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AVG Antivirus

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AVG AntivirusPROS

  1. AVG antivirus provides multiple layers of protection and the main ones are traditional antivirus and AVG Resident Shield.
  2. It monitors your PC's protection level and reports back to AVG if it finds any problems.
  3. AVG only scans when your PC is idle and ensures that it doesn't distract your PC use.
  4. It ignores files that it has previously scanned to save on time and resources.
  5. AVG antivirus has the gamer mode feature which allows you to concentrate on your multiplayer gaming without scan and update disturbances.
  6. The AVG Social Networking Protection feature protects your computer whenever you exchange links on sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

CONS: AVG does not provide telephone support and only provides e-mail and live chat support.

BOTTOM LINE: Overall, AVG Antivirus is an impressive antivirus software program. It has continued to develop over the years and is now one of the best in the industry. It has been tested on both Windows XP and 7 and the results are positive.

Introduction

AVG is a security software company founded in 1991 and is one of the leading providers in the industry. It has offices in Europe, United Kingdom and the United States and is also one of the best performing antivirus software companies in the world. AVG has antivirus and Internet security software products and it provides free and paid versions of this antivirus software. And both versions work on Windows, Macintosh and LINUX operating systems.

AVG Antivirus has been tested by many of the test labs and it has been certified by most of them too. This shows that the software is effective at detection and removal of malware threats like viruses, Trojans, worms and spyware. AV-Test is one of the test labs that has torture-tested AVG and scored it for its ability to protect and repair.

It was also tested for usability and the results show that it's one of the best programs and makes it into the top 10 antivirus list. On the Windows 7 protection test for example, AVG antivirus had an 83% score against viruses and this is higher than the industry average of 75%.

AVG has received many positive reviews from customers. Top Ten Reviews has ranked it fifth on its list of antivirus software programs and that's behind top programs like BitDefender and Kaspersky.

Virus Protection

AVG's signature software employs several layers of protection. The first layer, of course, is its antivirus engine. This portion of the software scans your files and compares them with a known threat database. This is a long-held standard in the antivirus industry; it's effective but not always comprehensive. To combat this problem, AVG collects real-time infection data from customers who have opted to share zero-day data. This way, malware infects as few users as possible.

Another layer of protection AVG provides is its social networking shield. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and others have become instrumental for consuming and sharing content. Unfortunately, you can't trust every link you see on social networks. The AVG Social Networking Protection prevents you from following a sleazy link to the wrong internet neighborhood.

AVG Anti-Virus leaves a light footprint on your system resources. It does this by waiting for your computer to become idle before it tries to perform a deep system scan. Furthermore, it knows which files it's scanned before and skips over them if there has been no change to the file since the last scan. This effectively cuts the scan down to a fraction of the time it would take to scan your entire drive.

Rocky Installation

Getting AVG installed on my twelve malware-infested test systems was a serious challenge. One test system required Safe Mode, but malware prevents AVG's command-line scan. The Rescue CD fixed that one.

Malware Scanner

Malware on two test systems actively blocked AVG's Internet connection. Tech support supplied an offline installer. The antivirus still couldn't update online, so tech support supplied an offline update. That did the trick.

On yet another system, AVG installed and scanned successfully, but in the process it disabled the system's connectivity. Tech support came up with a command that restored connectivity.

For my testing AVG gave me expedites access to tech support. Ordinary users would have had to go through a few levels of escalation to get the help I got, but they would get help. My AVG contact verified that there would be no charge for the support required to get AVG installed and scanning properly. That's an important point, because AVG does offer a paid support service called TechBuddy. They'll diagnose the problem for free, then let you know how much it would cost to fix it.

Manual Removal

On more than half of the test systems, the antivirus scanner identified one or more threats as requiring "manual removal." These warnings represent system files that have been infected by malware, or replaced by malware. The recommended solution is to restore these files from your Windows disk, but many users don't have a Windows disk. In that situation your only recourse is to copy the file from another PC with the exact same Windows version.

Even then, you can't just copy the new file over the existing one. It's a system file; Windows won't let you. To fix those instances, I had to boot from the AVG Rescue CD and use its awkward, antiquated file manager to copy the replacement file into place.

This isn't something I've experienced with other antivirus tools. Are the others simply better at disinfection of system files? I really can't say for sure.

Good Lab Results

AVG's free antivirus is a full-powered solution, with nothing held back. To prove it, the company submits the free product for testing by independent labs. ICSA Labs certifies it for virus detection. West Coast Labs gives AVG checkmark certification for virus detection and removal, and adds the checkmark platinum award. Virus Bulletin tests AVG's security suite rather than the standalone antivirus. In the last ten tests, AVG received VB100 recognition eight times.

AV-Test rates antivirus products on their ability to protect a clean system, to repair an infested system, and to do it all without causing usability problems. Like Norton, AVG scored 15.5 of 18 possible points in the latest such test.

Toolbar and Do Not Track

AVG's browser toolbar includes a whole raft of functions, most of them not related to security. For example, you can launch Notepad or Calculator, get a weather report, and connect with Facebook through the toolbar. It does rate the safety of the current Web page, with a link for a full report. And you can use its safe search box to get search results with no dangerous links.

Possibly the most interesting option is the Do Not Track button. AVG's Do Not Track technology doesn't just politely ask sites not to track you. It actively prevents tracking by ad networks, web analytics, and social media buttons. By default the latter two categories aren't blocked; a handful of better-behaved ad networks are also not blocked. You can choose to block all, or reset to the default.

A little number on the Do Not Track button lets you know how many tracking links AVG has found on the current page. Click the button to see just what they are and optionally block them. Of course, blocking won't happen until the next time you encounter that same tracking link.

Performance Tuneup

AVG includes a button titled Fix Performance, but it's just a fraction misleading. Clicking the button does launch an analysis that identifies file and Registry problems that might be slowing your PCs performance. However, when you click Fix Now it opens a Web page for the separate AVG PC TuneUp product, which costs $39.99.

On the plus side, you can fix problems once for free. Actually, your one free use lasts 24 hours, so you could run it as many times as you want. On the minus side, the PC TuneUp tool makes no use of the scan and analysis already performed by AVG; it has to perform its own scan.

Powerful Free Protection

It's true that I had some difficulty getting AVG installed on malware-infested systems, but with help from tech support I got past those problems. In the real world, you'll suffer through that process once, at most. Ongoing protection for a clean system worked very smoothly, and AVG scored with the best in my tests. AVG Anti-Virus FREE remains our Editors' Choice for free antivirus.

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