Recently I've had several people ask me what products I use and recommend they run on their Windows based PC computers for security, protection, and to optimize performance. And while that sounds like a simple and direct question it isn't. That is because the amount of protection and what it takes to make your system perform well while providing adequate security depends on many factors.
So to answer that question I've came up with what I believe is the only good way to provide that information and that is to offer different recommendations of software to run based on the users experience level and the level of protection needed. A novice user, the average user, and a more experienced user all obviously have much different requirements and abilities when it comes to security so no one answer is going to fit all of their demands.
Also I know that you can find hundreds of programs out there and get many different recommendations from lots of sources as regards security software. With that in mind remember that I offer this advice only as my personal choices based upon my own use and observation and make no other claims or arguments as to the suitability of any of this advice. So please keep comments limited to any other software you may use without arguing that my choices are somehow inferior or risk having them removed. I don't intend to turn this series of articles into an endless argument just my recommendations, suggestions and thoughts on this matter.
So let’s first take a look at Anti-virus, malware, ad-ware, and general protection software that is available as standalone programs with later articles to discuss other aspects of security ending with a rap up that discusses security suites. I take that approach since I feel that the best overall security solution often comes from picking and choosing the best of the programs in individual areas and combining them to produce good, solid protection without expecting any one “suite” to be best in all areas.
This approach also allows for users to find that combination of programs that they best understand and can use to their full potential. No program, no matter how good it is in theory, is a good program for someone to use if they just don’t understand it.
With all of that in mind for a Novice user the Anti-virus threat protection program I recommend is;
Microsoft Security Essentials (It's free to all users and does an adequate job without being too complicated and while it's a Microsoft product it's gotten good ratings and seems to perform adequately.)
Its available for download here: Security Essentials
And for malware and other threats I recommend to the Novice user:
Microsoft Security Essentials. (Yes this program is also my choice to provide this protection too as it's a complete security program for providing basic protection from ad-ware, Trojans, viruses, and most other threats. That makes it nice for the Novice to use as you only have one program to keep updated and working. It comes set to auto update and has live time monitoring to help prevent most dangerous downloads from installing. All that and it’s in a simple to use package that seldom confuses or causes problems. )
As for the general and advanced user I recommend for Anti-Virus, Trojan, root kit, and other such protection:
Avast Anti-Virus (It seems the best overall answer as it's free for general use and is cost effective for business use with an excellent rating and record. It has automatic updating even in the free version and is easy to setup and use.)
It's available for download here: Avast Anti-Virus
As for ad-ware, malware, and other such treats I recommended Ad-Aware. (It's free for general use and cost effective for business use. And with an excellent record and rating it comes with live time monitoring in both the free venison and paid versions. Be aware however that it only offers automatic updating in the paid version so you need to remember to be sure it's kept updated especially BEFORE scanning when you're using the free version.)
It's available for download here : Ad-Aware
So there you have it for anti-virus, malware, ad-ware, Trojans and such threats. My next article will deal with firewall software so watch for it about Wednesday or Thursday.