7 Ways to Protect Your PC for Free (Buh-Bye Viruses)

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The love of my life has a problem.  With his laptop.  His subscription to TrendMicro ran out.  That’s the virus protection software that came included with his PC.  So being the frugal helpmate that I am, I compiled a list of best freeware applications to choose from will help guard his computer from viruses, spyware, malware and more.

Some items that I used to recommend, like a personal firewall and Windows Defender, now comes built-in with the newer versions of Windows.  And believe it or not, Macs get viruses, too.  So I’ll write a second post in the near future that lists the best freeware apps to protect Macs.  But for now, here are 7 for your PC:

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  • Malware Bytes.   Help Desk engineers everywhere are familiar with this freeware utility.  Easy to download, install, it scans your PC for viruses.  The only negative is that you must remember to update this software periodically and run the scan.  It will do automatic updates and scans only if you upgrade to the premium version. (Download here.)
  • Super Anti-Spyware.  Another oldie but goodie is Super Anti-Spyware.  In my experience, this one catches stuff that Malware Bytes misses.  So I have both installed.  And you also have t manually update and run a scan on this one.  I run the update daily because it sits in your system tray just waiting to protect your computer from a trojan horses or other nonsense jumping off on your machine.  (Download here.)
  • House Call by MicroTrend.  House Call is a free, web-based virus scan.  It will actively scan your machine and conquer any viruses found.  I used this one a lot over a decade ago, and I assume it’s only gotten better over the years.  MicroTrend also sells a great anti-virus product that you can install locally that is subscription based (you have to renew each year).  It comes pre-installed in most Dell computers.  MicroTrend also has a pretty cool sync/backup program.  But with tools like DropBox, I simply store all of my data in the cloud.  I don’t store any data on my local drive.  (Download here.)
  • Microsoft Security Essentials.  Microsoft itself offers a free app to squash irritating malware and spyware in your life.  It helps protect your PC from viruses and other malicious software.  It’s also legal to use this free app at home or in the business world.  It’s lightweight and very intuitive and easy to use.  And is a powerful anti-virus app to boot.  You can download it for Windows XP SP2 and higher, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.  (Download here.)
  • AVG Free.  One cool thing about AVG Free is that it offers free phone support!  Of course, you do have to put up with their constant reminders suggesting that you upgrade to their “paid” version, but it does what it’s supposed to do.  And that is protect your computer.  It updates to the latest version and definitions on its own without you have to remember.  But beware… when upgrading the application to the latest version, AVG employs trickery to attempt to get you to buy their professional version. You have to look very closely & carefully for the tiny “free product upgrade” link at the bottom.  (Download here.)
  • Panda Cloud Virus.  This one immediately attracted me because it’s web-based (I’m really into cloud computing).  This is great for two big reasons: no software to download and install and your virus definitions are always up to date!  What’s also kind of cool is that you can easily log on and run this while using the computer and other people’s homes (your mom, friend, etc) who just might need a good virus check or clean on their PC!  (Download here.)
  • Avira Anti Virus.  This one is similar to Microsoft Security Essentials in that it’s lightweight and also comparable to ABG Free.  But not as aggressive when it comes to prompting you to upgrade to their professional version.  I have not used this one but I saw good reviews.  (Download here.)

So there you have it.  I’m going to publish this article now and get it to my hubby (smile).   Stay tuned for another post where I’ll list some “spring cleaning” steps that are good to perform regularly on your PC to help it perform optimally.

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Watcha Think?  If you know of another great anti-virus software or your experience with any of the ones I’ve recommended above, please share.  Cheers and safe computing!

  • Cool, thanks for sharing!