Having worked with PCs for over six years I have seen a lot of antispyware applications come and go, therefore I thought I would post my opinion on some of the best tools out there today, all of which are either free, or are free for personal use.
These days you can’t really rely on one product to remove all infections from an infected PC, therefore I tend to use a combination of different applications depending on the type of infection, these are AVG Anti-Virus, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, SuperAntiSpyware, HijackThis and Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool.
Let’s start with AVG Anti-Virus, a free version of this software can be downloaded (for non-commercial usage) here, this software protects against and removes virus and spyware infections, not just this but it actively protects you whilst surfing the net to help you avoid illegitimate websites etc. Once installed you can configure AVG to automatically update and scan your PC for infections at particular times, I usually schedule scans for every-other day.
Another application which I am a big fan of is Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, a free version of this application can be downloaded here, however to unlock it’s full potential you have to pay roughly £20 / $25. Once you install the software simply click on the update tab and update your definitions, then click the scanner tab and carry out a full system scan, once complete click ‘Show Results’, analyse the list of infections and choose to remove all infections, this usually requires a restart, however upon boot browser hijacks and rogue antivirus software etc are usually removed.
Other tools worth using include SuperAntispyware (found here), this software is very similar to MBAM, however in my opinion less effective. Also if you know what you are doing HijackThis can be very useful, however can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Also some of you might not know that Windows XP, Vista and 7 have their own built-in tool (if you have been receiving Windows Updates) to remove infections, this is called Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and can be started by click Start, Run, typing in “MRT” and pressing enter, you will then run a full scan (takes a long time) which may just help you on your way to becoming infection free.
There are also a few tips I thought I would share, virus/spyware scans can take a very long time, therefore I usually clear all unnecessary file build up beforehand using CCleaner, you can download a lite version of this free app here (doesn’t come bundled with Yahoo Toolbar), once downloaded and installed load up the program, click on the cleaner button, click analyze button, once complete click “Run Cleaner”, this will remove tons of file build-up, however be warned it will empty your recycle bin and clear web cookies/etc.
My other tip is regarding Internet toolbars, I hate them, if you have multiple Internet toolbars installed it not only reduces the browser window size, but it can also significantly slow down web browsing, my recommendation is to uninstall all of them and choose to keep perhaps just one of them. You can do this from add/remove programs in Windows Control Panel. Also there are a lot of illegitimate toolbars out there, which can sometimes be linked to infections such as the Zango toolbar.
I hope this article has helped you out in some way, ProductReviews cannot take any responsibility on any adverse affects these applications could potentially have on your PC, therefore use them at your own risk, good luck.