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AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 Download:

AVG AntiVirus Free Edition 2011

VERSION:  Windows 7 / Vista / XP, Single User

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Information Below:  Review, Screenshots

Review of AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011:

AVG AVG is one of the most well-known names amongst free antivirus software. Used by over 110 million users, AVG was once the premier free antivirus program available but has lost ground in recent years to Avast! and Avira. Let's see if AVG has addressed any of its shortcomings with the 2011 version.

1) Installation:  3.5/5

Installation of AVG Free 2011 took 3 minutes and 1 second on our reference system*. The installation process seems slower than other antivirus applications (such as Avast! Free Antivirus) because the AVG Free download you obtain from their website is just a shell. The actual application is only downloaded after you answer some configuration questions. (See Installation Time Comparison Graph)

For instance, AVG attempts to entice to you download and try their commercial AVG Internet Security product free for 30 days. AVG promises you can revert to "Basic Protection" - i.e., the free option - once the 30 days expire. This choice determines which version of the application AVG downloads to your system. Once the application finished downloading, it installed easily, without any reboots.

*Reference Computer: Windows 7 Home Premium running on a Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200, with 3GB of RAM and a 210GB hard drive.

2) Features & Ease of Use:  9.5/10

Users looking for basic antivirus protection on the cheap will be well served by AVG Free 2011, as it contains many of the same features found in its commercial companion. The only difference that's obvious when looking at the interfaces is that AVG Free does not support Online Shield. As AVG explains on its (poorly written) FAQ pages, Online Shield scans file downloads initiated from the Web and through Instant Messaging services, such as Google Chat and Yahoo! Messenger. AVG Free also lacks Anti-Spam and Firewall protections, which are also missing from the commercial version of AVG Anti-Virus 2011 ($34.99); you only get this feature with AVG Internet Security 2011 ($54.99).

AVG 2011 Dashboard:

View More AVG Screenshots

All AVG security features are enabled by default - including a few that users may find surprising. The LinkScanner feature, for example, actively checks Web content for threats. This includes links posted to a user's profile or wall on Facebook and MySpace (but not Twitter?). AVG even goes so far as to append (by default) a message to every Facebook and MySpace link that it has been scanned and approved by AVG Free. Such options can be disabled by going to the Tools menu and selecting Advanced settings..., which provides an extensive (if cluttered) array of configuration options.

Nag Factor: AVG Free 2011 comes affixed with an advertising banner at the bottom of its Dashboard. Users can upgrade to AVG Anti-Virus 2011 to remove the ads.

Additional Features in AVG Anti-Virus 2011 (paid version):

      • AVG Online Shield - allows you to chat, download and share files safely
      • Premium Support - get access to AVG's expert technical support team

3) Virus Scanner:  3.5/5

AVG Free is designed to keep users fully protected out of the box. When it first runs, AVG Free 2011's virus definition database is out of date. Fortunately, AVG Free downloads and installs the latest updates automatically. By default, the application checks for new updates every day between 5pm and 7pm.

AVG Virus Scanner:

View More AVG Screenshots

Speed: On our reference machine (see above), we found that AVG Free 2011 clocked in at scanning 40.2 MB per second. That places AVG as the 3rd fastest free virus scanner, and even slightly faster than AVG's commercial version, which manages 32 MB per second. (See Scan Speed Comparison Graph)

Updates: Like AVG's commercial version, AVG Free 2011 downloads an average of 2.0 updates per day. However, Grisoft (AVG's manufacturer) makes it clear that Free users' virus definition updates are given a lower priority than those for its paid customers. (See Updates Per Day Comparison Graph)

4) Performance Testing:  5.5/10

A good antivirus program should not only prevent viruses and malware from infecting your computer but also not impact the Performance of your computer too much. We run each free antivirus program through a series of Performance Tests to see the impact it has on a standard computer. The results of our testing for AVG Free AntiVirus 2011 are below:

Memory Use: AVG AntiVirus Free 2011 uses 33.3 MB of system memory. #9 ranked program of the 12 antivirus programs we tested this year.

Reboot Time: AVG added 20.6 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #8 ranked program.

Installation Size: AVG Free AntiVirus requires 308 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #8 ranked program.

Initial Scan Speed: AVG scans files the first time at a speed of 40.2 MB/s. #3 ranked program.

Subsequent Scan Speed: AVG performs subsequent scans at a speed of 232.7 MB/s. #1 ranked program.

Initial Application Launch: AVG AntiVirus Free 2011 added 1.435s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #10 ranked program.

Subsequent Application Launch: AVG added 0.077s on average for subsequent web browser launches. #5 ranked program.

File Conversion Time: AVG added 0.74s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #12 ranked program.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a comparative score tallied from the above 8 Antivirus tests. AVG Free AntiVirus scored a total of 48 out of 96 points when compared to the other antivirus programs tested. This placed AVG as the #9 ranked overall free antivirus program we tested this year - similar to its commercial version, AVG's Performance is an issue with both versions.

View graphs of the above Free Antivirus Performance Tests.

5) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection)  11.5/15

The most important function of an antivirus program is to keep your computer free from Viruses and other Malware. Below we'll take a look at some of the industry's top Virus/Malware Detection testing and certification.

a) AV Comparatives is an independent antivirus testing lab in Austria
providing some of the most trusted virus detection tests in the industry. They have 2 major virus/malware tests that they perform. In the On Demand Detection Test last August, AVG received a 2 out of 3 Star rating. In the Proactive Test last May, AVG also received a 2-Star rating.

*Note: AVG pulled their software from the most recent Proactive Test in November due to their belief this test doesn't properly test their Cloud-based technologies. In all, 5 AV vendors boycotted this test including McAfee and Trend Micro.

b) AV-Test is another major antivirus testing lab which is located in Germany. In their recent antivirus testing in 2010, AVG received a 14.5 / 18 score on the Windows 7 platform. In the 2nd set of tests run on Windows XP, AVG received a 12 / 18 score. While on the 3rd test run on Windows Vista, AVG received a score of 13 / 18. All 3 of these scores were good enough to receive AV-Test's Certification level (12 points needed on each test for Certification). Overall, AVG performed well in these tests, however the scores were good, but not great. Despite these tests being run on AVG's Internet Security software, they are useful when evaluating AVG's more basic antivirus program since they test the software's Protection and Repair capabilities against Viruses and Malware.

Win 7: Win XP: Win Vista:
c) Virus Bulletin's VB 100% Certified. AVG passed the most recent VB100 test (December, 2010), and has passed the last 18 tests dating back to August, 2007. The VB 100% award is given to antivirus software that detects all viruses "in the wild."

6) Help & Support:  2.5/5

AVG Free 2011 users get what they pay for in terms of support - which is to say, next to nothing. Free users don't get any direct technical support, or ready access to application updates. AVG Free still ships with a decent local Help file, however. As discussed in our AVG Anti-Virus 2011 review (commercial version), most of AVG's written content is written in substandard English, and is hard to navigate. Fortunately, AVG also provides a free user support forum that sees many posts per day.

»Quick Support Links:

     • AVG Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
     • AVG User Support Forum
     • AVG Application Updates


For years, AVG Free has had a reputation as one of the best free antivirus programs available. AVG Free 2011 upholds that reputation by retaining many of the critical features included in the commercial AVG Anti-Virus 2011, including anti-spyware defenses, website scanning, and active file scanning with Resident Shield. Where AVG loses ground to its rival Avast! Free is in its sub-standard Performance, and poorly written Help Files and overall mediocre support offerings.

Overall Rating: Good    (Total Score: 36 / 50 = 3.5 Stars)

Misc Info:

    • Version Tested:
    • Release Date:
    • Review Date:
    • Last Updated:
June 16, 2011
    • Previous Version:
Version 9.0
    • Other AVG Software:
AVG AntiVirus 2011 (Commercial Version)

Useful Articles:

    • Free vs. Paid AntiVirus Software - Which is right for me?

    • Downloading Software? Follow These Precautions

    • What is a Computer Virus?

    • Viruses, Trojans, Worms, Adware, Spyware and Malware: What's the Difference?

Top 5 Free Antivirus Reviews:

  1) Avast! Free AntiVirus 6 Review - Rating:   Excellent
  2) Avira AntiVir Personal 10 Review - Rating:   Very Good
  3) AVG AntiVirus Free 2011 Review - Rating:   Good
  4) Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Review - Rating:   Good
  5) Panda Cloud AntiVirus Free 1.4 Review - Rating:   Good

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