AVG An­tivirus Free

EX­CEL­LENT PRO­TEC­TION ACROSS THE BOARD, BUT YOU DON’T GET THAT MANY FEA­TURES, AND PAID-FOR SOFT­WARE HAS BET­TER PRO­TEC­TION

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - Free • www.avg.com

When Avast bought a ma­jor­ity stake in AVG at the end of 2016, it looked as though it could be cur­tains for one of the most pop­u­lar free anti-virus pack­ages: it seemed as though the two prod­ucts would merge, cre­at­ing a sin­gle, more pow­er­ful app. That hasn’t hap­pened, and AVG An­tivirus Free Edi­tion ac­tu­ally scored higher than Avast Free An­tivirus in our test­ing.

In fact, the two prod­ucts su­per cially look the same, but un­der the hood, the two man­aged dif­fer­ent re­sults.

As with most of the free pack­ages, AVG of­fers a paid-for ver­sion of its virus suite. Up­grade to In­ter­net Se­cu­rity and you get per­sonal folder pro­tec­tion to thwart ran­somware, we­b­cam pro­tec­tion to stop peo­ple from hi­jack­ing your feed, fake web­site avoid­ance for shop­ping pro­tec­tion and an en­hanced re­wall. At the top is AVG Ul­ti­mate, which also adds a tune-up pack­age to keep your PC in tip-top con­di­tion.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, these fea­tures aren’t that dif­fer­ent to the line-up in the paid-for Avast suites. How­ever, given the pop­u­lar­ity of the free suite, we’re fo­cus­ing on that here.

Pro­tec­tion is ex­cel­lent, with AVG get­ting a To­tal Ac­cu­racy score of 96%. That score comes from a pro­tec­tion rat­ing of 90%, a full eight per­cent­age points higher than Avast. In more de­tail, AVG An­tiVirus Free man­aged to block or neu­tralise 99 threats, only al­low­ing one bit of mal­ware through and on to the test com­put­ers.

Im­pres­sively, AVG man­aged to let all good soft­ware through, with a clean 100% record.

KEEP­ING IT SIM­PLE

As with Avast, AVG doesn’t ship with a lot ex­tra, with the free ver­sion fo­cused on qual­ity mal­ware pro­tec­tion. That could be a good thing if you’re not wor­ried about get­ting a load of ex­tra soft­ware.

AVG would clearly like you to up­grade, as the main in­for­ma­tion screen shows you that you only have Ba­sic pro­tec­tion. No sur­prises that the Full pro­tec­tion head­ing lists a bunch of fea­tures that you have to up­grade for.

Even so, the neat in­ter­face makes it easy to con­trol your soft­ware. Un­der PC pro­tec­tion, you get the chance to choose how your com­puter is kept safe. You can tog­gle the two pro­tec­tion com­po­nents on and off: File shield scans ap­pli­ca­tions and les added to or opened from your com­puter, while Be­hav­iour shield mon­i­tors your com­puter for sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity, alert­ing you if any­thing is found. You may recog­nise these names from the Avast soft­ware.

You also get sim­i­lar web pro­tec­tion com­po­nents: Web shield mon­i­tors your in­ter­net con­nec­tion, block­ing web at­tacks and dodgy down­loads; Email shield cuts out in­fected at­tach­ments.

Hav­ing the abil­ity to tog­gle these pro­tec­tions is nice, but we rec­om­mend leav­ing them all turned on for the best pro­tec­tion.

AVG bun­dles fewer fea­tures with its free ver­sion of soft­ware than Avast does. So you don’t get the built-in pass­word man­ager that Avast has. How­ever, you do get a free le shred­der, which se­curely erases les and fold­ers that you don’t want; be care­ful with this tool, as once you re­move a le you won’t be able to re­cover it.

VIR­TUAL RE­AL­ITY

There’s a VPN op­tion, with a 60-day trial. That’s a de­cent amount of time if you just want to try out a VPN or you need one tem­po­rar­ily. Af­ter that, it’s $6.66 a month.

There’s an op­tional PC Tune-up util­ity that is de­signed to look for ‘inef cient’ PC set­tings, junk les and re­dun­dant apps. This costs $4.99 a month to run. It’s not the kind of ser­vice that we’d sign up to.

There’s a gam­ing mode built in, which sup­presses pop­ups while you play and stops in­ten­sive tasks. It’s a bit harder to turn on than the one Avast has, and we couldn’t nd an au­to­matic set­ting to run it.

Scans of your en­tire com­puter can be run, and you have full con­trol over which fold­ers and items are looked at. The po­ten­tially un­wanted pro­grams (PUPs) scan­ner could be use­ful, cut­ting down on the hid­den junk that some ap­pli­ca­tions try to in­stall.

Over­all, AVG An­tiVirus Free doesn’t have the same range of fea­tures as Avast, and its in­ter­face isn’t as easy to nav­i­gate. How­ever, its pro­tec­tion is bet­ter, mak­ing this the se­cu­rity suite to in­stall if you don’t want to pay for a sub­scrip­tion. If you want the best pro­tec­tion, go for Kaspersky Se­cu­rity Cloud.

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