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Secure Computing: Free Virus Protection With AVG Free Edition

During my career in the computer field, I have found that any of the well-known free anti-virus utilities will do the job and are essential in a well rounded security plan. When asked what is “the best” free anti-virus utility the answer really comes down to personal preference.

This week we will wrap up our coverage of free anti-virus utilities.  Last week we covered Avira AntiVir and Avast Home Edition, and today we will cover what is arguably the most effective and popular free anti-virus utility: Grisoft’s AVG Free Edition.

Installation is straight forward for the most part. You will want to make sure there is a free license already included when installing as shown here.

free license

During installation you will be prompted to choose to include the Toolbar or not.  Personally I am not a fan of toolbars at all so I would not install this, but AVG advises more web threats can be avoided when using it.

Internet Explorer and Firefox already include good Phishing protection, so in my opinion the toolbar is overkill, but you can make your own decision with some detailed information from their site.

toolbar

After a successful installation, a wizard begins to prompt for specific settings for the utility. One of the most important is to get the latest updates for the virus database.

updates

Other settings to select are what time to perform a daily scan and register with AVG.  You can go through the wizard or skip the process entirely as changes can be made later.

register

All settings and components can be controlled from the User Interface. AVG Free Edition includes more than just anti-virus protection.  Other components include:

Anti-Spyware Protects against malicious software applications
Email Scanner Integrates with Outlook to scan email messages and attachments for Viruses and Spyware
Resident Shield Real-time protection against viruses and malicious spyware

control panel

Full system scans seem comparable to both Avast and AntiVir and you can also control the speed… the faster the scan the more CPU processing power required if you want to continue to use the computer while the scan is running.

Details of detections are shown in the user interface as detected.  This is where you can also pause, start, or resume a scan.

scan

There are a surprising amount of settings and options to customize how AVG works.  This is where to control scan schedules and a whole host of other options.

options

Pop up notifications are shown near the clock on the taskbar.

1 taskbar popup

All email messages will be scanned and this will be verified by a message at the bottom of each email.  Also, as with the other anti-virus applications we have covered, AVG integrates into Windows Explorer so you can scan individual files by right clicking.

email scan msg

menu

Conclusion

AVG is so popular for a reason: the user interface is attractive and quite easy to use and there’s also a bunch of options available to allow you to customize the behavior to your liking. It also offers a lot of components and options that are only available in the professional version of other utilities, at the great price of free.

AVG AV Logo_short

If you have used AVG for a while please comment and let us know your thoughts and opinions, or any recommended settings that you use.

Download AVG Free Edition For Windows

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/15/08

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