The most notable improvements are:
- boot-time scanner now available even in 64-bit Windows
- big improvements in the Behavior Shield
- improvements in the antirootkit engine
- improvements in the cleaning module
- stability/performance improvements in the Web Shield
- CommunityIQ improvements
- added support for sound packs
- minor improvements in the user interface
- minor fixes in the firewall
To break it down into few words, the most important changes are boot-time scanner for 64bit systems, massive improvements to Behavior Shield and performance improvements for Web Shield.
Boot time scanner for 64bit is a nice cleaning addition which was previously only available to the 32bit OS users. Code signing made this feature hard to implement under 64bit, but the avast! guys did it again and made it available even though OS itself kinda prevents such things on a core level.
Second thing is Behavior Shield. Ppl including myself were complaining a lot about Behavior Shield not doing much at all at any time. Well this has changed with avast! 5.1. Behavior Shield now works even on 64bit systems and is now covering wider area of the system. Before the version 5.1, it was pretty much only protecting against certain exploits and kernel level rootkits. Now, it's able to check for any kind of malware like behavior. It's set to "Allow" for the time being, so that avast! team can gather some hard data on system behavior and how everything works on a larger scale before they actually fully enablde this thing. However you can switch it to "Ask" mode yourself and get some action going. I've tested it and even though it's very basic in it's current form, it was already been able to protect or at least warn when something wanted to perform an unauthorized or suspicious system modification while not jumping up when system changes were done but in a good way by legit programs.
We'll see more of this feature in action when avast! 6.0 hits the "streets" sometime soon...
Third feature, even though not as significant but still important is the support for pipelining in Web Shield component which means that certain web browsers that use pipelining will now perform better (faster webpage rendering) even with avast! installed. Opera browser is one of them for example.
Stay tuned for more info regarding avast! 6.0 and enjoy this fine program update. This program update will be distributed automatically to all users over course of the following week, but if you want it now, you can update it manually through integrated updater. Happy New Year to everyone, especially avast! guys!