Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Configuring and optimizing AVG 8.5 Anti-virus...

This post will explore the best way to configure and optimize AVG 8.x Anti-Virus. For our example we use AVG 8.5 Anti-Virus Free Edition downloaded and installed directly from AVG Technologies website.

We have successfully downloaded and installed AVG 8.x Anti-Virus Free on our test computer using default installation options (setup wizard). Please keep in mind that AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, and single computer use only (consult  for complete licensing information).

Double-click AVG Anti-Virus icon on your Windows desktop taskbar, or find and click  AVG Free User Interface program shortcut under your Windows Start menu to open dialog below.

First lets make sure AVG  Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and License components are all green and Active.

Start by opening Resident Shield component - this component is critically important as it's your first line of defense against viruses and spyware getting into your computer through the internet, email or external storage devices. Make sure Resident Shield is Active and set to Remove all threats automatically.

If absolutely sure in your own ability to control exceptions and false positives set Resident Shield to ask me before removing threats instead of removing threats automatically, and add exceptions if necessary. Save  changes when done.

Lets now open Update Manager component making sure it's Active and set to Start Automatic Updates at least once every 24 hours (the only available choice in AVG free edition). In the example below AVG will check for updates every morning at 5 AM... Save changes when done.

Now we can check Link Scanner and E-mail Scanner components and safely select all options there. Basic setup is now complete... Confirm changes if any (or cancel to exit to main menu).

It's time to fine-tune AVG with advanced settings. Click Tools Menu, Advanced Settings to open advanced AVG settings dialog below.

Lets scroll down to Resident Shield menu on the left and make sure our Resident Shield is enabled, as well as Scan Boot Sector of removable media, Use Heuristics and Auto-heal selected as well. Other options in this section are optional - especially Scan for Tracking Cookies which can falsely quarantine legitimate cookies of safe and trusted websites we visit.

Next we step down to Resident Shield Advanced Settings and select Scan All Files option instead of default Scan Infectable Files... option. This option makes AVG more effective in catching new threats with unknown extensions, as well as infected temp and cache files.

Last option lets us to add Exceptions for AVG to bypass active monitoring of selected folders on the computer. In our case we instructed AVG not to monitor one of the gaming directories where game would crash with connectivity related errors - it's a perfect example of a situation where AVG resident shield may block, or interfere with legitimate, often proprietary software installations. Be ready to access this area should you notice abnormal operation or crashing of certain software titles after deployment of AVG Anti-Virus on your computer.

Next lets tune AVG scheduled and on-demand scans settings...

We want to make sure Scan whole computer, Shell extension scan and Scan specific files and folders set to Automatically Heal / Remove Infection, Scan Inside Archives, Use heuristics and Scan system environment. Deselect Scan infectable files only as we want AVG to scan all files! Scan for rootkits is not available in a free version of the product, otherwise select this setting as well.  Other settings are up to you - we have decided not to Scan for tracking cookies, and  Report potentially unwanted programs and spyware threats to AVG. Scan speed is also up to you - we like it as fast as possible as our computer is fast enough to handle it.

Also, make sure Removable device scan is also enabled (last Scans selection) and critical options are set there as well - we have seen a lot of nasty viruses coming form USB flash drives, and memory cards. This component is no longer optional in our opinion!

Next component is Schedules...

If your computer stays ON all the time it's a good idea to schedule automatic sweeps while you are away or sleeping. As an example we've scheduled our complete computer scan to run nightly at 2 AM, using the same general scan behavior we used for manual on-demand scans (How to scan and What to scan tabs). Schedule here is really flexible and can be easily set to your own preference.

At this point we have optimized critical AVG Resident Shield and Scanning components to provide us with the best real-time protection possible. The rest of the components in the advanced settings dialog can be left alone at their installation defaults (providing they are set up correctly by initial AVG installation and function properly).

We found AVG 8.x Anti-Virus (free edition) to be very effective antivirus / antispyware product, providing it's installed and configured correctly. It's also very simple to understand and configure, light and easy on your computer resources.    


  1. AVG 9.0 is officially out... Except a few visual cosmetic changes new version has virtually the same configuration and optimization options as previous AVG 8.x

  2. Hi - could you explain a little more why unchecking 'scan infectable files only' is more likely to find viruses in temp and cache files please? Thanks!

  3. Some file extensions are generally considered safe and bypassed by Anti-Virus engine for the sake of expediency - this option makes AVG to assume all files can potentially carry a virus or malicious script forcing AVG to scan files with no, unknown or unclassified extensions as well... To us this option makes perfect sense.