps of simplicity. There are a total of 7 tabs, each tab containing the relevant information and settings for that section. There’s no other random “advanced settings” link located elsewhere in the window (with exception of the occasional one located under a specific tab, which isn’t confusing).
Home — Protection Summary
This is your main page, which you’re already slightly familiar with, as this is where you would turn on those functions that I mentioned in the previous section. Here you have quick access to the various primary controls of Ad-Aware Pro and can also quickly run a scan.
The “Scan Computer” tab is the next in line and features three scan modes: Quick Scan, Full Scan and Custom Scan.
Upon scrolling down further, you have access to the Report list, Quarantined Files, Definition Files settings and managing exclusion. You can also toggle the Automated Scan and adjust the schedule to your liking.
With all this talk about “Real-Time Protection” you might be wondering what exactly it does. First off, if you’re unfamiliar with the term “real-time protection,” it means that as you use your computer, your antivirus program is constantly on alert for any potential threats. Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 features this capability and is capable of scanning both local files and network data and files.
When Web Protection is turned on, it is actively inspecting network activity to and from the Internet and eliminates any online threats before they even get to you. Risks, such as navigating to shortened, potentially malicious URLs and phishing, are no longer a concern when you have the Ad-Aware Web Protection enabled.
You might have spotted the Parental Control settings in the above image as well, however, you must have Ad-Aware Total Security to use it.
The Email Protection settings is very simple, and there is really nothing to change unless you would like to adjust the protection level between “Aggressive,” “Normal” (default) and “Permissive.” If you check your email with a desktop client, such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook, this function will scan all attachments you receive in incoming emails.
Network Protection monitors all network activity and prevents malware from affecting any part of your computer through the network you’re connected to. You will notice the “Advanced Settings” link, which gives you complete control over the many aspects of network protection.
The App Management tab allows you to view and alter the settings concerning Ad-Aware Pro Security itself. Such features like toggling Gaming Mode, viewing the Notification Center and managing ignored notifications, as well as managing your account settings.
In the above image, you will also notice links to get technical support, change the language and do a complete reset of all the Ad-Aware settings back to the defaults. There’s also a link to download Lavasoft’s free password manager, PasswordBox. Managing your passwords is essential when it comes to security, and although I personally use LastPass, PasswordBox appears to be a viable alternative.
Aside from the one hiccup during the installation process due to a (very odd) conflict with Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 was very impressive. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, making the learning curve practically negligible and the overall user experience great.
Lastly, if you aren’t able to get the pro version for one reason or another, Lavasoft has a free version for you to use instead.
Image Credits: Super hero/a> Via Shutterstock