How to keep your PC HEALTHY…

Nowadays, as soon as you get on the Internet, your computer is vulnerable to many different types of codes that can harm the information stored on your computer.  You can avoid these by using some very helpful tools listed below to protect your computer and your information.

Too keep you PC performing its best at all times, I suggest using any variety of the following utilities:

  1. Antivirus Software
  2. Adware/Spyware Remover
  3. Firewall Software
  4. Pop-up Blockers

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE :
There are currently hundreds if not thousands of antivirus software available today. Some of the most popular one’s are:

 

Norton Antivirus – 4/5 (cost: $30 – $50)
  • Website: www.norton.com
  • This version of Norton Antivirus will protect your computer from many viruses, worms, trojans, and more.
  • It automatically scans everything internet you perform.
  • It protects your emails and Microsoft Office documents too.
  • The Live Update feature automatically keeps this software up-to-date.
  • This antivirus software is easy to install/use/update. It is not the best but I just prefer this over other manufacturers because of its ease of use.

 

McAfee VirusScan – 3/5 (cost: $30 – $40)
  • Website: www.mcafee.com
  • Prevents viruses when emailing, downloading and surfing.
  • Destroys viruses and virus-like threats.
  • Identifies spying and pop-up ad programs.
  • Updates automatically to protect against new threats.
  • This antivirus is also a good choice but I personally do not like its user interface and its automatic update feature. It is too complicated, for me anyways.

 

Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal – 4/5 (cost: $30 – $40)
  • Website: www.kaspersky.com
  • Auto protects you computer from any harmful activity on the internet.
  • Protects all your incoming and outgoing emails.
  • Automatic updates every hour.
  • I have not had any experience with this antivirus but have heard good things about it.

ZoneAlarm Antivirus – 4/5 (cost: $20 – $40)
  • Website: www.zonelabs.com
  • Comes with built-in Firewall utility.
  • Protects your computer from hackers and unknown programs trying to access the internet.
  • Even protect your computer from unknown and emerging viruses
  • Monitors all incoming and outgoing emails.
  • Automatically updates virus definitions.
  • This antivirus software is very strong and reliable. I would recommend it to everyone.

 

AVG Anti-Virus – 3/5 (cost: $30 – $40)
  • Website: www.grisoft.com
  • Checks your incoming and outgoing email for viruses.
  • Checks for viruses as files are opened executed and saved and will prevent you from opening or running an infected file.
  • Provides information about the actual status of the AVG components, and allows you to access and modify their settings.
  • This antivirus software has a weak user interface, and somehow I do not like using it.

 

Panda Titanium Antivirus – 4/5 (cost: $30 – $50)
  • Website: www.pandasoftware.com
  • Automatically detects and eliminates all types of viruses, worms and Trojans while you send and receive e-mails, download files or work on the Internet.
  • Protection for the critical PC entry points: email and instant messaging.
  • Protection against unknown viruses and intruders.
  • Immediate and automatic updates.
  • This antivirus software is wonderful and easy to use. The update feature is excellent and fast.

 

From the information provided above, you can decide which Antivirus utility is better for you. You probably want to know what you need to look for when choosing Antivirus software… right? Well, first of all, see if it fits your budget. Then compare features like automatic updates, protect levels, and the manufactures reliability; this is what I do when I shop for Antivirus software.

What is Spyware and How to fight it?

WHAT IS SPY/ADWARE AND HOW TO FIGHT IT :

 

What is spyware or adware?
Spyware or adware are software or some form of instructions that can cause your computer to behave unusually. These can also leave your computer useless; where you will then have to reinstall everything. Spyware are known to steel personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc…

 

How to fight spyware or adware?
You will need special tools to eliminate and fight spyware and adware from your computer. Here is a list of some of the most popular one’s available today (these are the one’s that I think are worth purchasing or at least trying):

 

Adaware SE Personal – 5/5 (cost: $0 free)
  • Website: www.lavasoft.com
  • Ad-Aware is designed to provide advanced protection from known Data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components. With the release of Ad-Aware SE Personal edition, Lavasoft takes the fight against Spyware to the next level.

 

Spybot – Search & Destroy – 4/5 (cost: $0 free)
  • Website: www.spybot.info
  • Spybot – Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn’t intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don’t see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there’s no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer, too.

 

Webroot Spy Sweeper – 4/5 (cost: $25-$30)
  • Website: www.webroot.com
  • Detect and safely remove spyware and adware from your PC, and block new unwanted programs before they can infect your machine. Webroot Spy Sweeper safeguards your identity and restores system performance through fast, smart and powerful anti-spyware protection.

 

 Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware – 4/5 (cost: $0 free beta)
  • Website: www.microsoft.com
  • Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your PC can be detected and removed. This helps reduce negative effects caused by spyware including slow PC performance, annoying pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings, and unauthorized use of your private information. Continuous protection improves Internet browsing safety by guarding over fifty (50) ways spyware can enter your PC.

 

McAfee AntiSpyware – 4/5 (cost: $30-$40)
  • Website: www.mcafee.com
  • Is someone tracking your every online move? Essential protection for today’s security-conscious Internet user, McAfee AntiSpyware quickly detects then safely eliminates malicious applications — e.g., key loggers, remote-control programs, browser hijackers – hiding on your system before they can rob your identity, snatch passwords or monitor browsing activity when you surf or shop. Erasing online roadblocks, McAfee AntiSpyware also foils adware programs that trigger annoying advertisements and sap system performance.

 

Norton Antispam – 4/5 (cost: $30-$40)
  • Website: www.norton.com
  • Norton AntiSpam filters out unwanted email to make your online communications safer and more enjoyable. Automatic identification of spam makes it easy to block messages you don’t want, without interfering with your legitimate email. Norton AntiSpam can also flag messages that have offensive content and block intrusive online ads.

 

I personally prefer Adaware SE Professional and Spybot – Search & Destroy from the list above. I use these because they are easy to use and update. I also liked Microsoft AntiSpyware but since it is the beta version I uninstalled it. I do not like to use beta software because these are not all too bug free.

How to keep intruders out?

HOW TO KEEP INTRUDERS OUT :
Firewalls are a very good way to stop intruders from breaking in to your computer and stealing your private data. Firewalls also help control all internet traffic coming in to your computer and going out of your computer.The following are some Firewall software that I think will help protect your computer from intrusion:

 

ZoneAlarm Pro – 4/5 (cost: $0 – $50)
  • Website: www.zonelabs.com
  • Easy-to-use firewall blocks hackers and other unknown threats.
  • Protects against identify theft and online profiling.
  • Quarantines suspicious email attachments and blocks outbound messages containing potential viruses.
  • Automatically secures PCs connected to wireless networks—at home or on the road.
  • This firewall is strong and secure and easy to use and manage.

 

Sygate Personal Firewall – 3/5 (cost: $30 – $40)
  • Website: www.sygate.com
  • Sygate Personal Firewall Pro redefines the personal security industry with a multi-layered shield of Intrusion Prevention technologies and Advanced Firewall capabilities.
  • This firewall is also easy to use and manage; I have been using this for about 6 months now and I like the way it works.

 

Norton Personal Firewall – 3/5 (cost: $30 – $50)
  • Website: www.norton.com
  • Norton Personal Firewall keeps personal data in and hackers out. Right out of the box, it makes your PC invisible on the Internet so that hackers can’t find it. The program’s intelligent intrusion prevention technology blocks suspicious Internet traffic. And easy-to-use privacy controls prevent personal information from being sent out without your knowledge.
  • This firewall is okay to use and update, but it uses a lot of system resources.

 

McAfee Personal Firewall – 3/5 (cost: $30 – $50)
  • Website: www.mcafee.com
  • McAfee Personal Firewall Plus provides a secure, always-on barrier between your computer’s hard drive and hostile Internet threats. It combines perfectly with your McAfee VirusScan anti-virus protection for multi-layered PC defense against sophisticated viruses like Mydoom, which can open up communication backdoors on computers.
  • This firewall is also a good product and does not use that much system resources.

 

Webroot Desktop Firewall – 4/5 (cost: $25 – $30)
  • Website: www.webroot.com
  • Block unwanted incoming traffic to your PC, be alerted to outgoing data and choose which programs access the Internet.
  • This firewall is a great buy if you own other Webroot products. Webroot products seem to work great together.

 

Now all of the above firewalls are reliable and affordable. You can use any one of these and be protected from threats from the dark side of the Internet. I personally like to use Sygate Personal Firewall, but I also used to like ZoneAlarm Pro. I would highly recommend these two manufacturers.

Get rid of pop-ups!

THOSE ANNOYING POP-UPS :
There are many utilities you can find on the internet or sometimes on selves in stores that promise to reduce or even eliminate pop-up windows and ads. Not all of these utilities can do what they promise. Sometimes they even add to the number of pop-ups you receive. I guess that’s their marketing strategy; to produce the pop-ups they need to block. Here are some of these utilities I believe do their job correctly:

 

Webroot Pop-Up Washer (cost: $25 – $30)
  • Website: www.webroot.com
  • Delivery of pop-up ads has grown by 400% in recent months.
  • Intrusive pop-ups pollute your online world, impeding productivity and detracting from the enjoyment of your favorite sites.
  • Pop-up ads consume bandwidth, slowing your Internet connection.
  • New delivery methods defeat many pop-up stoppers.
  • Controlling the pop-up windows you do and do not see is essential for an optimal online experience.

 

Avant Browser’s Built-In Pop-Up & Ad Blocker (Cost: $0 freeware)
  • Website: www.avantbrowser.com
  • Avant Browser can be best described as a custom web browser application. Avant Browser is a standalone application designed to expand services provided by Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Easily eliminate unwanted pop-up pages automatically with just one click.
  • For more information on the Avant Browser, please read the review.

 

These are the two I have used and liked. I use the Avant Broswer to surf the web, so I do not need any other utility to block pop-ups. If you use a browser that does not have a built-in pop-up blocker, than I would suggest you use Webroot’s Pop-Up Washer. It will protect you computer from pop-ups that use your systems resources and slow it down. Pop-Up blockers also help protect against spyware or adware from downloading to your computer.

How to use these tools?

HOW TO USE THESE TOOLS EFFICIENTLY :

 

The Installation :
Before installing anything, I suggest you disconnect your Internet connection first. When installing these utilities, I suggest you install the Adware/Spyware remover utility first and the firewall utility second and any other utility after that. If you install the Antivirus first, you will have to turn off “Automatic Protection” to install other utilities. When you turn this off, your computer will be left unprotected from harm. So the best way is to install the Firewall and Spyware/Adware remover first then the Antivirus last.You will probably have to restart your computer after each installation, and that is a good thing because you do not want to install one thing and the other and have them conflict with each other.

 

How To Use :
Once you have all of these utilities installed successfully, you must check to see if all settings are set to default or normal. Make sure to use the automatic update feature to update the program itself and all related components; this is very important for virus scanners.

 

THE PACKAGE DEALS :
I have discussed all of these utilities separately so now I wanted to talk about the packages that some of these manufacturers offer. Sometimes the package deal will save your some money and give you extra protection. So let’s see which one’s offer packages:

 

McAfee Internet Security Suite (cost: $40 – $50)
  • Website: www.mcafee.com
  • Prevents viruses, blocks hackers, identifies spam and protects your identity. Feel free to e-mail, IM, share pictures, bank, and shop online knowing your PC, documents, and personal information are safe from Internet threats. Best of all, automatic updates ensure you always have the latest protection.

 

Norton System Works (cost: $35 -$45)
  • Website: www.norton.com
  • The smartest way to solve computer problems and protect your valuable data. This easy-to-use software helps you eliminate viruses, prevent computer problems, and restore your system to a healthy state. The One Button Checkup makes it easier than ever to find and fix computer problems. This package includes Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities, Norton GoBack, CheckIt Diagnostics, and System Optimizer.

 

ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite (cost: $60 – $70)
  • Website: www.zonelabs.com
  • Triple Defense Firewall, Integrated Anti-Spyware/Antivirus, SmartDefense Service, ID and Privacy Protection, Email Security, Phishing and Spam Blocker, IM Protection/Parental Control, Wireless PC Protection.

 

Now if you want an all-in-one deal, you can choose from one of the above packages. This is of course if you want to use the same manufacturer for all utilities. If you like different manufacturers for different products, I would suggest purchasing each utility separately.

 

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE :
Here is what I use to protect my computer:
  • Norton Antivirus 2005
  • Sygate Personal Firewall
  • Adaware SE Pro
  • Avant Broswer’s Built-In Pop-Up and Ad Blocker
  • Spybot – Search & Destroy

 

With all of these utilities turned on, I do not have to worry about getting infected with a virus or have some spyware steal my personal information. I am also protected against hackers or other computers trying to gain access to your computer.When I am surfing the web, I sometimes click on links that start to pop-up strange windows and download unwanted programs. Norton Antivirus scans everything that is downloaded and deletes everything that can harm my computer. Sygate Personal Firewall blocks most downloads of unwanted programs but some seem to get through undetected. So, when I encounter this situation, I just run both of my Spyware/Adware utilities to get rid of all harmful programs or utilities from my computer.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS :
Nowadays you can search online for “free stuff” including software. All of the software mentioned in this article can be downloaded for free from certain “warez” websites. I do not recommend you visiting these websites because these are some of the sites that download program without your knowledge and try to steal your information.  If you want to try any of these products, just visit the manufacturers website and download a trial version. It does not cost a thing.

 

Note: Some statements in this review may relate to the one’s on the manufacturer’s official website. Some information may have changed or become out dated since this article was written.

Post Author: vchand

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