AVG Antivirus Free 2015 / 2016 review

AVG hit the IT headlines recently with the clearly stated privacy policy that it would share some personal and non-personal data about the customers of its free antivirus product with third parties – read advertisers. While lots of products do this, unless you specifically opt out, there’s something particularly onerous about an internet security product, even a free one, taking such a liberal view of your computer privacy. (See also: Best internet security software 2015 UK.)

AVG’s download procedure can also be quite confusing and if you’re not careful you can end up with a trial of the full program, rather than the free version.

The new AVG Free includes AVG’s Zen application, which can show you the status of all your devices running the software and handle installation of the software on them. AVG Free is available for PC, Mac and Android, so this management app can be a useful tool.

AVG Antivirus Free 2015 2016

The control screens are all slate grey with good, big tiles on the home window, leading off to the main modules of the suite. AVG offers manual and scheduled AV scans, LinkScanner to check against browsing to dodgy sites, identity protection – checking for apps stealing personal details – and an email scanner looking for damaging attachments.

The firewall, data safe and spam filter are left for the commercial Pro version, though AVG does supply a PC Analyser which looks at the state of your registry, junk files, fragmentation and broken Web shortcuts. You only get one free fix, though, before having to pay.

AVG Antivirus Free 2015 / 2016 review: Performance

Whether it’s more efficient or just uses different algorithms, a scan of our 50GB file basket took less than some others, at 48 minutes and looked at 236,058 files, with a repeat checking just 13,978 in under 5 minutes. This indicates a good level of file marking, so it doesn’t waste time by rechecking unchanged files. You can set the scanner to high or low speed or leave it to dynamically allocate resources, depending on other PC activity.

Running a full scan while copying a 1GB file only increased the copy time by 4 seconds, a 9 percent increase, which indicates a very low resource hit to the system. This doesn’t tie up with AV-Test’s Performance result, which is a more comprehensive suite of tests. They scored AVG at 4.5/6.0, as it matched the industry standard performance drop of 3s, behind products like Avira, where we measured a much more noticeable performance drop off.

The Protection score from AV-Test also fell back half a point, with an average of 99.5 percent in both widespread and zero day threats. This is still a pretty good level of protection, of course, but a single slipup can still cause a lot of anguish.

The Usability score was a perfect 6.0/6.0, as the software gave no false warnings or blockages of legitimate software under any of the scenarios that were tested. This gives an overall score for the product of 16.0/18.0, a very good result.

AVG Free Antivirus 2016: Specs

  • Requires: Windows XP SP2 32-bit/Vista/7/8/10 all 32/64 bit, 1GB memory
  • Requires: Windows XP SP2 32-bit/Vista/7/8/10 all 32/64 bit, 1GB memory

OUR VERDICT

AVG Free continues to be one of the best free antivirus programs you can download. It offers a good selection of key protections, though you do have to be careful to install the right product.

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