The first time you run AVG, it checks for updates and creates a rescue diskette for recovery if a virus renders your computer non-bootable. (Our recovery data needed six diskettes; you can also save the data in a folder and burn it to CD.)
AVG's Control Center lets you configure the program's modules through a peculiar interface. A panel for each module includes its description and current status, but in many cases, you need to click to see the full text. You can configure on-access, context-menu, e-mail, and scheduled scans; check and update the virus database; and view quarantined viruses in the "Virus Vault." You launch on-demand scans and view the results from the separate Test Center.
Prominent buttons in AVG's Test Center trigger a full-computer scan or a scan of selected areas. Test Center also allows separate configuration of the three types of scan, though most users will just run with the defaults. The main screen provides detailed information about scan progress, as well as access to records of previous scans.
AVG detected all but one of the eight spyware threats infesting our test systems but removed only three. When preinstalled for protection, it eliminated five threats before they could begin to install.
AVG integrates with Outlook, Eudora, and The BAT! to scan incoming and outgoing e-mail; users of Outlook Express or other clients can configure the Personal E-mail scanner manually. AVG can also apply heuristic scanning techniques, block all password-protected archives, or automatically delete specific attachment types.