AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
4.0
out of 24592 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    10.0.1204
  • Total Downloads:
    529,638,935
  • Date Added:
    February 01, 2011
  • File Size:
    4.42MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    814,801
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7

Editors' Note: The Download Now link will download a small installer file to your desktop. Remain online and double-click the installer to proceed with the actual download.
To learn more about AVG products and to ask questions and receive answers from AVG company representatives, please visit CNET's dedicated AVG Forum.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    3.6

    out of 281 votes

    • 5 star 96
    • 4 star 95
    • 3 star 26
    • 2 star 20
    • 1 star 44
  • All Versions

    4.0

    out of 24592 votes

    • 5 star 11633
    • 4 star 7506
    • 3 star 1853
    • 2 star 998
    • 1 star 2602
  • My rating

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    Write review

Results 1–10 of 281

5 stars

"It works! It's free! I'm happy!"

April 09, 2011  |  By bookwormkt

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

Easy to download.
It works.
It's free!
What more can a girl ask for :)

Cons

Haven't foud any yet.

Summary

Dwnloaded quickly and easily. It seems to be working just fine. It's free. Result!

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1 stars

"what is the point?"

April 09, 2011  |  By totaltechphobia

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

Currently all anti virus is lacking in ability to protect you effectively, there are NO pros.

Cons

Con? why, yes it is, why worry about having a program that is not up to speed with the virus writers, most viruses now make it onto your os undetected, they remain hidden from anti virus software.

Summary

They are ALL a con, I am sure that if most of you, who are unsure about some behaviour your pc is exhibiting, (lots of ram being used, cpu running at high usage levels) run a scan with anti virus, you will find nothing
If you ran something like rootkit unhooker THEN ran a scan you would find it picks up infection.
why waste resources running a program that isnt working properly against todays criminal coders.
you know what i do? i never use my microsoft key, every 28days i reinstall the os, simple if i get infected at some point, so what it isnt going to be there long.

Never trust a program enough to believe it when it says your O/s is safe, never bank online no matter how sure you are it is safe.
The bank will be wuick to inform you security is your problem if a theft takes place because your system is compromised, then it is your loss.
Never assume there is not a rootkit or other compromising code on your pc, criminals are very much ahead of the anti virus companies, and until a new way of dealing with virii and hackers is produced they are always going to be a big step ahead..

Buy a hardware firewall, the best security investment you can make for around what two or three years subscription to a "internet security" program/package.
I use peerblock, fantastically simple visual way of seeing what is happening moment to moment and being able to block addresses quickly.

Forget everything else, reinstall your os every four weeks.
it takes 30 minutes. goto ultimatebootcd.com and download a boot cd with the hdd erase tool on it.

It is THE best way to format a drive using the secure erase function which also cleans the host process area of the disk, something NO other type of format ever does.
If a virus is placed into this area of the disk as a typically basic user you will have no access to this part of the disk, a secure erase is the only way to move it, got a virus that keeps coming back? maybe it is on this portion of your hard drive.
remember your pc is not safe, assume it is compromised and trust accordingly.

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3 stars

"It seems adequate"

April 08, 2011  |  By SunniOne0928

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

It was easy to install initially. The interface is easy to use. It's genuinely free!

Cons

My Immunet caught a couple of things that AVG didn't..

Summary

Coupled with Immunet, I feel very safe.

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4 stars

"Anti-Virus"

April 08, 2011  |  By edwardgarfield99

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

Use it to prevent any risks & attacks of the cloying virus. Does what it says it will

Cons

fine fine. Always no errors

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3 stars

"I think the older one performs better"

April 07, 2011  |  By Adamstrong

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

For I have been using it for years, it has enormous of pros, which I cant elaborate here, but under the safety purpose, secured protection for users count the most.

Cons

I know it's free, but doesn't mean I would have no requirement on it. Why cant it ever catch the virus hidden inside the file I downloaded from one of the most popular forums in Asia. and I think it didn't happen during the previous version.

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1 stars

"Just terrible experience"

April 07, 2011  |  By vfalco

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

free, which is still too expensive as far as I'm concerned

Cons

download crashed. won't give me a reg #. Contacted support at AVG and I will copy the entire worthless response in the summary.

Summary

Here's the response I received after my problems. Exactly why would anyone upgrade to a paid version with this level of support.

Dear customer,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Unfortunately we only support the paid version of AVG, we would recommend contacting an independent support specialist to resolve your query.

Best regards,

Alex Garnett
AVG Customer Services
http://www.avg.com

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4 stars

"To be the best"

April 06, 2011  |  By titititi64

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

You have made a very useful program, which is also widely used.

Cons

a good thing

Summary

You can do it better. Keep UP

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5 stars

"It simply works and has done so for many years."

April 06, 2011  |  By john-in-ca

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

It runs in the background, doesn't hog resources, and has successfully protected several of our computers for many years. It automatically updates itself, requiring virtually no user intervention (other than occasionally needing to reboot).

Cons

None. It works and that's that.

Summary

Two thumbs up. Five stars. Three cheers.

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5 stars

"excellent has stopped numerous virus & trojan attempts"

April 06, 2011  |  By 98chaser

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

no need of pc analizer

Cons

updates daily automatically

Summary

works well, free, what more could one ask for

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5 stars

"AVG has come up the ladder slowly but SURELY"

April 06, 2011  |  By mikerholey

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 10.0.1204

Pros

Best anti-virus free or bought

Cons

New version is a loooonnng install

Summary

I've lost 3 hard drives with a bought a/virus and no support +/-6yrs ago
tried AVG Free and never looked back.
AVG Team are the BEST suppot and service

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Results 1–10 of 281

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 10.0.1204
Version 10.0.1204 is a bug-fixing release.
General
Publisher AVG Technologies USA
Publisher web site http://www.avg.com/
Release Date February 01, 2011
Date Added February 01, 2011
Version 10.0.1204
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Antivirus Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows, Windows Vista
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 4.42MB
File Name avg_free_stb_all_2015_5557_cnet.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 529,638,935
Downloads Last Week 814,801
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

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