AntiVirus Help for the Novice
From the Desk of Butch Bridges Lone Grove, Oklahoma
Email Butch Bridges
Updated January 9, 2013
I am going to list what I believe the best free programs to keep your home computer free from viruses and spyware. If fact spyware is the number 1 problem for any computer. I like to tell people that the odds of you getting a virus is slim, but the odds of you getting spyware on your computer is 100%.
1. OpenDNS SERVICE
OpenDNS is a free service that automatically protects your computer from tens of thousands of questionable and harmful websites worldwide BEFORE they can reach your computer. You don't download and install any program on your computer. You only change the 2 DNS numbers in the LOCAL AREA NETWORK CONNECTION in your computer's settings. The setting is in the TCP/IP SETTING. They have easy to follow directions and help videos on their website. This is truly a must have service along with your antivirus program.
2. SECURITY ESSENTIALS by MICROSOFT
This is a free program by Microsoft that works in real time to keep viruses and spyware off your computer. This is the best anti-virus and spyware program I've ran across yet. Its very small, not like the huge memory hogs like Norton Antivirus, and runs in the background using hardly any of your memory. If it detects any suspicious activity i.e. spyware or trojan, a box pops up in the lower right hand corner of your screen warning you. All you do is is click the CLEAN button in the center of the box, and presto chango, its gone!
3. MICROSOFT SCANNER
04/21/11 Microsoft has came out with a portable spyware scanner. I just learned about it today, so I haven't had time to check it out against the others, but I will, you can be sure of that. I have plenty of computers to clean.
4. SYSTEM SWEEPER
Now for really hard to remove viruses, spyware and trojans, Microsoft has a free program called System Sweeper. You download the .ISO file, burn it to a blank CD, boot up on it from the infected computer, and run it. Its stand-alone meaning you don't install it to your computer but run it from the CD after booting up on it.
I did found a program called SUPERAntiSpyware tool that works great and its free. It detects and removes over 100,000 spyware/adware components. Since its updated several times a day, you'd need to use a current version to removed those nasty trojans and stuff. You can always to go another computer, download it, and burn to a CD, then take that CD to the infected computer, and run the program off the CD.
ComboFix is a great freeware utility to clean up a slow running computer. I've tested on a couple really old computers, slow as molasses to change screens, etc., and ComboFix did make them run faster.
This is a great freeware program for removing malware, trojans and spyware. Make sure you download from malwarebytes.org's website.
Now, with the above said, there are also other free programs that work well.
This is a freeware program that not only finds and removes spyware and trojans, but also blocks 1,000s of bad websites that might download such things to your computer using their immunize feature. Just remember to run Spybot's IMMUNIZE feature at least once a week along with the scan of the hard drive. There are lots of fake spybot programs on the net, make sure yours is downloaded form safer-networking.org's website (a 'dash' in the center).
AVG ANTIVIRUS AND SPYWARE PROGRAM
Grisoft's AVG is a good anti-virus programs I found on the internet. It does a pretty good job, and they still offer their Free version. The free version is only licensed for home use.
The next spyware removal program I want to talk about is free to download and creates a bootable CD using a Linux operating system. The website avira.com and the program is Antiver rescue boot CD. You will need to download their ISO file, then run it to burn a bootable CD. When you boot on the CD, it will do a scan for your hard drive for sypware, etc.
Regardless if you purchase one of the commercial antivirus programs like Norton or McAfee or one of the free antivirus programs, if you don't keep the DAT files updated, you are wasting your time. With new viruses coming out daily, it is imparitive to keep the DAT files current no matter which program you use. Most programs, including AVG Antivirus allows you to either manually or automatically schedule updates.
One important note on antivirus programs. Be sure you only have one anti-virus program running on your computer at a time. Two running on your computer at the same time will slow it down tremendously. I did have AVG, and then installed Microsoft's Security Essentials, and my computer slowed way down. I uninstalled AVG, leaving only MS Essentials, and it was back to normal.
Equally important is to keep your Microsoft Internet Browser updated. (Sorry, I do not know about Firefox, Netscape or other browers.) Updating your Microsoft browser is easy to do. When you are on the Internet, just click on TOOLS tab at the top of the Page and then WINDOWS UPDATE. Just follow the prompts and install any critical security files or updates recommended by Microsoft.
Microsoft Update Site
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Below are some neat freeware programs I call "can't live without programs". Some I have been using many years. I will pass along those little freeware gems as I run across them below:
ANY VIDEO CONVERTER
The video file took just 2 minutes to record on my camera as a .MOV file, but the size was 22 megs. I used a Freeware program, Any Video Converter, to make it into a file Microsoft Media Player would recognize and play. It worked perfectly and the conversion was so fast, and the end product was a video less then 2 megs (.mp4 file) in size. What a difference, a 20 meg reduction in size!
I have been using Acronis Backup to back up my computer's hard drive every week for several years. It works great but it's not a free program (about $30). Last week I found a completely Free program that works just as good as Acronis. Its called ToDo Backup. Todo Backup is so easy to use, and if you have external drive or second drive in your computer to back up to, just give the location and a file name, and click Backup. And you can click on the Tools Tab and make a emergency boot CD in case your computer won't even boot up into Windows (which I've had happen to me before). I backup religiously every weekend my entire Drive C: to a backup hard drive.
Remember the old PrintScreen key we could use in DOS? That sure was a nice feature and we all wish sometimes it was available to us under Windows. I ran across the neatest freeware called PrintDesktop that will allow us to do just that, print what we see on screen.
HUNTER SCREEN CAPTURE
An easy-to-use screen capture tool that allows you to capture the content of your desktop or any window with the click of your mouse. Screenhunter supports BMP, GIF and JPG.
ALBINE DO NOT TRACK PROGRAM
This is a great little free program to stop websites and companies from placing cookies on your computer for the purpose of tracking where you go in the internet. The program does help stop the invasion of our privacy when we surf the web. I did have a little problem getting the Albine icon to stay on the Tool Bar, and it did finally stay fixed. Outside that, the program is doing a marvelous job protecting my privacy from companies while going from website to website.
Like above, if you have Firefox or Chrome browers, Adblock Plus will do the same thing as Albine's Do Not Track program. It will block annoying ads automatically, browse faster and safer, fully customizable — you are in control
EUSING REGISTRY CLEANER
After removing spyware and trojans using the above programs, you need to run a registery cleaner to get rid of any lingering remnants. I have found Eusing's free cleaner works fine, and so easy to use. Just 3 things you can do with it. 1. Scan for problems. 2. Remove problems. 3. Restore to previous state. When I ran it the first time in November 09 it found 530 problems, and removed all of them, rebooted, and my computer ran faster!
Team Viewer works like Microsoft's Remote Desktop and its free for HOME use. (For commercial applications see TIGHT VNC below.) Let's you access another computer through the internet just like you were sitting in front of the other computer, even though you are miles away. Great for remote diagnosing a friend's computer, or transferring a file from a remote computer to yours or visa versa. Team Viewer uses their Server to connect 2 computers, so it does not need any Router configuration and Port Forwarding stuff.
TightVNC is a freeware program that allows you to remote control (works like Microsoft's Remote Desktop) to another computer. Tight VNC is free for use use on any computer anywhere, work or home. Once you are attached to the other computer its just as if you are sitting right there in front of it. Sure comes in handy for accessing your home computer from work, or helping a friend with his computer problem, and remote diagnosing. The program has 2 modules. One is for Server Mode and the other is Viewer Mode. Example: start TightVNC Server module on your home computer. At work run Viewer module, enter your home's IP and presto, you are now viewing your home computer screen. Just be sure and enter a password for the Server Module so others can not access your home computer. Note: If your computer is behind a router, then you will need to log in to the router and go to PORT FORWARDING set it up. Unlike Team Viewer above, Tight VNC is harder to configure in this respect.
Ransack Agent is a free program I been using to search my computer for files, photos (I have over 16,000) and documnets. When I got a new computer in December 2010 the first thing I noticed is the old Microsoft Search was not there, and some crazy, hard to use computer search was in its place. I hated it. My Ransack Agent makes it so easy to search my computer's hard drive for something I don't remember which folder its in. any Router configuration and Port Forwarding stuff.
Ransack Agent Download
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