AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

AVG AntiVirus Free 2013

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CNET Editors' review

Review:
AVG's updates for 2013 look to the future while struggling to overcome the problems of the past. There's a new interface optimized for Windows 8 that really does make the suite easier to use, and the suite once again tackles its lengthy installation procedure. However, one of the best new features in AVG was actually introduced as a midyear update during 2012.

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

AVG's touted its five-screen installation for several years now. While it's true that the process continues to be short, it's important to call out a few improvements and one glaring snag.

The installer itself now weighs in at 33MB, down from more than 100MB two years ago. The installer also does not require a reboot. This isn't surprising for Windows 8, but even on computers running Windows 7 and older, installing AVG will be reboot-free. Unfortunately, not only do you still have to opt out of AVG's toolbar and SafeSearch if you don't want them, but even when you choose only the toolbar, it commandeers your default location bar search in Firefox. This is, of course, problematic because the toolbar provides some important security options, such as AVG Do Not Track.

AVG loses points as well for force-shutting your browser without warning during installation, and for not adapting the installation options to Windows 8. AVG has retained the small check boxes from previous years, which are difficult to use by touch.

A more customer-friendly approach would be to go for an opt-in process that doesn't move forward until the user makes a decision. After all, this is what AVG does when asking you to choose between AVG Free or a 30-day trial of AVG Internet Security.

Shouldn't we be done with search engine commandeering by now?

Interface
Windows 8 has forced every Windows software maker around to reconsider how its programs look, and that's a good thing. Whether kicking and screaming, or gleefully leaping, software designers are changing how they make their Windows apps, and AVG is no different.

Although the security suite had been using a variation of the same interface for years, the 2013 suite has been overhauled with a new one that embraces large, boldly colored, tile-like buttons that ought to feel at home in Windows 8.

The new main interface lays out AVG's features in a clean, legible manner. The upper right corner has links to Reports, Support, and Options. At first blush, the Options list is overwhelmingly long, but navigating is impressively accurate on a touch screen. It contains direct links to features that are also available behind the tiles that take up most of the interface.

Next on your way down the main screen is a protection status notification in green for safe or red for unsafe, and then there are three rows of tiles. The first row of bright green tiles are links to core security options: Computer, Web Browsing, Identity, E-mails, and Firewall. The second row are blue, and link to AVG's performance optimizer, parental controls, and the backup service LiveKive. Next to LiveKive there's a button for AVG apps, new services that haven't been revealed at the time of writing.

The third row contains two teal buttons, one to commence a scan and one to update virus definition files. If you're running AVG Free, the bottom quarter of the interface is an ad to upgrade to AVG Internet Security 2013. Behind each of the buttons is a deeper dive into its associated functions. Under Computer, for example, you have access to antivirus and antirootkit scans, statistics, and configurations.

The interface is basically highly navigable, except that people with Windows 8 touch screens could find the third level down tricky without a mouse. If you go into Configurations or another deeper settings level, the advanced settings options could still be too small for some people to easily adjust.

Do note that AVG is essentially running a Windows 7 program with Windows 8 dressing. It opens to Desktop mode, and runs in a single window that doesn't take up the full screen. It's possible that there have been under-the-hood improvements that will allow AVG to adapt to a Metro interface easily, but that's not available yet.

Features and support
While the interface is new, and as you'll see below, the performance improvements are stunning, AVG's focus for 2013 has not been to push aggressive new security tech. That's okay. Instead, the focus this year was to bring some tech that exists at competitors to AVG's enormous, 128-million-strong active user base.

When you start AVG for the first time, a window appears over the main interface that promotes links to its new, free 24-7 telephone support; the AVG Android app; and a tutorial on getting started. As one of the best-known names in Windows security, we like that AVG is making it easy for newcomers to get acclimated.

There's a new file reputation system, which AVG also uses in conjunction with its scans to scan dramatically faster than before. Basically, it looks at a file in the order that its bits were saved to disk, not in order of the directory file tree. It may sound hokey, but as the benchmarks below show, it's an effective technique. By cross-referencing that data with what other AVG users are running, AVG is able to create a more effective net for blocking malicious files.

The file reputation is an extension of AVG's "smart scanning," which takes advantage of AVG's behavioral detection network to scan known safe files once, and rescan them only 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 more slowly 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 major change was introduced earlier in the year. AVG's Do Not Track add-on has been folded into the AVG toolbar. AVG's version lacks the nuance of Abine's Do Not Track Plus, making it more of a logger's chainsaw than a surgeon's scalpel, but it's still good to get privacy-protecting tools out to as many people as possible.

AVG offers a wide range of effective tools for keeping your computer safe. Along with the expected antivirus and anti-malware engines, it has rootkit detection and removal; fake antivirus and ransomware blocking; and basic e-mail and identity protection.

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.

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 a download of 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 2013 distinguishes itself by offering a chat link shield, a Wi-Fi guard for open Internet connections, and a download scan for files sent via instant message that looks at all ports, not just port 80. The PC Analyzer option mentioned earlier is also included, and comes without restrictions.

AVG Internet Security 2013 includes all that AVG Anti-Virus 2013 offers, and adds in a firewall and antispam protections.

Performance
After publishing this review, CNET Labs discovered a hardware error on our test computer that affected our published system benchmarks. AVG claims major performance improvements in the 2013 versions, and both CNET's own revised tests and independent labs appear to bear this out.

This year's version leaves a lighter touch on your system than last year's, a big change for the better for AVG.

AVG's boot time impact was not particularly impressive, adding around 15 seconds to our test computer's boot time. Shutdown time was adequate, adding only around three to four seconds, but our new Wake from Sleep test showed our test computer taking much longer to wake from sleep mode with AVG than unprotected.

However, AVG's impact on in-use performance was impressive. Antivirus scans are among the fastest of any suite, free or paid, and on our MS Office test AVG Free was actually significantly faster than an unprotected computer. AVG claims that this is because of how it reads your computer's files. Whatever the cause, it's clear that in some cases, AVG improves in-use system performance.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Wake from sleep Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 47.5 7.8 11.5 n/a 412 124 344 17,116
Average of all tested systems (to date) 52.2 11.4 6.3 1,038 426 125 346 17,327
AVG Anti-Virus Free 2013 64.4 11.1 17.8 554 353 124 342 17,158
AVG Anti-Virus 2013 64.4 12.2 13 889 411 126 345 16,960
AVG Internet Security 2013 63 11.4 15.9 588 405 124 341 17,046

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

Third-party efficacy results haven't been published yet for AVG 2013, but the 2012 suite marks are excellent. In the AV-Test test on Windows 7 from the second quarter of 2012, AVG Internet Security 2012 scored 15 out of 18 overall, a lowish high score. The suite had a 5.5 rating out of 6 in Protection, a 5.0 in Repair, and a 4.5 in Usability. On the same test, AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 scored slightly better with 15.5 out of 18 overall. The suite had a 5.5 rating out of 6 in Protection, a 5.0 in Repair, and a 5.0 in Usability.

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 2012 in the middle of the class, out of 21 suites tested. Looking at Whole Product test results cumulatively from January 2012 to June 2012 shows that AVG came in 13th, blocking 97.7 percent of threats.

When it comes to security, AVG isn't hands-down the best out there. But it is more effective than it used to be, and it's clear that it takes a smaller toll on your system than it used to. Those are big gains for the suite.

Conclusion
AVG Anti-Virus Free continues to offer an excellent if not perfect level of security, and deserves a serious shot at being your go-to suite. If you're unhappy with your current suite because of its impact on your system performance, AVG is worth checking out.

You get a fair number of extras when you pay to upgrade, but it's not essential and really only for people who either feel safer when they pay or want the added bonuses. However, if you're on a Windows Vista or XP computer, you definitely ought to have a firewall upgrade. You could get a free one, but if system resources are a concern, it's worth checking out one that's bolted to a security suite as with AVG's paid suites.

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:

    3.4 stars

    out of 24 votes

    • 5 star: 9
    • 4 star: 6
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 3
    • 1 star: 6
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 24

  • 5.0 stars

    "I CAN'T AFFORD IT."

    October 25, 2012  |   By Deputy108

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    GREAT!!!! I AM A TOTAL AVG SUPPORTER. I TALK A LOT OF PEOPLE INTO GETTING RID OF THERE NORTON AND MCAFEE. BECAUSE THEY HAVE A TENANCY TO TAKE THEIR COMPUTER HOSTAGE BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO BUY THE LATEST VERSION OF THE ANTI-VIRUS. SO NORTON AND MCAFEE TAKES OVER UNTIL THEY DO PURCHASE THE NEWEST VERSION BY NOT ALLOWING THEM TO GET ONLINE OR UNTIL YOU SHELL OUT SOME CASH TO HAVE SOMEONE TAKE IT OFF.

    Cons

    NO CONS FROM ME....

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Works! Thank you!"

    October 25, 2012  |   By CD464

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    No problems. Past user for years until I switched to AVAST a few years ago. Today switched back to AVG and opted for full internet security package with 30 day free trial. The install impressed me as it noted other firewall installed and adjusted itself for installation. Leaves me option to activate AVG at any time in future. Using Windows Vista system bought 5 years ago. No problem with install, running, activating, anything. Thank you AVG!!! It's ready for Windows 8 too but I'm not there yet.

    Cons

    None so far and don't expect any as I was long time user previously.

    Summary

    Excellent program. No complaints. Easy install and use.

    Updated on Oct 25, 2012

    Meant to say leaves option to activate AVG Firewall in future if I want. Doesn't force install their firewall. Smart and much appreciated.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (3) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent Protection! Best Price in Town!"

    October 25, 2012  |   By joelb662

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    Constantly being improved, AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 now works almost completely in the background. In ordinary circumstances I would be concerned, but I have seen the situations (not too many) where AVG has actually snared a worm or a Trojan, and isolated it, while I surfed along my merry way! Leaves one with a very warm feeling that someone is up there looking out for me. Who cares if that someone is in CZ. We have friends there too, apparently!

    Cons

    Not too many. Lately, mainly, it's just that the revisions and improvements are coming so quickly that I seem to be doing an update about once each week. I am happy to be inconvenienced in this way.

    Summary

    Buy it! (It's Free!) Install it! It's automatic (2 clicks) Set your preferences once, and have a nap. That's all there is too it. I am delighted to say I have been using AVG AntiVirus Free for at least the past 5 years, without spending a penny, and I have had only 1 situation where I even came close to having being attacked in such a way that AVG required me to perform operations to remove the problem! I can't express enough gratitude for the peace of mind AVG provides me. And I don't even speak the language! Thank you AVG!!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "always there"

    October 24, 2012  |   By sisterloo

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    I have always trusted Avg free to do the job, and it has.

    Cons

    I know of none

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  • 4.0 stars

    "**********"

    October 24, 2012  |   By BarbaraRomoli

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    **********

    Cons

    **********

    Summary

    **********

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Excellent product"

    October 24, 2012  |   By mscheuerman

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    Easy to install and manage - The price is right

    Cons

    The nagging about upgrading

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Does Everything I Could Want In An Anti-Virus"

    October 23, 2012  |   By Bronzit

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    Does Everything I Could Want In An Anti-Virus

    Cons

    None......

    Summary

    Satisfied after 10+ years of use!

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "quietly works w/updates"

    October 23, 2012  |   By Elliot46

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    Gives simple update notices and reminds when procedures are needed to keep coverage current.

    Cons

    I am disabled/home bound and can not afford to purchase. The free updates are essential for my safety and contact w/friends, family and national/world issues. I greatly appreciate and am blessed to have the coverage that AVG offers to people like myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The pop-ups re: termination of coverage become quite annoying. I know/you know I can not afford to purchase yet have not been able to figure out a way to rid myself of the ever annoying pop up to purchase coverage. PLEASE stop! I am a well educated woman who does not need to be reminded of things I can not afford, but appreciate programs like yours that allow me to at least have some protection. $50 to me is groceries for the month....

    Summary

    I so appreciate the free coverage you offer to people like myself. This enables me to reach the "outside" world. This is essential to both my physical and emotional well being. Chronic illness can be quite isolating and lonely. The free service you provide is, in a few words...a "God send".

    Updated on Oct 23, 2012

    thank you thank you thank you.......

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great Product !"

    October 23, 2012  |   By ___RIP___

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    Extremely fast and thorough scan. Great Firewall, easy to use options with several settings. Able to scan file Avast was not able too and detect issues that block Avast and Nortons.
    Excellent Customer Service and Tech Support !

    Cons

    Paid $9.99 extra to have tech support install it for e. I'm in no way a newbie but found over the years it's best to let them handle it.

    Summary

    I haved used many, many antivirus programs....So far this beat ALL of them hands down. If you are having problems wth the DL contact AVG and they will assist you step by step...Thier customer service is Super Friendly and get straight to the issue...And don't try to up sell you anything !

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Works well no virues yet very happy with the product."

    October 23, 2012  |   By drramsey

    Version: AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 2013.0.2741

    Pros

    No apparent slow down

    Cons

    None so far

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 24

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