From the Desk of Butch Bridges, Ardmore, Oklahoma
Updated March 22, 2022
I am going to list what I believe the best free programs to keep your home computer free from viruses and spyware. If fact spyware is the number 1 problem for any computer. I like to tell people that the odds of you getting a virus is slim, but the odds of you getting spyware on your computer is 100%.
1. OpenDNS SERVICE
OpenDNS is a free service that automatically protects your computer from tens of thousands of questionable and harmful websites worldwide BEFORE they can reach your computer. You don’t download and install any program on your computer. You only change the 2 DNS numbers in the LOCAL AREA NETWORK CONNECTION in your computer’s settings. The setting is in the TCP/IP SETTING. They have easy to follow directions and help videos on their website. This is truly a must have service along with your antivirus program.
CCleaner is my favorite program to keep my PC clean of malware and spyware. I have used the free version for many years with no problrm. I run it about once a week to keep my PC a clean, mean running machine. I run CCleaner every 2 or 3 days.
4. SECURITY ESSENTIALS by MICROSOFT
This is a free program by Microsoft that works in real time to keep viruses and spyware off your computer. This is the best anti-virus and spyware program I’ve ran across yet. Its very small, not like the huge memory hogs like Norton Antivirus, and runs in the background using hardly any of your memory. If it detects any suspicious activity i.e. spyware or trojan, a box pops up in the lower right hand corner of your screen warning you. All you do is is click the CLEAN button in the center of the box, and presto chango, its gone!
5. MICROSOFT SECURITY SCANNER
04/21/11 Microsoft has came out with a portable spyware scanner. It’s a free scanner.
6. NORTON POWER ERASER
02/01/15 I have had really good luck with this free scanner by Norton. You download it and run. It will make you reboot before it will run. The file is only good for the day you download it, will not run at a later day. So, you have to download it again to run like the next day.
Now, with the above said, there are also other free programs that work well.
Regardless if you purchase one of the commercial antivirus programs like Norton or McAfee or one of the free antivirus programs, if you don’t keep the DAT files updated, you are wasting your time. With new viruses coming out daily, it is imparitive to keep the DAT files current no matter which program you use. Most programs, including AVG Antivirus allows you to either manually or automatically schedule updates.
One important note on antivirus programs. Be sure you only have one anti-virus program running on your computer at a time. Two running on your computer at the same time will slow it down tremendously. I did have AVG, and then installed Microsoft’s Security Essentials, and my computer slowed way down. I uninstalled AVG, leaving only MS Essentials, and it was back to normal.
Equally important is to keep your Microsoft Internet Browser updated. (Sorry, I do not know about Firefox, Netscape or other browsers.) Updating your Microsoft browser is easy to do. When you are on the Internet, just click on TOOLS tab at the top of the Page and then WINDOWS UPDATE. Just follow the prompts and install any critical security files or updates recommended by Microsoft.
Microsoft Update Site* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Below are some neat freeware programs I call “can’t live without programs”. Some I have been using many years. I will pass along those little freeware gems as I run across them below:
ANY VIDEO CONVERTER
The video file took just 2 minutes to record on my camera as a .MOV file, but the size was 22 megs. I used a Freeware program, Any Video Converter, to make it into a file Microsoft Media Player would recognize and play. It worked perfectly and the conversion was so fast, and the end product was a video less then 2 megs (.mp4 file) in size. What a difference, a 20 meg reduction in size!
Remember the old PrintScreen key we could use in DOS? That sure was a nice feature and we all wish sometimes it was available to us under Windows. I ran across the neatest freeware called PrintDesktop that will allow us to do just that, print what we see on screen.
An easy-to-use screen capture tool that allows you to capture the content of your desktop or any window with the click of your mouse. Screenhunter supports BMP, GIF and JPG.
Team Viewer works like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop and its free for HOME use. (For commercial applications see TIGHT VNC below.) Let’s you access another computer through the internet just like you were sitting in front of the other computer, even though you are miles away. Great for remote diagnosing a friend’s computer, or transferring a file from a remote computer to yours or visa versa. Team Viewer uses their Server to connect 2 computers, so it does not need any Router configuration and Port Forwarding stuff.
AREOADMIN REMOTE DESKTOP
To connect to a friend’s computer remotely I use AreoDdmin its completely free and works great. You do not have to install a program on your PC. Both parties need to download the program and Run it. When you try to conect to your friend’s computer, you have to give them the PIN number and they have to accept it for security reasons.
TightVNC is a freeware program that allows you to remote control (works like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop) to another computer. Tight VNC is free for use use on any computer anywhere, work or home. Once you are attached to the other computer its just as if you are sitting right there in front of it. Sure comes in handy for accessing your home computer from work, or helping a friend with his computer problem, and remote diagnosing. The program has 2 modules. One is for Server Mode and the other is Viewer Mode. Example: start TightVNC Server module on your home computer. At work run Viewer module, enter your home’s IP and presto, you are now viewing your home computer screen. Just be sure and enter a password for the Server Module so others can not access your home computer. Note: If your computer is behind a router, then you will need to log in to the router and go to PORT FORWARDING set it up. Unlike Team Viewer above, Tight VNC is harder to configure in this respect.
Ransack Agent is a free program I been using to search my computer for files, photos (I have over 16,000) and documnets. When I got a new computer in December 2010 the first thing I noticed is the old Microsoft Search was not there, and some crazy, hard to use computer search was in its place. I hated it. My Ransack Agent makes it so easy to search my computer’s hard drive for something I don’t remember which folder its in. any Router configuration and Port Forwarding stuff.
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