AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011

CNET Editors' review

The bottom line: Although AVG has flagged a little in the past few years, AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 breathes some new life into one of the most popular security programs around with a shorter install, better usability, and faster scans.

Review:
The never-ending mantra chanted by security suite vendors sounds a lot like "faster scans, easier to use, better performance," and AVG has released a new version that it says accomplishes all three. Certainly, the scans are faster, it does install more quickly, and some tweaks to the interface have made it easier to use. However, changes to the engine that powers the detection and removal of threats has made it hard to come to a conclusion until independent labs return their efficacy results later this year.

AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011

Installation
The new AVG Free has sped up its installation process, although it's not as zippy as the minute-long installations that some of AVG's paid competitors offer. We found that the program can go from completed download to ready to use in about 5 minutes. Gains might have been made elsewhere, but a big contributing factor to that is that AVG has cut down the number of install screens users see, from 13 in the previous version to 5 in the 2011 version.

AVG's toolbar is still an opt-out feature. It also will commandeer your default search engine for Yahoo, so if you don't want it to do that, you'll want to uncheck the box that changes your search engine, too. Also unchanged is registration, which is a free process and can be completed from within the AVG interface.

Users who opt out of installing the toolbar but want it later will need to rerun the installer to get that component.

Interface
The changes to AVG's interface in the 2011 version are minor but actually improve usability quite a bit. The top and left navigation sections have been redecorated with light text on a dark background, although the main controls in the center of the window retain their standard black text on a white background. The safety status icon at the top of the interface has been simplified and made larger.

A new one-click Fix button for automatically repairing security breaches appears at the top along with the old red X when your system safety has been compromised. It disappears when your system gets a clean bill of health.

Joining the one-click Update button on the side nav this year is a one-click Scan Now button. There's a cleaner look to the nav, as well, with bigger fonts and timestamps for the most recent scan and most recent update.

For those not familiar with the interface, AVG has placed icons for its security components in a central pane. Double-click on one to access more information and basic configuration settings for each specific tool. Advanced settings are available under Tools on the menu bar at the top of the window.

The new interface changes are small, no doubt, but they do make AVG easier to use.

Features and support
AVG Free has some new protective features this year, too. The software offers what it calls "smart scanning," which leverages AVG's behavioral detection network to scan known safe files once, and only rescan them if it detects changes. As with its competitors, AVG's network is made up of its user base anonymously contributing data up to the cloud. You can choose to opt out of contributing your data when you install, or from the options menu. AVG says opting out won't negatively affect your security.

The never-ending mantra chanted by security suite vendors sounds a lot like "faster scans, easier to use, better performance," and AVG has released a new version of AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 that it says accomplishes all three. Certainly, the scans are faster, it does install more quickly, and some tweaks to the interface have made it easier to use.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The smart scanning tech also gives you a built-in system resource manager that prioritizes scans. If a scan is scheduled to begin while the computer is in use, it will automatically restrict the scan so that it runs slower but doesn't interfere with the computer's other tasks. When it detects the computer idling, it will then allocate more power to the scan. The feature comes with a slider so you can customize how sensitive it is.

Another big improvement has been to AVG LinkScanner. LinkScanner, which comes with AVG Free but is also available as a separate download, now scans links posted on Facebook and MySpace. It adds a green check next to safe links, a red X next to unsafe ones, and adds a notice below the link stating that it's been evaluated by AVG.

Concurrent with this new release, AVG has opened a new Web site called Threat Labs. The site is designed as a click-through landing page for people who want to learn more about the LinkScanner's ratings, but it's also available directly so that non-LinkScanner users can evaluate links on the fly.

Another important new feature is the resource-managing slide at the bottom of the window. Drag it to adjust how big of a burden the scan will be on your system, including the default setting for taking more resources only when your system is idle.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

There's a new desktop gadget for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users that lets them initiate scans and updates with one click, without having to open the full interface. It also contains links to AVG's Twitter and Facebook pages, which the company uses to bolster its support for the free version.

It's potentially big news that AVG Free has made the threat detection engines in the free version identical to its premium-upgrade siblings. This means that AVG Free users won't have to worry about getting a lesser standard of basic security, if it winds up improving the level of security. Independent benchmarks of last year's AVG versions were strong but mixed, scoring highly but not always consistently.

The PC Analyzer option is new this year, and scans your system for Registry and disk errors. It includes a disk defragmenter and a broken-shortcut cleaner, as well. Although the feature is restricted in full to paid users, if you have the free version, the PC Analyzer comes with a one-time offer to clean all errors it finds. It provides a link to download the separate PC Analyzer tool, once the scan is completed. This is an interesting twist on the idea of letting users detect but not repair errors, and it provides more functionality while not affecting the basic security of your computer. However, it's likely that some users will shy away from the extra download.

Although toolbars have long since fallen out of favor with the browser cognoscenti because they decrease stability and slow down browser performance, AVG has said that the toolbar remains a popular feature. Along with the standard option of adding buttons to the toolbar that access your most visited sites, such as Facebook or your banking site, this year's AVG toolbar introduces a button that ties directly into the LinkScanner tech. It lets you know if the page you're on is safe, unsafe, potentially unsafe, or unknown using LinkScanner's color-coded scheme of green, red, yellow, and gray, respectively. Fortunately, the toolbar is not required to get access to the benefits of LinkScanner.

Although toolbars have long since fallen out of favor with the browser cognoscenti because they decrease stability and slow down browser performance, AVG has said that the toolbar remains a popular feature. Along with the standard option of adding buttons to the toolbar that access your most visited sites, such as Facebook or your banking site, this year's AVG toolbar introduces a button that ties directly into the LinkScanner tech. It lets you know if the page you're on is safe, unsafe, potentially unsafe, or unknown using LinkScanner's color-coded scheme of green, red, yellow, and gray, respectively. Fortunately, the toolbar is not required to get access to the benefits of LinkScanner.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Other features are restricted to users of AVG's paid upgrades. The paid upgrade version of AVG Anti-Virus 2011 distinguishes itself by offering chat link shield, a download scan for files sent via instant message that looks at all ports, not just port 80, and telephone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The PC Analyzer option mentioned earlier is also included, and comes without restrictions. AVG Internet Security 2011 includes all that AVG Anti-Virus 2011 offers, and adds in a firewall and antispam protections.

Performance
AVG claims the scans in the new version of AVG Free are three times faster than last year's, and its system performance impact turned out to be about average, once the computer had finished booting. CNET Labs' benchmarks found that AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 had the greatest impact on computer boot time of any security suite we've looked at so far this year, slowing our test computer's start-up by more than 13 seconds. However, it also had the smallest impact on computer shutdown time, adding barely one-third of a second. AVG Free has one of the fastest scan times we've seen yet for 2011 suites, completing its first scan in 548 seconds.

Security Program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 42.5 11.28 n/a 917 180 780 4795
AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 55.24 11.59 548 1039 200 870 4709
AVG Internet Security 2011 56.21 16.3 480 1043 198 820 4759

*All tests measures in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, the higher number is better.

In our other tests, it was a bit slower than the median. MS Office performance, Cinebench, and media multitasking were slightly below average, whereas iTunes decoding was right at the average speed. Overall, you're looking at a much slower start-up, fast scans, a minimal impact on shutdown, and a midrange hit to general system performance with AVG Free.

It's harder to judge the efficacy of AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 because independent tests are only available for the previous years' editions, and the security engine has substantially changed to pull it in line with the engine in the paid upgrades, according to the company. Looking at benchmarks only for the 2010 versions of AVG's paid suites, we can see that they scored higher depending on the test.

In the AV-Test.org test on Windows 7 from the second quarter of 2010, AVG Internet Security 9 (version 2010) scored 14.5 out of 18 overall. Other competitors scored higher, although AVG did earn a 5.5 rating out of 6 in Protection. (It scored a 4 in Repair and a 5 in Usability.) Norton, G-Data Internet Security 2010, and Panda Internet Security 2010 were the only suites to score that high in the Protection category.

With AVG Anti-Virus 9 (version 2010), AV-Comparatives.org found that it could have performed better. In the August 2010 On-demand Detection of Malicious Software test, AVG only earned the rank of Advanced, not Advanced+, with many false positives found, an average scanning speed, and a detection rate of 98.3 percent. The same test from February 2010 saw AVG earn the same rank, with few false positives, an average scanning speed, and a detection rate of 94.2 percent.

For what it's worth, Dennis Technology Labs, a member of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organisation (AMTSO), found in August 2010 that AVG Anti-Virus Free 9 (version 2010) earned an overall protection score of 45 (PDF), below average.

It is AVG's hope that changes to the detection engine in AVG Free will improve its scores, but for right now it's hard to give it the highest rating possible. Still, the efficacy scores are similar to AVG Free's benchmarks: strong in some tests, weaker in others, but with indications that there have been big gains made this year.

Conclusion
Besides the feature limitations of AVG Anti-Virus Free when compared with AVG's paid upgrades, the suite continues to offer an excellent if not perfect level of security as it faces more intense competition from other free and paid security suite makers. Fans of AVG will definitely want to upgrade, and new users should consider it if they're looking for an effective freeware solution with solid link-evaluating features.

AVG Antivirus Free-Protect your PC from viruses and malware.-Download Video Previews:

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.0 stars

    out of 24,502 votes

    • 5 star: 11577
    • 4 star: 7497
    • 3 star: 1850
    • 2 star: 993
    • 1 star: 2585
  • Current version:

    3.3 stars

    out of 289 votes

    • 5 star: 99
    • 4 star: 74
    • 3 star: 20
    • 2 star: 21
    • 1 star: 75
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 289

  • 5.0 stars

    "The antivirus worth downoading"

    January 2, 2011  |   By uporabnik123

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    Anti Rootkit scan
    Same detecting engine as in the Internet Security
    Light on system resources

    Cons

    The PC Tuneup isn't included in Internet Security

    Summary

    Improved a lot, I think it's the best antivirus out there. And it's for free! The free version also includes Anti-Rootkit scan which is great!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 4.0 stars

    "easy to use and not time consuming"

    December 9, 2010  |   By tacmike

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    times are hard and i have no money to spend as i looking for work. Thank you

    Cons

    I can't say there anything i don't like about AVG

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent anti-0virus"

    December 1, 2010  |   By Frans M. Hartanto

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    Efficient and reliable.

    Cons

    Rather difficult to install,

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "I am Always Protected at all times with AVG"

    November 29, 2010  |   By tino2u

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    I LOVE AVG Internet Security its the BEST I have ever had and tried Hands Down..I Thanks AVG......
    MRR <3 <3 <3 AVG

    Cons

    There is NOT ONE thing I DONT LIKE I LOVE EVERYTHING About AVG I mean Everything.

    Summary

    I have tried other Anti Virus programs and with every other I have always got some sort of Malware Virus and computer troubles but when I tried AVG for Free at first before I brought the AVG Internet Security I loved it and my computer was fixed and AVG was the ONLY one that helped me out I thought I had to trash my laptop but thanks to the AVG Rescue disk I was able to do a Clean Install and without that CD from AVG I would of never been able to do this myself and would of spent a lot of money or would of had to buy a New laptop but thanks to AVG Rescue CD I am writting this review with my old Laptop with AVG Internet Security and it works better than ever.
    Thank you AVG for all you do.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "excellent product better than norton anti-virus!!!!"

    November 27, 2010  |   By hell321

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    easy to use
    do not eat alot of your cpu(norton anti-virus eat alot of cpu and ram)
    AVG do not make so colourful program to make our computer super laggy

    Cons

    no comment

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Above-average protection"

    November 27, 2010  |   By Donna Buenaventura

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    Automatic and frequent updates on program, adjustable scan priority, ease and custom install options are great features in AVG Free 2011.

    Cons

    Unnecessary bundling of toolbar and PC Tuneup in the installer since LinkScanner technology works without toolbar. Nag each time you open the user-interface is annoying. Should be reduce to once a day :)

    Summary

    Not bad antivirus program since it's not rogue but it's better if it will provide above 95% of protection against malware.

    Reply to this review

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  • 1.0 stars

    "DO NOT INSTALL"

    November 27, 2010  |   By rick47591

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    Nothing!!!!

    Cons

    It locks up computers using xp, vista, and windows 7.

    Summary

    I'm in the computer repair business and have been doing this for 15 years. I've installed the latest AVG Free 2011 Antivirus in over 400 computers that use xp sp3, vista, and windows 7. Each and everytime I've installed this new avg 2011, the computer locks up within 2 minutes. I've got it to reboot and it continues to lock up these computers. I bought the new avg 2011 and installed it and it too locked up these systems. I've written avg many times and they continue to ignore. I've purchased AVG products in the past and had horrible tech support. They advertise that they will respond within 24-48 hours to which I'm still waiting to hear from them on issues I emailed them several times over 6 months ago. I continue to email them about their 2011 antivirus program and how it locks up all computers I've worked on and also on computers that other techs in my area have worked on as well and as usual, no response from AVG. IMO, avg continues to add more anti-whatevers to their program and many of us do not want their extras...we just want plain old antivirus without all the extras such as antispyware and identity protection. My advice is not to install this new avg 2011 antivirus or their internet escurity. The only problem with this is the other free antivirus solutions are horrible and many of the paid-for antivirus are hard to configure and have pop-ups that can't be turned off.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great anti-virus program. The best in my opinion"

    November 27, 2010  |   By rrhann

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    Lets you know immediately if phising or trojan site is about to happen

    Cons

    There is nothing negativve about AVG

    Summary

    AVG is a great free software edition 2011 as well as past and present. I use it as my first line of defense

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "It's good for windows 7 computer"

    November 26, 2010  |   By cfdownloader22

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    It's compared to the old version of AVG, this is much better.

    Cons

    Slow down computer a while

    Summary

    It's very good.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent........................"

    November 25, 2010  |   By jatin2909

    Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1153

    Pros

    Its simple to use and an excellent free product by AVG.......

    Cons

    Not found against it till now.....

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (2)

Results 1-10 of 289

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