AVG AntiVirus FREE 2015 review

AVG’s free antivirus package seems to have lost its way in the past few years, focusing too much on upselling to the company’s paid-for products, and too little on ensuring that it’s the best of the free anti-malware tools. Sadly, this is still the case. See also: What is the best free antivirus of 2015?

AVG AntiVirus FREE 2015 review

AVG Antivirus Free (2015) review - main interface

Even during installation the software tries a last-minute bait-and-switch, asking you to choose between installing a free trial of AVG Internet Security, or installing the free product now. Guess which is the default? Meanwhile, every page of the UI features a sizeable advert suggesting that you “maximise your protection” by upgrading to the paid-for suite.

The line-up of features is basic. Firewall and anti-spam are paid-for extras, while the web protection features add AVG Safe Search and an extension – AVG Web TuneUp – to your browser. The former, rather annoyingly, switches the homepage and default search to the AVG Safe Search homepage (powered by Yahoo) without asking.

On the plus side, AVG is a highly configurable package, with options to schedule scans, scan for rootkits and disable notifications or sounds, while the Windows 8-inspired UI looks clean and makes it easy to find your way around.

AVG Antivirus Free (2015) review - scanning

AVG’s biggest problem isn’t overbearing marketing or a lack of features, however, but that its anti-malware protection is behind most rivals. It came second from bottom in our tests for protection and accuracy, only defending against 76% of threats. While this puts it ahead of Microsoft Security Essentials, it incorrectly blocked more legitimate applications along the way.

There’s one other thing to consider: as of 15 October, the company has a new privacy policy attached to its free product. According to the (commendably-clear) policy, it will start to sell usage data from its products – but not “personally-identifiable data” – to third parties. 

AVG also puts more of a burden on your system resources, noticeably slowing down performance in browser-based tasks. This isn’t a disastrous effort, but where AVG once matched the paid-for packages on malware protection, it’s now falling short of the mark. Avast’s free option is the better of the two by some distance.

Download from: free.avg.com

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