We tested the 30-day fully functional trial version of AVG Internet Security 8.0, released in April, on an Acer TravelMate 4200 with 80GB of RAM running Windows XP SP2.
AVG is a good enough security product overall, offering a firewall, virus scanning anti-phishing and flagging of malicious Websites, to name a few. It is compatible with both Windows Vista and XP, supports all major email programs like Microsoft Outlook and Thunderbird, and works with Internet Explorer and Firefox. It can be purchased online in license packs for 1-10 computers, with one – or two-year subscription options.
Downloading the 6l MB file and installing it were fairly intuitive when using the installation wizard. (We chose a Standard Installation rather than Custom, to allow us to test the average user’s experience.) Like all products, it does have some flaws, and sadly, they significantly detract from AVG’s usefulness. The key word here is ‘slow’.
In comparison to other AV software, this version of AVG is resource hungry. Using default setting, it visibly slowed down the machine, gobbling up to 70% of resources when doing a full system scan, and running at about 20% of resources while churning in the background. It choked Internet traffic and slowed the ADSL connection’s throughput down to less than dial-up speeds. These default settings can be changed, but it is unlikely that the average user will go to the trouble.
Compared to another AV product, BitDefender, the full system scans take long (32 minutes vs 12 minutes) and the false positives are significantly higher. AVG also doesn’t play well with others – it’s one of a handful AV packages that wants to have all other programs closed down before it scans the machine.
Irritatingly, AVG Internet Security 8.0 installs Yahoo as a default search engine almost surreptitiously. It does this in two ways: First the installation process asks if you want to install the Toolbar. At that stage, there is no additional information about what the Toolbar entails, so you tend to go with the flow. It’s only later that you discover that Yahoo is now your default search engine. Even if you didn’t install the Toolbar, you are asked on a later installation screen whether you want to change to Yahoo as your default search engine.
The new user interface is an improvement on previous versions of the product, but is visually cluttered, and may be confusing to new users. AVG Internet Security 8.0 is touted for use in the home or small office, and does offer significant protection for this market. It is doubtful, though, whether small offices with limited computer resources can handle the effects of such a resource-hungry piece of software.
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