Updated with latest lab-test results. This review was originally published May 4, 2020.

AVG AntiVirus Free offers easy-to-use software and the ability to customize it to run the way you want it to. It doesn’t slow down a computer too much and offers a versatile file shredder.

AVG AntiVirus specs

Malware safety: So-so
System influence, background: Average
System influence, scans: Average
Home windows compatibility: 7 by means of 10
E mail scans: Sure
File shredder: Sure
Recreation/silent mode: Sure
Hardened/safe browser: No
Password supervisor: No
Efficiency scanner: No
Ransomware file reversal: No
Rescue disk: Free obtain
Scan scheduler: Sure
Help choices: FAQs, boards
URL screener: Sure, as a separate free software
Upsell nag issue: Inescapable

However AVG lacks different main options. Its Deep Scan (aka full scan) possibility is among the many slowest we have seen. Its malware safety is not any higher, and typically worse, than that of the built-in Home windows Defender.

If you need a extra full strategy to free safety software program, AVG’s company sibling Avast Free Antivirus affords essentially the most further options, though it has the identical middling malware defenses as AVG.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Version affords higher safety in a bare-bones format, however the true free champion is Kaspersky Safety Cloud Free, which mixes wonderful malware safety, a beneficiant variety of further options and a really small system-performance influence, and is our best choice among the many finest free antivirus packages.

AVG’s mother or father firm, Avast, was within the information in early 2020 for amassing and promoting the anonymized behavioral histories of Avast and AVG software program customers. Avast had all the time made clear what it was doing and let customers decide out, however the unhealthy publicity pressured an finish to the observe.

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Learn on for the remainder of our AVG AntiVirus Free evaluate.

AVG AntiVirus Free: What’s coated and improve choices

AVG AntiVirus Free makes use of the identical malware-scanning know-how as its stablemate Avast Free Antivirus. The software program works with Home windows 7, 8.1 and 10; there’s an older model for Home windows XP and Vista

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

AVG AntiVirus Free has extensive and customizable protection, can block malicious websites and has a file shredder and a trial performance scanner.

AVG’s paid antivirus programs include AVG Internet Security, which costs $80 per year for up to 10 PCs, Macs and Android devices. On Windows, it augments AVG AntiVirus Free’s Windows protections with a firewall, webcam protection, an encrypted file vault, secure folders to protect files from ransomware and a hardened web browser.

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There’s additionally AVG Final, which prices $100 a yr for limitless units and consists of the corporate’s TuneUp efficiency optimizer. Past Home windows, each packages work with Mac OS X 10.10 and Android 5.0 Lollipop or later.

AVG AntiVirus Free: Antivirus safety

AVG’s underlying malware safety, shared amongst all AVG and Avast Home windows antivirus packages, scans recordsdata and reminiscence for identified malware and appears for the early indications of an assault by unknown malware, such because the encryption of key recordsdata.

Something suspicious is uploaded to AVG’s labs for evaluation. Malware-definition updates exit a number of occasions every day to 200 million Avast/AVG software program customers.

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The program ferrets out spyware, spam and phishing attempts; examines email attachments; and blocks known malicious websites. AVG calls its full-system scans “Deep Scans” and its quick scans “Pc Scans,” and either can be started two clicks from the main interface window. 

The scans go pretty quickly, but when they’re done, they present you with all sorts of “superior points” with your PC, including “delicate objects” that are “prime targets for assault,” a vulnerable webcam, a weak firewall and so on. There’s a button to “Resolve Now,” which tries to get you to sign up for paid AVG antivirus programs.

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(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Likewise, the interface tells you that your laptop is slowing down. How might you presumably pace it again up? By subscribing to AVG TuneUp, after all.

AVG AntiVirus Free: Antivirus efficiency

AVG’s malware engine gives enough, however inconsistent, safety. In 26 month-to-month assessments carried out by German lab AV-Take a look at in 2018, 2019 and the start of 2020, AVG detected all malware 12 occasions. That is good. However it additionally detected lower than 99.5% of unknown “zero-day” malware 9 occasions over these two-plus years, which is unhealthy.

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By comparison, Kaspersky, which also makes free antivirus software, and Norton, which doesn’t, got perfect 100% detection rates against both forms of malware in each of the 26 tests.

Among other makers of free antivirus software, Bitdefender missed the 100% mark only three out of 26 times. Windows Defender’s scores were more mixed, but with 16 perfect months, it still did better than AVG. As for Avast, its detection rates were virtually identical to AVG’s.

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In assessments by the Austrian lab AV-Comparatives from February by means of Might 2019, AVG (and Avast) detected a median of 99.2% of “real-life” on-line malware, behind Kaspersky (100%), Bitdefender (99.9%) and Microsoft Home windows Defender (99.6%).

From July to October 2019, Kaspersky stumbled, with a median of solely 99.1%, letting AVG, Avast and Home windows Defender edge previous with 99.3%. Bitdefender led the pack with a 99.7% detection fee. 

In February-March 2020, AVG, Avast and Microsoft all tied at 99.7% Bitdefender was the one taking a dive this time, with 99.5%, whereas Kaspersky acquired 100%.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

London-based SE Labs‘ scores are more nuanced and take account of how an antivirus program handles a piece of malware after detection. 

While AVG’s most recent results are better than previous ones, both AVG and Avast have only just caught up to Microsoft, with 98% total accuracy, and 94% or 95% protection accuracy, in both the July-September and the October-December 2019 quarterly rounds. 

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In January-March 2020, the corporate siblings’ path diverged, with AVG getting 100% protection accuracy and Avast only 95%. But because AVG had a few more false positives, both ended up with the same 98% total accuracy score. Microsoft got 99% total accuracy.

Kaspersky got 100% in both total and protection accuracy in all three rounds. (Bitdefender was not tested.)

AVG AntiVirus Free: Security and privacy features

While it lacks Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition’s webcam protection, Avast’s password manager and Kaspersky Security Cloud Free’s on-screen keyboard, AVG AntiVirus Free includes a powerful file shredder.

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But that is about it. In any other case, AVG AntiVirus Free is fairly bare-bones, and its sibling Avast Free Antivirus appears to get all the good things.

AVG AntiVirus Free: Efficiency and system influence

To examine AVG AntiVirus Free’s influence on system efficiency, we used our customized benchmark take a look at, which measures how lengthy a CPU takes to match 20,000 names and addresses in an Excel spreadsheet.

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We used an Asus X555LA notebook with a 2-GHz Core i3-5005U processor, 6GB of RAM and 59.5GB of files on a 500GB hard drive, running Windows 10 with the latest updates.

Before we installed AntiVirus Free, the computer finished the benchmark task in 13.3 seconds. That completion time rose to 14 seconds after AVG was installed but before a scan was run. That equals a passive performance loss of 5.3%, which is not as good as Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition’s 2.1% loss (or the 0.9% speed boost that Kaspersky provided) but something you’d be hard-pressed to even notice.

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There aren’t any full scans per se with AVG AntiVirus Free, however the Asus laptop computer took 1 hour and 23 minutes to run the closest factor, AVG’s Deep Scan. This makes AVG one of many slowest scanners amongst free antivirus merchandise. Worse but, that scan time does not lower as this system will get to know your system over time.

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CPU efficiency slowed by 7.1% from the background load throughout a Deep Scan and 13% from the preinstallation baseline, based on the Excel benchmark take a look at, which completed in 15 seconds.

That is the second-smallest full-scan influence of all 5 free packages we examined,

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