Review: AVG 9.0 Better For Windows 7 Than Microsoft Security Essentials

AVG Technologies has pulled out all the stops with Internet Security 9.0. The antimalware vendor has always seemed to sort of lag behind other software security vendors that have household name status, such as McAfee and Symantec. AVG 9.0 is everything previous versions of AVG were not: It's robust, does a great job at finding malware and has a well-designed interface and feature set.

AVG 9.0 greatly raises the low security bar Microsoft Security Essentials set in preparation for Windows 7. AVG 9.0 along with the security features of Windows 7 can make great desktop security music together.

Available as a download for about $55 (for a one-year update subscription), the install process flows smoothly and finishes quickly, requiring a reboot. AVG will recommend removing any other antivirus program that may be running during its install.

There was some noticeable system slowdown upon restart. This is due to AVG optimizing its settings. Users can also opt to go through this optimization process after a scheduled scan. Once the optimization process was completed, system performance returned to normal.

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AVG 9.0 comes with some interesting configuration objects. Users are asked if the system AVG is installed on is a desktop -- which is usually connected to one network-- or a laptop -- which usually connects to multiple networks via Wi-Fi. When the laptop option is selected, AVG will establish a profile for each network connection the laptop makes.

Several components make up the AVG solution. These include antivirus, antirootkit, antispyware, firewall and antispam. There are also other features that make AVG 9.0 a robust desktop security offering, such as LinkScanner. LinkScanner integrates with Firefox and Internet Explorer and protects users from Internet threats like drive-by downloads and malicious code embedded in Web pages.

Another exceptional feature can be found in System Tools. With this, users can see detailed, easy-to-read information about the processes, network connections, ports and registry startup information residing on a system. This is so important because malware can often be identified in all of that information.

AVG 9.0's smart firewall is pretty advanced for consumer desktop AV software. It actively monitors traffic, sending messages to the user. The default setting for messaging can be a bit repetitive, but it gives good insight into what's happening on a system.

The firewall even detected the gaming mode reviewers had enabled on the wireless router and gave us the option to disable it.

Initial scanning is a slow, yet thorough process. AVG 9.0 found a deliberate infection on the test system -- Exploit.PDF, which exploits vulnerabilities found in Adobe Acrobat. AVG 9.0 was also able to detect malware in an archived file.

The program's time to scan a little over a half-million objects was about an hour.

This is an impressive and all-inclusive security option from AVG and well worth every penny.