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Advanced security from AVG

AVG Anti-Virus 9 introduces a few new features, claiming faster scan times, faster boot times, and other under-the-hood improvements.

AVG's most popular product is its free antivirus, but the company also makes two enhanced security suites that are geared for users who don't mind paying for additional protection--as long as it's worthwhile. AVG Anti-Virus 9 introduces a few new features, claiming faster scan times, faster boot times, and other under-the-hood improvements.

Users who've used AVG 8 will find the interface nearly identical, and generally it's easy to use. From the main window, though, you must double-click to get further information on any feature, whether virus scanning, firewall protection, or updating. We'd like to see this streamlined, since there's no reason to click on any of them without wanting more details; it is a spare interface, otherwise. You'll find a full-blown scheduling utility for automating tasks and checking for new definitions as often as you'd like. Other perks include technical support and the ability to run on multiple operating systems. Should a virus create serious system problems, AVG creates a rescue disk to scan your computer in MS-DOS mode. The program doesn't obviously tax your system when scanning or when running in the background. There's also a new identity-theft assistance service, available for free and provided by a third party.

AVG Anti-Virus lacks the firewall, identity protection, antispam, and system tools that come in AVG Internet Security, although it's definitely more robust than AVG Free. In empirical testing, scan times were slower than expected, and the new firewall database proved to have autoapproval problems with some well-known programs. It also detected some image files as threats, when two other scans decided they weren't--we decided these were false positives. AVG might not be the fastest or the most effective available security option, but it still gets the job done and you're better off with it.

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