YOU DON’T buy bottled water, you think extended warranties are a waste of money, and you sure as hell aren’t going to pay for security software. Fair enough, we won’t begrudge you any of those choices, but if you opt to install AVG Free for antivirus protection, get ready for a series of sales pitches. Whenever you have cause to fire up AVG’s dashboard, you’ll see a banner ad imploring you to give the full Internet security suite a 30 day test drive. There’s an option to hide the banner, but it’s only temporary-the next time you load the dashboard, it’s there again. AVG also teases freeloaders with locked options that are only available to paid users, such as anti-spam controls and identity alerts. Hey, AVG’s developers have to eat, right?
What you do get is above-average malware protection with a surprising amount of configuration options. If you opt for AVG, we recommend spending some time going through the settings to make sure everything aligns with your expectations. For instance, AVG will scan for potentially unwanted programs, but there’s an additional option for enhanced scanning that isn’t checked by default. When enabled, AVG goes a step further by analyzing legitimate apps that might be misused or contain unwanted add-ons like toolbars. And if you’re using an older PC-say, from the XP era-you should enable the “thorough scanning” option to look for older exploits and software flaws that don’t apply to modern systems.
AVG caught the majority of our malware samples, though not all of them. This is in line with what AV-Test.org experienced, which rated AVG’s performance a 4.0 out of 6.0. Assuming you’re not spending the majority of your time in the web’s dark alleys, AVG should keep you safe, but there are better options. Free, http://free.avg.com
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