AVG 2011 upgrade – do you need it?

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Important update: I am no longer recommending AVG as the preferred antivirus.  Please see this post for an update.

AVG antivirus (free version) has been part of my recommended software for several years (I actually started recommending AVG in 2004).  Aside from being free for personal use, it does a great job and doesn’t use a lot of memory (RAM) like some other antivirus programs do.

AVG 2010 logo

I know many of you already use AVG, and I have installed it hundreds of times on client computers.  This past week, you may have had a message pop up on your screen offering you the opportunity to update your antivirus software.  It looks like this:

AVG upgrade to AVG 2011

Should you update your AVG to the 2011 version?  Yes.

You don’t necessarily need to do it right away, but you might as well take care of it now.  I have started installing this on all of the laptops I sell.  You can either upgrade to AVG 2011 when that message pops up on your screen, or you can go and download the new version right now.

The download and installation each have a thing or two to watch out for, so here is how to do it the right way:

1. Go to free.avg.com and find the link to download the free edition:

avg 2011 free version download

2. Next you will see a window that compares the features of the free version against the paid version.  Obviously, they want you to buy the paid version.  Nothing wrong with that, but in my opinion you don’t need the other features when you have the proper antispyware software installed separately (Malwarebytes).  Look for the column with the free version and click on Download:

AVG antivirus 2011 free version

3. The next screen should show you a line of text at the top that says “You’re about to download AVG Anti-virus Free Edition 2011”.  There is also a green “Download” button to download the file from download.com (cnet).  Click it to go to that page:

AVG 2011 free version download from Cnet4. Clicking that button takes you to the Cnet site where you will see a big “Download now” button.  This is what it looks like:

AVG free 2011 download nowNote: only click on the button that looks like the one shown above!  There will be banner ads from software companies on that page, and they will have in big letters “Start your download” or something similar.  This is designed to confuse you, and many people click on those ads and end up with some other software that they didn’t intend to get.

5. When you click that button, the next screen shows “Your download will begin in a moment…”.  Again, don’t click any other links on that page to download something different.

6. The download will either offer you the option of saving it to your computer or running it (depending on if you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer).  You can do either one.  If you save the file, go to where you saved it and double click to start it.

7. The AVG Installer window will open.  Click “Accept” to agree to the license agreement, then choose “AVG Anti-Virus Free” and click Next.

8. The License Number will already be filled in for you on the next screen – click Next.

9. Now you have a couple of things on the next screen.  First, if you see this image offering the “gadget”, make sure you UNcheck that box (it takes up screen space and you don’t need it):

AVG 2011 gadgetSecond, you will see the option of Quick Install or Custom Install – choose Quick Install.

10. Now you will see a screen that is a repeat of the last version of AVG – it’s an attempt to install a toolbar, and to set Yahoo! as your default search engine:

AVG 2011 toolbar

I don’t recommend either of these, and if you agree, you need to uncheck both – but you have to uncheck them in this order:  uncheck the Yahoo! option first, and the toolbar option second.  If you uncheck the toolbar first, the other checkbox cannot be unchecked (a sneaky little trick  that I don’t like at all).

11. The “real” download begins now.  This is the part of the installation that takes the longest, because AVG has to now download over 100 mb of data.  But we’re almost done.  During this process, you may be required to restart the computer, so be sure you have saved any important documents or files.

After the download is complete, you will have the option of giving AVG your contact information.  I always decline that, but it’s up to you.

Finally, when installation is done, AVG might want you to do a full scan.  You can do that right away, or you can wait and continue with your current schedule.

If you would like AVG installed but don’t want to do it yourself, contact me.  I can set it up for you remotely while you watch from the comfort of your office chair.  🙂

Important update: I am no longer recommending AVG as the preferred antivirus.  Please see this post for an update.

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Richard Blu
October 18th, 2010


I have been using Microsoft Security Essentials for a while now.
It seems to work as well and is not such a hassle to install.
What is your opinion?


October 18th, 2010

I mistakenly installed the Yahoo Tool Bar. How can I get rid of it?

Scott Johnson
October 18th, 2010

@Richard: I have not used MS Security Essentials so I can’t really compare it to AVG from first hand experience. However, I tend to be a little skeptical about “security” products that come from Microsoft. After all, in most cases the need for good security software is because of the lack of security in Microsoft’s original software (Windows). They have improved though.

@Marianne: in your web browser, click on View – Toolbars and uncheck the Yahoo toolbar.

October 18th, 2010

Scott, while I appreciate your skepticism about a security product from MS, I’ve been using MSE for about a year now on 2 machines with no problems. There have been several reviews of the product which rate it about the same as AVG and Avira.

I think it’s easier to install and has a lighter processor load (except at start up, when it can use a lot of processor resources for about 30 secs) than AVG, the main reason I switched. Try it out on one of your machines for a while and see what you think.

The rule remains, however, any AV is better than no AV.

Shirley Stenberg
October 18th, 2010

Hi Scott:
After much fret I was finally able to download the 2011 AVG. I wish I had had the benefit of this e-mail before I started. Out of fear I cancelled the installation in the middle of the process, Not only did I shut down my windows side, but I also froze my Mac. You see I have parallels and that was my problem. Thanks to a kind person at Mac who walked me through the mess, I am now working with more confidence knowing the AVG is installed. I hope I won’t have to go through this every year.

We miss you up here in Maine, Scott, but it looks as if you are doing really well.

Thanks, Shirley

Scott Johnson
October 18th, 2010

JG – thanks for the info. I have heard good things about MSE from others as well, but have really had no reason to investigate alternatives to AVG since it was working fine. I have now had a few people report problems when they installed the AVG 2011 upgrade, so I am checking on other options.

Stanley Pimentel
October 19th, 2010

I have been using AVG 2011 and it has functioned without a hitch.

Steve B
October 27th, 2010

Great comments. I tell my clients precisely everything you stated here – I appreciate that we are of like minds.

When the first AVG8 -> AVG9 popups started happening, I wrote a simple powershell script that I hosted on my business website for my customers to download and run. It simply checked for the existence of a certain directory and deleted its contents. Problem solved.

Do you know if there is any programmatic way to stop the AVG2011 pop-ups from happening? The sad truth is that my clients are not sophisticated enough to follow your step-by-step instructions, which is in no way a reflection of your writing ability. I found the instructions clear, but I know some of my clients’ eyes would gloss over at the thought of following all those instructions, and besides, that is my job, not theirs.

Regards and thanks!

Scott Johnson
October 28th, 2010

Not sure about a programming option to stop AVG 2011 popups from showing up. Really, by using their free program, you are probably agreeing to their popups anyway. My recommendation to stop that from happening is to change antivirus programs, as outlined in my post of October 25, 2010.

doug jowett
October 30th, 2010

Hi i have been running avg free 9 and microsoft essentials both for about a year now without any problems.If i install the new avg 2011 i cannot keep the microsoft
because of conflicts will microsoft securitys essentials be enough to safegaurd my computer thanks

Scott Johnson
October 30th, 2010

Doug, you should not run 2 antivirus programs on the same computer. They will eventually conflict with each other. My recommendation is that you uninstall AVG and use Microsoft Security Essentials along with the paid version of Malwarebytes.

doug jowett
December 1st, 2010

hi scott i am running avg free 9 and have no problems with that or microsoft essential my problem is when i go to upgrade my avg it conflicts with my microsoft my question is can i use avg9 still? because thats working for me right now.thanks doug

Scott Johnson
December 1st, 2010

Again, I recommend that you uninstall AVG and keep MSE. You should not have 2 antivirus programs running at the same time, because they will conflict with each other.

doug jowett
December 1st, 2010

thanks scott can i use the unpaid version of malwarebytes with the mse?

Scott Johnson
December 1st, 2010

Yes, Malwarebytes and MSE will work together fine.

doug jowett
December 1st, 2010

thank you i will use the paid version in the future but financial constrants make it neccessary to use the free version for now. do i remove avg first then save malwarebytes?thanks again doug

Scott Johnson
December 1st, 2010

I understand. Either way is fine.

doug jowett
July 23rd, 2011

Hi i recently got a notification that my apple sync is not working… i run malwarebytes antimalware and microsoft security essentials could it be i have a virus on my computer and not know it…. i run full scans regularly with both programs and they have never found a thing wrong but i got a phone call from pakistan saying i might have a virus on my computer i politley refused the help
and hung up should i remove my apple software from my computer…thanks doug