back to article AVG revamps free security scanner

AVG Technologies plans to release a revamped version of its popular, free anti-malware scanner on Thursday. Version 8.0 of the software will add anti-spyware and safe search features to its core anti-virus engine. Safe surfing features, that give users warnings about visiting insecure websites all the time not just when they …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    We love you Grisoft

    Makes my life easier setting up security tools that use little memory and work well. I normally do work around where I live fixing computers to get me through college. In fact alot of the work I end up doing is removing norton from computers that should not be running them at all. These are machines that have 512mb memory and in more desperate cases 256mb. You tell them they need to upgrade the memory but most are too tight to spend an extra 30 bucks. Anyway grisoft tools just work, doesn't eat ram like popcorn and regular updates.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    When Free isn't always Free.

    I think you should remember the AVG license

    "AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single computer use only. The use of AVG Free within any organization or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited."

    My legal people have told me that this basically means at home for my own use and not in conjunction with any activity that could result in payment. If I was a freelancer and was using the AVG on my laptop while working on a contract then it could be seen as commercial.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sounds good, but...

    ....just as long as these features don't add any bloat.

    AVG has always been the most unintrusive, fast, and troublefree virus scanner i've ever used, its a nightmare having to use McAfee in work (pile of system destroying shite it is).

    So lets keep it light guys. Just wish i could convince our Enterprise to switch to it.

  4. Gary F
    Thumb Up

    AVG really is the best

    Agreed. I don't know why people bother with Macafee or Norton as it's just bloatware that guzzles up resources. It's rare to have something that's free, better, and faster than a paid-for product and as a user of AVG for the last 6 years I recommend it to everyone.

    Of course I paid for licences to run on servers (the free version detects a server OS and will refuse to install) and I did so because I totally trust it to do a good job with a smaller footprint, reliable and very regular updates, and still pretty cheap. At renewal I paid around £80 for 5 licenses for 2 years!

    Sorry, I had to praise Grisoft publicly. I owe them that for such a great, FREE, product. I just hope the new version doesn't turn out to be bloaty. That would be a killer.

  5. John Beardon

    Quite Agree with 'Anonymous Coward'

    I agree that Norton and to a lesser extent McAfee products are both memory hungry and inefficient. I support SME's on a daily basis and have on frequent occasions HAD to remove Norton because it was actually getting in the way of removing a virus infestation. AVG (paid versions for business use) has removed the viruses that Norton could not deal with 100% of the time. It's a shame that so many large PC maufacturers install the trial version of Norton, making less techy users think that they have to use it. Microsoft have paid millions for doing lesser (media player bundled in Europe).

  6. Peter Ford

    For really free AV...

    You could always use ClamAV, or its Windows flavour, ClamWin

    Free as in beer, as well as speech, for servers, home, anything.

    'course you could always send them a donation...

  7. Owen Milton


    From the sounds of it, this is bundling some of the anti-spyware and other small apps into the main scanner, I've been running them all separately and can claim they are not bloatware. To my experience they are just as smooth and small footprint as the other AVG apps. In fact the *only* annoyance I have with it is the fact that my system tray is full of icons for the various Grisoft apps, which this new version should reduce to a nice single icon.

    Apart from that, I'd volunteer that like others on here the first thing I do when someone asks me to "fix" their home computer is remove Norton and install AVG. Smaller, faster, more likely to catch things (IMHO) AND it's not a "big name" that is usually targeted by attacks as something to bypass.

  8. Keith Williams
    Thumb Up

    AVG Free - hurrah!

    I have long used and recommended AVG Free. Why pay for bloatware when you can get good stuff for free? I recommended it to 2 of my coworkers today.

    An excellent product.

  9. Donn Bly

    AVG isn't all that great

    AVG is fine as long as you don't have a problem, but when you do, forget it. The hassle just isn't worth it.

    I have personally documented and reported cases of "false-positives" to Grisoft. Do they fix it? No. They won't even commit to working with someone outside of their company to identify the problem. Lately I can't even get them to even acknowledge email messages.

    Instead, Grisoft is happy to mark some websites that use javascript to do things such as obfuscate email addresses to protect against spammers as distributors of virus and malware, probably because they can then say "see, our stuff caught it and our competitor didn't". Never mind that the reason the competitor didn't catch it was because it wasn't malware.....

  10. Eddie Johnson

    Psssst..... can you keep a secret?

    I love AVG too, but once you turn the whole world onto it all they will do is jack the price and screw the user. Checked out Ad-aware or Kerio firewall lately?

  11. b166er


    Useful in a corporate environment, but it slows my search results down quite considerably. Also, if you're rolling it out to your network with AVG Admin, remember to uncheck the 'install Yahoo searchbar' !

    Other than that, it's a nice new interface, and having all tools in one is a good thing. Off to watch Liverpool beat Chelsea ;p ..... Again!

  12. Jason Harvey
    Thumb Down

    RE: For really free AV...

    no real-time scanning though. Does work well for clean-up, but won't catch stuff before it can infect you.


    "Please note that ClamWin Free Antivirus does not include an on-access real-time scanner. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware."

  13. marc

    Just give us a choice...!

    Yeah I use AVG Pro. Great piece of kit. As long as the new stuff is all optional (e.g. I might want to keep Windows Defender and Zone Alarm separate)

  14. Grant

    @ Peter Ford

    It says this for the Windows version and last time i tried it it wasn't a patch on AVG.

    "Please note that ClamWin Free Antivirus does not include an on-access real-time scanner. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware."

  15. Philip Cheeseman

    AVG helps me smile

    Whenever I see a PC running Symatec or McAfee it makes me smile knowing I have a far better free product.

  16. Kernel Panic

    AVG 8 Bloat?....

    I'm trialing the AVG 8 Corporate Edition (AVG Anti-Virus Network Edition) before roll-out to the rest of our desktops, - 8 processes, 2 services, all running as system except for the tray icon, less than 120Mb memory in use when idling and 200Mb peak on an XP Pro; to be honest it's only when you have differences of opinion with the firewall component that the situation begins to resemble wrestling a bag of live eels - that said on my test machine i'm doing a lot of downloading and add & remove; Hope 8-Free wont go the same way as I've been proud and confident of recommending 7-Free to home clients for quite some time

  17. Chris Duncan

    More praise for AVG

    AVG is brilliant.

    So many times I've un-installed Norton from other peoples computers in order to get a computer to actually work. I remember when Norton used to be good - that was quite a few years ago! When Norton is already installed on a machine, people rarely take it off, but it is often one of the big reasons a computer is running slow.

    AVG on the other hand is no resource hog, is better at detecting viruses (according to various independent tests I have read over the last x number of years) and is free for a non-commercial, home user. The free AVG Anti-spyware is also good, I can't wait to see them integrated.

  18. Colin Wilson
    Paris Hilton

    has AVG improved over the last 12 months or so ?

    I used to get called in to fix a lot of infected machines by colleagues / friends etc, and every single machine I looked at that had AVG installed had at least two active viruses in memory.

    My first scan on any AVG or Norton "protected" machine would be to run Sysclean from Trend Micro prior to sorting out any other issues !

    Personally, I use Avast now (did have the free Kaspersky installed from the AOL offer), and for people who want to be really paranoid, I install Avira. is always a handy point of reference :-)

    Paris, because i'm sure she'll have caught a few nasty things in her time !

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC1 (re selectively free)

    It is also unfriendly towards windows 2003.

    I guess their reasoning is something along "you could not possibly run 2k3 at home for non-commercial use only" (how wrong, w2k3 is the nicest desktop windos i ever had).

    It's simple. If you run w2k3, you are supposed to use no AV, ClamWin or pay though the nose (try even finding a boxed AV that allows 2k3, i checked around a dozen and none seems to..)

    Funnily enough they have no problem running their free anti-spyware on it.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @When Free isn't always Free

    Re: "My legal people have told me that this basically means at home for my own use and not in conjunction with any activity that could result in payment. If I was a freelancer and was using the AVG on my laptop while working on a contract then it could be seen as commercial."

    You needed legal people to tell you that? Wow.

    They have one of the nicest possible trust-based licensing schemes out there, plus we are all agreed they have a great product.

    It would be nice to think you weren't stiffing them with your high-powered freelancing antics, because you seem like the kind of guy who could afford £39.99.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Another AVG fan

    Another thumbs-up for AVG, and a heart-felt "me-too" about it staying lightweight, unintrusive and unbloated.

    More than any other single issue, that is the curse of all the other "big-name" AV software; Norton and co. are notorious for breaking e.g. cygwin applications with their poorly-coded not-as-transparent-as-they-should-be OS hooks. Not to mention the way that when you try and uninstall them they generally shatter into millions of tiny fragments that stay scattered around your hard drive and registry.

    Oh, and after using it at home for years, I took the opportunity to get it in for the enterprise AV at my workplace when the decision fell to me. You can't get a better recommendation than personal experience of years of trouble-free usage; the free version totally won them that sale.

    Grisoft, keep doing exactly what you're doing - you're doing it right!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    AVG 8 works with Vista SP1, apparently

    A quick Google search suggests AVG 8 works fine with Vista SP1 - which is a relief. I use AVG Free 7.5 and had heard of compatibility problems with Vista SP1 - so I wasn't looking forward to the Windows auto-update. One less thing to worry about now...

  23. Rick Leeming
    Thumb Up

    Nice of them!

    I'm rather impressed. I was getting the impression that AVG 8.0 Wasn't going as a free product. The Paid for version has been around for a while, and I just assumed they would leave 7.5 as the free option. I'm running Sophos on one of my machines, but the others are just running AVG free. I've had too much exposure to McAfee and Norton to ever like them, just hoping that they don't let it get too bloated!

  24. Aubry Thonon

    Partial praises

    I *was* a big fan of AVG free edition... until I installed a 1TB hard-drive. AVG Free doesn't allow you to specify which HDD/Directory to scan and which to leave alone, and this resulted in scans taking well over 24-hours. To add insult to injury, AVG doesn't check to see if a scan is already running before launching a new one - so by day 5 I had 4 separate scans running in the background doing horrible things to my HDD access.

    Since I already had a multi-PC license for ZoneAlarm I dropped AVG; so unless the new version of AVG Free allows for scan-target selection, I won't be loading it back on my PC.

  25. Gary F

    @Jason Harvey - it does real time!

    AVG Free does realtime file and memory detection of viruses. You do not need to do a file scan for it to detect (most) viruses. e.g. if you browse into a directory on your computer and a file just happens to have a virus then AVG will warn you. Or if you visit a nasty website containing a virus/trojan, AVG will again warn you.

  26. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    ... and another AVG fan

    My company used to run AVG, until we where bought by a bigger company. This bigger company didn't like AVG, but nobody told us why (AVG being one the cheapest, more effective antivirus in the market). So we ended using McAfee. Since then, we have been afected by viruses, trojans and a endless stream of problems. Meanwhile, I have continued to use AVG at home and any time I bring a USB drive, AVG detects a virus or something which McAfee (fully patched and updated) just didn't see. This way I have "discovered" several strains of malware that have been sent to McAfee to get an "extra.dat" to try to keep my machines (200) clean.

    So, in trying to be clean, I ended using AVG to do the work for McAfee researchers.

  27. David


    How much people will complain about a free AV that lets the occasional virus slip through, considering that Norton amounts to nothing but ransomware when it's preinstalled as a trial. I've never had an infection slip past AVG unless I have _intentionally_ turned it off. I use AVG, ZoneAlarm and Ad Aware, and my system is spotless.

    Complain all you want, it's free, and it works. If you want to waste $69.99 on the Norton crap or McAfee crap, be my guest. Until AVG decides I have to pay for basic AV protection, I'll keep using their software. Security shouldn't cost you your left testicle.

  28. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    I don't just love it, I sell it

    I was turned on to AVG back with v6 Free. I was using it and one day it picked up a virus on El Reg! Well, actually a virus in the third-party ad server. After that, I was pretty much sold as Norton was getting WAYYYY too bloated and cumbersome, and I had already ditched McAfee after watching it eat two computers.

    I signed up and have maintained my level as a Gold Authorized Reseller since 2003. All of my managed sites use it and love it. And I always get good feedback from new customers.

    And to the chap saying that AVG won't remove false positives, I have never had such a problem. Over the past five years I have run into only five false-positives, each caught by heuristics, and each one dealt with swiftly and within two AVI releases.

    It's been fun to be a part of this product as it has matured over the years. I've watched the program gain more features without a bloated foot-print, and I've watched the Network Edition admin console develop into a very powerful utility. I've watched as the product line has streamlined and added much needed offerings, especially for SBS.

    Paris, because given the chance, AVG could keep her clean, too!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    @Why free isnt always free: If you're using your computer at home, as a freelancer, then you're probably writing it off with your accountant, and therefore it is a business tool, (you are making money right?) so what gives you the impression you should be allowed to use AVG free? If you work at home then it's your place of work so no you caqnt use the software for free. But you could write it off too. I don't see why you'd whinge abuot that unless you're an idiot.

    @For really free AV: Can ClamWin keep up with new AV def files like the big boys can??? I don't want it if I'm not confident it will protect me from 0 day threats. How can you be sure? Or are you just here to push OSS like the rest of the penguins?

    @Eddie Johnson: Couldn't agree more. Let's hope they don't go to much over 70 million users worldwide!?!

  30. Ben Rose

    The Future...

    I think these "free" AV people like Avast and AVG are onto a real window.

    Currently they are being used a lot by IT professionals who are slowly going up the ladder trying to get their boss to buy the enterprise version.

    In 10-20yrs, these people will BE the boss and make the choice for themselves. It's at this point that McAfee/Norton shares will not be the ones to have.

    Penguin - Because the same guys may be buying Linux instead of Windows too.

  31. Risky
    Thumb Up

    Another fan

    The big name ransomware security packages that come preinstalled are resource horrors. I used AVG for many years but recently switched to Avast on my home machines as I wanted something for WHS.

    I still recommend AVG to to others and use it for the in-laws machines.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ClamWin isn't as limted as some people think

    @ Jason Harvey and Grant:

    There are a couple of Firefox extensions that will fire up ClamWin and scan files that you download without any user intervention. I use the SafeDownload extension and it will scan any file with any anti-crapware application/s I choose.

    @ AC: IIRC, ClamWin/ClamAV gets its definitions from one of the larger AV outfits in exchange for access to ClamAV's Linux features. I have ClamWin set to d/l updates daily at midday and also at logon and there are usually updates up for grabs. Anyway, relying on one single app for malware detection is, er, less than ideal.

  33. Wize

    Don't forget the popups

    A few people (myself included) have had popup messages originating from AVG itself trying to get me to upgrade from the free version. Its not every time it checks for a new definition file, just occasionally

    I still like the product, but if they are going to start pestering with upgrade popups, people will walk. I'll be looking for another free AV or pay for one, but not the one that's p**sed me off with popups.

  34. Paul Irving

    Norton? Bah! Gimme AVG.

    I had it some years ago. "Upgraded" it and lost my internet connection. Eventually discovered that the upgrade made it incompatible with my old Win98. Nortons recommended fix was to change my O/S, & Microsoft recommended removing Norton. I followed the latter advice.

    My current PC came with another AV pre-installed, which seemed fine for a while, then one day, after it had downloaded an update, it started blocking my internet connection. I reversed the update, & it worked - but wouldn't update its virus database unless I re-installed the update.. Their helpdesk wanted me to do about half a days work collecting evidence before they'd even look at the problem. At any reasonable valuation of my time, I was better off buying something else, so I told them that (they didn't seem to get it) - and while considering what to buy, I installed AVG, on the reccomendation of a friend. Still using it. I occasionally scan my PC with it & other tools, but so far, I've found only the viruses (3 last time) it's caught & quarantined. No false positives, no sign of it clagging up the PC, & nothing has got past it yet.

    AVG? I love it.

  35. EJ

    @When Free isn't always Free.

    If you expect the people churning out AVG to work for free while you work, but you want to keep in line with the license, there's a very simple solution: impose your expectations on yourself - do your freelance work for free, too! Tada - problem solved.

    @Don't forget the popups - so you won't pony up for AVG, but you'll pony up for another product that hasn't been gracious enough to allow you free use for awhile? Freetard logic strikes again!

  36. Wize
    Thumb Up

    For EJ

    I dislike popups that much that I would not give my money to a company that forced me away from what was a nice package, by stealthily adding popups. Or any company that advertises with popups. Nasty things.

    Although, these days, I don't know if someone advertises on the net with popups unless I'm using someone else's PC.

  37. Doug Lynn

    AVG Rules!!!

    Hi, used all the AV programs, Norton is bloatware and is almost impossible to remove without special Norton program which is hard to find. AVG for the home user is great and glad to hear they are adding free spyware protection. I use Network version at my business,

  38. Anonymous Coward

    glad to hear this

    I have used AVG many times in the past, loaded on both my own and neighbor's home computers. It worked ok which was more than I could say for Norton bloatware. My last episode with Norton was when I had updated my license with them for a year and a month later one of their own downloads killed it. Norton's sure-fire answer was always...just uninstall it and re-install it. Yeah, mate; if your uninstall EVER worked right (which it didn't). I've never seen a more shite piece of software then theirs...they don't remove files; they don't remove shortcuts; they don't remove directory entries. A manual cleaning of the sytem still won't find all of their non-named directory key entries so their POS software won't reinstall. I used NOD32 for a while until I bought the complete zonealarm package. NOD were good folks and even gave me a next-day email back when I wasn't even a paying customer....

  39. Daniel Warner

    How about PC Tools AV?

    I too dislike so-called 'free' products that use their free-ness to try and sell their paid-for products using intrusive pop-ups. I used to use AVG until it started nagging me so much it got on my nerves. I switched to Avira until they too got even worse. I now use PC Tools anti-virus ( on all my secondary systems and on customer's machines and it works a treat, the only indication that it isn't a paid for product is a fairly inocuous 'Upgrade' button and the fact it won't update as automatically as the paid for version. A great app from a company that knows what they are doing (They are the guys behind the excellent Spyware Doctor after all)

    Just so you don't think I'm a free-loader, I have Kaspersky on my main PC that I paid for, and am considering switching to Eset's new 'Smart Security' when my license runs out.

    As everyone else here, I too think Norton, Mcafee, et al are just a pile of poo!

  40. Phil

    Oh Bugger

    They've dropped Windows 98 support - and I've only just upgraded my Mum's computer from Windows 95 because there was no AV product for that! Anyone know where I can get a licensed copy of W2K?!

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Bloat damnit

    The combined memory usage of all AVG 7's components never exceeded 10 MB, whilst idle. AVG 8 appears to use over 50 MB and I haven't even installed the extra toolbar stuff.

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