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AvgAntiVirus

AVG Antivirus Free Edition 8 - please don't give us features we don't want

Posted by ClifNotes, May 2008, permalink Anti-Virus Tools

 

I've been using AVG free on my computers at home since Grisoft started offering it back in the mid 1990s. I've often strayed from AVG while trying out other free anti-virus apps like Avast and AntiVir. Some people will chime in to tell me that AVG is not the best, or that they don't trust a free application to keep them secure. I simply trust AVG after all of these years. I also appreciate it's ease of use and it's daily brief updates.

 

AVG Free version 8 is now out and I've just installed it. I ended up happy after a little work, but I have to tell you that I did run into some minor issues.

 

Problems?

Yes, there were a two or three wrinkles I had to iron out.

 

Error during installation

First, I received an error while installing. I was told that the installer had a problem with some rootkit protection I had installed. I guessed that it was probably my OnlineArmor firewall and cancelled the install, then turned off my Online Armor before trying again. I also went back into my ZsoftUninstaller and removed the older version of AVG that I had installed. Once I'd done those two things, AVG Free 8 installed with no problems.

 

Email Scanner

Secondly, I noticed that I had the Email Scanner feature installed in AVG and I knew that I didn't need it. I tried turning off the Email Scanner in AVG settings, but it complained too much and the AVG icon turned red as a warning. I didn't consider that acceptable.

 

Link Scanner

Next, while I was testing a new feature, the AVG Link Scanner, I determined that I didn't like the service at all. I typically use SiteAdvisor and Web Of Trust to tell me what links are safe to click on when I'm doing Google searches or reading my Gmail. To test the AVG Link Scanner, I went to Google and searched for "Screen Savers". Most of you know that there are several highly ranked but very bad free screen saver websites you should avoid. Link Scanner says that these sites are fine while SiteAdvisor and WOT both gave me visible warnings not to ever go there. See the images below.

 

 

Notice the two icons at the end of the link: The green icon the left is AVG and the red one on the right is SiteAdvisor. I also noticed something new from Google just under the results link. Google now posts a warning link that says "This website may harm your computer". I don't see enough of the Google warnings to help out most folks.

 

 

Which one would you trust?

When you hover over the two icons, you can see these possibly conflicting reports.

In a second, I'll tell you why I think both are accurate ...

 

AVG's Link Scanner appears to merely scan websites for active browser exploits and known phishing scams. SiteAdvisor does that as well, but it also checks many of the downloads, email spam traffic, and user recommendations.

 

An AVG Security Toolbar?

When you install AVG Free 8, it offers you the chance to install this toolbar in IE and Firefox. It offers a customized "safe" search box and more options to control the Link Scanner feature.

 

Yes, I told AVG to install it just in case it had something I could use. To tell you the truth, I do believe that the filtered Yahoo searches looked a little safer than a normal search. I didn't care for it and after a short time, I reinstalled AVG to remove the Email Scanner, Link Scanner, and AVG Toolbar. At least they let me do that.

 

Other annoyances:

While Respect2Glory (my wife) was installing the new AVG, she had an IE7 browser open with a slew of tabs open to other pages. AVG's installer closed her browser with no warning during the install and she was so aggravated by this that she promptly went to the forums (link below) and reported it. She also gave them some advice on how to better place their forum login links.

 

Conclusion:

Message to AVG ... don't give us toolbars we don't need and don't try to give us services that belong in your web protection suite. In my opinion, the Link Scanner doesn't belong in this free version. Other web services do a better job. I believe the AVG Security Toolbar is more an annoyance than a help. Yeah, I know Yahoo paid you nicely for the option to make Yahoo the default search engine, but don't you know that we really really hate it when software does that?

 

Once I had removed the items from AVG Free 8 that I didn't want, I was happy seeing the little multi-colored flag flying in my system tray once again.

 

Quote from the website

AVG Free is available free of charge to home users for the life of the product. Rapid virus database updates are available for the lifetime of the product, thereby providing the high level of detection capability that millions of users around the world trust to protect their computers. AVG Free is easy to use and will not slow your system down (low system resource requirements. Highlights include automatic update functionality, the AVG Resident Shield, which provides real-time protection as files are opened and programs are run, free Virus Database Updates for the lifetime of the product, and AVG Virus Vault for safe handling of infected files.

 

Version 8.0.1 adds integrated spyware protection and a new LinkScanner feature that gives users safety rankings for their Google, Yahoo, and MSN searches.

Download:

http://free.grisoft.com/

 

AVG Forum:

http://forum.grisoft.cz/freeforum/