A good program to use to remove viruses from PCs is the AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition program. It’s a great tool that works well for removing malicious software from your computer like viruses & spyware. This tutorial will guide you on how to download, install and use the AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition software to scan your PC for infections. As always, no single anti-virus program will catch or be able to remove 100% of the viruses and spyware being created today, but this is an exceptional product that’s helped bail me out of quite a few problems.
- How-to video
- Downloading AVG Free
- Installing AVG Free
- Using AVG Free
To get right into it, I have a 10 minute video that goes over everything I’m about to cover in the post below. The version I’m using for the demonstration video is the 2012 edition, so if yours look a little different then you may be running a newer version than what I made the demo with and they may have changed some things around.
There are 2 versions of this program available, a free version and a paid version. You can use the free version for real-time protection and running ad-hoc scans manually. However, the paid version unlocks additional features such as Online Shield, an enhanced firewall, anti-spam & technical support, helping you to stay even more protected against infections.
Paid Version: If you’re happy with AVG Anti-Virus Free, you’ll love AVG Internet Security.
Free Version: You can download free AVG from cnet (aka: Download.com). I use cnet often to download software from because it’s a site I trust, the programs are scanned for viruses so you know you’re downloading a clean file, and I find it easy to search and find what I’m looking for from their site.
When clicking the CNET link above for the free version, you’re going to download and run an installer file, which will open up a short wizard that actually guides you into downloading and installing the actual AVG program. Once you’ve downloaded the installer file, you need to run it to start the installation, so you need to browse to where you saved the file and typically you can just double-click on it to execute it and that’ll start the installation process. (Alternatively, you may have been prompted to “Run” or “Save” when downloading it. If you selected the “Run” option, then the installer process will begin automatically after it’s downloaded to a temporary location.)
The installation is really easy and consists of 6 easy steps. Just let the installation wizard guide you through it (accepting all the default options) and basically just keep clicking “Next” until it reaches the end. Here are the steps for the current installation program at this time:
- Select Setup Language. Select your language and then click on the Next > button.
- License Agreement. It’s a good idea to read through the agreement first. Click the Accept button to continue.
- Select The Product To Install. This screen gives you the option to use the free version (Basic Protection), or to try out the paid version free for 30 days (Full Protection). You must select one of these options to continue, the Next > button will be disabled until you do. (In our demo video above we’re just selecting the “Basic Protection”.) Click the Next > button to continue.
- Select Type of Installation. This screen lets choose if you want to configure some advanced options during the installation. It’s not really necessary, so we’re going to stick with the “Express Install”. Installing the “AVG Secure Search” and “AVG Security Toolbar” is a pretty good idea, so we’re going to leave them selected. It’s not necessary, but does add a little extra protection to the free version. (If you want to keep your current search provider, then just uncheck the “AVG Secure Search” option.) Click the Next > button to continue.
- Download Files and Install Progress. Now the installer is going to download the complete AVG anti-virus software and install it on your computer. As it’s downloading the necessary files and installing them, you’ll see the progress bar fill up. There should be no more user interaction required until the progress bar has completely filled and it tells you it’s complete.
- Installation was Successful. This screen just thanks you for installing AVG 2012. You have the option of participating in their “Product Improvement Program” and to get informational emails from them. Everything on this screen is optional and not needed to complete the installation. If you don’t wish to participate in the “Product Improvement Program”, then you can just uncheck that option. Click the Finish button to finish the installer.
After the installation finishes, the installer window will close and the AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 interface will open. It will also put an icon on your desktop and in your Program Files folder. At any time you can double-click the icon on your desktop to open the AVG user interface. You will also see the AVG icon in the system tray at the bottom right of your computer near the clock. It’s the yellow-blue-red-green square. You can double-click on that to open up the AVG interface also.
When AVG opens up for the first time after installing it, it’ll automatically check for updates and then run an initial optimization scan. At any time afterwards, you can always click on the Update Now tab on the left to have it check for updates. The updates will automatically be downloaded and installed. When it’s done updating you’ll see a message reading “Update completed successfully.” both in the AVG interface, and in a little window that pops up near the clock at the bottom right of the computer. Click the Close button to bring you back to the Overview tab.
To help future scan performance, the first time AVG is run, it’ll also perform a First Time Optimization Scan. As the name implies, this is only done once. Usually AVG will prompt you with a little message near the clock to perform the scan, but in the demo video above we forced the scan to start by clicking on the Scan Now tab.
At this point you have the AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition downloaded, installed, updated & optimized. To scan your computer for any malicious files and infections, you can choose to scan the whole computer, or specific files or folders. You can also schedule when future scans should automatically run.
- Whole computer scan
At this point you have the AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition downloaded, installed, updated & optimized. You can either scan the whole computer or selected files and folders. To scan your whole computer for any malicious files and infections, just click on the Scan Now tab on the left and this will perform a Whole computer scan. It’s a good idea to make sure you don’t have any other programs or files open unless this is just a routine scan. If you know you have a virus and you’re sole purpose of running AVG is to get rid of it, then definitely run the full scan.
- Scan specific files or folders
You can also run a scan on specific files and folders by clicking on the Scan options tab on the left, then select the Scan specific files or folders option. Put a checkmark next to the drive(s) and/or folder(s) you want to scan then click the Start specific scan button.
- Scheduled scans
You can also schedule scans to run at specific times. Click on the Scan Options tab on the left, then click on the Manage scheduled scans option. There’s already a scheduled scan in there by default, but it’s disabled by default too. Double-click on it to open up its details and you can check where it reads “Enable this task“. Make any changes to the schedule that you want, then click on the Save button to save it. Remember, if you set the scan to start at a time when the computer is turned off, then it won’t be able to scan the computer and that scan will be missed unless you check the box to “Run on computer startup if task has been missed“.
Now that you’ve got the scan going, just sit back and let it do its job now. It’ll show you its progress as it goes along displaying how many objects it scanned, how many threats were found, and what it’s currently scanning. It also displays a progress bar so you have an idea of how far into the scan it is and how much is left.
When the scan completes a message box will come up near the clock at the bottom right telling you it’s completed. The AVG interface will also show the “Scan finished” screen. On the “Scan finished” summary tab, click the Address issues button to continue to the “Details” tab. If it didn’t find anything, congratulations, you’re system is clean and you’re done… you can click the “X” button at the top right to close the interface. (Remember, AVG is a real-time scanner, so you’re not actually closing the program, it’s still running and you can see it’s icon at the bottom of your computer screen near the clock.) If it did find any infections or rootkits, then click on the respective tabs to bring up the details for those. To get rid of anything that AVG did not automatically remove, click on the Remove all unhealed button and that’ll get rid of them all. Sometimes this will require a reboot and it’ll prompt you for that. (If you don’t want to remove a file, make sure it’s not selected. Just select the ones you want to remove and click the Remove selected button.) If it prompts you to restart, then click the Yes button (you shouldn’t have any other programs or files open right now). After the computer reboots then you should be all done and virus free!