Pros / AVG Antivirus is free.
Cons / The software slows your computer more than other antivirus software we reviewed.
Verdict / AVG Antivirus is the best free antivirus software we reviewed. It is a good choice if you only need basic malware protection and don’t want to pay for advanced features, or you can use it in tandem with your current antivirus program as a second layer of protection. AVG Antivirus is a good choice if you only need basic malware protection and don’t want to pay for advanced features, or you can use it in tandem with your current antivirus program as a second layer of protection.
AVG Antivirus scored well in our lab tests for malware protection, though it still struggled to stop several viruses, Trojans and rootkits before they started downloading to our computers. Usually it stopped and quarantined malware before it embedded into our system, but there were a few instances when the threat snuck through. During full system scans, AVG Antivirus was able to ultimately find and quarantine these threats, too. One feature we liked about AVG Antivirus FREE is the warning messages noted exactly what the threat was that it blocked and quarantined. This is different from most antivirus software that simply gives a generic warning or block message without giving more details about exactly what it is protecting you from.
This antivirus software doesn’t use browser extensions. It uses pop-up messages to let you know when a site you’re trying to access is malicious. This makes the software easier to use since you don’t have to take extra steps to be protected from online threats. But it also can get annoying to have pop-up messages interrupt your online work, especially since AVG displays a lot of pop-up ads to tempt you to purchase other AVG products. It also means you need to keep a sharp lookout for the pop-up notifications, which are easy to miss if you’re not watching for them.
AVG places infected files in quarantine so you can’t open them until you’ve had a chance to read the warnings and know exactly what’s in them. If the program quarantines a file you know is safe, you can tell the software to return it to your computer before deleting the rest of the threats. We discovered during our tests that some of the quarantined threats weren’t permanently deleted from our system, but rather placed in our computer recycle bin. This is dangerous since there is a possibility for files that are not permanently or securely deleted to accidentally re-infect your computer.
Though it’s a basic PC antivirus program, AVG Antivirus FREE comes with some advanced security tools. One of these is a spam and email filter that scans your incoming email messages to make sure, first, that they aren’t spam messages, and also to ensure there isn’t any malware attached to it, either in the message itself or as an attachment.
AVG doesn’t include a password protector to keep all your login credentials safe. It also doesn’t include a personal firewall or a VPN. Most basic antivirus programs don’t include these, and free programs are especially lacking in extra features. However, if you feel you need these more advanced protections, Avira’s free version offers many of these extra security functions without compromising on malware protection.
AVG runs system performance scans that tell you if there is out-of-date software on your computer or a weak password you can strengthen. If there is a sensitive file you prefer AVG not scan, you can exclude it from the software’s scan preferences.
This free antivirus software has a passive mode, which means it will run as a backup antivirus program to any others you may have installed without prompting you to remove the other programs, including Windows Defender. It automatically knows when it is the secondary mode of security as well as when it needs to step up and perform a lead role. We saw this several times as we tested AVG in our lab and can certainly attest to how well it works both as a backup and as a primary malware detection program.
The tests we performed in Purch Labs, as well as those carried out by independent labs, found that AVG creates a lot of lag that often affects video playback and online gameplay. Other performance tests involved surfing the web, downloading software, sharing files and uploading attachments to email messages while AVG Antivirus ran, and the results were mixed; on average, the test computers were noticeably slower while the program was running.
- Malware Detection & Blocking
- Ease of Use
- Number of Licenses
- Suggested Retail Price
AVG Antivirus FREE does a decent job of protecting your computer from internet attacks. Though some viruses were able to slip in through the browser and infect our computer, AVG was able to find them and quarantine them during a full scan. The software runs in passive made, providing secondary protection if you already have an internet security program installed. This includes Windows Defender. AVG uses more of your computer’s resources than other antivirus programs, and it doesn’t have advanced features like a personal firewall or safe banking tools. However, it’s a good free option that protects your computer from ransomware and other internet threats.