Windows Home Server: avast! Anti Virus review

At the time of writing this article, there is only one company that produces an anti-virus product that actually supports WHS, and that is Avast. People have reported that they have successfully installed and used other products on their WHS boxes, but there are also reports of data being corrupted by those products. This is […]

At the time of writing this article, there is only one company that produces an anti-virus product that actually supports WHS, and that is Avast. People have reported that they have successfully installed and used other products on their WHS boxes, but there are also reports of data being corrupted by those products. This is simply because no other anti-virus product understands the Drive Extender technology which is at the heart of WHS. In time they will, and I fully expect to see WHS “aware” versions of all the major anti-virus products, but today, Avast is the only choice. 

You can either download a trial copy of the software for free, which will last you for 60 days, or you can purchase a licence for it. Either way, the link to download it is : http://www.avast.com/eng/download-windows-home-server-edition.htmlYou can either download a version that can be installed via the Windows Home Server Console (like any other add-in) or you can download a version that can be installed from the Windows Home Server itself, but for this you need access to the WHS, via RDP or directly.

Installation: For this review, I went with the add-in version for installation as that is probably going to be the one that is most used.

The installation process is fairly straight forward - once you have downloaded the .msi file, all you need to do is copy it to the Software\Add-ins folder on your Windows Home Server.

Now follow these couple of quick steps:

  1. Start the WHS Console.
  2. Click the Settings button, and navigate to the Add-ins page.
  3. On the Available page, you should now see the entry for avast! Antivirus. Click the Install button.

You then have to choose which language you want to install it with - you have a choice of 28 different languages :  English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

4. Choose your language and click Next.
5. Read the setup screen and click Next.
6. Read the readme screen and click Next.
7. Read the licence agreement, click I agree (as long as you actually do agree) and then click Next. Don’t worry that’s the last of the reading!
8. You then have to choose the destination directory - I would suggest leaving as default directory, then click Next.
9. The next screen is the Configuration screen. You have three options - typical, minimal and custom. Depending on what type of protection you want will depend on what you select.

In my case, I chose Custom and removed the protection for various things such as Outlook/Exchange as I wasn’t running them on my WHS. Be aware though if you plan on rolling out Avast to your home computers you might actually want this level of protection.

10. Click Next to take you to the Licence manager. From here you can either load the licence file if you purchased the software or click demo for 60 day trial.

Once you have chosen, click Ok.

You can now review installation information, which is worth doing to make sure you have selected everything you want. If you want to change anything you can go back, otherwise just click Next.

Installation will commence and should only take a moment or two in order to finish.

After the Setup has finished you will need to restart your home server.

Using: After your WHS has restarted, when you launch the WHS Console you will now see a new tab, called avast! Antivirus. If you click this tab you will see all of your home computers (similar to the view in Computers & Backup). You will notice that any of the computers that has avast! installed on it will be shown along with the version number and protection status.

From here you can start a scan of a computer or your WHS itself, look at the scan history, look at licensing and so on.

If you click on the licensing you will see information about your specific license.

From here you can also add a licence file if you are only running the demo.

You can also chose to deploy avast! to all of your computers as long as you have the licences.

There is also a button called Start main avast console. If you press this you will get the full avast console.

From here you can set tasks, look at alerts, read up on virus information and much more.

Here is also where you can schedule your scanning, including when to perform the scan, its sensitivity and what to do if a virus is found.

While this console is very useful, it may actually scare the average user who just wants to have anti-virus running.  Those users can quite happy stick with the WHS Console tab instead.

You can start a scan of a particular computer or all active computers simply by clicking the relevant button. You can also then look at the scan history to see what is happening.

Be warned though, depending on how much data you have stored on your WHS, or computers, this scan can take some time to complete, and as you will probably hear is very processor intensive. My WHS box became very noisy during this process.

As an additional result the console because very slow and quite unresponsive so my advice would be to perform a scan only when you are not planning on doing anything else with your WHS console.

Source:→ WGS

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