Competition in the AV market is fierce, and sometimes you need to almost give away your product to get it on users' desktops.

That's what Grisoft has done by offering its AVG Free Edition as a free-for-personal use product, and the gamble has paid off. Millions of users worldwide are now using the free version of the product, and in turn AVG Anti-Virus Professional has become a popular choice among commercial users.

The free version can't get all the credit for AVG's success, since Grisoft has made its Professional version the best value in the AV market. Where other vendors have settled on a yearly subscription fee model, Grisoft offers two years of updates and protection for slightly more than half the cost that the bigger players in the industry charge for just one.

Inexpensive, but effective

Of course, users serious about keeping their PCs virus-free are considering more than just price and demand solid protection. Thankfully, AVG Professional delivers with a great combination of real-time protection, scheduled scans and updates, as well as the ability to password protect the program's configuration once you've got things set.

The software performed admirably in our tests, having no trouble finding the viruses we planted on both the hard drive and DVD. Our scan completely quickly, coming in at approximately 24 minutes for a full scan of our overloaded C drive, including scanning within all archives. That certainly put it close to the top of list, faster than every other program we tested with the exception of the offering from Trend Micro.

You won't find much in the way of anti-spyware capabilities or advanced features with AVG Professional, but it's everything you need to keep your PC virus-free. Dan DiNicolo