AVG may not have been the first free antivirus software ever created for Windows, but it was the one that brought the idea to the mainstream. In a world where virus checkers cost nearly as much per year as your operating system itself, AVG blew people away with its new business a model – fully functioning virus software that could scan, detect and clean viruses from your system without you handing over any cash at all. However, the free virus market is crowded these days, so can AVG maintain its crown amongst new competition?

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Installation and Setup

AVG installs to around 50MB of space and has a quick installation. There’s a few custom options but nothing spectacular, and watch out for the program as it does ask you a few questions about changing your home page. These are entirely optional however and short of the inbuilt adverts showing of the features of the professional program, there are no further issues. AVG does use a disappointing amount of system resources however, eating around 90MB of RAM on our test machine after running for just two hours.

Ease of Use

AVG offers a very professional interface that would easily fit in with any paid-for virus scanner and beats out many of its more basic looking peers. Everything you need to know is displayed on the main screen and colour coded by urgency. Changing basic settings is all done within the interface while advance settings are left for the menu, where they belong.

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AVG offers users a wide range of protection including virus scanning, adware scanning, email scanning, link scanning (for both IE and Firefox) and real time protection. Many of these features are not offered on other free virus checkers, especially email and link scanning.

Updates are slow however as the main priority on the download server are users of the professional edition. Setting your updates to occur overnight should overcome this, however. There are some other limitations such as not being able to scan network drives, but overall AVG still stands above its peers with its great feature set and quick scanning time – it’s just a shame it uses so many system resources.

Differences between Free and Professional

AVG’s ‘internet security’ package adds another level of security to your system by providing you with even more ways to detect and clean viruses and malware. Obviously, it also removes the nag screen from the free version. Internet Security costs around £40, or $65.

[ Download AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition Today! ]

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