AVG Free gives you the bare essentials when it comes to antivirus, but that should be enough for most Windows users. You will get a combined antivirus and antispyware engine, LinkScanner, and realtime e-mail scanning. AVG Free 9 includes a few novel features, with improvements focusing on performance, including claims of much quicker scan and boot times. One additional feature is the Identity Theft Recovery Unit.
Only for users living in the United States, ITRU is a business partnership with Identity Guard which provides “consumer identity theft solutions”, given only from the AVG toolbar in Firefox and Internet Explorer. The interface is practically unchanged from the previous version, and generally it is fairly easy to maneuver.
From the main window, however, you must double click to get any meaningful information on a feature, whether scanning, LinkScanner settings, or updating. Making this into one click would be easier. A scheduling tool automates both scans and updates, while the upgrade banner advertisement at the bottom of the screen can be easily hidden using the Hide Notification button. When starting a scan, an option makes it easy to jump between Slow, Automatic, and Fast scans: faster scans are less comprehensive, so users should take advantage of the scanning preference that is recommended during installation to speed up the initial scan.
A progress meter for regular scans would be desired. Should a virus create a serious problem, AVG Free creates a rescue disk to scan your files in MS-DOS mode. The LinkScanner feature protects you from third-party code stuffing before they load in your browser and for ranking search engine results.
A bit of an annoyance, when you install the optional toolbar, you are commandeered to a new-tab page, which is decidedly inappropriate behavior. The program does not obviously tax your system resources when scanning or otherwise running in the background, although it can be determined that it will significantly slow down your system’s boot time, and cause a slight delay in shutdown time. AVG Free also detects some image files as potentially threatening, when two other scans decided that they were not, presumably false positives. AVG Free may not be the fastest or the most effective free antivirus choice, but it still gets the job done and you are much better off with it.