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Keywords: Anti-virus software, malware detection, email scanning
Title: AVG Anti-Virus
The days when people rated anti-virus software on the number of threats that it recognised are now long gone. These days what counts are speed of updates, functionality and unobtrusiveness. In all of these AVG Anti-Virus, from Grisoft, scores highly. What is particularly impressive is that the software and updates come in a fully-functional free edition for home users.
Download and installation is straightforward. Point your browser at the Grisoft web-site (http://www.grisoft.com), select the particular product you want and then download. The product comes in a wide-variety of flavours, covering workstation and server editions - including a Linux server version - with both personal and site licences available. The free for home use version can be downloaded from here http://free.grisoft.com/. The remainder of this review covers the free edition, which is for Windows only.
Installation is simple, double-click on the downloaded exe and then follow the on-screen instructions. Where previous version of AVG required a licence key to be applied for, version 7.0 generates a valid licence during the installation. Once up and running the software will prompt to download updates and then it's done. Note that the initial set of updates include both software and signature files. In practice updates are issued pretty much every day or two and the software itself is often updated along with the virus database.
In use the software is fairly unobtrusive and unlike some commercial offerings seems to co-exist with other packages, including firewalls and other security software, very well. While it's possible to set a timetable for collecting updates, the free version is missing the ability to set up user-defined test profiles and schedules. However the default scan options are comprehensive and provide enough protection for the average home user. If your requirements are more complex than the Professional edition can be trialled for 30-days. Note also that the free version does not include 24x7 technical support.
The software includes mail scanning, so that incoming and out-going mail is automatically scanned. By default a message is tagged on to each message certifying that it has been scanned, however this is configurable and can be removed (though if you're using a free product it seems only fair to allow Grisoft to indicate that their software is being used).
Documentation is good, with useful online help and a downloadable manual in PDF form. This even includes instructions on how to which settings to use when using AVG with a number of software firewalls (Kerio, ZoneAlarm and the Windows XP firewall).
To conclude, AVG is a fine piece of software which works well, comes with good support and is able to scale easily from the free home user edition right through to multi-site and server editions. Highly recommended.