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Put Avast Free Antivirus 2019 on a diet

The latest available version is Avast Free Antivirus 2020, the same article is available as 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 turned into a bit of an overweight salesman recently. Cleanup (aka GrimeFighter), Passwords, SecureLine, Software Updater – all these components do from nothing much to very little in the free version, except for trying to sell you a paid version of the great product.

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 quickly become a tad annoying. “A tad” is an understatement here, of course. 😉

Avast Free Antivirus 2019 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  • Software UpdaterPatch My PC notifies you about outdated programs (just like the free version of Avast Antivirus) and updates them automatically in the background with only a little configuration required.
  • SafePrice browser extension – promises better prices from trusted stores. There are hardly any local stores included if you live in a small country and need quick deliveries. As of December 2019, it also gathers too much information about its users.
  • SecureLine VPN – paid service for protection on public wi-fi networks… why not start using Opera browser with free, unlimited built-in VPN?
  • Passwords – use free alternatives, such as LastPass, Password Safe, etc for securely storing and auto-filling your user credentials.
  • Cleanup – have you heard about CCleaner (funny, but 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).

See, nothing is irreplaceable. 😀

Quick overview video of removing annoying components of Avast Free Antivirus 2019

Here’s a short overview of the process. More details are provided below the video.

The first step during Avast Free Antivirus 2019 setup

If you just downloaded Avast Free Antivirus setup file from avast.com (or from a trusted site, such as FileHippo or MajorGeeks), you can prevent installing unnecessary components in the first stage: clear the offer checkbox in the bottom left (usually some Google product or Avast Secure Browser), then click the Customize link and then scroll to the Getting rid of unnecessary Avast Free Antivirus components section.

Avast Free Antivirus Setup, clear the bottom left checkboxes first, then click the ‘Customize’ link

The first step if Avast Free Antivirus 2019 has already been installed

If Avast Antivirus is installed, open Control Panel and click Programs and Features (Windows Vista and later) or Add/Remove Programs (Windows XP).
In the Category view of Control Panel, you can also use the Uninstall a program link instead.
In Windows 8 and later, you can right-click or touch and hold the Start button and choose Programs and Features (Apps and Features in newer Windows 10 versions) from the Quick Links menu. The keyboard shortcut to this menu is Windows Key+X.

Wait until Windows populates the list of installed programs, right-click or touch and hold Avast Free Antivirus and then choose Change.

Control Panel, Program and Features. Right-click ‘Avast Free Antivirus’ and choose ‘Change’.

Getting rid of unnecessary Avast Free Antivirus components

“Which components do you want to install?” Avast murmurs tenderly. Oh yes, it wants you to use all of its components… and then pay… clear your head now! 😛

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 opinion: 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 wi-fi card. If you are unsure, leave this option ticked.
  • In the right column, the Security browser extension is fully up to you – if you have a site rating plugin/extension/add-on already installed, you can safely clear this one.
    Update as of December 2019: according to security researcher Wladimir Palant, Avast browser extensions gather way too much personally identifiable information. Mozilla has currently removed the extension.
    It is strongly recommended to remove the Avast Security browser extension / Avast Online Security extension.
  • Always clear all paid/premium features of Avast Free Antivirus in the right column: SafePrice browser extension, SecureLine VPN, Passwords, and Cleanup.

Click Change or Install to remove or keep from installing the unneeded components of Avast Free Antivirus.

When removing Avast components, an Authorization warning about entering a protected area appears. Click Yes in that dialog to continue.

Avast Free Antivirus Setup, Components. Clear paid features and click ‘Change’.

After some disk grinding and aggrieved glimpses, Avast wants you to restart your computer. Alright, at least you can do that much to make up for its component removal. 😉

Avast Free Antivirus Setup, Restart computer

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

Do not forget to verify that your Avast settings are at their best.

Do note that Avast Free Antivirus has a feature called Silent Mode that automatically detects if 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.