Slimming Down On Your Windows Security Regiment: It Could Help

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Do you guys remember that new PC feel? The feeling when you unbox a brand new desktop or laptop and get it running for the first time? Everything is so new, fresh, and responsive. Our lives online are becoming more and more meaningful and impactful on our lives offline that I’m not going to argue if you tell me that it’s a better feeling than when getting a new car. Just like a new car though, that feeling gradually begins to fade.

Though they’re almost essential, some of the worst offenders in bogging down your Windows machine are actually the applications made to keep your computer safer and faster: those made for security. If you’re a MakeUseOf reader, I trust that you use some form of anti-virus or anti-malware. As operating systems progress, it’s practically being forced upon you.

But do you have to? Is it worth risking the performance to take away that risk of a possible infection? That’s something for you to decide, and I’ll help you do it.

Consider Your Options

There are so many different ways to secure your PC that it’s actually pretty confusing. Maybe you’ve got antivirus software, but no anti-malware. Do you need anti-malware? Is “anti-malware” just a subclass of the antivirus that you already have? What’s the difference between the two anyway?

Over at our Best Windows Software page, we’ve listed many great security applications for you. You can find some of the best anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall options available.

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Before making your pick, really analyze what you want. Keep in mind that security applications often do clash with one another. The more you have, the more false positives you’re going to come across also. Using realtime or active protection on more than one security application at once (AVG paired with Malwarebytes, for example) could really cause some issues.

Realtime protection is what is going to slow down your system the most. Keep in mind that a lot of security applications come packaged as a “suite” that contains antivirus, antimalware, and firewall capablities. You’ve really got to consider what you need and how you need to get it.

Respect Your Machine

Let’s say you have a netbook. Do you really want to install NOD32, Malwarebytes, and Comodo Firewall? This anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall are all on the higher end of resource usage. Your little netbook is going to be taking a real beating.

Have some consideration for your PC’s specifications. For a netbook, you may be best just using Avira and Spybot. Avira is a free, lightweight antivirus and Spybot, if run routinely, can protect your browser and system from things you really don’t want. Using Windows firewall and/or a firewall at the router level has never been an issue for me, either. Don’t cripple your machine by fear.

Analyze Your Behavior

Honestly, you can survive online without stockpiling on protection. It all depends on you and what your online habits consist of.

Take into account your history with infections. Don’t be arrogant. Are you someone who is prone to trojans or sticky stuff like that? If so, why do you think that happens? Be careful if you’re addicted to downloads over P2P or torrents. If you’re not confident in your own ability to regulate yourself, then maybe it’s best you let your PC give you a hand. Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG have great realtime protection that can stop you in your tracks. Regularly running Windows Defender, SUPERAntiSpyware, or Malwarebytes can always help as well.

The biggest option to consider is risk vs. reward. By saying that, I’m implying that there is indeed some risk in installing security software, and that risk is a slow, sluggish, and unresponsive PC by fault of not understanding your system’s capabilities or not tweaking these applications as they should be. Don’t run automated scans daily if you aren’t using your computer for anything intensive on a daily basis.

Formulating a perfect, secure atmosphere really requires a strategy from the user. If you don’t want a computer bloated with malware and trojans then I doubt you want a computer that acts like a turtle due to so many resources being eaten up by it protecting you. Consider your options, respect your machine and its resources, analyze your online behavior, and find a balance. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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13 Comments - Write a Comment


Richard Steven Hack

For my clients, I recommend using Avast or AVG as their AV, then install Superantispyware and Malwarebytes Antimalware as the free versions – which don’t run in real time. Then I install ThreatFire 3 for some real time protection.

In addition, I install Firefox if they aren’t already using it and NoScript to clamp down on the most common browser vectors: Java and JavaScript and ActiveX.

This way, they get decent AV and spyware protection, with two additional spyware programs to run if something gets past the first layer.

In the end, however, there is no security. Malware authors can bypass all this stuff almost trivially. If you’re not careful where you browse or what email you click on, you can still get infected. End user paranoid awareness is the only answer.

Jon Smith

NoSCript is probably the most useful extension I ever used



After several months of Microsoft’s free security option, I went back to Eset Smart Security, this time v.5, and with the periodic use of Superantispyware and the more occasional use of Malwarebytes, I’ve been fine. I’ve hated every other firewall I’ve tried, and found the other free anti-virus programs to be either lacking in some aspect, or annoying in another… or both. It is very reassuring, however, to read this article. While one doesn’t wish to tempt Providence by making the following statement, the truth is that I’ve yet to get an infection that I wasn’t able to solve, and I’m not all that clever. Let’s hope that remains the case…


Gjergji Kokushta

Considering the Netbook, mainly used for Internet surfing, today we have “cloud antivirus”.
> Panda Cloud Antivirus (!/free-antivirus-download).
> Have a manual AV scanner like ClamWin (even portable) and keep it updated;
> Block USB autorun;
> Place in every hard-drive you use a folder named “autorun.inf” and place inside a dummy file (a not empty folder, is harder to delete); set attributes to “autorun.inf” folder and its content RH.



i usually disable real time scanning if I’m offline


Hey great tip! Thanks.


Zhong Jiang

Most of the mistakes of causing of infection is due to the user’s end whether they are gullible or cautious, there are always risk of downloading or selecting links online. Also, the other symptom would be failing hardware.


Nikhil Chandak

thanks for the tips & article !



perhaps better processor more freedom and faster system this can help in case antivirus needs more power to be in great shape. Maybe small laptops should go for cloud based security tools.


Lisa Santika Onggrid

Paranoia never helps. I prefer installing a security suite while burning some rescue CDs that’ll come in handy every now and then. Then there are some on-demand scanners. You’ll be okay as long as you keep only one running real time.


P.F. Bruns




I believe the only way to gain true protection is by purchasing and Internet security suit from a popular reliable antivirus software such as Kaspersky.
It is possible for the user to be extermly careful while on the internet but how careful could you be with the brilliant hackers this world consist of.
Even if you chose to install several different antivirus programs and be careful how can u rely on those programs to protect you if you made a mistake.
After all they are not updated constiantely like paid security software and don’t include as much security features. So why use several when one
software could do it all for a reasonable price even some software is available for 2 or 3 computers so why not join with your fried to buy one if its too expensive.



Regimen, not regiment!

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