Both Norton Internet Security and the McAfee Internet Security suite are excellent products for ensuring your PC is protected while online. Both offer anti-virus tools, spyware blockers, trojan detection etc. However, the fees associated with keeping them up to date (often £20-30 annually) can be prohibitive.

There is an alternative in the world of anti-virus however, and this comes in the form of AVG.

The AVG free edition is just that - free. It does have a few limitations:

  • Less protection - AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0 provides only base level protection against viruses, spyware and safe searching. It does not provide safe surfing (drive-by download protection) nor protection from crackers, keyloggers, spam, phishing attacks and malicious file downloads that can come through instant messaging and attachments from seemingly friendly sources. This protection is only available in the commercial versions of AVG products.
  • Slower updates - AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0 receives updates via a lower priority service. Priority updating via high-speed servers is only available for the commercial versions of AVG products.
  • No telephone or e-mail technical support - There is no telephone or e-mail technical support provided by AVG for users of AVG Free Edition products anywhere in the world. AVG Free Edition users have access to support via the self-help AVG Free Forum.
  • No customization - Scheduling options in AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0 are very limited (only one scheduled update per day, one scheduled scan per day etc.). The AVG Resident Shield configuration is limited with no exclusion settings. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition does not offer advanced testing options, password-protected archives reporting, adjustment of scan process priority and many other features.
  • No server support - AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0 cannot be installed on server operating systems (such as Windows Server 2003), nor can it be used for the scanning of network drives.

However - most of the above are not a serious consideration for home users. Jaytag reccomend the installation of AVG instead of the products from Norton or McAfee for two reasons:

  • Cost
  • Performance

One of the biggest benefits of AVG is its small resource requirements - the AVG Free Edition requires just 16 MB of RAM and 20 MB of space on the hard drive.

You can download the free version of AVG here.

It should be noted that the free version of AVG does not feature a firewall or email anti-spam. However, the following free tools are excellent alternatives:

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