AVG 2012 first look
Micro Doctor, Inc. has recommended, supported, and utilized many antivirus programs over the years. Initially Norton Antivirus was our favorite, however viruses started getting through fully updated and functional installations of this software, and its processes started taking over the CPU cycles of the installed PC, which made the machine run significantly slower. The worst version release was Norton 360, wow what a hog. It took over the PC, firewall and basically made you re-open ports and program exceptions to get mail and Internet to work properly again. Anyway, over the years we have worked with McAfee, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, Sunbelt Vipre and AVG.
While no Antivirus program is perfect, AVG is what you will find on my personal and work PCs. I have installed the AVG 2012 version and have some pros and cons for you to consider. First, AVG is keenly aware of and attempts to minimize its “footprint”. The “footprint” is the amount of resources the antivirus program consumes while it is protecting your PC. AVG 2012 has improved its performance and startup speed since version 2011. The program is good at protection and when I click on a suspected virus download it pops up and asks me what I want to do; Move to Vault, Ignore or Delete infected files. Of course, many virus attacks now are known as “drive by” viruses. You are on a website and a pop-up says, “Some items on this page cannot be displayed, would you like to display blocked content?” The “blocked content” turns out to be a virus and you install it by clicking Yes where indicated. Another way viruses get invited in is by looking like an Internet Explorer add-on. Some say “The pictures on this website require a picture viewer add-on to view: Please click OK to install this Internet Explorer Add-on.” Once you do that virus pop ups aren’t far behind. The rule of thumb is… don’t download or install add-ons that you are not specifically requesting yourself. Also, make sure they are signed by Microsoft, Adobe, Macromedia or Sun Microsystems.
What are the problems with AVG? Main problems are the installer and installer defaults. I never let AVG just install everything by clicking next, next, next. If you do, it will install a toolbar, change your default search provider and install a desktop gadget, all of which slow your computer. These things are known as bloatware, or extra unnecessary installed programs that you do not need to run the software you originally wanted. Bloatware was invented by Dell with all the extra programs they started installing on their PCs. You prevent the AVG bloatware by choosing the “Custom” installation instead of simply accepting the default settings and letting AVG choose which components to install. Software manufacturers actually pay hardware manufacturers like Dell to install their programs on the PC. How many toolbars does one want or need on internet explorer? I recently was training a technician and was following up after a virus removal, he did a great job at removal of the virus but when I opened internet explorer it had 5 toolbars! Google Toolbar, Yahoo Toolbar, AVG Toolbar, Bing Toolbar, Favorites Toolbar and the normal menu toolbars. We finished cleaning those up before the PC left our shop.
Always when asked, choose custom install on all programs. It is not really too intimidating and, in fact, sometimes is just a couple of questions along with un-checking a box to install another toolbar. When I install AVG I choose Antivirus, Safe Search, Link Scanner, Email Scanner and Anti Rootkit. I do not install Identity Protection or any other modules. My status screen looks like this.
Pricing for AVG Antivirus starts at around $39.99 per PC per Year. However there are discounts for multiple years and multiple PCs that make it one of the most reasonable full featured antivirus programs available.
We include AVG antivirus software for free on all of our Proactive Service Plans at Micro Doctor. We currently monitor almost 1000 business customers with the help our AVG antivirus and we have several hundred on enforced antivirus from Sonicwall powered by McAfee Antivirus.
The key to success with any antivirus application, is to keep it up to date, apply anti-virus upgrades, and Windows Update patches when available. Some of these Windows patches must be applied manually as they are not included in the Critical updates that can be automatically applied. Most machines we find with a virus infection do not have up-to-date Antivirus or Microsoft Windows Patches.
If you would like a free security assessment, contact Micro Doctor, Inc. on our website form.
Written by Mark Richmond, MCSE, CSSA Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist at Micro Doctor Inc. 11/21/2011