Most of these I have linked to File Hippo because they keep the most up-dated versions on-line. Make sure to check for software updates once a week or once a month depending on your surfing habits.
Please Note: I have switched my links to filehippo as it is not as confusing as majorgeeks (has too many other trials listed on the same page)....the ones I list are all FREE and function great. I can't believe that at times people go to that site and then instead of getting the latest version they click on a sponsored item on the left Top of the page and complain because it is a paid item...if you fall into that catagory, just remember to download the latest version on the top right.
MalwareBytes Run this program and have it remove any problems it finds.
Toolbars: My advice is to remove ALL toolbars from IE. They are always pushed onto you when you install almost any new software, AOL, Yahoo, Google, etc they are all pests as far as I'm concerned and don't let them fish you in by saying they also have pop-up blockers. You don't need them anymore. IE7 with SP2 has a great pop-up blocker and that is ALL you will need. Also Google desktop, just another way to slow down your PC. When I repair PC's, I unload all of the above and you would be surprised at how much faster the browser becomes. Picture each one of those as an extra anchor on a fishing boat....you would barely be moving.
Adwcleaner- Use this freebie to safely remove ALL the installed toolbars on your computer.
Please Note: I would stay away from Free Scans (trial versions) such as Spyware Doctor, Spysweeper, etc., because if they found anything, it is usually a false positive to coax you into buying their product and that is why they don't allow you to clean out problems they find. The free ones below work GREAT and don't give false positives.
Spyware Blaster1- run Spyware Blaster and see if any items are disabled. If they are, click on the button under quick tasks that says 'enable all protection'
2- Then click on up-dates on the left of the screen & once again click on search for up-dates. It will then check for the latest updates.
3-Then click on enable all protection again.
Spybot S&D 1.4 The older Version
Spybot S&D Make sure to also use the immunize feature.
Open the program and click on search for up-dates.
1- If there are updates available, download them from the internet.
2- After the updates have finished, click on the immunize Icon on the left of the page. If it says that you need to immunize, then click on the immunize button at the top that has the green + sign. That way your PC will be protected.
3- Then, If there are none, then click on Search & Destroy (the icon on the top left) and click on check for problems and let it scan till it's done
4- Whatever comes up, leave the checkmark and then click on 'fix problems'
Adaware SE Older version
Adaware SE Newest Version
open it up and click on update, then run a scan and remove all it finds. You just have to click on start.
Spyware Terminator Protects in real-time and if you leave your PC on 24 hours, schedule it to do a scan in the wee hours of the morning, that way it won't interfere with your surfing. I would NOT recommend using the crawler toolbar, just uncheck it when you install.
SuperAnti-Spyware-Removes some hard to remove spyware that other cleaners seem to miss
Hitman Pro - You have to be on-line to run it. It is a 30 day fully functional trial and will remove the problems it funds. A real user-friendly software to remove viruses and rootkits. When it comes up clean, you can uninstall it.
ComboFix- Use this as a LAST resort in cleaning up various malware problems on your computer. Use with caution!
Comodo Pro This is my first choice, real user friendly and works great without all the issues that Zone Alarm has. I would suggest using only the firewall...NOT the suite, because that AV included is not very good. You are better off with Avast or AVG.
Comodo Pro also has a beta version and I would suggest to stay away from it for now (Aug 16th2007) because it is pretty bad and may mess up your PC. Luckily I used my system restore after I tried it...WAY too many bugs!!! Wait for the real version before trying it. The origional Comodo Pro still works fine.
Please NOTE: If your PC came with ANY other AV trial, eg: Symantec, Norton, McAfee, etc., be sure to go to their respective sites and use THAT uninstaller. Those AV's are SO imbedded on the hard drive that if you don't remove ALL remnants, then no other AV or firewall will work properly, I especially found that with Norton products. If there is still a problem of the new AV's and Firewalls not working properly, you will have to use RegCleaner and remove all entries of the culprit and then reboot and re-install again.
Avast home In my opinion this is the BEST free AV on the net. Real-time alerts and protection as well as real-time updates. No need to schedule scans, you catch everything BEFORE it infests your PC. Be sure to schedule a bootscan on reboot to make sure your PC is totally virus free. Most other AV's don't STOP viruses in real-time...that is why this is such a good Anti-virus.
Please Note: Avast will notify you when your license will expire (it's free and lasts for a year) All you have to enter is your email address and your 1st name, country and be sure to put a checkmark in where it says Avast is free for home use only. They don't need any more info than that. No need to do virus scans as Avast gives on-line protection and updates as you surf the net.
I've been into some heated arguments on computing.net between Avast and AVG...I used AVG for about 3 yrs and ALWAYS had to schedule scans and up-dates. (maybe AVG has been up-dated recently to catch and notify you of a virus riddled page or even made a change to have real-time updates....but I haven't heard of that....a scheduled scan and up-date must be done...AVG is NOT automatic in Real-time) The reason I dropped AVG was the fact that suddenly I couldn't get the scheduled on-line up-dates...then I discovered Avast and have never looked back. Some members have told me that AVG catches virususes and alerts you immediately like Avast does...sorry, all I know through experience is that AVG up-dates and scans have to be done by scheduling which is NOT real-time, the case with Avast, it is ALL in real-time as you surf. The difference between a car with standard shift and one that is automatic.
CCleaner Slim (no yahoo toolbar) 1st check for update, then click on Run Cleaner....it will take out more junk than the ATF-Cleaner. If it says an update is available, click on NO. Then copy and paste that Url into your address box or if the link is still blue, just click on it.
Use this version because it doesn’t install the yahoo tool bar…yahoo tool bars are big problems. You won’t have to uninstall the previous version of Ccleaner…this will install right overtop of it.
Try not to install any extra toolbars, because XP Pro SP2 has a built in pop-up stopper and great security.
If you have 2 toolbars installed, your surfing will slow down considerably, my policy is NO toolbars for optimal surfing. I have found google toolbar and google active desktop are big culprits too, stay away from them
Regscrub XP- this program will find all unneccesary registry problems.
click on the RegScrubXP button at the top left and let it scan. It may take a few minutes. When it is done scanning click on 'select all Problems' and then click on 'fix selected problems' and that will safely remove the entries. Also in Misc it lists many XP tweaks that work really well!
Trojan Remover- This is a 30 day free fully functional scanner that works great!
UnHackme - This has a 30 day FREE trial and is fully functional on removing viruses and rootkits. If you are unsure of how to use it, click on the beginners link on the left of the download page and follow the instructions. DON'T remove anything you are unsure of as it could make your PC inoperable. Unhackme has many solutions, go through all of them and then google the results of entries you are unsure of to see if they are safe to remove. Used properly, this is a great powerful tool.