How Good is AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011?
The big news about AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 is that it now includes the same core virus-fighting engine of the expanded, paid version, AVG Internet Security 2011. For the first time, we can get independent lab tests reports on the free version of AVG. Find out how the free AVG Anti-Virus 2011 stacks up against the competition...
AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 - Lab Test Results
Anti-virus testing labs invariably test only the commercial versions of anti-virus software. But since AVG's Anti-Virus FREE 2011 shares the same core virus protection as the paid version, we can apply the lab tests to both products.
AVG's anti-virus software (free and paid) does very well in lab tests. It received Platinum anti-malware certification from West Coast Labs, an honor equaled only by Kaspersky and Webroot, both of which are commercial-only products. AV-Comparatives, which tests the effectiveness of on-demand and pro-active (behavioral vs. signature based) anti-malware programs, gives AVG its second-highest rating of "Advanced". AVG blocked 99% of threats, as did Avira, Panda, and Trend Micro products.
The latest edition, AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011, has a dramatically streamlined user interface and installation routine. Installation time is down to a reasonable 5 minutes and trims the number of user input screens down from 13 to only 5, including free registration. You still have to opt out of the AVG/Yahoo toolbar installation if you don't want that. The UI buttons are bigger, fewer, and more clearly labeled than in past editions. A couple of noteworthy new features in the Free 2011 edition are:
- Social Networking Protection - checks all the links you and your social networking buddies exchange in real time, helping to protect you from phishing and malware-injecting sites.
- Smarter Scanning - minimizes resources used by AVG when you're working at your computer and intensifies it when you are away.
Good, Fast, Cheap - Pick Any Two
Performance-wise, AVG is right up near the top of the pack, and ahead in some respects. Competing anti-virus programs take an average of 27 minutes to perform a full, in-depth scan of a standard virus-clean computer. AVG takes about 18 minutes on its first scan, and close to one minute on future scans of the same system.
In detecting malware on a deliberately infected system, AVG Anti-Virus scored above average but not at the very top of the list. It found 85 percent of malware, compared to 89 percent for Norton Antivirus 2011 ($39.99), Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 ($50.95), and PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus 2011 ($39.95)
Actually removing detected malware tells a slightly different tale. AVG scored only 4.9 out a possible 8.6 points on removal efficacy. It left behind executable files of malware, some of which were still running even though AVG reported them "removed". The top performer at malware removal was Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.46 (free) with 7.3 points; but it detected only 80 percent of malware.
The bottom line seems to be that no anti-malware tool will detect every single instance of viruses and spyware. Although AVG Free 2011 has "basic spyware protection" included, I still recommend that you supplement with Windows Defender or MalwareBytes AntiMalware, both free.
So what features are you missing by not going with the paid version? Some of the exclusive features in AVG Internet Security 2011 are:
- AVG Identity Protection - Guards against identity theft by alerting you to suspicious and/or illegitimate software.
- AVG Online Shield - verifies that download files and online chat links are safe before you click them.
- Community Protection Network - makes users' encounters with malware available anonymously to everyone using AVG; a "community watch" sort of program.
- Desktop Widget - for Windows 7 provides easy access to AVG functions.
- AVG Firewall and Anti-Spam protection - Keep hackers away, and blocks spammers from your inbox.
- Threat Labs - a new Web site where AVG users can find detailed info about threats detected on their systems; Web site security reports; and a weekly breakdown of the types of threats out there on the Web.
- Support - And of course, the paid version gives you access to tech support and assistance with the product. Users of the Free version have to figure it out for themselves.
Have you tried AVG Free 2011? Tell us what you think! Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Oct 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- How Good is AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011? (Posted: 25 Oct 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved