How to protect and clean your PC

The most popular and typically the most effective way to rid your computer of malware is to use dedicated antivirus software and antispyware software. These programs rely on their own internal databases of known viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and adware, and as such, must be updated regularly (daily or weekly) to be able to detect and eliminate the latest threats.

Vista is the first operating system to include an antispyware tool, known as Windows Defender (found in Control Panel). The best part about it is that, left to its own devices, Windows Defender will regularly scan your system and even keep its spyware definitions up to date. But Vista still doesn’t come with an antivirus tool, mostly to appease the companies that make money selling aftermarket antivirus software (which is ironic, since the best tools are free). Following is a list of the more popular antivirus products.

Avast Home Edition (
Freeware, with a slick interface and good feature set.

Avira AntiVir Classic (
Freeware, with frequent updates, but only average detection rates.

AVG Anti-Virus (
Freeware, a popular yet poor-performing antivirus solution.

Kaspersky Antivirus Personal (
Very highly regarded solution with an excellent detection record.

McAfee VirusScan (
Trusted and well-established all-around virus scanner with an intuitive interface and few limitations.

Panda Anti-Virus Titanium & Platinum (
Lesser-known but capable antivirus software.

Symantec Norton AntiVirus (
Mediocre, slow antivirus software with a well-known name—but beware of its expensive subscription plan to keep virus definitions updated.

Antispyware software is a more complex field, and as a result, you’ll have the best luck using multiple tools in addition to Windows Defender. The top antispyware products include:

Ad-Aware Personal Edition (
Ad-Aware is one of the oldest antispyware tools around, but its definitions are still updated frequently. The personal edition is free and very slick, although it’s not usually as effective at removing spyware as Spybot or Spysweeper, both discussed next.

Spybot - Search & Destroy (
Not quite as nice to look at as Ad-Aware, Spybot excels at purging hard-to-remove spyware. And while both Ad-Aware and Spybot remove tracking cookies from Internet Explorer, Spybot supports Firefox as well.

Spy Sweeper (
This highly regarded antispyware tool, while not free like the first two, is still a welcome addition to any spyware-fighter’s toolbox, and can often remove malware that the others miss.

So, armed with proper antivirus and antispyware software, there are four things you should do to protect your computer from malware:

• Place a router between your computer and your Internet connection.

• Scan your system for viruses regularly, and don’t rely entirely on your antivirus program’s auto-protect feature. Run a full system scan at least every two weeks.

• Scan your system for spyware regularly, at least once or twice a month. Do it more often if you download and install a lot of software.

• See the the ways that malware spreads, and the for some of the things you can do to reduce your exposure to viruses, spyware, adware, and other malware.

Source of Information : OReilly Windows Vista Annoyances Tips Secrets and Hacks

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