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Redskins8588 02-03-2006 01:06 AM

Computer help
Hey does anyone know any good anti-virus software that is free or really cheap? Also, if there is one that will clean my hard drive?

That Guy 02-03-2006 01:30 AM

Re: Computer help

You can get either a free version or a full evaluation version.

bitdefender is THE best AND the least intrusive (and there's a free version on their site that's fully functional). When i say the best i mean in objective tests of which virus types it can recognize even without a specific definition for it compared to mcaffee or norton (ie finding new crap and fixing it before it makes the news).

AVG is totally free, but its not as good.

BrudLee 02-03-2006 07:08 AM

Re: Computer help

AVG Antivirus Free Edition - I haven't had any problems.

onlydarksets 02-03-2006 07:59 AM

Re: Computer help

AVG Antivirus Free Edition - I haven't had any problems.[/QUOTE]

Ditto - that's what I use.

drew54 02-03-2006 08:23 AM

Re: Computer help

AVG Antivirus Free Edition - I haven't had any problems.[/QUOTE]

Thats the only way to go.

As for Spyware, I use three four programs to scan, only the Microsoft runs in the tool tray. SpywareBlaster will permanately block known virus/spyware sites from your browser.

[URL=http://www.download.com/Ad-Aware-SE-Personal-Edition/3000-8022_4-10045910.html?part=dl-ad-aware&subj=dl&tag=top5]Lavasoft Ad-aware[/URL]
[URL=http://www.download.com/Spybot-Search-Destroy/3000-8022_4-10122137.html]Spybot Search and Destroy[/URL]
[URL=http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx]Microsoft Anti-Spyware[/URL]
[URL=http://www.download.com/SpywareBlaster/3000-8022-10196637.html?part=dl-SpywareBl&subj=dl&tag=button]Spyware Blaster[/URL]

There are some other things you can use to protect yourself such as turning on your Microsoft automatic updates to insure Windows has the latest protection built in.

Give those a try and see what you find.

onlydarksets 02-03-2006 08:29 AM

Re: Computer help
And, don't forget [url=http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/catalog/products/sku_list_za.jsp?dc=12bms&ctry=US&lang=en&lid=dbtopnav_zass]Zone Labs ZoneAlarm[/url]. After a while, it runs transparently until something unauthorized tries to get in or out of your computer.

That Guy 02-03-2006 08:37 AM

Re: Computer help
AVG doesn't find every virus, it only finds have of what bitdefender does... its nice that its free and all, but its not that good at the one job its supposed to be good at (its #4 or 5 behind bd, mcaffee and norton).

lavaoft and Spybot search and destroy are great for spyware.

TheMalcolmConnection 02-03-2006 08:44 AM

Re: Computer help
If you want a perfectly clean, quick-as-hell system, here is what I do before I prepare a computer for a client.

Do a complete reformat. I'm talking to delete all partitions, format using the NTFS file system and install preferably from a Windows XP Professional CD with Service Pack 2 included. As an aside, Service Pack 2 is about the best spyware protection you can have (in addition to just having knowledge of sites and pop-ups that CAN harm your computer).

After Windows comes up, and asks you to "Take the Tour", just do one part of the tour and quit so the icon will go away. Turn off Desktop Cleanup and "Highlight any New Programs Installed". Right click on "My Computer" and go to properties. Next go to Advanced and then Performance, turn off the first six options (this will increase your menu/minimizing/maximizing performance) and click OK. Next under Advanced, turn off Error Reporting because this feature is only really helpful to extremely advanced computer users and you can find the same information under "Manage" and "Performance Logs and Alerts".

Everyone who stated above about their antivirus/spyware solutions are dead-on. I also prefer AVG however because it is a completely free alternative, and if you're a "good" computer user, you won't get a virus anyway. Spybot and Spywareblaster are two great programs to leave installed, but I'll preface it by saying that as long as you know when a website is trying to install bullshit software on your computer, you should never get spyware installed.

Also, make sure you go to Windows Update and get every Windows update available. Go to the manufacturer site for each one of your devices and get the most updated drivers available. Also, I strongly recommend doing a BIOS update for your machine, especially Dells. These updates will fix any lingering hardware problems that were present when your machine was first built. Also, it can enable you to add more advanced hardware (processor, etc.) in the future.

onlydarksets 02-03-2006 08:53 AM

Re: Computer help
Malcolm is spot-on - if you are reasonably conciensious, you should not get a virus or Spyware, with one major caveat. If you are on a network and you have publicly shared a drive (i.e., without hiding it by ending it with a "$"), some viruses on OTHER people's computers can reach your computer. To be safe, always hide your shares.

Another thing is that you have to do the Windows Update several time since there are some updates that require other updates to be installed first. To be safe, keep going back till there are no updates to be installed.

As far as AVG v. Bitdefender, I have to disagree with That Guy. I'm not sure where he got his info, but [url="http://www.virusbtn.com/vb100/archive/results?display=summary"]Virus Bulletin gave AVG highest marks[/url] (free registration required), as did an [url="http://www.techsupportalert.com/free-vs-paid-av.htm"]informal study at Tech Support Alert[/url]. Maybe he can shed some light on the basis for why he thinks AVG doesn't catch most viruses. After all, I'm always looking for something better!

TheMalcolmConnection 02-03-2006 08:58 AM

Re: Computer help
I do agree that BitDefender has way better features than AVG, I prefer AVG mainly because during my benchmark testing, when my machine was loaded with AVG, the computer was much faster. It's really the typical technology question of performance vs. security. I pick performance because I feel that if I get a virus on my personal computer, it's because I was being a dumb ass and doing things I shouldn't be doing.

drew54 02-03-2006 08:59 AM

Re: Computer help
The best protection is still yourself.

Dont open suspicious links, visit porn sites, or open Email's from anyone you dont know, or any email that is from some businesses selling things.

As for Norton and ZoneAlarm, I hate these broducts. They are bloated if you ask me. I like running programs that dont hog system resources. Even though I have 768MB of RAM, the average user has 128-256 and these resouce hogs can really slow a machine down.

As for AVG, I have seen it find Viruses on Norton and McAfee protected machines that did have the most recent update. I see no reason to pay for any kind of protection software.

Save your money!

drew54 02-03-2006 09:06 AM

Re: Computer help
Another sure fire way to protect yourself is by using a Host file full of known bad sites.

[URL=http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm]Hosts File[/URL]

Basically what this file does is when you try to visit any website that is sending out viruses it blocks it by telling your computer to look back at your own computer for the web site. Since your computer is not the host of the site, it will cause a Page Not Displayed error.

My favourite thing about using this is it will block 90% of known ad services so when your visit a site, it washes the ads out of the page. This reminds me of how the internet used to be about 10 years ago when there wasnt pop-ups and constant ads flashing on a web site.

TheMalcolmConnection 02-03-2006 09:10 AM

Re: Computer help
No porn sites!? :(

TheMalcolmConnection 02-03-2006 09:10 AM

Re: Computer help
Actually, when you install Spywareblaster and Spybot, they fill up your hosts file with sites that should be blocked. They also add a buttload of sites to your "Blocked List" in IE.

BDBohnzie 02-03-2006 09:34 AM

Re: Computer help
All these guys are spot on. I've used AVG combined with AdAware and ZoneAlarm and Spybot Search & Destroy, and have never had any problems. Comcast is giving away free McAfee stuff to their customers (Anti-Virus, Firewall, Parental Controls), so if you are a customer of Comcast, check into that.

All these programs have their pluses and minuses, so try a bunch and go from there. Plus it helps to have a router, even if you are the only computer accessing the internet, just for the added firewall protection it gives you.

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