The latest version of AVG has been causing not a few issues - so currently, for free, I recommend Avast to all my computer club members.
For spyware - I use and recommend Spybot Search & Destroy. The new version 1.6 seems very good.
Personally I use (free trial - but paid for use) eset security suite. Used eset for many many years and never had any issues. Lightest in use, fastest to scan, best at finding unknown viruses, and best in the Virus Bulletin tests over many years.
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