A lot of folks ask me what I use for Antivirus and Antispyware and Antiwhatever to keep my machines running well. Of course, there are the Nortons and McAffee and such for paid services, but I’m . . . well . . . cheap when it comes to that! I just can’t justify spending money on something that (from past experiences) keeps popping up “you gotta update” messages all the time. I say that, because when I bought my first desktop computer many moons ago, I bought a copy of Norton System works. It’s the one that “tweaks” your system and protects it and the list goes on. Well, it seemed all that did was bog my system down, so I uninstalled it.
I then asked the question, “Just what am I protecting my computer from?” Well, I retired that old Pentium II machine for a new P4 Windows XP machine. From that point on, I’ve adopted the following practices and have had pretty much a stressless computing experience for several years. So, here goes – all of the following can be done free of charge (Windows Defender is iffy as it exits Beta).
- Virus Scanning – After I got rid of Norton, I decided to look for a good, free service to use for virus scanning. I found housecall.antivirus.com and haven’t looked back. It’s from the makers of PC Cillin (Trend Micro), so I trust them. I just go there every month or so and scan away. They automatically update the virus definitions.
- Windows Defender (Adware) – I used to use Lavasoft’s AdAware software. It’s still great (click here), but I had been hearing great reviews about Microsoft’s Windows Defender. I installed a few months ago and am very pleased with it. I found over 100 ad programs running the background of my computer . . . kind of creepy. It can be scheduled to update itself every day (mine updates at 1:00 AM). To get it, click here.
- Defragment Hard Drive – One way I keep my machines running swiftly is to simply defragment my hard drives. Just go to Start > My Computer, then right click the drive (usually C:). Select properties, then tools and select Defragment. Once every month or two is great for me.
And that’s about it. I’m in the routine of doing these things regularly and all is well (I’m sure I’ll crash as soon as I post this!). Hope this helps you out. Let me know if it speeds things up or makes life smoother for ya!