AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 Professional Single Edition was a snap to set up. Available as a 30-day, 20MB trial download from CNET Download.com, AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 installed on our Windows XP test system without incident in about two minutes. Next, AVG's First Run Wizard launched automatically, giving us the option to download the latest virus definitions and program files; create a rescue disk, which boots the system into a DOS environment to remove viruses and restore system files; and scan our computer. (The free version does not automatically offer to download the latest virus definitions; you have to remember to do that on your own.) While the rescue disk wizard is easy to use, it creates only a rescue floppy disk, not a CD, and that's bad news if you're using one of today's floppy-free PCs.
It is simple to navigate AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 Professional Single Edition. The basic interface screen provides quick access to AVG's limited tool set along the left side, allowing you to scan the entire computer or select components, such as a CD or a floppy, with a couple of clicks. See our AVG Anti-Virus slide show for images. For a quick tutorial on how to use AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, see CNET Download.com's feature.
Unfortunately, AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 lacks the detailed options found in competing products. Unlike F-Secure Internet Security 2006, for example, AVG 7.1 doesn't let you run scheduled scans after your computer has been idle; you can schedule daily and weekly scans, though. And AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 isn't as configurable as, say, Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2006, which allows you to set its real-time virus scanner to scan compressed files up to six layers deep. Neither the paid nor the free version of AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 offers that level of granularity. On top of that, the free version doesn't scan network drives, doesn't come with tech support, and limits you to one scheduled update and scan per day.
AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 Professional Single Edition's biggest asset is its low profile. AVG 7.1 had a minimal impact on our boot times: 61 seconds compared to 84 seconds from F-Secure. However, with our test system, we did encounter a slight, 1- to 2-second drag while AVG scanned files being loaded into Microsoft Word. When testing, we found AVG wasn't the fastest scanner around, requiring 290 minutes to scan our 74GB hard drive, while PC-cillin Internet Security 2006, the fastest virus buster we've tested, scanned the same partition in just 181 minutes. Read the CNET Labs' test results page to find out how AVG Anti-Virus 7.1's overall performance compares with that of other antivirus apps.
You get support for AVG Anti-Virus 7.1 if you purchase the Professional Single Edition. You can even initiate technical support e-mail from within the program itself; this option is unavailable in the free edition. There are searchable FAQs online, with dozens of useful questions and answers on most topics; however, there is no telephone technical support available, even for the paid version.