Even though I’m in Mac OS X 90% of my time, a security toolbox for my Windows (via Apple’s BootCamp) is a necessity. I’m going to list all of the free programs I use, and highlight the necessities.
1. Spybot S&D (Search and Destroy) via Safer-Networking.org
This is the first piece of software I install on every PC I get, as well as the first thing I install on problem PC’s I get from friends. This will remove Hackers, Trojans, Spyware, as well as most Adware. I’ve fixed PC’s the Geek Squad said were trash with this little gem. Pretty straightforward, download, check for updates, Immunize, Scan, and then fix the problems that were found. (even if you have a brand new PC, it will still find problems)
2. Ad-Aware 2009 – Free Version via Lavasoft.com
This one removes the adware that Spybot S&D won’t… it’s straightforward as well, download and run it.
3. Virus Protection
This is a definite essential, but the software you use varies by personal taste. I tried out AVG Free, Avast! Antivirus Home Edition, and Avira AntiVirPersonal. Here’s My Verdict:
AVG Free, via AVG.com: I used this software pretty regularly on a couple PC’s, and it seemed like it was ALWAYS UPDATING. It’s very resource intensive, when compared to the other two I tested.
Avira AntiVir Personal Edition, via Free-AV.com
This had about the same resource use as Avast!, but I ditched this one because it has extremely annoying ads that pop-up way too often (I hate ads, so any time is too often, but still…) Nice software, but I consider it “Adware” in the sense that it is ‘free, with ads for the paid version’
Avast! Antivirus Home Edition, via Avast.com
This is the one I chose to keep. Low resources used, comphrensive scanning, it just works, from beginning to advanced levels. No Ads, updates silently, and skinnable to boot!
Hope this helps… even if you already have Virus protection, I would still download the first two applications in the beginning of this post. You’d be surprised what might turn up….