free and functional software

i think i blogged about this before, but it was a long time ago in an operating system far far away (windows ME). i've had enough friends come up with problems and thought i would just make mention of a few great FREE products that might help get your PC clean and help it stay that way.

the links listed below are all directly to the software owner's websites, but always be careful when searching for free products. many times you'll find that the good products will have clones, imitations and fakers just waiting for someone to come along and download the wrong thing, almost always causing more problems than they promise to solve. if you're just not sure, cnet.com has been a very good website for me. they verify all software that is hosted on their server and i have yet to download anything through them that caused me any problems.

before installing alot of new software, i would recommend that you go into your system restore and manually create a restore point. this is supposed to be automatic, but during the last infection of my PC, the virus managed to disable this making it impossible for me to restore my computer to a previous point. meaning, it's not a must, but it sure couldn't hurt.

on most XP computers (sorry, no windows 7 yet), you can get there from the start menu, by bringing up the help program. if there's another way, i haven't found it yet. i use the search bar to find system restore. i select 'system restore' and the option to create a new point will be there. click on 'create new system restore point' and follow the prompts and you're done.

AVG Antivirus
i've been using this little booger for going on 10 years from the advice of a rather technicalogically endowed friend (geek for short) and it has always worked better for us than norton or mcaffee and there's no purchase fee or any fees for updates or license renewals. it's only failed me a couple of times with some rather pesky and unrelenting viruses.

Ad-Aware Free
this is a great program to run weekly or monthly or whatever you like in addition to your anitvirus to find trojans and hijackers and get them off your computer. the license is completely free. i've been using it for nearly 10 years and i think it's a terrific product.

Spybot Search & Destroy
another good free trojan removal tool. it doesn't often find something that avg or adaware didn't catch, so it's probably not really necessary, but i like to keep my bases covered.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
this is a new acquisition. i'm not as familiar with its abilities to do the job, but it's reputed to be one of the best by all the geek forums and by another good (geek) friend of mine.

Zone Alarm Firewall
this little booger is great. XP has one of these built in, but the reason i like zone alarm is the interaction between the user and the PC. if something on your computer tries to communicate with the web, you get prompted. you can either block or allow one time, or you can choose to do the action 'always'. the windows built in, only allows the 'always' option. this extra feature by zone alarm comes in handy, when you don't know exactly what it is trying to talk to the web. sometimes something will pop up and you'll think you want to block it, because you don't recognize the name and you'll block it which might cause your newly installed software not to function properly. if you're using windows firewall, you have to go into the firewall and find the setting and change it back, but with zone alarm you can just block it once and then when the program fails, you can restart the failed program and zone alarm will prompt you again at which time you can allow it. you can also choose to only allow connectivity as a one time only option for certain web connections to prevent anyone hijacking on the connection later. i've only had one problem with it. hubby likes to play on a certain game server which is incompatible. i have to turn it off when he's there, otherwise, this little gem works like a charm.

this handy little tool includes an ADD/REMOVE programs and a disc cleanup function just like windows, but in my opinion it's more efficient and easier to use. many times when ADD/REMOVE wasn't working properly, this software was able to get the job done.

it also has another handy feature. it will clean up the leftovers from your registry that are often missed during an uninstall.

all of these features can really help to improve the efficiency and speed of your PC and keep the memory clean for future storage as well.

2 remarks: on "free and functional software"

~Gwen said...

A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! This was so helpful! I got a bugger of a virus, and running several of these has helped to rid my computer of all sorts of nasty little buggers. Thank you!
(I used MalwareBytes with so-so results, AdAware with great results, and am about to try the AVG.)

~Gwen said...

Well, AVG won't run with Avast, which is what we have, so that was a no-go. Now trying spybot. Also thinking that you may want to make your links open in a new window...I keep forgetting to open them in a new window, and keep losing your blog page. ;)

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