Antivirus and Malware Tools

Here are links to my current favorite antivirus and antimalware tools.

Malwarebytes is a tool which removes infections after you get them.  You can also run it to make sure you do not have an infection.

It is always useful to have more than one tool.  Sometimes one will remove bugs that the other will not.  Superantispyware is another tool I use often.

Both of the above are free versions, but if they really help you out of a bad infection think about buying the pay versions they offer.

My favorite pay antivirus software is NOD32 by Eset.  It is great protection and does not slow your PC down like some other AV software you can buy.  You can try it free for 30 days, but after that you have to by it.

http://www.eset.com/download/free-trial/nod32-antivirus

Eset also has an online scanner you can use for free on the internet.  If you can get online, it has worked well for me.

http://www.eset.com/online-scanner

Finally, Microsoft now provides free antivirus/antimalware  software.  All you need is a legal verison of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.  It seems pretty good.

http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/?mkt=en-us

Backup Software

There are many choices when it comes to backup software.  Sometimes, it comes free when you get an external hard drive.  If you don’t have any, I’ll give you three choices.  The first two are full featured programs with a lot of flexibility.  The each let you make sets of instructions that say what to backup and where to put the backup.  They let you backup everything, or just changes.  They let you automatically schedule backups.

They are:

Super-flexible file synchronizer

http://www.superflexible.com/download.htm 

You have to pay for after the free trial period is over.  The price is $34.95 but you can try it for free.

Syncback Freeware

http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/

This is free for personal use.  Once again this is very powerful and offers a lot of feature.  If you want the free version, make use to click the the download link next to the freeware version.  (They make pay versions too.)

For the average user, the choices available in using and configuring the above software can be overwhelming.  There is another choice:

Fab’s Autobackup

http://www.fpnet.fr/

The beauty of this software is that it knows the location of all of your common Windows user files, documents, and settings.  It is a lot more user friendly and makes backing up a lot easier. 

You have to pay for it but it is cheap.  the price is in Euros, it is 4.90EUR.  That is about $6.99 as of today.  Well worth it.  The other thing to know is that they only accept PaPal payments, but then PalPal takes care of the money conversion and makes it much safer for you when ordering online.

PayPal is also used to make buying on ebay safer.   In fact, Ebay owns paypal now.  You can signup (or find out more at paypal.com.

Viruses for Free!

Some of the worst virus infections I have ever seen I can trace to websites offering stuff for free which you have to pay for everywhere else.

Some examples are sites that offer free clipart, graphics, games and screen savers. They are enticing, but many load adware, spyware or viruses.

The worst offenders in terms, of jobs I’ve worked on, are file sharing sites. Not only do they offer Music and Movies (illegally in most cases) for free, They are a fantastic place to get malware that can cripple your PC.

Many times, parents with children are involved. Some don’t actually understand what the kids are doing with the computer, so they feel they can’t prevent the problem. So they get infected over and over again.  My frustration with this problem is what finally caused me to stop doing home visits for free.   People would quickly become re-infected bucause their behaviors did not change.

Please look at all pop-up adds offerings free stuff as potentialy very dangerous.

Add please do not ever use the following sites or file sharing software:

  • Limewire
  • Bearshare
  • Grockstar
  • Morpheus
  • Kazaa

Finally file-sharing in general with Bit-Torrent is dangerous for the same reasons.   There are so many other sites which you can use find torrents that I could never list them.  Just know how much of a risk you are taking.  

In another post I will tell you about some free software you use if you have viruses, adware, or spyware.

External Drives For Backup

If you want to do backups, you need a place to store your backup copies.  The most common is an external drive that sits outside your computer.  Extermal drives are nice since you and attach them to do a backup and them move them somplace else.  The safest back up is one kept away from the PC.    The safest place is at a different physical location, but I won’t be that pick now.  Any backup is better than none.  Other posts will talk about off-site methods.

New computers come with large hard drives.  In genneral, I don’t think you should start with drives smaller than 500 gigabytes

One of my favorite places to order computer stuff from is Newegg.com.

Here are two examples of good external drive from manufactures I recommed:

Seagate $500 gig drive

$69.99 + Shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148404

Western Digital 500 gig drive

$69.99 + Shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136466

Prices change often so I will try to update current prices from time to time.

Backup, Backup, Backup

One of the first topics I want to address is backup. If you havn’t thought seriously about it, you should. Backup method can range from simple to complex. If you are not backup at all, any kind is better than no kind.

Disk drives fail. You may have been lucky never to experience this, but given enough time chances are good that you will. One data recovery expert I follow points out that as hard drive capacities get larger and larger, the margins for error in construction and technology get smaller and smaller.

Some say “I don’t have anything important on my computer.” Yet, they use it every day. Unless you store all your pictures, music, internet shortcuts, kid’s schoolwork, recipes and documents online someplace on the internet, you need some kind of backup. It need not be complicated or expensive. Everyone should think about what items the find the most meaningful or hard to replace. What stuff do you have that is very inconvenient to recreate? Start with backing up these things.

If you want to start simply, burn important stuff to CD or DVD. Make sure you store these safely. Do not by cheap blank CD or DVDs if you choose this method. I once was involved with a mass scanning project involving thousands of pages of documents stored on CD. The vendor used cheap CD’s. The CDs were unreadable within 3 years.

Today, flash or pocket USB drives can provide enough space to keep backups. This is not the perfect solution. Be careful. Think of these as more temporary storage than for archival storage. If you must use them, store backup copies on them, then put the drives away (keep them somewhere safe at another location).
Putting a backup in a desk under the computer is not the greatest idea. Don’t use flash drives holding backups for other purposes. Just put them away.

Real backup involve software, separate disk drives, and offsite or online storage. In my next posts I’ll talk about each of these separately give you some links you can check out.

Welcome!

Wecome to my new home on the web.  Here I will post advice, tips links to uses software and sites that I think the average PC user needs.

I’ll begin with a few posts every so often.  The content should grow quickly once I really get going.