Depending on a single security application to provide adequate computer system protection, is a common mistake. A mistake, often made by new computer users.
If you’re a new computer user, I can assure you – a single security application does not, and never has had the ability to this, despite the commonly help belief to the contrary. The underbelly of the Internet is in constant flux, with literally thousands of new threats discovered every day.
Seasoned computer users recognize that in order to ensure maximum safety, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware.
Free security applications can help you build this system of layered defenses. But searching out, downloading, and installing free security programs from the Internet, given the vast quantity of such programs, can often be frustrating.
The problem, as I see it, for the casual computer user, is not the availability of these programs, but which ones work; which ones have a deserved reputation for quality and functionality.
I have tested the following free applications, and their updated editions, over several years, in “real world” conditions (not artificial tests), for reliability, functionality, and quality. These programs have a strong and loyal following, that is well deserved.
Note: The applications are not listed in order of preference, but alphabetically. Each application has its own unique characteristics.
There is no harm in downloading more than one antimalware application to be used as a secondary scanner. In fact, doing so can be advantageous. However, be sure NOT to allow more than one application to autostart, in order to prevent conflicts.
Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. The free version of this speed demon (it’s faster at scanning than any anti-malware program I’ve tested in the last 2 years), with its easy to employ interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers.
When a free application has been downloaded over 45,000 times from your site, like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has been at my site, you just have to know this application is a winner.
Microsoft Security Essentials
I tested Security Essentials early on, as a beta tester on my Win 7 machine, backed up by my usual, on demand, free security applications of course. To cut to the chase, let me just say – I’m impressed.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a no cost viable alternative to more familiar security applications and it does provide active, real-time protection.
PC Tools Free Antivirus
I’m very comfortable recommending the free version of this application as a front line antivirus defender. In the time I have been testing PC Tools Free AntiVirus on my Windows 7 system, I have been more than satisfied with its performance.
Some good news: PC Tools has very kindly provided us with 10 free licenses for their new product, PC Tools Internet Security 2010, which includes antivirus protection. We will be running a contest which will give you an opportunity to win one of these licenses shortly. So, stay tuned for our review of PC Tools Internet Security 2010, and your chance to win one of these valuable licenses.
Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus Starter Edition
The highly regarded Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, does include full scan and remove capabilities, scheduled scans, database updates, but only limited real-time protection from both spyware and viruses.
I’ve reviewed this application a number of times, and consider it an outstanding antimalware application.
Some more good news: PC Tools has provided us with 10 free licenses for a fully functioning version of this product. We will be running an additional contest, which will give you an opportunity to win one of these licenses shortly. So, stay tuned for our review of Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus the full version, and your chance to win one of these valuable licenses.
SpywareBlaster prevents ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, and browser hijackers from installing on your system by disabling the CLSIDs (a system used by software applications to identify a file or other item), of spyware ActiveX controls.
A secondary but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster, is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.
A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes SUPERAntiSpyware straightforward to setup, customize and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.
One extra feature in this anti-malware product caught my attention; a repair function which allows the user to recover settings frequently wrecked by malware, and which are often not recoverable despite removal of the malware. These settings include Internet connections, lost desktops, the ability to edit the registry and frustratingly, access to the task manager.
The free version does not offer real-time protection.
Another powerful free tool from PC Tools , ThreatFire blocks malware (including zero-day threats) by analyzing program behavior (heuristics), instead of relying only on a signature based database. ThreatFire works together with your signature based security applications to increase the effectiveness of your total security arsenal.
When ThreatFire detects a behavior based threat, it goes into analysis overdrive by comparing the threat against its signature database; those threats that are recognized by the database are quarantined immediately.
Unrecognized threats, or unrecognized behaviors, are assigned a calculated risk level (set by the user), at which point the user has the option of confirming, or blocking the action.This free antivirus program offers it’s comprehensive protection within an easy to use interface, and it should meet all of your requirements.
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