Protect your PC!
NOTE: This page needs to be updated soon, as I found some newer applications to replace the recommendations here, such as Avira AV Free to replace AVG. The June 2009 issue of _Consumer Reports_ rated Avira as the best freeware AV now available.
New find: Micrsoft's own anti-spyware application for Windows XP. Free Beta version. Formerly known as GIANT AntiSpyware.
Good free Anti-Virus from Grisoft AVG, and now they have a free scanner to see if anyone installed any rootkits on your computer. Rootkits have some good uses, but unfortunately, some rootkits are made to embed malware so virus scanners will not see them, and they won't show up in your folders/directories.
Here is AdAware to remove adware
Here is Spy-Bot Serch and Destroy, another ad-/spyware remover, use after AdAware:
This removes the Cool Web Toolbar which is spyware
You may want to put shortcuts to the above applications plus shortcuts or links to anything else helpful into a folder on your desktop named "Tools" or "Run Weekly" or something similar.
This is to protect yourself from industry spies when using Peer 2 Peer software
Here is a great online virus and malware scanner (for Internet Explorer only)
Here's another online scanner that also seems to work in Internet Explorer only
Probably run all at least once a week, starting with AdAware, then Spybot S&D,
then CWS Shredder, then Grisoft AVG free. The two online scanners can probably
be used at any time.
Some other tips are to clear your Cookies folder frequently, as well as your Temporary Internet Files (Internet cache). In Internet Explorer, you can clear these by going into Tools, then Internet Options, then the General tab. You may want to tweak your Security, Privacy, and Advanced settings to allow more security also.
You also may consider a somewhat more secure browser alternative to Internet Explorer, such as MOZILLA FIREFOX.
Use of a pop-up blocker is recommended, many free ones on the Net, I use POP-UP STOPPER.
Also, if you don't have one, some kind of Firewall will help against hackers and intruders. Windows XP comes with a very basic firewall, XP Service Pack 2 gives you a better firewall, but more sophisticated ones can be bought or found online, some for free.
This next app isn't really a protection app, it's an online image zoomer if you use Internet Explorer, and if it doesn't have that function; that being, right clicking on an image on a web page and being able to zoom in or out. Not sure if the IE Service Packs add this, as I had my zoom function installed before the SP's came out, and if so, they probably use the same tool. You can find it HERE if you need it. I mainly use Mozilla Firefox now, which has a built-in right click zoom tool.
Here is SPYWARE KILLS, another site with similar and other links.
If you're using Lavasoft's Adaware free "SE Personal" edition, and it recommends an update, but the update freezes at 5% and then it says no updates available, GO HERE and download the defs.zip file, choose Save to computer, not Run. Once downloaded, extract the defs.ref file from the zip file, and move it into your Programs/Lavasoft/Adaware folder to repace the existing out-dated one. Lavasoft no longer offers automatic updates to that version of Adaware, so you have to download the update and install it yourself. Just check often so you have the latest definitions file. They will use the same name, defs.zip, when they have an updated file.
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