If you have a computer that connects to the Internet, you need to protect it against things like viruses, spyware and other malicious programs that could infect your system. If you don’t want to have to pay for this protection for whatever reason, or if you just want to try out some programs for your computer before buying, your not alone.
I would not want to have to pay for some of the programs I have seen on the Internet that some companies have put out. Some can be down right frustrating to use and are so confusing that the common home user would be lost trying to use it, much less computer technicians like those at companies who specialize in trying out software for our benefit. I have looked at the current crop of anti virus software and protection and give you some help whether it’s free anti-virus or trial versions for you to try out and see if you want to spend your money on the programs.
I am doing this because I have kids in 4-H and they just bought a laptop, it’s used but has the latest of everything, even Norton Anti-virus, but only the trial version. But they don’t want to have to spend the money on software when they won’t be going on the Internet much and when they do it will probably be at my home or at the local 4-H office on their system. I do want the computer protected though. And I’ll start out with some of the free anti-virus protections available over the Internet.
With any anti-virus protection there are two important parts to them, updates and removal. If the program does not get updated regularly against the most current viruses then it is no good against those viruses. And if you can’t remove the viruses the program only tells you that you are infected and you’ll have to go elsewhere to get rid of it.
AntiVir Personal Edition Classic is a free program available here: http://www.free-av.com/
They have free anti-virus for windows and Linux, Free BSD, Open BSD and Solaris. This is nice for those that have those other operating systems. The programs are free and they have download sites where you download the installer for the program and then the program will download and install on your computer. This works fine if you are already protected with the anti-virus or have a firewall like windows on. If you do not have protection you should not go on to the Internet without at least your firewall for windows on. They have the usual updates for their program which is what anti-virus is all about.
AVG Anti-Virus is another free program available here: http://www.download.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239_4-10342876.html?tag=lst-6-2
It is from GriSoft and is another free program available over the Internet, this one is recommended by many sites and especially CNET. They give it a 4 out of 5 rating and users on their sites have rated it 4.5 out of 5. The program offers anti-virus protection with scheduled scanning and rescue disc creation for MSDOS scanning to get rid of infections at that level if Windows won’t work on you. The interface is easy to use but pretty bland. This is the one that I am going to use on our new addition to the 4-H Tech Team and will see how well it works over time.
It is very easy to install and setup, it took me about fifteen minutes to load and set up the program, with about a half hour to run the anti virus in between that set up time. It runs the anti-virus to make sure it starts out with a clean installation. It is easy to set up and use. A plain interface with buttons to the different areas such as virus scan, rescue disk creation and task scheduler. The disk creation is a part that I do not use on my other PC’s, it is used if you do get a virus and need the computer information that gets infected. It creates a copy of your system files for the program to use in case of infection to use for a new install of those files. The other program I use called PC-cillin does not use this, it goes about the process in another way.
These two are the only free anti virus programs that I found on the Internet that I would recommend. There are others but I have only recommended a couple that are rated as good ones to use. If you go to Download.com and go to the anti-virus section here: http://www.download.com/Antivirus/3150-2239_4-0.html?tag=nav_dir
You can find some other free programs using the buttons at the top under rating to sort the ones by CNET or user ratings and the buttons at the bottom under license to choose the free programs. At the same place you can find trial versions of others, just keep the license at all or free to try and you can read about the other programs available for you to try. One that is highly recommended on many sites and by a lot of computer sources such as PC World is Trend Micro.
They have three free programs that are great for your computer. They have two programs called CWshredder and Spyware Scanner that are utilities for cleanup and spyware removal, you can read about them at their website. The cw shredder is a cool web Trojan remover that removes unwanted cool web bugs on your computer, and Spyware Scanner is just that, a scanner and removal tool for spyware. The third program is Housecall, a free virus scan that will scan your computer and tell you if you are infected with a virus. If you are infected it will try to remove the virus but you may have to go elsewhere to get it removed.
Here is a site to try for removal of viruses for free: http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_cleaner.html
Avast has a free virus and worm removal tool that works very well, especially as it’s free. I have not used it on my own computer but did on the new one and it works very well and is easy. The big problem with infected files from worms or viruses is that they may change system files and make your system not work, or will get errors or strange things will happen. The Avast recovers the infected files and removes the worm or virus and you may need to restart your machine so the system can reload a system file or registry file that was possibly infected. It does work well and is easy.
For anti-virus protection that you have to pay for, I would suggest using Trend Micro’s PC-cillin Internet Security 2005. This is one program that is worth the cost, it has not only anti-virus but Internet firewall and spyware, adware and malware protection and removal. It is easy to use, configure and you can set it up to automatically scan, update and remove viruses.
There are others but you can ask people what they use and find out from friends, relatives or coworkers what is good. The biggest thing I would recommend is a trial version to see if you like it. That way you can tell what it is you like and dislike and find out if you want to spend the money on it, or just go with a free program and save yourself. But the big point is to protect yourself and your computer against viruses and all the other stuff out there.