AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition: The most valuable free antivirus software

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The antivirus software industry is enlarging rapidly as an answer to the growing need for dependable protection caused by the increasing number of malicious programs which are threatening the safety of our computers. Despite all the competition, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition manages to remain one of the most popular and appreciated antivirus products for more than just the fact that it’s free. The constant improvements and newly added features converged into what AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition stands for today: a reliable antivirus program which provides successfully basic protection against digital threats using the latest AVG technologies.

AVG Free overview
AVG Antivirus Free – Options

Installation & Requirements

The AVG installation process lasts for an average of 5 minutes on most computers, including the download process, and does not require any advanced computer skills. However it is recommended to read carefully all the information provided within the install windows, at a certain point you will be prompted to choose if you want to install the AVG Security Toolbar and define AVG Secure Search as your default search provider. Even if you choose to install these features, in case you change your mind you can always remove them later individually from the “Add/Remove Programs” option within the Windows Control Panel.

AVG Free can be installed on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7. No need to worry about the minimum system requirements, they are very low (Intel Pentium 1.5 GHz or faster, 512 MB of RAM and 750 MB), which makes AVG Anti-Virus Free suitable even for older computers.

Interface

We found the interface of AVG Free to be highly intuitive, clean and easy to read. The main window displays all of AVG’s modules in the form of large representative icons accompanied by equally large titles, allowing even the most inexperienced user to access and understand with ease all the provided features. When double-clicked, each of the components display extended information and in some cases, settings options. An even larger icon placed above the main window shows your security status (marked green when you are fully protected, yellow or red otherwise), along with a short informative text.

The left sidebar provides quick access to the general overview, scan function, scan options and the update feature.

Although AVG’s interface was designed for simplicity, experienced users with higher demands have not been forgotten. The top menu offers a complete list of all the components but also advanced settings which can be found under the Tools menu, enabling users to fine-tune each module individually according to personal preferences.

Pros

The free edition of AVG Anti-Virus has all the capabilities for offering high-quality protection through its powerful tools:  AVG Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Resident-Shield, E-Mail Scanner, Anti-Rootkit, Identity Protection and last but not least the useful and popular AVG Link-Scanner, which displays safety ratings right next to website links including within social networks and it’s compatible with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

AVG’s intelligent scanning goes through all the files only once. The following times, it scans new files and rescans old ones only if it detects changes, thus significantly increasing the scan speed without giving up on quality.

The scan function also has a three-level slider to change its system resources usage priority. The “user sensitive” level will adapt the scan priority based on the other tasks performed on your computer or you can choose between the other two levels and make the scanning process a low or a high priority.

Another powerful asset delivered by AVG Free is its minimal system resource usage, making it suitable for old and low-performance computers or just for the people who want their PC to run as smoothly as possible.

Most of the tests performed by independent organizations revealed that AVG Free has high-detection rates for threats with few false-positives and proudly stands next to other highly appreciated antivirus programs.

Even if this is the free antivirus version of AVG, the technologies, features and the user-interface it contains are the same ones that are used within the AVG paid products.

For Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, AVG designed a fresh-looking gadget that allows one-click access to scanning and updating tasks.

Cons

Even if AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is undeniably a trustworthy antivirus solution, it lacks some key features, due to the fact that it’s free.

Technical support is provided only for AVG commercial products, so the only way users of AVG Free can stay updated is through the AVG Free Forum.

Updates can be scheduled to run only once a day, the paid antivirus versions receiving priority for updates via high-speed servers. However this isn’t very bad, there’s  another way to stay updated with the latest virus definitions, by manually downloading the latest AVG virus definition database (updated every day).

Obviously there are some other missing features which are found in commercial antivirus programs from AVG and other companies such as an online shield for secure instant messaging and file downloading, a firewall, anti-spam module, system tools and others.

Alternatives

The antivirus software market is highly competitive so those unsatisfied with AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition have a broad list of antivirus programs to choose from. Some commercial products worthy of mentioning as AVG alternatives are the renowned Kaspersky Anti-Virus which has currently the highest detection rate in the industry, BitDefender AntiVirus with its powerful performance optimization tool and F-Secure Antivirus, containing one of the most effective scan engines.

There are also some good free antivirus programs competing with AVG Anti-Virus Free for instance Microsoft Security Essentials which as expected is seamlessly integrated with Windows, Avast Free Antivirus that provides real-time protection capabilities for web, IM, peer-to-peer and Avira AntiVir Personal Free AntiVirus with its excellent malware detection and blocking capabilities.

As you can see there are plenty of options to choose from besides AVG Anti-Virus Free, but in spite of all that, we consider it a good quality anti-virus product that is equal or even better than many paid antivirus programs and at the top of the list when it comes to free ones.

Conclusion

All in all, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition ticks all the right boxes, delivering one of the best free antivirus solutions for home and non-commercial use with all the necessary tools and features included to make it accessible by all types of users and ensure a worry-free computing environment.