AVG (XP/Vista)

September 5, 2008

What it does:

The newly updated AVG Free is an Anti-Virus program that performs all the basic tasks you’d expect, without the slow downs associated with Norton and McAfee, or any of the exorbitant subscription fees. The new AVG version 8 also adds a host of new features, making it a much less bare-bones affair than the previous iteration.

What we like about it:

AVG provides not just on-demand scanning for virus, but also live protection, scanning files as they’re downloaded via the Web or e-mail. Version 8 also adds spy-ware protection and a browser add-on that works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox and tells you whether or not a search result is safe to click on by branding it with a bright green check mark. Version 8 also updated AVG’s interface, making it easier to use, and much more pleasing to look at.

Our favorite feature of AVG, though, has been present even in prior versions, and that is its ability to scan and protect your computer without bringing the whole system to a halt. When cleaning up an aging PC, one of the first things we do is remove the bloated, feature-happy McAfee or Norton and install separate lightweight components like AVG and Comodo Firewall.

What we don’t like:

AVG’s Free offering lacks features often packed into security suites by its more expensive competitors such as spam blocking, root-kit protection, and a firewall. But most users won’t miss these terribly, since Web-mail services and desktop clients like Thunderbird and Outlook generally have some form of spam filtering already, and Windows XP and Vista come with built in firewalls.More customizable third-party programs, such as the aforementioned Comodo, can also be downloaded for free.

Download AVG Free

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