There is far too much spyware, adware, malware in general. Unfortunately, all of this can be easily received involuntarily. Unfortunately as well, many people do not have sufficient enough programs to make sure these pieces of junk are removed properly and your computer is safely restored. Here I will show you the best free applications to keep your computer secure.
AVG Anti-Virus – AVG has been around since 1991, and have been updating their program since then. This program as well is definetely one of the best anti-virus programs out there. (See MUO Poll on Best Antivirus Software). AVG has numerous features that most certainly assist in keeping your computer secure, including periodic scans, built in email scanner, the ability to heal some virus infected files, and a “virus vault” that holds virus’.
Mark previously wrote a review on the new AVG 2008 Antivirus here.
ThreatFire – ThreatFire is an extremely sweet Anti-Virus application. It does not only do all of the things many Anti-Virus applications do, it also addresses problems differently. On a regular Anti-Virus application, numerous different steps need to be taken to find and destroy a threat, unlike ThreatFire which automatically detects threats and malicious behavior, and addresses them automatically in the background while keeping logs of this.
On their website it states that ThreatFire has 243% more protection then traditional Anti-Virus applications in tests and that ThreatFire has examined 17,836,589,477 programs for suspicious behavior!
Avira Anti-Virus – Avira AntiVir is one of the highest rated Anti-Virus applications out there.
It runs in the background checking for malicious behavior and runs occasional checks, while checking opened and closed files.
Windows Defender – Microsoft created Windows Defender which is an incredibly awesome Anti-Spyware application built into Windows Vista and is available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
It includes many features that make it one of the best applications out there, including: Monitoring start up applications as well as system configuration and Internet Explorer, monitoring applications as they run, etc. Again, check out our poll what’s the best spyware removal.
Spybot Search and Destroy
Spybot Search and Destroy – This program has been around for a while now. I use it for many things as a general security suite as well.
Spybot removes Adware, Spyware, keyloggers, trojans, usage tracks, shreds malicious programs, the option to get back the programs that have been removed, etc.
Secure File Erasers
Eraser – Eraser is one of the most used file removers. It can erase files and folders, password protected files, temporary files, internet cookies, paging files, internet cache, compressed files, etc. It adds an option to “Erase” something to the right click menu when you click on a file or folder.
You can check previous MakeUseOf review of Eraser here.
UltraShredder – UltraShredder is another one of the most used secure file shredders. It overrides files with random characters, while saving it to the disk, and then removes the file without the recycle bin of course. Thus, if a file recovery service attempted to access the file, all they would find is random characters. See our earlier round-up on free file shredders here.
Keeping your computer fast
CCleaner – CCleaner is one of the most essential tools for keeping your computer fast. It takes up an extremely small amount of space and should be used often. The specific use of it is to remove and/or fix temporary internet files, cookies, other types of temporary files, fix the Registry, and fix applications.
It includes an extra start-up list to allow you to edit and an uninstall option to replace the standard Windows Uninstaller.
Defragger – This application is from the same company that created CCleaner. It is an incredibly awesome disk defragger that replaces the standard Windows Defraggler. Unlike many defragging applications, Defragger allows users to defrag a certain file or folder, and not an entire drive if you like.
The actual application is small, around 1 MB, and thus can be put on a flash drive. After it is done, Defragger creates a map of your hard drive showing the parts that were fragmented and how much space they take up, etc.
Defraggler is a great disk defragmenter, though some people may prefer something else, for other disk defragmenting tool check out earlier article on 5 Disk Defragmenter Programs to Defrag your PC.
Startup Control Panel
Startup Control Panel – Startup Control Panel is one of the most effective applications for speeding up your computer out there. It gives you a list of applications and other things that start on startup and allows you to remove those to speed up your computer start time.
Be sure not to uncheck your Anti-Spyware or Anti-Virus software, yet there are many things you can remove. It comes with the option to download the full program (59 kb) or a single executable (34 kb).
WinPatrol – WinPatrol is another extremely helpful small program, that assists in not only speeding up your PC, but also keeping it secure. It runs in the background and monitors system changes to find added and taken away registry keys. Mark briefly covered it in an article last year.
Is there anything I have forgotten? Anything in the list you disagree with? Let us know in the comments!