- Overall great ease of use
- Scan customization with scheduling
- Option to run other antiviruses
- File shredder
- Uniformed interface (Windows and Mac)
- Multidevice and multiplatform support
- Limited variety of additional features
- Overpriced upgrades
- Lack of free phone and email support
Back in 2016 when AVG was acquired by the internet security juggernaut Avast, nobody was sure whether or not the former company’s most beloved product, AVG AntiVirus, would survive the ordeal. Thankfully, the software lived on and has in fact gone on to become better than ever. There are many reasons for which AVG is loved, but the fact that it enables users to make use of bespoke protection against a wide variety of threats that could destroy a device is its primary benefit. Although the basic version of the software doesn’t come with too many extras – since those are available either as pay-only extras or as part of separate apps – those that it does include do a splendid job in keeping out or detecting and destroying malicious files, whether they threaten PCs, Macs, or Android phones. And AVG still manages to up the ante with its simplified interface that even the least tech-savvy users can set up without effort.
Nowadays a simple and straightforward interface is a constant demand from users, and AVG AntiVirus FREE definitely complies with that requirement. In fact, the company took simplicity to the next level thanks to its intelligent categorization of features that not only separates basic functions from the pay-only ones, but also puts them into further, logical categories based on their nature. This ensures that no matter what function you are looking for, it can be found in two clicks, with scans conveniently separated from these additional features in the form of a bright green button.
Despite the effectiveness of all this, not everything that should be is immediately available. For instance, lesser-used features like the quarantine or file shredder are found under the “Menu” tab, which feels a bit crowded considering that it also houses the settings, the built-in help guide, and the ingenious passive mode that is intended for troubleshooting or running another antivirus. As for the other tab, “My AVG”, this can be forgotten about completely; for free users, it’s only useful for checking how long their license lasts and what solutions AVG provides for additional fees.
Scanning cannot be simpler than it already is in AVG. For starters, all it takes is to press the “Scan Computer” button and the solution will perform the default scan called Computer Scan that identifies issues with the browser, locates and isolates malicious items, and notifies you about the computer’s overall performance and how it can be improved with help of AVG TuneUp.
But even with the less than subtle advertising of another product at the end of each default scan, these never require more than mere minutes, and aside from the initiation of each subtask they don’t have much impact on the CPU either. It’s worth adding, though, that default scans may take longer than expected on Mac computers because the software also examines files stored in cloud apps such as Dropbox. Despite this, the default scan is ideal for everyday users, especially when the real-time shields and the automatic virus definitions updates are active, enabling protection against new and evolving threats as well.
Additionally, there is the option to choose from deep scans, USB/DVD scans, file or folder scans, performance scans, and boot-time scans, too. With the exception of the performance and boot-time scans, each scan can be further customized based on various criteria such as the scan’s range, sensitivity, and whether it should generate a report when the task is completed.
These settings also include the scheduling of scans, which can be a huge asset for those who want to enjoy AVG’s superior protection without even opening the antivirus’s interface. However, when scheduling a scan, be sure to do so from the default scan’s settings; the bright “Schedule Scan” button is a bit misleading since it actually creates a new, custom scan instead of modifying existing ones.
AVG AntiVirus is a freemium product, so expect many features to be blocked by default. However, the list of these unavailable features consists of only six items, meaning that unless you need extras like an enhanced firewall, ransomware protection, antispam functions, or the webcam shield, then staying on the free version of the software is more than enough to keep the device completely infection-free.
Although most additional functions are blocked, there are three features that are available for free users as well. The file shredder, for instance, destroys any chosen file or folder in an instant, leaving no traces of the deleted items behind. Users can also make use of the AVG Secure Browser, which looks just like Google Chrome but with the added bonus of various internet security features like an adblocker, antiphishing and antitracking, a privacy cleaner, and the anti-fingerprinting that ensures browsing sessions remain unidentifiable. However, unlike the file shredder – which is a feature within AVG AntiVirus – the secure browser is a separate program that automatically comes with the main software during its installation.
The third free additional feature worth mentioning is AVG SafePrice, which is actually an extension available for both third-party browsers and AVG’s own solution. But unlike the other two features, this extension is nothing more than a search engine that looks up the best offers, coupons, and special deals for products that you intend to buy. Granted, jotting in a product from the wish list and seeing its best available price is convenient, but aside from filtering out untrustworthy stores you won’t be missing out on anything should this extra not be installed.
Since AVG AntiVirus FREE can be used without an AVG account – although having one is beneficial for keeping track of all the devices that the software is used on – there is absolutely no limits on the number of platforms that AVG can be run on. In other words, regardless of how many PCs you own, AVG AntiVirus can be installed on all on them and you will still be able to enjoy the core protection that the software provides.
With the exception of iOS, there isn’t any limitation when it comes to other operating systems either. In fact, the app’s Mac version shares the same appearance as well as many features and settings with the default Windows software. The Android application, on the other hand, is a bit of an enigma. Granted, the fact it provides a junk cleaner and an antitheft feature among many other cleanup functions is appreciated, but the app itself is rather pointless since it’s an exact replica of Avast Mobile Security.
Although AVG’s free antivirus solution is more than enough for average users to effectively keep their devices free from malicious files, there’s still little else to it beside the basic antivirus features, a permanent file shredder, and secure internet browsing via the automatically installed Secure Browser. The lack of blocked features doesn’t have a negative impact on the overall safety that AVG provides, but the highest level of protection can only be achieved by either adding the missing features or switching to a paid internet security solution.
And sadly, when it comes to AVG’s upgrades, they are quite pricey. For instance, turning on all features that are typically blocked in free version costs $79.99 per year without any discounts available, unless we count the offers within the software that try to convince free users to upgrade. The top internet security plan, Ultimate, is a bit better: for just $20 more users will get AVG TuneUP for free, saving them $49.99 on the registry cleaner’s annual fee. However, even with Ultimate on board there are still features that need to be purchased separately, such as AVG Driver Updater ($39.99 per year) and SecureVPN ($49.99 a year).
Although the built-in help guide for AVG AntiVirus is quite thorough on its own, users have many additional options to get on-demand answers to their questions. They can turn to AVG’s help page, which houses necessary information about AVG’s products alongside various FAQs. There is also Signal, the company’s blog, which is regularly updated with product-related news as well as interesting tidbits from the world of internet security.
Live support, on the other hand, is a different story. For starters, users can only address technical issues via a form or the forums, as email and phone support are restricted to sales enquiries only. On-call support does exist but it’s a pay-only service, as is moving PC data or remote virus removal. This means that the only guaranteed way to speak to an AVG representative is by visiting the company’s Facebook page.
There are many people to this day that consider AVG AntiVirus to be a third wheel now that the company has been merged with Avast, but this neat little antivirus proved that it’s still worthy of being treated as a separate product. With its simple and straightforward interface, using AVG is a true pleasure regardless of which scanning option is chosen.
What’s even more impressive is how trustworthy AVG’s antivirus is, whether that’s the customizable on-demand functions or the real-time protection that effectively keeps malicious files out without you even noticing. The software isn’t perfect, the free add-ons aren’t that special and the upgrade options lack variety and come with cost-friendly price tags. But even in its base state, AVG AntiVirus will provide the necessary level of protection for your devices, ensuring that they’ll be kept safe and healthy for as long as you want.
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