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Put Avast Free Antivirus 2020 on a diet

Avast Free Antivirus is among the best security tools available for Microsoft Windows and I absolutely love it, but it has been an overweight salesman for years now. Cleanup, Passwords, Software Updater – these components do very little in the free version, except for trying to sell you a paid version of Avast Antivirus.

I’m not saying that you should not buy the premium bundles (I have) – they’re great and offer even better overall protection – but if all you need is just a free anti-virus utility, you might as well remove the pop-ups that become annoying quickly.

This tutorial is about version 20 (aka 2020) of Avast Free Antivirus. If your device has an older version of Avast Free Antivirus installed, it is time to update: right-click or touch and hold Avast icon in System Tray (Taskbar’s Notification area), expand Update and choose Program.
Version 20 of Avast is supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. XP and Vista users can still use version 18 of Avast Free Antivirus.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 components that can be safely removed

Let’s see free replacements for the crippled tools that we’re going to uninstall from the gratis version of Avast:

  • Software UpdaterPatch My PC notifies you about outdated programs (just like the free version of Avast Antivirus) and updates them automatically in the background with only a little configuration required.
  • Passwords – use free alternatives, such as LastPass, Password Safe, etc for securely storing and auto-filling your user credentials.
  • Cleanup – try CCleaner, also owned by Avast. It does the job of removing unneeded and duplicate files and Registry entries perfectly, and for free; it can also securely wipe free space or whole drives, and manage Windows and browser startup items/add-ons, plus Scheduled Tasks and right-click items (context menus).
  • SecureLine VPN – although it is not included in the Avast Antivirus installer, you’ll see offers for this paid service soon enough in the free version of Avast. Why not start using the Opera browser with free, unlimited built-in VPN?

See, nothing is irreplaceable. 😀

Installing Avast Free Antivirus 2020 without all the bloatware

If you just downloaded Avast Free Antivirus setup file from avast.com or another trusted site, such as FileHippo or MajorGeeks, you can prevent installing unnecessary components in the first step: clear the offer checkbox in the bottom left (usually some Google product), then click the Customize link right below the large green Install button.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup. Clear the offer on the bottom left, then click the ‘Customize’ link.

In the second step, you can uncheck all components you do not need on your computer.

Always leave checkboxes for all Shields ticked, these are required to keep your device safe!

  • In the left column, Software Updater could be useful for some: at least it lets you know which programs need patching or upgrading.
    My suggestion: clear it – Patch My PC is a fully automated and free solution.
  • Wi-Fi Inspector is only needed for laptops and tablets, or desktop PC-s that have a wi-fi adapter. If you are unsure, leave this option ticked.
  • In the right column, clear the other two paid/premium features of Avast Free Antivirus 2020: Passwords and Cleanup.

Click Install to continue.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, Customize installation. Clear the ‘Software Updater’, ‘Passwords’, and ‘Cleanup’ checkboxes.

After downloading and installing quite a few files, Avast Free Antivirus 2020 is ready to rock. First, it congratulates you for joining the world’s largest threat-detection network. Click or touch the Continue button here.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, click Continue.

Then Avast offers to run its Smart Scan. All of the following might not appear on devices where Avast has been previously installed. Anyway, click or tap the available button here (Run first scan in the example below).

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, click ‘Run first scan’.

Sadly, Avast decided that you need to hit a button after each stage of the first scan. I guess someone is fond of the stone age in that company 😀
Well, click Next two times: after checking for browser threats and viruses & malware.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, first scan, browser threats. Click Next.

If Avast detects threats during the first two stages, use the Resolve button instead.

The third stage of the Smart Scan tries to sell you the paid version of Avast. Nevermind the number of “advanced issues” (there are usually way more of these on laptops and tablets), just click Skip for now on the bottom right.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, advances issues found (sales promotion). Choose ‘Skip for now’.

“Oh, so you do not want to buy anything from us today?” asks Avast installer. Confirm by tapping or clicking the red Skip button.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, click ‘Skip’.

Click Done. This schedules a monthly Smart Scan that does not require hitting buttons after each stage.
By the way, this does not mean that the sales session is over. 😉

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, Schedule Smart Scan. Click ‘Done’.

In the typical salesman way, Avast Free Antivirus now tries to sell you its VPN service or Android app. Just hit the Ignore button.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, VPN service promotion. Click ‘Ignore’.

This is how you install Avast Free Antivirus 2020 without all the bloatware.

How to remove unneeded components if Avast Free Antivirus 2020 has already been installed

In Windows 8.1 and 10, you can right-click or touch and hold the Start button and choose Programs and Features (Windows 8.1) or Apps and Features (Windows 10) from the Quick Links menu. The keyboard shortcut to this menu is Windows Key+X.

Windows 10, Quick Links menu. Choose ‘Apps and Features’.
Windows 8.1, Quick Links menu. Click ‘Programs and Features’.

In Windows 10, the Settings app opens. Wait a few seconds until it populates the list of installed apps and programs, click or tap the Avast Free Antivirus entry once, and then hit the Modify button.

Windows 10, Settings, Apps & features. Select ‘Avast Free Antivirus’ and click ‘Modify’.

If you’re still using Windows 7, open Control Panel and then click either Uninstall a program or Programs and Features. The rest goes the same as in Windows 8.1.

In Windows 8.1, the Control Panel opens instead. Wait until Windows updates the list of installed programs, click or touch Avast Free Antivirus once, and then choose Change.

Windows 8.1, Control Panel, Programs and Features. Select ‘Avast Free Antivirus’ and then click ‘Change’.

First, Avast asks for your permission to modify the installation. If you have turned on password protection in Avast, you have to enter the passphrase instead.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020, Authorization. Click Yes.

Next, you can uncheck all components you do not need on your device.

Always leave checkboxes for all Shields ticked, these are required to keep your computer safe!

  • In the left column, Software Updater could be useful for some: at least it lets you know which programs need patching or upgrading.
    My suggestion: clear it – Patch My PC is a fully automated and free solution.
  • Wi-Fi Inspector is only needed for laptops and tablets, or desktop PC-s that have a wi-fi adapter. If you are unsure, leave this option ticked.
  • In the right column, clear the other two paid/premium features of Avast Free Antivirus 2020: Passwords and Cleanup.

Click Change to continue.

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 setup, clear the ‘Software Updater’, ‘Passwords’, and ‘Cleanup’ checkboxes.

In most cases, Avast is so sad about the removed components that it wants to restart your device. Okay, close all open documents and programs and let it have its fun for now. 😉

Avast Free Antivirus 2020 Setup, Restart needed

That’s it! No more annoyances from Avast Free Antivirus 2020 – you’ve just made a great product even better. 🙂

Do note that Avast Free Antivirus 2020 has a feature called Silent Mode that automatically detects when you’re gaming and temporarily disables notifications and Windows Update, and sets your device to use a performance-based power mode. While it knows most games, you can configure it to include your other most important programs (such as Word, Excel, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc) to get the most out of your computer, uninterrupted. Open Avast user interface, click Performance on the left and then choose Do Not Disturb Mode.

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