AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012

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

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2012.0.2180
  • Total Downloads:
    529,638,935
  • Date Added:
    June 12, 2012
  • File Size:
    4.42MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    814,801
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7

Editors' Note: The Download Now link will download an 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

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The bottom line: AVG Free 2012's renewed focus on performance keeps scans zippy, but struggles with slowing down your boot time and too many false positives.

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 view. Two new core security changes will make you safer, too.

Editors' note: Portions of this review are based on CNET's review of AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012.

Installation
We found that the program can go from completed download to ready to use in about 5 minutes.

Last year, AVG cut down the number of installation screens from 13 to 5. This year, the process continues to be short, but savvy users will want to be wary of a few things. First, if you have a browser open when installing, AVG will not warn you before it forces it to close. Second, you are opted-in to AVG's Security Toolbar and the Secure Search default search engine change. Users who opt out of installing the toolbar but want it later will need to rerun the installer to get it.

On the polite side, AVG does not opt you in to an automatic AVG Internet Security trial. By starting from a null position, you are required to actively choose to install AVG Free or the 30-day trial of AVG Internet Security. So this year's install procedure is a bit of a crapshoot, better in some ways than last year, but unchanged in others.

Interface
The changes to AVG's interface in the 2011 version were minor but actually improved usability quite a bit. This year, the tweaks are even less pronounced. There's not much different besides redoing the icons in the main interface so they're easier on your eyes.

There's a one-click Fix button for automatically repairing security breaches that appears at the top along with a yellow 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 is a one-click Scan Now button. There's a clean look to the nav, as well, with bigger fonts and timestamps for the most recent scan and most recent update.

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 2012 includes a couple of solid changes to make you safer. The first is a patent-pending technique for identifying one of the most obnoxious threats to ever reach your computer: the fake antivirus. If you're unfamiliar, these programs purport to be an antivirus, or a Web-based antivirus scan. Once they install on your computer, the only way to get rid of the infection is to "buy" their license. They're also related to the ransomware infections, which don't even bother with the effort to pretend to be an antivirus. AVG 2012 will block both of them.

The LinkScanner tool has been improved to watch out for more dynamic code, which is essential in the security game because threats are mutating at such a rapid rate. Meanwhile, premium users get the new AVG Accelerator option, which optimizes your Internet connection to speed up downloads and rendering. It currently works on two sites: YouTube, and you can see its impact when pausing and unpausing videos; and Download.com binary downloads. The accelerator protocol was developed internally at AVG.

AVG now includes a monitoring tool that automatically warns you when Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer consumes too much memory. Called AVG Advisor and in all of the AVG suites, it opens a small pop-up and asks you if you'd like to restart your browser. There's no way to "force" it to activate, although if you open up a couple dozen tabs, wait a few minutes, and then open another dozen or so, it ought to kick in.

Changes made last year are still relevant. 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.

The 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.

The PC Analyzer 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.

Other features are restricted to users of AVG's paid upgrades. The paid upgrade version of AVG Anti-Virus 2012 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. New in 2012 to premium users is the new AVG Accelerator option, which optimizes your Internet connection to speed up downloads and rendering. It currently works on two sites: YouTube, and you can see its impact when pausing and unpausing videos; and Download.com binary downloads. The accelerator protocol was developed internally at AVG.

AVG Internet Security 2012 includes all that AVG Anti-Virus 2012 offers, and adds in a firewall and antispam protections.

Performance
AVG claims some major performance enhancements in the 2012 versions. Specifically, the company says that it has reduced by 40 percent the size on your hard drive of the virus signature database. That database is a major component of how the program recognizes threats. AVG also stated that the number of running processes that run suite has been reduced from 16 to 11, that it uses 20 percent less memory overall than previous versions, and that it ought to impact your computer's boot time less.

CNET Labs' benchmarks found that, on the whole, it is a faster program than last year's. However, we can't directly compare this year's results to last year's because we upgraded our testing computer from Windows 7 x64 to Windows 7 x64 with Service Pack 1. We can report that AVG's boot time impact was slower than average, ranging from 2 seconds slower than the average suite from AVG Free to 18 seconds slower than average for AVG Anti-Virus. AVG Internet Security was a few seconds slower than AVG Free. This is not unusual for AVG, as it historically has a big impact on startup, but that doesn't mean we don't want to see it get faster.

Shutdown impact continued to be minimal. Security scan times were the third-fastest suite we've seen so far year, though not as good as last year's tied-for-fastest numbers. The impact of the suites on the computer while in use were very similar to last year's--in general, slightly better than average, but not stellar.

Security Program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Average of all tested systems (to date) 64.3 16.6 1,185 418 125 348 17,111
AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 66.3 12 753 411 125 347 17,131
AVG Anti-Virus 2012 82.3 13.7 842 410 124 346 17,026
AVG Internet Security 2012 69.9 11.3 792 416 124 344 17,259

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

In our other tests, it was a bit faster than the median. It's not a big shift from last year, but it's enough to notice that it's moving in the right direction. You're looking at a much slower startup, fast scans, a minimal impact on shutdown, and a midrange hit to general system performance with AVG Free.

Third-party efficacy results haven't been published yet for AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012, but the 2011 suite marks are solid, if not spectacular. In the AV-Test.org test on Windows 7 from the first quarter of 2011, AVG Internet Security 10 (version 2011) scored 13.5 out of 18 overall, a solid midrange score. The suite had a 5.0 rating out of 6 in Protection, a 4.0 in Repair and a 4.5 in Usability.

The second quarter 2011 test, on a Windows XP computer, definitely showed improvement in some areas and regression in others. It scored 13.0 out of 18 overall, also a midrange score. The suite improved in Protection and Repair with a 5.5 rating out of 6 for the former and a 4.5 for the latter, but Usability dropped to 3.5 most likely due to false positives.

The most recent AV-Comparatives.org Whole Product test, which looks at on-demand scanning, retroactive tests, and "real-world" guards including cloud-based protections, puts AVG Internet Security 2011 toward the back of the class, out of 17 suites tested. Looking at Whole Product test results cumulatively from January 2011 to June 2011 found that AVG came in 13th, blocking 95.1 percent of threats. Much of that low score came from bad showings in March and April; by May it was back up in the 96 percent range.

It's fair to conclude that according to these third-party tests, AVG has been moderately effective, with some indications that it's been getting better in recent months. However, since AVG Internet Security and AVG Anti-Virus Free share the same engine, you're getting a strong level of protection at no cost.

Conclusion
A word of caution: We've noted before that the average person is paying more and more attention to performance, and there are far more viable operating system options than ever before. If security is more or less similar, people will be scrutinizing system impact greatly, and adding 30 seconds or more to your boot time has the potential to drive people not just from your security suite, but from your OS, too.

All that said, AVG Anti-Virus Free continues to offer an excellent if not perfect level of security, and is well-worth a serious shot at being your go-to suite.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    2.7

    out of 24 votes

    • 5 star 7
    • 4 star 1
    • 3 star 3
    • 2 star 4
    • 1 star 9
  • All Versions

    4.0

    out of 24592 votes

    • 5 star 11633
    • 4 star 7506
    • 3 star 1853
    • 2 star 998
    • 1 star 2602
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Results 1–10 of 24

1 stars

"This is a virus itself!"

July 04, 2012  |  By sgfdj

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

Free, great for 11 year old MySpace addicted girls.

Cons

I was tricked into installing it with other software. It has installed a toolbar in all my browsers that I cannot get rid of that clutters the interface with ads, useless MySpace smileys, and horrible glittery animated cursors, and hijacks my search providers, runs a process on my computer that wastes memory and CPU that I can not end, and it cannot detect even the most obvious viruses.

Summary

This software is a virus itself. Their advertising is hypocritical, it does not prevent viruses but installs adware on your computer. Wasted hours trying to remove it.

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1 stars

"Changes google search line AFTER removal!"

July 04, 2012  |  By TomCeeEss

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

Sure it's good at what it does, but Avast is still better. Simply tweak Avast so popups only come up 1 second and you won't see their ads.

Cons

Well documented online, they are aware of this problem but haven't fixed it. Anyone who changes my Firefox and doesn't tell me how to change it is not someone I will ever deal with on any level. My Adblock Plus icon vanished and so did Video Download Helper, everything had to be reconfigured.

Summary

Avast rules on every level, is nice to look at and the revolving Avast ball in the tray is cool.

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1 stars

"WARNING!!! This is as bad as ANY virus!!!"

July 04, 2012  |  By cpu_guy_13440

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

I found nothing good about this product. AVG was great 5 years ago, but ABG is now a virus in itself!!!

Cons

This program infects your system as badly as any virus. IT WILL NOT UNINSTALL. It invades your cpu and sets up about 10 or more processes that cannot be turned off. THERE IS NO WAY TO UNINSTALL. This junk program bogged down my system with so much garbage it was unbelievable. It took me hours to figure out how to get this VIRUS off my system DO NOT download this piece of garbage!!!

Summary

DO NOT DOWNLOAD THIS PROGRAM.

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5 stars

""What can i say your the best"."

July 04, 2012  |  By oswald46

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

"Much quicker then most brasers on the market".

Cons

"have not found ant yet".

Summary

"dont know why i went to virgin in the frist place AVG is much better".

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5 stars

"Very good!"

July 03, 2012  |  By davidfsent

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

In love with AVG

Cons

Cannot really find one

Summary

Superb antivirus, looking forward to the 2013 version

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5 stars

"Some people should not be allowed to leave reviews"

July 03, 2012  |  By joefowler50

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

Honestly, some people are to stupid to know the damage that they do, this guy is obviously has limited abilities in installing software but wants to go bad mouth some of the best free stuff out there. Malwarebytes is better at allot of malware type things, but AVG is better at other virus type things. There are certain malware out there that pretty much are very very difficult to stop if you have a novice user at the controls.

Cons

Not really any cons, its free for gods sake

Summary

AVG is a good antivirus for the average user, if you're a risk taker, maybe not. Risk taker means people who go to places that downloads things illegally, or Adults sites, those places are filled with the worst type of malware. I would get professional software then. If you're a risk taker, best bet get a professional software installed beforehand, the biggest difference is the pro software helps stop it before it gets in.

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4 stars

"So far, so good!"

July 02, 2012  |  By tydicea

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

Free, and by all accounts a very capable antivirus to rival many of the paid offerings. Have experienced none of the hogging of system resources trumpeted all over the internet, and no slow down to my pc's functionality. Although there is a slightly longer shutdown time.

Cons

Have had only about 30 hrs, so there is still plenty of time to able to reach a more thorough perspective. My only peeve at this point is that I could not get my Live.com email account configured to be scanned. So far my inquiry about that on AVG's forum has been met with silence.

Summary

For years I have heard how good this antivirus is. Then there was talk about how it had gone down hill, and is now enjoying something of a renaissance again. I never tried AVG before because I'd been quite happy for years with avast! However, I decided to give AVG a go after becoming disillusioned with avast since the advent of v7, and its numerous issues with my pc. I will update this review in the weeks to come with a more informed impression of this venerable product.

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5 stars

"Overall, it's incredible."

June 30, 2012  |  By Nintendork98765

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

It does what it sets out to do extremely well. Not to mention, the search engine that comes with it is a nice little add-on.

Cons

Nothing major, to be honest.

Summary

If you're looking for one of the best anti-virus programs available, give this a try. You won't be disappointed.

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2 stars

"Excellent product ruined by hacking my own browser."

June 30, 2012  |  By hunch2000

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

I've used AVG a number of times in the past. It's a solid AV product.

Cons

Huge issue with AVG installing it's own tool bar and search engine in my web browser (after I opted out). I could tolerate this as so many pieces of software try to install sneak wear on your system during installation - But what is totally unforgivable is the ability to uninstall it. The behavior was very much like a virus and I needed the help of google to learn the necessary browser hacks and a few hours of my life to remove it.

Summary

Great software but with a unforgivable browser hacks.

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2 stars

"** 2 stars"

June 29, 2012  |  By jdwagers

 |  Version: AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 2012.0.2180

Pros

Runs Ok but missed a lot of trash

Cons

cannot find malware

Summary

My wife gets into a lot of junk she likes to sew and they attach malware to her shopping ! AVG does not find it. Malwarebytes Anti- Maleware program found 8 hours after she got off computer 72 malware products that AVG did not even check! Its always trying to sell you something extra which I hate. Malwarebytes took all of it out, haft to run it ever couple days to keep it clean.

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2012.0.2180
Version 2012.0.2180 is a maintenance release.
General
Publisher AVG Technologies USA
Publisher web site http://www.avg.com/
Release Date June 12, 2012
Date Added June 12, 2012
Version 2012.0.2180
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Antivirus Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows
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

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