As we all know that AVG is one of those security Vendors who provide a Free Antivirus solution which is quite good if you do not compare it with the paid Antivirus solutions. The latest version of Free AVG Antivirus 2012 is released and boasts of improved speed, better scan times and  detection. This Free Antivirus comes anti-virus, Linkscanner, E-mail protection, Anti-rootkit, Identity protection along with 24/7 technical support. It is a ideal solution if you only do surfing, searching or social networking on your system and don’t want to spend some money on buying a paid Antivirus solution.

From CNET downloads, I downloaded the web-installer which was only available and I couldn’t find a offline installer link (Keep in mind that official site redirects you to CNET for the download). Size of web installer was ~4 MB and on executing it, it started to download the installation files needed for setup. As only English language was chosen, the download size of files needed was ~52 MB and it will increase if you choose more languages during the setup. Offline installers which I found later have a whopping size of 150 MB for 32 bit and 170 MB for 64 bit Windows Operating system. Perhaps the reason for this big size variation between offline and web installer is due to the fact that offline installer is having all the languages instead of just English language.

During installation, ESET security was already installed on the system and I was hoping that it must detect it before it proceeded with the installation. But it was unable to detect ESET being installed on the system and it continued installing AVG. Even though it is free, we do expect that it should detect any existing antivirus on the system and ask users to uninstall it before installing AVG. I had to un-install ESET on my own before I hit the finish button of  installer.

It also wanted to change my default search engine and install a toolbar. You can deselect them if you choose a Custom installation. I hate toolbars and any application which want to install a additional toolbar.

Another thing after the install got finished, I ran the update for virus definitions. The process was smooth but the size of the update was too big i.e. 64.5 MB which is even bigger than the installer size. I still fail to understand why Antivirus needs such a big update right after the install? I do understand that new virus definitions keep on coming each day, but does that new virus definitions files for say few weeks or days exceed the size of all the virus definitions with which the installer was created?

Now lets talk about the memory footprint. AVG antivirus 2012 minimum requirement for systems RAM is 512 MB. The System on which I tested this has 1 GB RAM with Intel dual core 3.2 GHz processor. As you can see from the task manager screenshot below, the memory consumed is ~20 MB if we add up all the processes run by AVG. The screenshot below is taken when no on demand scanning of the system is being done. The system did feel smooth enough but honestly, it wasn’t as good as that when ESET was installed. I did feel a bit of sluggish behavior by system if I ran few more system intensive applications. But still considering that we had only 1 GB of RAM available, the performance in terms of memory is quite good and fast compared to last year version.

When we went for a full system on demand scan, the memory consumption surged to the order of 125MB – 140 MB. While on demand scanning was running on the system, it was very difficult for me to do my usual work and I had to wait till the scan was over to do any routine work on the system. I am not talking about how much time the full scan took as I forgot to take the screenshot when scan finished. I will add that later on.

AVG also adds a URL scanning system Linkscanner to your browser just like Macafee Siteadvisor. Every search result is given a rating based on AVG sitereport and it will help people identify if a URL is safe or not before clicking on it.

AVG 2012 comes with additional tab of My Apps which consists of additional tools available from AVG to fine-tune your system. One of them being PC Analyzer which analyses your system for corrupted registry entries, junk files, broken shortcuts and disk fragmentation status. You must note that this feature is not free and you need additional download to fix any errors that are found by this tool. The tool to be downloaded can only be used for free for 24 hours. So you can fix any of those errors only once or just during that 24 hour period. If you want to use them after that 24 hours, you need to buy it.

Also, you will find that annoying screen asking you to upgrade to a paid version of AVG right at the bottom of the user interface of AVG. Even though you can hide that, but next time you open AVG, the screen is back which means you need to hide that screen everytime you open AVG.

I wont talk about virus detection rates here as we have done always. The reason, we don’t have enough resources or manpower to do extensive test on detection and removal capabilities. For these, you can consult AV Comparatives.