October 13, 2010, 1:47 PM — AVG Internet Security 2011, which shipped on Tuesday, offers the full complement of tools you'd expect in an all-in-one security suite, packaged in a simple-to-use interface and offering integration with popular browsers and Outlook. But the software is marred by annoying attempts to upsell you to other products, and a scanning engine that may slow down your system.
AVG is aimed at those looking for a do-it-all piece of software, offering anti-virus, anti-spyware, a rootkit detector and killer, firewall, link scanner, online shield, e-mail scanner, identity protection, spam killer and more. A one-year subscription for a single computer sells for $55, a two-year subscription for $82 -- and there are also discounts for up to 10 computers.
It uses a "just-the-facts-ma'am" main interface for accessing all of those modules, in which a single screen displays a black-and-white icon for each. Each active module has a green check next to it, so that you know it's turned on and working properly. Most of the time, however, you won't see the main interface, because the modules do their work in the background. You'll only need to access it to change a setting.
But although the interface itself is straightforward, the software uses wording that may confuse you. To turn off a module, for example, you right-click its icon and choose "Ignore the state of this component." Similarly, when you delve into the software's advanced settings, you'll find yourself occasionally scratching your head. What does it mean to "certify" incoming and outgoing mail, for example, and how does that differ from merely checking incoming and outgoing e-mail for viruses and other threats? The program, and its help file, offers no guidance.
On the plus side, however, those who like to configure their own security settings will find a wealth of options to tweak, all available from a single, straightforward advanced settings screen.