The new 2012 version of AVG antivirus has just been released – but is the most popular AVG 2012 Free version an improvement and how does it compare to perennial rival Avast? First look at the new AVG 2012 Free.
Download Size – We were hoping for a smaller download than the bloated monster of AVG 2011 but were sadly disappointed. The 32bit version of AVG Free still weighs in at a hefty 150MB and the 64bit version is even lardier at 170MB so it is unsurprising that both take quite a while to install.
In contrast, the latest Avast 6 is only a 53MB download – and, like most other antivirus products, the single Avast download covers both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows in one installation file – we think it odd that AVG still has two different versions, especially when they are so large.
Ease Of Download – Like Avast, AVG’s website points you to a download at the Cnet.com website. However, unlike Avast, the AVG download is only a 4MB online installer – you run that and then it downloads the rest of the files to install them. This wouldn’t be quite so bad if the download was smaller: if you have more than 1 computer you would have to download AVG in full on each one – you can’t copy the installation files from one computer to another which is a royal pain
Likewise, if you need to reinstall AVG in future you would need to download the whole thing all over again… Fortunately there is a nice solution You can download the full AVG Free installation file from Filehippo here (32bit) or here (64bit).
Effect On Computer Performance – According to Cnet’s latest test, AVG Free 2012 added 26 seconds to the boot up time whereas Avast 6 added only 6 seconds to the boot up time. AVG Free 2012 increased shutdown times by 6 seconds whereas Avast 6 increased shutdown times by less than 1 second.
Not great results from AVG – perhaps this rather sluggish performance is a sign that the code is not particularly efficient, as suggested earlier by the size of the installation files?
How Good Is The Security? The 2012 version of AVG is too new to have been tested yet – Cnet’s review of the security in AVG 2011 claimed: “According to these third-party tests, AVG has been moderately effective, with some indications that it’s been getting better in recent months.”
Their equivalent review of Avast 6 claimed: “Judging from these results, Avast is clearly one of the best security products around“. It’s too soon to tell whether AVG 2012 has closed the gap with Avast yet but early signs are that AVG 2012 is a decent improvement on AVG 2011 at least.
AVG 2012 Free is an improvement on the 2011 version – so if you are currently using the older version and want to stay with AVG then it is well worth upgrading. However, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that its continuing popularity relies partly on past glories when it was the ‘go to’ product. Mention ‘free antivirus’ to our customers and most will think AVG – because it’s the only one they have heard of or used…
The average user shouldn’t be too concerned about size and ease of download as they will likely only have to do it once or twice. However, a free antivirus should be effective and lightweight because it does not have all the bells and whistles (firewall etc) of commercial versions.
Even if the security of AVG 2012 has improved, the effect on computer performance is too great for us to recommend it in preference to the Free version of Avast 6.