With a resource-light scanner, it lets you set up the program the way you want to. Although AVG’s malware-catching abilities aren’t the best, it offers few extra features, and it collects data about your online habits if you let it. Not enough?
AVG AntiVirus Free: Not Enough Oomph
With a resource-light scanner, it lets you set up the program the way you want to. Although AVG’s malware-catching abilities aren’t the best, it offers few extra features, and it collects data about your online habits if you let it.
Not enough? You can up your antiviral game in two ways: In short, you can do better than AVG. Its protection ranges from standard antivirus scanning to the blocking of potentially dangerous websites. There’s a performance optimizer to help get the most out of your computer and a file shredder to make the most embarrassing photos disappear.
It adds a personal firewall, enhanced ransomware defenses and webcam protection. It also includes the Antivirus Pro mobile app for Android. It adds a disk cleaner, file encryption, a startup optimizer, email protection, and the ability to lock and unlock your system remotely.
Antivirus Protection AVG shares its underlying malware-detection technology with its corporate sibling Avast, but it has its own look and feel. Its defenses begin with traditional scanning, comparing files against a database of known malware signatures. That’s supplemented with heuristic monitoring to catch previously unseen malware by looking for the telltale signs of malicious behavior.
Anything that looks like a new threat is uploaded to AVG’s lab for analysis. Proven new threats are assigned new malware signatures that are sent out to AVG’s million users in the next database update, which happens several times per day. AVG AntiVirus Free has built-in defenses against email attachments and spyware but nothing specific to thwart ransomware other than standard behavioral monitoring.
The SafePrice browser add-ons for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome can keep you away from dodgy retail sites and just might save you a few bucks along the way, though to be fair, AVG may make a few bucks if you use it.
A prominent Scan button front and center lets you start scanning quickly, but the default scan is only a quick scan that examines the most common areas of infection.
A more thorough scrub is available with Deep Scan, which examines every nook and cranny of your system but is three clicks from the main page of the interface. Antivirus Performance AVG’s malware protection is a step down from the best, generally performing well against widely known malware found through signature scanning but letting through many zero-day and targeted attacks that have to be detected via other means.
If you want top malware protection, look to Bitdefender or Kaspersky instead. In our own lab tests, which see how well antivirus products block online malware, AVG AntiVirus Free scored only 95 percent, one of the lowest scores recorded.
That may be good enough for an A in school, but here, it’s more of a C, as it indicates that 5 percent of threats got through. AVG’s malware protection is a step down from the best, letting through many zero-day and targeted attacks. The next set of tests, conducted on Windows 10, weren’t so good for AVG. It stopped only AVG did better against widespread malware, stopping percent in March and In a second Windows 10 round, AVG stopped percent of zero-day malware in May but dropped the ball in June, with only On the upside, it stopped all widespread malware and had just one false positive in both months.
In comparison, Bitdefender’s and Kaspersky’s malware-detection engines stopped percent of both kinds of malware in all six months of AV-TEST evaluations, with Kaspersky not registering a single false positive. Kaspersky and Bitdefender each averaged Yet wider differences emerge with a closer look.
Bitdefender’s and Kaspersky’s lowest scores in any given month were Best Antivirus – Top Software for PC, Mac and Android SE Labs , located just outside London, takes into account how antivirus products treat malware after detection and how they handle complex attacks you’d see targeting politicians or diplomats. AVG was slightly better than Avast at countering both regular malware and targeted attacks, and was just a notch below Bitdefender, which also let through some targeted attacks.
Kaspersky pulled ahead of the crowd in these tests, scoring an overall rating of 99 percent. Security and Privacy Features While Avast has a full complement of bells and whistles, its more plain sibling AVG has just a couple of major extra features.
There’s a file shredder that isn’t quite military-grade but can quickly make embarrassments disappear. Two other offerings are separate downloads. You’ll need an Avast or AVG account to access the portal. To check the program’s impact on performance, we used our custom benchmark test, which measures how long the CPU takes to match 20, names and 20, addresses in an OpenOffice spreadsheet. With AVG installed but not actively scanning, the same benchmark test took 7: This puts AVG on a par with Bitdefender but ahead of the other free antivirus programs, except Kaspersky, which slowed down the machine by only 2.
AVG’s “regular” scan is what other brands call a quick scan, and it looks at oft-infected areas of Windows. Its “Deep Scan” is a full-system scan.
Neither had much of an impact on system performance, and you probably wouldn’t notice any slowdowns. A quick scan let the benchmark complete in 7: AVG’s Deep Scan took 54 minutes to complete its first pass, while the “regular scan” was done in 52 seconds. Interface AVG AntiVirus Free’s dark main interface window shows a green circle with a check mark inside that changes to a red exclamation point when the system is in danger or under attack. There’s a prominent Scan Computer link, along with information about when the system was last scanned, when the virus definitions were last updated and how to upgrade to a paid version of AVG.
In addition to Quarantine remnants of previous attacks , the interface provides categories for File Shredder, Support, Help and About. On the downside, these windows are islands unto themselves, with no back arrow to return you to the previous screen. The Settings menu lets you customize the program to your likes and dislikes. You can turn the reputation checking on and off, control pop-ups, change the password, whitelist software and even control what happens when you scan an item from the Windows Explorer right-click menu.
There’s no automatic gaming mode, but you can adjust the severity and intrusiveness of AVG’s heuristic scanning. However, there’s no automatic scanning of USB drives — you’ll have to scan those manually. The program’s Task Tray icon shows its general status when you hover the mouse pointer over it. Right-click to open the main program or to run a scan. Installation and Support You’ll start the installation process by downloading and running the 7.
But make sure you decline the offer to install the Google browser toolbar as well, unless you really want it. From start to finish, the process took a little under 7 minutes. The installation procedure doesn’t let you opt out of data collection, but it’s easy to do so once the program is running. Go to Menu, then General, then Privacy, and uncheck the box about participation and sharing information with third parties.
You don’t need to set up an AVG online account, but if you do, you can monitor other systems you have with AVG software installed. Tech support is entirely self-service, with an extensive knowledge base and online forum, but neither phone nor email help is available for free. Bottom Line AVG AntiVirus Free has a light system impact and a very customizable interface for a no-frills program, but its Achilles’ heel is its mediocre malware protection.
Avast Free Antivirus’ protection isn’t any better, but at least it offers lots of extras that AVG lacks. Tom’s Guide.
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