REVIEW: AVG Anti-Virus

Ian Yates installed AVG Anti-Virus on a 50-PC network. Read about his experiences in this review.

Well, we’re not really sure what the AVG initials stand for, but the above works for us, after rolling out the anti-virus code across 50 PCs in five locations. We have to be honest; the search for a new anti-virus program began after the previous supplier was gobbled up by a competitor, which also entailed a considerable price hike when it was time to renew. So we went looking around to see what was on offer, and of course, to see if the price could be improved.

One of the criteria for our search was a “network-friendly” anti-virus solution that could be centrally managed, not just to save broadband downloads, more to be sure that all the workstations were properly protected. The next criterion was for an anti-virus program that isn’t “in your face”. Too many of the available anti-virus programs produce pop-ups far too often with unimportant information – unimportant that is, for office workers. Those pop-ups just cause unnecessary support calls. We wanted software that only produced an alert when there was a real problem needing serious attention.

After hunting around, we settled on the AVG anti-virus offering, because it claimed to be both network-friendly, and user-friendly, and the same code would secure both desktops and servers. Also, the AVG licensing method only counts “devices” so you don’t need to buy server and desktop licences separately and keep track of how many of each you’ve used. All you do is count your “boxes” and pay for that number in your licence. We decided to install the 30-day free trial and see how it all worked.

Sure enough, after downloading to the server, and installing the supplied administration console, we were able to discover all the PCs on the network and send them a copy of the AVG anti-virus software. This all went quite smoothly, although a little slowly when connecting over the VPN to branch offices, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. While we were wondering whether we should have installed an admin console on each branch server, the phone rang. It was a tech support person from AVG.

They cold-called us, since it had been a week or so after we’d downloaded the trial code, and asked if we had any questions. We asked them about the multiple servers. Not a problem came the reply; have as many servers running the admin console as you need, no change to the licence required. That’s nice. So we installed the console on the branch servers and the PCs in each branch collected their updates locally after that. We could still look at all the PCs across the VPNs from the central server, just to be sure that everyone was protected.

Another side-benefit of the admin console is that it also tells you what version of Windows is installed on the desktops. That turned out to be rather useful when we began a rollout of 20 new PCs running Windows 7. The imminent rollout also created another question for AVG tech support. Now that the 30-day trial was about to expire, but we hadn’t yet taken delivery of our new PCs, should we install the actual AVG licence on the old PCs first? If we did that, we’d have to unregister each one, then re-register on the new PCs. Not really all that hard, just a bit annoying. AVG told us they weren’t into being annoying so they gave us a 30-day extension on the trial period.

That meant we didn’t have to activate and register with our real licence until after the rollout of the new Windows 7 PCs. Nice. Of course, that also raised another tech support question. Was AVG anti-virus going to run on Windows 7? AVG assured us it was going to run just fine, but that we might have a few issues with the admin console being unable to push the code to some PCs. They were still working on the cause of that glitch, but they supplied a workaround, which just requires the Win7 PC to “pull” the code rather than having it pushed.

In the end we didn’t need the workaround. There were only three PCs that rejected the “push” of anti-virus software, and they quickly succumbed after a re-boot, which was quicker than paying a physical visit or even jumping into the PC using Remote Desktop Connection. Since the rollout, there have been no issues at all, and even better, no spurious support calls. The price was right, and the flexible licensing policy is just way too sensible. All up, this experience was definitely one of Anti-Virus Goodness, which may, or may not be, what the AVG initials represent.

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