How Good is AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011?

Category: Anti-Virus

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

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...

Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Check out other articles in this category:

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 25 Oct 2010

For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
Hybrid Hard Drives

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Free International Fax

Most recent comments on "How Good is AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011?"

(See all 27 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

25 Oct 2010

I'd just like to make a comment about something you said
"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."

Just to say that you are correct in saying that AVG doesn't support the free version. However, there is support for AVG 2011 free in the forums which are run by volunteers.

Posted by:

Ron Heisterkamp
25 Oct 2010

I installed AVG 2011 on Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (build 2600). Every morning, AVG tried to install a program I did not want and rendered my computer useless. The only way to get back online was to use Restore and risk lossing my work for the day.

I removed AVG 2011 and re-installed my older version of AVG Free and had no problem since.

I would not recommend this program until AVG figures out what is the problem.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2010

I downloaded the 2011 a few days ago and it does scan the computer a little faster from the previous versions. I'm not convinced it removes all malware either. But it's a good program for checking things without spending any money. Might not work for a serious threat from a highly motivated individual, but for every day threats, it's good.
Thanks AVG as I like this program better than pay for Norton.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2010

How excruciatingly funny you should post this today! I just got home from work and found that AVG has AGAIN re-installed itself making a half dozen unnecessary short-cuts for its operation.

All I ask is that it updates itself at 2 am and scans at 3 am and otherwise leaves me alone. I am considering junking it!

Posted by:

Ralph Skinner
25 Oct 2010

Some users report a conflict between AVG 2011 and Malware bytes anti spyware, causing computer freezing.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2010

I have used AVG free for 4 years and have not had any problems.

Posted by:

Mel Hillier
25 Oct 2010

I have used AVG for the past 5 years, with ZONE alarm and have had no problems

Posted by:

26 Oct 2010

"...compared to 89 percent for Norton Antivirus 2001.."

Did you mean Norton Antivirus 2011, Bob?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Quite right, thanks! Typo fixed now.

Posted by:

Bruce Houghton
26 Oct 2010

I have used free AVG for about 5 years without any problem. I also use Malwarebytes and Zone Alarm firewall. I updated to AVG 2011 on 2 systems with no problems. My 2002 XP laptop didn't seem to like the new AVG 2011 so I installed MSE on it.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2010

Today (10.26.10) you have a posting about the new AVG 2011, and for you,there are no problems. However, for this site, there are serious problems and this is why I didn't install it yet: Comments?

EDITOR'S NOTE: This person says: "When you install this app, you are forced to accept the following component:

PC Analyzer, which leads you to eventually download the next component: PC TuneUp.. it will pop-up to bother you a miniumum of every FOUR hours demanding a one-time scan." Not true. I installed AVG 2011 and had no such problem.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2010

I used AVG free for years and liked it. I have recently switched to Microsoft Security Essentials on the recommendation of a computer expert friend. We use it in tandem with Malwarebytes and have been very happy with it so far. About time Microsoft put out a good free program. Maybe they can start to recover some good will. They have a long way to go with me but I am willing to be persuaded if they work hard enough.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2010

AVG 2011 will not install unless I remove MS Windows Security Essentials. I like AVG but also like Security Essentials. So for the time being I'll stick to AVG 9.

Posted by:

28 Oct 2010

I find that AVG (all versions) does remove infections but isn't good with removing malwares.

I now use a combination of Avast 5.0 (free version) and Malwarebyte's anti-malware (free version) which is pretty stable. If your using AVG & Malwarebyte's anti-malware its okay but as someone mentioned earlier the computer freezes half the time.

You can however use AVG's Boot CD scanner which pretty handy.

So yeah use 3 different tools: Avast 5.0, Malwarebyte's anti-malware and AVG Bootable CD scanner.

Posted by:

28 Oct 2010

I fried my computer 3 times several years ago. Once using Norton and twice when my anti-virus was AVG. My computer tech advised switching to Avast. I am still using it today and have found it superior to both Norton and AVG. It detects viruses, Trojans & worms plus malicious downloads that the other programs do not detect. I use MalwareBytes for malware detection. I no longer use Ad-aware; I have found SuperAntiSpware much more effective and it will find malware that MalwareBytes doesn't detect. All these programs are free to use, however; after using free for over a year, I have upgraded all of them and feel it is worth it for semi-peace of mind.

Posted by:

30 Oct 2010

AVG internet Security is a bit heavy on system resources and really bad in detecting malwares and providing good surfing.Often it is unable to block a sites having hidden spywares or worms..

Avast 5.0677 Internet Security is really much better than AVG 2011.It has a powerful MultiShield scanner engine that is much efective in blocking infectious sites while surfing; also got a good compact size $ look.

Posted by:

01 Nov 2010

I had AVG9 and no problems. Then upgraded to AVG2011 and found that my Outlook was freezing when downloading new messages, even though email scanning was not selected, and even if I switched off resident shield.

The only resolution has been to system restore back to AVG9.

Posted by:

03 Nov 2010

I have been using AVG for a few years now and have recommended it to many of my friends but I'm not convinced with AVG 2011, It installed without any problems but Windows is constantly reported that I do not have any Anti Virus installed.

Has anyone else come across this problem?


Posted by:

Robert Deyoung
04 Nov 2010

i tried the new avg 2011 on my older xp pro sp3 desktop system from asus and it doesnt seem to like my desktop. it added a bunch of things at start-up and has slowed it down considerably. i had to uninstall 2011 and reinsatll an older avg version and had to disable the autodate feature. my toshiba laptop with win 7 on the other hand, loves avg 2011. no problems to report on it.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 3

Posted by:

26 Nov 2010

The only complaint I have is that there was no comparison tests with Avira Free or avast 5.0 Free. I tried AVG 2011 Free and it didn't seem to be as good as the other two. I would advise others to wait until independent blind comparison tests are complete until anyone should sing their praises about AVG 2011 Free. It is way too soon. I will stick with avast 5.0 Free.

Posted by:

02 Mar 2011

I downloaded it, it crashed my PC, then it locked it up when I got it goijng, then one I got it going again it threw my internet connections out and the program wouldn't let me delete it, it took 24 hours, two phone calls, 8 reboots and hours of swearing to get it off my machine. They gave me a patch that didn't work the first time as well. I wouldn't go near AVG if they paid me to have one. NEVER ever deal with that free version, it's dangerous.

There's more reader feedback... See all 27 comments for this article.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter

Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
About Us     Privacy Policy     RSS/XML

Article information: AskBobRankin -- How Good is AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011? (Posted: 25 Oct 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved