AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 is a fast, effective and accurate antivirus tool.
Launch the program, though, and what you'll first notice is the new Windows 8-like interface. It's a little plain - if you don't like the look of Windows 8 then this probably won't appeal, either - but we found it easy to use, giving quick access to all the features and functions you need.
Giving your system its first health check is just a matter of clicking the "Scan now" button. This initial optimisation scan takes longer than usual (8:20 on our PC, to check around 680,000 objects), but you should then find that subsequent scans are very much faster (on our system they typically dropped to around 1:20).
We also found the program to be a little more accurate than before, and AVG also say it's also less resource-hungry. It still uses a little more RAM than we'd like, 40MB at a minimum, but otherwise had very little impact on our system performance.
AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 will by default also install the AVG browser toolbar and change your browser search page. This can help your security by highlighting dangerous pages in your search engine results, and blocking ad networks which collect personal information, but if you'd rather the program left your browser alone then that's also possible. Just choose the Custom Install option when installing AVG AntiVirus and you'll be able to choose precisely which features you want, and which you really don't.
On balance, though, AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 is an excellent program, delivering a great deal of protection for precisely no cost at all. Keep in mind that the commercial version does offer more features, though, including the ability to scan your downloads and files shared via instant messaging, so if you want the maximum security then that may be worth considering.