Free AntiSpyware Programs
Everyone seems to recommend a different free antispyware program. Which is the best for protecting me against spyware?
The Best Free AntiSpyware Protection
Today it is critical that you become actively involved in the protection of your computer system and personal information from spyware and other malware applications. There are several anti-spyware applications that you can use to monitor your computer for suspicious activity, identify known malware and fix problems that develop because of malware. The best part of the anti-spyware application market is that many of best programs are free! Here's a roundup of the ones I think are effective...
If you are a Windows user then you will want to use the free Windows Defender tool from Microsoft. This program comes with Windows Vista, but if you run XP, it can still be downloaded for free. This program scans your system for malware, blocks known offenders and repairs your files as needed. One nice feature if this program is that you have the ability to selectively delete suspect files, as well as restore files that were deleted by mistake. This product started out as Giant AntiSpyware, and was purchased by Microsoft in 2004. They have expanded and improved the software over the years, and continue to make it available for free. I've used Windows Defender almost exclusively for several years on my main computer, and it's never let me down.
Malware Bytes Anti-Malware
One of the most popular free antispyware apps is Malware Bytes Anti-Malware, also known as MBAM. This program is designed for Windows and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista. What makes this program special is that its scans are super quick, and it has a reputation for catching some of the nastier infections that some other programs miss, and also offers a tool that allows you to manually search for malware programs and selectively remove them. MBAM's paid version ($24.95) has real-time malware protection that's designed to block malicious processes before they start, but the freeware version is still an excellent antispyware tool.
PCTools Spyware Doctor
Another top anti-spyware app that you can download for free is PCTools Spyware Doctor. The starter edition of this program is offered free of charge through Google Pack. This program will allow you to scan your entire system for malware applications, it will remove targeted threats, it offers real time protection, it is easy to use and it will only alert you when there is a legitimate threat to your system, as opposed to alerting you every time you download or install a legitimate computer program like many of the other programs do.
One of the oldest free anti-spyware applications on the market is Spybot S&D. This program scans, identifies, blocks and clears away spyware adware. A few years ago, Spybot S&D was considered king of the anti-spyware hill, but now I consider it one of many good tools you can use to combat cyber nasties. Some of the additional programs that you can download for free include the Run Analyzer, which will help you to identify weaknesses in your system, File Analyzer, which helps you to analyze the structure of files and RegAlyzer, which scans and repairs registry errors and problems.
Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware was one of the first anti-spyware apps, developed in 1999. This program is unique in that it offers real time protection of your system. It also utilizes heuristics -- a combination of file characteristics and behaviors -- to identify potential malware applications before they have a chance to impact your system. This program will protect your computer from spyware, rootkits, keyloggers, trojans and hijackers.
Super Anti-spyware is another program that offers real time protection through the use of heuristics. This program allows you to schedule your scans and it doesn’t monopolize your system’s resources so its performance isn’t hurt while running the program.
So Which AntiSpyware Tool Should I Use?
All of the above antispyware tools are effective, have good reputations, and a large rabid user base that will swear by them. So maybe you're wondering why I listed them in the order that I did. I'll admit it's a bit subjective, but the ordering is based on my personal experience, my research, and what I've heard from others.
My advice: Pick ONE. Unless you run into a spyware problem that it can't remedy, stick with it. The only exception to that rule is this... if you're really concerned about possible spyware lurking on your system, try running the immediate scan portion of another tool. Don't turn two real-time spyware scanners loose at the same time, since they can fight and slow down your system.
Got comments or questions about antispyware programs? Post your thoughts below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 29 Jun 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free AntiSpyware Programs (Posted: 29 Jun 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved