AVG Antivirus began life as Anti-Virus Guard, but this was later abbreviated to AVG. AVG is an antivirus produced by AVG technologies and is currently owned by Avast Software. The antivirus was developed in 1992 in the Czech Republic.
It was launched in Germany and the UK in 1997 and introduced later in the US in 1998. The main aim of introducing the AVG free version was a marketing strategy to create an awareness of the AVG product.
In 2006, Ewido Networks – an anti-spyware group – was acquired by AVG technologies. This allowed AVG to expand its service offerings to include anti-spyware. Additional acquisitions followed further expanding the services available:
- 2007 of XPL (Exploit Prevention Lab) led to the incorporation of XPL’s LinkScanner safe search and surf technology.
- 2009’s Sana Security acquisition allowed AVG to incorporate identity theft features into the product.
In this article, we’re going to look at the features, protection capabilities, advantages, and disadvantages of AVG. We are also going to give you some recommendations on why, when and if you should use AVG free antivirus.
Before we look at the AVG free antivirus, let’s look at what the paid versions of AVG offer that is not available on the free version.
With the paid version of AVG, you get internet security for an unlimited number of devices – usually $70 per year for the AVG internet security. This version also offers better webcam and anti-ransomware protection plus a mobile app version.
A more expensive version is the AVG ultimate package that goes for $100 a year on unlimited devices. This provides:
- extra file encryption,
- disk cleaner,
- remote system lock & unlock feature,
- email protection, and
- startup optimizer.
AVG free antivirus can work on all Windows operating systems from Windows XP, Windows Vista through to Windows 10. Capabilities range from the scanning of potentially harmful programs to blocking them entirely. Apart from protection AVG free antivirus also offers a performance optimizer and a file shredder. The file shredder is quite useful in removing all your unwanted photos from a device.
The malware detection technology of AVG is shared with its sister company Avast. AVG still retains its interface and unique feel and look.
Just like Avast, the detection engine operates by comparing programs with malware signatures in its library database. The engine also detects suspicious programs and uploads them to the AVG lab where the program is analyzed, and reports are sent back. If an application is found to be a virus, it is added to the virus signature database and tracked appropriately for all subscribers.
The free version doesn’t offer much protection against ransomware other than monitoring. It does, however, offers protection against spyware and email attachments.
AVG has a host of features that help recommend it. Here are some of the most significant selling points.
AVG anti-virus comes at no cost unlike the AVG internet protection and AVG ultimate. Even though the latter two offer extra features that are not available on the free version, it is a worthy alternative for basic protection. Especially considering it comes at zero cost.
This feature allows you to schedule when to perform a quick scan on your computer (daily, weekly or monthly). It also allows you to set when not to scan – for instance, when running on battery power. You can also further personalize it to pause at the beginning of battery mode and even turn off your computer when scanning is done.
Antivirus and Antispyware Engines
The AVG free antivirus has fully functional antispyware and antivirus engines for detection and subsequent removal or containment of the malware.
The AVG free antivirus has the LinkScanner feature that scans links to websites that contain malware or are suspicious and blocks your device from accessing those websites.
AVG free antivirus can be used on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10 and Mac OS. This makes it highly compatible since most PCs run on those operating systems.
This feature scans emails for malicious attachments and blocks the computer from downloading them.
The AVG lab keeps adding new virus and malware signatures to its database library on a daily basis. More clients keep sending suspicious programs and some of these programs after analysis are found to be harmful. A well-updated software has all the latest signatures hence enabling it to detect more harmful programs in your computer. This feature automatically updates your antivirus to ensure it has all the latest malware signatures in its database.
This feature allows you to exclude certain files and folders from the directories you want to be scanned. This feature can be used to protect files and folders that are erroneously detected as malicious by the antivirus.
Advantages of AVG free antivirus
Here are some benefits of AVG free antivirus over other antivirus and the paid versions of AVG.
- Zero cost – unlike the AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate, the AVG free antivirus comes at no cost.
- User-friendly interface – the AVG interface is simple to use and pleasing to the eye with its dark background and white and green font.
- Offers the most crucial protection features – through one misses out on features such as anti-ransomware protection and webcam protection, the very basic protection one needs on their PC are offered at no cost. This includes scanning for potentially harmful programs, blocking harmful programs from entering your device, performance, and file shredder.
- It is easy to install and run – simply launch the installer, and it will automatically download files from the internet. You can only install when the computer is connected to the internet though.
- It is easy to switch from the free version to the paid versions.
- It requires minimum system resources hence ideal for home computer use.
Disadvantages of AVG Free Antivirus
- No comprehensive protection – though offering basic protection at no cost, the user misses out on strong firewall protection and other features such as anti-ransomware, webcam protection, extra file encryption, disk cleaner, remote system lock & unlock feature, email protection, and startup optimizer.
- Upgrade prompts always popping up.
AVG Free antivirus is generally easy to use, with low system requirements. The software offers you above average protection from malware, and the interface is appealing to the eye. You, however, miss out on some features such as extra file encryption, startup optimizer, anti-ransomware, webcam protection, and others.
Despite this, you still get a pretty good quality normal everyday protection at no cost.
Unless you’re using your device for high-security jobs or feel your device is very likely to be targeted by scammers and schemers, AVG free antivirus is a decent antivirus for you. It is best suited for a home computer. The good thing about it is you can easily upgrade to AVG Internet Protection or AVG Ultimate in case you decide to change the way you use your computer and the kind of data you save on it.