Installing AVG Free Edition March 24th, 2010
I was asked by a friend a few days ago for a step-by-step walk through for installing AVG Free Edition on their machine.
For ‘non-techies’, simply telling someone to go install something is often a lot harder than it sounds. In the case of AVG Free Edition this confusion is compounded by Grisoft trying their very best throughout the whole installation process to tempt you into buying one of their premium solutions, and this makes it easy to become confused whilst negotiating the various pages you have to navigate just to find the download link.
Depending on your specific needs, and only you know the kind of browsing you are likely to be doing, a basic antivirus solution is more than ample. Of course if you are likely to be exposed to multiple threats, a more sophisticated internet security solution may be required. For most however, AVG Free Edition will be more than adequate and provide sufficient protection for day-to-day internet use.
Caveat: I am in no way offering security advice in this post, I am assuming that you have already sought advice if necessary, and have decided to install AVG Free Edition being aware of its features and limitations. Remember also that in accordance with its EULA, AVG Free Edition is for home use only and must not be used for business purposes. If in doubt, check.
So just how do you install AVG Free Edition, well all you need to do is follow these simple steps (this walk through is based on a Windows 7 installation):
- Download AVG Free Edition from the following URL and save to your desktop – http://download.cnet.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239_4-10320142.html?part=dl-10044820&subj=dl&tag=button&cdlPid=11014801
- Double click on the file that downloaded to your desktop, it should be called ‘avg_free_stb_all_9_40_cnet .exe’
- If you have Vista or Windows 7 click ‘Yes’ at the security prompt and then when the installer loads, ensure ‘English’ is selected as the setup language and then choose ‘Next’. If you are using XP you shouldn’t get the security prompt
- It’ll do a connectivity check, then ask you to choose either ‘Install only basic free protection’ or ‘ Recommended’, only choose the basic protection otherwise it’ll take you to a page to buy the full version. Click ‘Next’
- It’ll now download the installation files, this will take a few minutes; time for a cup of tea depending on your connection speed
- Next you’ll be asked to accept the license agreement so tick the check box and then click ‘Yes’
- Choose ‘Custom Installation’ followed again by ‘Next’
- The next screen will have your license number which should be pre-populated so just click ‘Next’
- On the next screen is the destination folder for the installation which should be c:program filesavgavg9 by default, click ‘Next’, you’ll be prompted to create the folder as it does not exist so click ‘Yes’
- The next screen is the component selection, assuming you use a web based email solution (such as Gmail or Live Mail), you don’t need the email scanner so un-check EVERYTHING apart from ‘AVG for Windows’ and ‘Link Scanner’ followed by ‘Next’
- You’ll now be asked if you want to install the AVG toolbar; which you don’t. Un-check both boxes and click ‘next’
- You’ll now be asked to set up the schedule of regular scans and updates, leave the ‘Updates’ options as they are but change the ‘Scans’ options to ‘Never’ (unless you want a daily scan of your hard disk which will slow your computer down) and click ‘Next’ followed by ‘Yes’ at the prompt checking if you are sure you want to turn off daily scans
- Click ‘Finish’
- Click ‘Wait until the first scan starts’
And that’s it. Of course you can also choose a standard installation instead of specifying the custom options but unless you really need the extra features, there is no need as ultimately the more options which you select, the more resource hungry the application will be. It’s a balancing act but we are trying to get decent protection without sacrificing system performance.
I hope this helps.
Windows 7 Antivirus September 13th, 2009
With Windows 7 RC now firmly under our belts and the public release of Windows 7 taking place next month, I thought I’d put together a few thoughts relating to the antivirus solutions that are currently available for the new OS. After all, for many it will be the first piece of software installed after completing the initial installation. Generally speaking, software that has been designed to run on Vista should work fine with Windows 7, as always there are exceptions to this, the most noticable being antivirus and firewall solutions.
When you first boot into the new OS after the initial install, you’ll be greeted in the typical Microsoft fashion by a popup balloon in the system tray telling you that you need to install an antivirus solution. Tip – it’s worth noting the symbol of a spanner that appears in this balloon, clicking it will allow you to turn off this nag. The same is true of other pop up balloons that appear in Windows 7…
So which antivirus solution should you choose?
The following list is not exhaustive by any means, there will be more and more vendors adding support for Windows 7 as they frantically try and ensure compatibility before the October release date. But it’s worth noting 2 main omissions. Windows own product, Windows Live OneCare and McAfee; neither are compatible with Windows 7 (although McAfee are soon to resolve this issue I believe). So, in no particular order:
- Avira [Link]
I have to be honest, I have not really come across Avira much before, however it fully supports Windows 7 and is a free solution so has to be applauded. It also scores very well in benchmarking tests.
“The ninth generation of Avira’s security tools protect the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system”
- Grisoft AVG Free Edition [Link]
Tried and tested by many people worldwide this is a recognised vendor with a well established product. A toned down version of their fully-fledged product, the free edition provides good basic protection but with some restrictions, like limiting the frequency of definition updates. One thing to mention, if you read the EULA, technically you should not be using it in a commercial environment.
“AVG Free provides you with basic antivirus and antispyware protection for Windows and is available to download for free. Compatible with Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista”
- Avast! [Link]
Another vendor who should be recognised for offering their product in a free version for home users. Avast! antivirus Home Edition is free to use but it is necessary to register before the end of the initial 60 day trial period. Following the registration you will receive by email a license key valid for a period of one year.
“Avast! antivirus software has earned the “Compatible with Windows 7″ logo. Avast! 4.8 successfully completed Microsoft Corporations testing regime to prove it can be readily installed and run reliably on Windows 7″
- Norton (Symantec) [Link]
Not a huge amount to say about Norton, it works, it’s one of the market leaders but personally, I would never recommend it owing to the amount of system resources which it grabs. Previous incarnations have also been near impossible to uninstall if you decide you want to remove it. They have made sure it is compatible with Windows 7 however so worthy of a look.
- Kaspersky [Link]
I’ve used Kaspersky in the past and have really liked their products, however as with a lot of vendors they have really jumped on the bandwagon of late and have become quite ‘commercialised’ with fancy admin interfaces and options that in reality, I doubt you’ll ever need. They do have and I’m sure will continue to have a very good following however and the protection is up there with the very best. One thing also to mention is that this is not the finished product, but a fully working, and free, Release Candidate. Definitely worth a look though, I have used this myself on one of my Windows 7 builds and it worked absolutely fine, not a single error.
“Kaspersky Lab makes the next step in supporting Windows. Release Candidate of Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Workstations 6.0 Maintenance Pack 4 with Windows 7 support is now available”
- ESET [Link]
ESET, or ESET NOD32 as a lot of people will be able to recognise it better by is another of the established vendors who until recently, have been taking a back seat in terms of public awareness compared to Norton, McAfee et all. It’s actually a very good product. I haven’t tried the new Windows 7 compatible version myself, in fact I have not used an ESET product since Windows 2000 days. One important point to consider though is that whilst the standalone antivirus product is fully compatible with Windows 7, issues have been identified with the ESET Smart Security Suite.
“ Microsoft has notified software developers that some of the technologies used by security, backup, disk utility and network management programs are incompatible with the Windows Vista to Windows 7 upgrade process. this is a direct result of Microsoft’s design decisions and impacts most antivirus solutions that scan network data.
ESET has verified that the personal firewall module in both versions 3 and 4 of ESET Smart Security is affected. The problem only affects computers being upgraded to Windows 7 from Windows Vista SP1 and SP2. Customers working with new installations of Windows 7 will not experience these problems, nor will customers upgrading from Windows XP (which performs a clean install).
ESET NOD32 Antivirus is not affected
ESET is working closely with Microsoft as we approach the official launch of Windows 7 to address any potential compatibility issues and promptly communicate issues like this to our valued partners.”
- Bitdefender [Link]
I have not used a Bitdefender client product before but have been using their scanning engines for many years now in a variety of server products, especially Exchange security solutions. I have never found a problem and the definition update files have always contained the very latest virus signatures. Could be worth a look.
According to Microsoft, the following vendors are also compatible with Windows 7 although I have not had any experience with any either personally, or through recommendation:
- Rising [Link]
- Trend Micro [Link]
- Sunbelt [Link]
- Ahn Lab [Link]
- F-Secure [Link]
- GData [Link]
- Panda [Link]
- Webroot [Link]
- Bullguard [Link]
I’ve tried where possible to give you links to the specific antivirus only product for comparison, most if not all of the vendors also offer complete solutions usually branded ‘Internet Security’ of something very similar. I personally stay well away from these products as they are far too resource hungry on the average system and can cause your machine to almost grind to a halt. Also, a lot of the features they offer are simply not required as they are already part of Windows 7 by way of UAC, Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. However, as with so many things in life ‘you pays you money you makes your choice’.
Here in the UK, some of the ISPs are now also bundling a customised antivirus solution with their connectivity packages, Virgin Media’s for example has been tested to ensure compatibility with Windows 7.
So is there a particular product I recommend?
The simple answer is no, I have tried a few of the Windows 7 offerings and all of them worked very well at catching threats, however they also all had their own share of issues or annoyances, mostly relating to the performance impact on the machine.
I’d welcome any feedback if anyone knows of any other antivirus products that are known to work under Windows 7, or any comments relating to any of the products above. Please do use the comments box below and share your thoughts and experiences, the more information we can get together in one space the better the resource for everyone.