List of available regions

The Standard plan is enough for an average user but you should buy the Deluxe plan if you want to protect 5 devices. Norton Deluxe also offers extra features like a password manager, parental controls, and 50GB of cloud storage (if you’re in the US) at $23.99. It’s the best value plan with a suite of powerful security features that guarantee your safety on and off the web. You can buy Norton with confidence as it’s backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

How to Disable Avast Antivirus in 2023 (And Best Alternatives)

Avast may flag certain safe files and block you from accessing them. However, you can temporarily or permanently disable it without uninstalling it to access such files and websites. You may also want to if Avast is slowing down your system.

I don’t recommend uninstalling Avast altogether unless you have a substitute antivirus to protect you. Instead, you should disable one shield to access a particular site and toggle it on again afterward. I suggest using an alternate antivirus since Avast doesn’t have a clean track record of keeping its users’ data private.

In this article, I’ll outline the steps to disable Avast and discuss the top 5 antivirus suites you can use instead. Norton is my preferred antivirus because it provides excellent online and offline security. You can buy Norton with confidence with its 60-day money-back guarantee.

Note: Avast was recently caught selling its users’ data for a profit. Therefore, it’s not a safe antivirus to use in terms of privacy. Instead, you should use a top antivirus like Norton 360 for better protection against malware and keep your personal information 100% private.

Quick Guide: 3 Easy Steps to Disable Avast From Any Device in 2023

  1. Open the Avast Shields control — Right-click the Avast icon on the Windows system tray and hover the cursor on “Avast Shields” control.
  2. Disable Avast shield(s) — Choose the duration for which you’d like to disable Avast’s shields.
  3. Confirm changes — That’s it! All of Avast’s shields are disabled now.

How to Disable Avast From Any Device

Step 1: Open Avast Shields Control

  • Right-click on the Avast icon in your Windows system tray at the bottom right. If you don’t see it, click the arrow button to expand the system tray so it displays all icons.
  • On a Mac, open the Avast app and click Preferences to access Avast Shields Control

Step 2: Disable Avast Shield

  • Hover the cursor on “Avast shields control” and choose the time you want to disable it for. You can disable it for 10 minutes, 1 hour, permanently, or until your next system restart. Note that this will disable all Avast shields.

Screenshot of disabling all Avast shields from Windows system tray

  • You’ll get a confirmation prompt for disabling all shields. Click the “OK, STOP” button to deactivate all shields.
  • If you want to disable individual Avast shields, go to the “Protection” tab in Avast’s user interface and individually toggle off the shields you want to disable. These include File Shield, Behavior Shield, Web Shield, and Mail Shield.

Screenshot of how to toggle off individual Avast shields from the dashboard

  • Mac users can individually toggle off each Avast shield using the “Disable” button from the Preferences menu.

Step 3: Confirm Changes

  • Avast will confirm if you want to deactivate all your selected shields. You’ll have to choose how long you want to disable the shields. I prefer the shortest amount of time to get my work done without making my PC vulnerable for too long.
  • Mac users won’t have to choose the time period they want to turn off Avast shields. Simply toggling the button off will do the trick.

The Best Antivirus to Install After Disabling Avast — Full Test Results in 2023

1. Norton — Perfect Real-Time Protection With Zero False Positives

Key Features:

  • Block 100% of malware in real time without giving false positives
  • Safe Web browser extension blocks all online threats
  • An advanced firewall that lets you monitor your incoming and outgoing traffic
  • Extras include a password manager, parental controls, cloud backup, and more
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Norton is the #1 antivirus because it offers perfect real-time protection. I downloaded 120 EICAR malware sample files, including zero-day viruses, trojans, and metamorphic infections. Norton detected all of them in real time without giving me a single false positive. In contrast, Avast falsely flagged 12 safe files and I had to remove them from the list.

Besides false positives, Avast can also deny you access to some safe sites. Annoying as it is, you’ll have to disable its web shield to access such sites. Instead, I recommend Norton’s Safe Web browser extension, as it blocked all 15+ malicious sites. It even flags unsafe sites on Google’s search results page.

Screenshot of Norton

Norton’s Safe Web browser extension didn’t give me any false positives and protected me on social media

Norton’s excellent malware protection can be attributed to a range of its top-tier security features, such as:

  • Advanced firewall — Lets you configure and customize security settings, monitor uncommon protocols, check for DNS spoofing, and set up a list of trusted networks.
  • Software Updater — Automatically checks for updates for your operating system and apps to eliminate potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Cloud backup — Store your sensitive data on Norton’s cloud as a backup to protect your files from ransomware and other data-stealing malware.
  • Password manager — Save all your passwords in one secure location without having to type credentials every time you log into your accounts.
  • Secure VPN — Encrypts your internet traffic to hide it from hackers and prying eyes for complete online anonymity.

I ran Norton’s full scan and launched 5 apps and 10 websites simultaneously without any slowdowns. My RAM and CPU usage levels spiked by 25% and 35%, respectively — that’s nothing compared to other antiviruses. I played Forza Horizon 5 in UHD without lag during Norton’s full scan.

The Standard plan is enough for an average user but you should buy the Deluxe plan if you want to protect 5 devices. Norton Deluxe also offers extra features like a password manager, parental controls, and 50GB of cloud storage (if you’re in the US) at $23.99. It’s the best value plan with a suite of powerful security features that guarantee your safety on and off the web. You can buy Norton with confidence as it’s backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

2. McAfee — Global Threat Intelligence Keeps You Safe From Zero-Day Malware

Key Features:

  • 100% real-time detection score against zero-day malware and other novel threats
  • Web Advisor blocks phishing attacks, cryptojackers, and ransomware
  • Highly configurable firewall with advanced security functions
  • Vulnerability Scanner, file shredder, password manager, parental controls, and more
  • 30-day free trial plus a 30-day money-back guarantee

McAfee’s cloud-based Global Threat Intelligence software blocks 100% of novel threats in real time. It analyzes existing threats to flag suspicious behaviors of emerging viruses. In my tests, McAfee’s full scan blocked all 60 unknown malware, including Zeus Gameover, Clop Ransomware, Onyx, and Mindware. It detected these viruses even when they were hidden inside zip files — most other antiviruses have difficulty doing that. While it gave me 4 false positives, that’s much better than Avast.

Screenshot of McAfee

McAfee’s Quick Scan checked my critical drive locations where viruses are most likely to be found

Packed with state-of-the-art security features, McAfee guarantees your online and offline protection and is at par with Norton in nearly every protection-related aspect. It offers:

  • Firewall — Lets you control your internet traffic and alert you to potential hackers and suspicious networks.
  • WebAdvisor — Blocks phishing attacks, scam URLs in shady emails, and malicious websites and downloads.
  • Ransom Guard — Monitors your device for suspicious changes to files to prevent hackers from taking your sensitive data hostage for ransom.
  • Vulnerability Scanner — Ensures your OS and apps are up to date to lower your vulnerability risk.

Both McAfee’s Windows and macOS apps have similar and easy-to-use interfaces, but the former has more extra features, like the WebAdvisor browser extension. I didn’t get any unnecessary pop-up notifications, which spoil my streaming or browsing experience. Instead, McAfee gave me alerts on things that needed my immediate attention.

Unlike Norton, McAfee’s full scan had a significant impact on my PC’s performance. Installing resource-heavy programs like Adobe Suite and MS Office during a full scan was a bit choppy, but my system didn’t freeze. However, the App and Web boost feature noticeably improved my performance by reallocating resources to apps running at the forefront rather than background processes.

After checking its products, I recommend McAfee’s Total Protection because it’s a security suite with all the essential features to keep you safe from cyber threats. The Plus plan offers the best value for just $44.99 for 2 years and protects up to 5 devices. You can test McAfee before committing with its 30-day free trial followed by a month-long money-back guarantee.

3. TotalAV — Suite of Optimization Tools Improve Your Overall Security

Key Features:

  • Near-perfect real-time detection score
  • WebShield browser extension blocks online threats without false flags
  • System tune-up in smart scan for optimizing your device
  • Password manager, VPN, data breach test, and more
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

TotalAV’s optimization tools are excellent at fixing issues on your PC that would otherwise go unnoticed. I used the app uninstaller to get rid of unnecessary apps on my PC, like QuickTime and Adobe Flash Player — it took 2 minutes. The best thing is you can just run a smart scan and TotalAV will identify all optimization issues on your device.

Screenshot of TotalAV

TotalAV’s smart scan identified tracking cookies, junk and duplicate files, and autorun programs

While the smart scan can identify optimization fixes, you should run a full scan for a thorough sweep of your device. The full scan blocked 99% of all malware I had planted on my PC. It blocked me from visiting potentially dangerous websites and downloading harmful files in real time. Its SAVAPI anti-malware predicts fast-emerging threats before they can infect your device, a feature missing in Avast. It also includes:

  • WebShield — Blocks online threats like phishing attempts and cryptojackers while you’re surfing the web on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Opera.
  • Data breach test — Alerts you to past data leaks associated with your email addresses.
  • Password manager — Stores your passwords and sensitive information in a secure place for protection against data-stealing malware, such as keyloggers.
  • VPN — Makes internet access safer on open networks by encrypting your data via the military-grade 256-bit protocol, but other antivirus VPNs are better.

I didn’t experience any noticeable slowdowns with TotalAV’s full scan, but it’s a bit heavier than Norton. CS: GO lagged a bit with the scan running in the background. Other than that, my system performance remained unaffected. Keep in mind that I have a powerful CPU, so your experience might be different depending on your device’s specs.

The only issue with TotalAV is that it doesn’t have a firewall — that may be a non-negotiable for privacy-focused users but it didn’t bother me because its real-time protection capabilities are far above average.

The Antivirus Pro plan is enough for most users as it includes real-time protection, zero-day cloud scanning, phishing and ransomware protection, and optimization tools. If you want to protect more than 3 devices and get extra features like a password vault, the Total Protection plan might be a better fit for $19.00 per year. You can try TotalAV without risk with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. iolo — Exclusive Spyware and Adware Protection Keep You Safe From Subtle Cyber Threats

Key Features:

  • Blocks 98% of hard-to-detect malware in real-time
  • Powerful System Shield gives you an overview of existing malware protection
  • PC Cleanup optimization toolset for improving system performance
  • Extra features include a file shredder, password manager, and a privacy shield
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

iolo’s spyware protection blocks less intrusive kinds of malware that subtly lurk underneath to steal your sensitive data. Windows Defender doesn’t detect such threats as they can evade its radar. However, iolo’s System Shield immediately detected the fake “virus alert from Microsoft” and the Roblox virus on my PC thanks to its powerful firewall called System Shield.

Screenshot of iolo

I could view virus and spyware settings at a glance with iolo’s Windows app

The full scan checked over 600,000 files on my system in almost an hour. That’s quite long compared to Norton’s 13 minutes. That said, iolo identified nearly all malware on my PC except a few metamorphic viruses, which are extremely difficult to detect. I also tried downloading a trojan-infected file from the web, but iolo’s firewall immediately blocked it. To further solidify protection, it includes:

  • Privacy Guardian — Stops websites from profiling you via your browsing activity and prevents possible “fingerprinting.”
  • Drive Scrubber — Permanently deletes files, apps, and entire drives without a trace and beyond recovery.
  • Password manager — Store all your sensitive information and auto-fill credentials for better online security against data-stealing viruses.

Unlike Avast, iolo lets you improve your system performance with its tune-up facility. The System Mechanic Ultimate Defense plan offers the most optimization tools, like RAMJet, OptiCore, and PowerSense. I used the Startup Optimizer to disable unnecessary apps like Skype from automatically starting on boot-up — this improved my PC’s start-up time by a good 8 seconds.

The only issue with iolo is that its live chat support can be a bit slow and annoying. The focus of my chat shifted away from my question and toward the agent trying to convince me to upgrade. As a result, I only recommend reaching out if you have an easy query. However, its online knowledge base covers everything, so I found all the answers I was looking for.

The System Mechanic Pro is a good buy for $23.99 annually. It includes real-time and spyware protection and optimization tools, but not the password manager. You can get Norton’s Deluxe plan for a lower price and a range of useful extras, like cloud storage. Still, if you want to try iolo risk-free, you can use its 30-day money-back guarantee.

5. Bitdefender — Webcam and Audio Protection Prevents Snoopers From Getting Ahold of Your Data

Key Features:

  • 98% real-time protection score
  • Behavior Monitoring prevents malware from corrupting your sensitive files
  • A lightweight malware scanner has minimal impact on system performance
  • Firewall, password manager, VPN, and Anti-Tracking browser extension
  • 30-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee

Bitdefender’s webcam and audio protection feature keeps hackers at bay. Hackers can easily infiltrate webcams and microphones and steal your personal data since they lack advanced protection. Most people tape their webcams for this reason but with Bitdefender, you don’t have to do that. It blocks external access to such hardware so that no one other than you can use it.

After thoroughly testing its real-time protection capabilities, Bitdefender gave me a score of 98% without any false positives — while that isn’t perfect, it’s above Avast and the industry average. To protect you from novel threats, Bitdefender offers:

  • Anti-Tracking browser extension — Blocks trackers on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, preventing websites from profiling you for advertising purposes.
  • File shredder — Destroys sensitive files so that hackers can’t recover them, but it can take some time to shred them.
  • Parental controls — Lets you monitor and control your child’s online and offline activities to keep them safe on the web.

The full scan didn’t impact my system performance, but I got frame drops while playing The Witcher 3 on my PC. However, I casually surfed the web with 15 Chrome tabs open simultaneously and streamed Netflix without any issues. Overall, Bitdefender was lighter than iolo and McAfee but heavier than Norton and TotalAV.

One issue with Bitdefender is that it’s too Windows focused. Its Mac app doesn’t have webcam protection, anti-theft, and vulnerability assessment feature. You should pick a Mac-focused antivirus for protecting your macOS devices. Still, Bitdefender’s basic features like the firewall and real-time protection are enough to keep you sufficiently safe from most cyber threats.

While I was happy to see Bitdefender’s free plan on Windows, it lacks a firewall, webcam protection, and browser extension. The Total Security plan is the best buy because it includes these features, optimization tools, and an anti-theft tool for just $19.99 annually. You can test Bitdefender before committing to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Alternatives to Avast

Real-Time Protection Firewall Resource Usage Cloud Backup Money-Back Guarantee
Norton 360 Light 60 days
McAfee Heavy 30 days
TotalAV Medium 30 days
iolo Heavy 30 days
Bitdefender Medium 30 days

How I Tested and Ranked the Best Antiviruses to Get After Disabling Avast

I evaluated all the antiviruses according to the following criteria and how it measures up compared to Avast’s performance:

  • Real-time protection — I visited malicious sites and downloaded infected files to test each antivirus’s real-time protection capabilities.
  • Browser extension — I picked antiviruses that include a web protection browser extension to keep you safe from online threats.
  • Useful extras — A reliable antivirus has extra features like a password manager, VPN, parental controls, and more.
  • Ease of use — All antiviruses on my list have easy-to-use apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
  • Customer support — I tested each contender’s support options and rated them on fast response times and helpfulness.
  • Money-back guarantee — I picked antiviruses that let you test them risk-free, whether via a free trial or a tried-and-tested money-back guarantee.

FAQs on Disabling Avast on Any Device

Is it safe to disable Avast?

Yes, but only if you’re protected by another reliable antivirus on my list. Disabling Avast can leave you exposed and vulnerable to cyber threats. You could temporarily disable a particular shield (like Web Shield) if you want to quickly access a website but then toggle it on again once you’re done.

Why should I disable Avast?

Because it’s not a privacy-friendly antivirus. Avast was caught selling users’ data, so I don’t recommend using it. You can disable Avast in 3 easy steps, but make sure you have another premium antivirus to protect you before you do that.

How do I disable Avast?

You can disable Avast in 3 steps from the system tray located at the bottom-right of the taskbar. Right-click on the Avast icon and disable all shields for a selected period. To disable individual shields, open Avast’s user interface and toggle off the shield you want to disable under the “Protection” tab.

Why can’t I disable Avast?

You may not have administrator rights to do so. In some cases, Avast may be too tightly integrated with the OS and difficult to disable. In that case, install a premium antivirus like McAfee then uninstall Avast from your system settings. You may have to restart your device for the changes to take effect.

Which antivirus can I use to replace Avast?

Norton is the best antivirus for replacing Avast. Unlike Avast, its scans are 100% accurate and don’t flag safe files. Norton also gave me a perfect real-time protection score with its advanced firewall and web protection browser extension.

It also offers cloud backup for storing your sensitive data on Norton’s cloud, a feature missing in most other antiviruses. If you’re on a tight budget, here are 5 alternative antiviruses worth a look at besides the ones on my list.

Disable Avast Antivirus Without Leaving Yourself Unprotected

Avast can sometimes mark safe files as unsafe and block you from accessing them. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’re in a hurry. The only solution is to disable the particular shield restricting your access or all of them as it’s faster to do that directly from the system tray.

Permanently disabling Avast will leave your PC exposed to hackers and cyber threats. That’s why I recommend temporarily toggling it off. The best solution is to replace it with a more powerful and reliable antivirus because Avast was caught selling its users’ data, and I don’t recommend using it at all.

Ideally, though, you should get a premium antivirus like Norton and uninstall Avast altogether as it was caught selling its users’ data. In contrast, Norton has a transparent and clean record and provides exceptional real-time security against threats. You can try Norton risk-free with its 60-day money-back guarantee.

Managing Real Site in Avast Antivirus

Real Site is a feature in Avast Premium Security that protects you against DNS hijacking. We recommend always keeping Real Site enabled and only disabling it for troubleshooting purposes. This article explains how to adjust Real Site settings to exclude a URL from Real Site protection, or route your traffic through trustworthy Avast DNS servers even when using an encrypted DNS browser.

Exclude a website

You may want to exclude a trusted URL from Real Site protection if your network blocks or filters encrypted DNS requests. To exclude a website from Real Site protection:

  1. Open Avast Premium Security and go to ☰ MenuSettings.
  2. Select GeneralExceptions, then click Add exception.
  3. Type the website URL into the text box using the following example as a reference: dns://** . Then click Add exception to save the exclusion.

The URL is added to the exceptions list. For information on managing the exceptions list, refer to the following article:

Support encryption in DoH browsers

Many internet browsers now include the DoH (DNS over HTTPS) protocol, which encrypts the content of your DNS requests, making them invisible to others on your network. When you set Real Site to work with browsers that use DoH, your requests are routed through trusted Avast DNS servers and even the end points (such as Google and Cloudflare) are unable to see your DNS queries.

  1. Open Avast Premium Security, then select ProtectionReal Site.
  2. Click the Settings icon on the right side of the Real Site screen.
  3. Tick the box next to Support encrypted DNS in browsers to enable this setting, or untick the box to disable it.

Disable Real Site

  1. Open Avast Premium Security, then select ProtectionReal Site.
  2. Click the green (ON) slider, then select a time duration from the list.
  3. Click OK, Stop to confirm that you are disabling Real Site intentionally.

Real Site is disabled for the selected time duration and automatically enables again after this time passes. To manually enable Real Site, click the slider again so that it changes from red (OFF) to green (ON).

Further recommendations

For more information about Real Site, refer to the following article:

  • Avast Premium Security 22.x for Windows
  • Microsoft Windows 11 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education – 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise – 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 / Pro / Enterprise – 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate – Service Pack 1 with Convenient Rollup Update, 32 / 64-bit