Antivirus at home

Regular Antivirus

The Antivirus I recommend is Microsoft Windows Defender (formerly called Microsoft Security Essentials). Its free and its real good and its fast.  And its built into Windows.  Hopefully you are running Windows 10 by now right?

If you think you might have a virus:

The best way to check is with an offline virus scanner. Once your Operating System (Windows) is infected, nothing that runs in it that can be trusted to clean it. An offline scanner boots off something other than your hard drive. Usually a CD/DVD or a USB key.

I used to recommend the offline scanners from AVG and BitDefender. But now Microsoft has one called Microsoft Offline Defender (used to be called System Sweeper) and its better in several ways.

  • Its easier to run than the linux based ones.
  • Its easier to make a bootable USB or CD.
  • It makes itself fresh when you build the USB or CD. So it does not have to update from the internet when running. Which was always a problem with linux network card drivers.

One obstacle is that you have to figure out if you are running a 32 or 64 bit version of Windows. (or just assume you are running 64 bit if you have a decently modern system)

To do this in Windows 7 or 8 right click MY COMPUTER and select PROPERTIES.   In Windows 10 (recommended!), right click MY PC and select PROPERTIES.  MY COMPUTER and MY PC can be found in FILE EXPLORER (the file folder icon!)

It doesn’t work with all systems, but does for most. And it is a thorough clean. And if the Microsoft tool says it wont recognize your hard drive, I have had some success with Norton’s tool available here.  It says it will ask for a “product key” but it doesn’t.

If you arent sure what to do, send me an email! I am always HAPPY to help.

And if you just want to avoid a virus:

  1. Keep your OS and browser up to date! Install those updates! I recommend Windows 10.  For a browser use EDGE or Chrome.  And avoid browser plugins unless they have a stellar reputation and you really need them.
  2. Uninstall Java and Flash. You might be surprised to find out you do not need them, and if you do, they will reinstall the newest securest (?) versions anyway.
  3. Uninstall all the 3rd party antivirus, antimalware, antispyware, etc you have installed to try fix your issues.  This includes the antivirus software you PAY FOR.  Most of it causes more security issues (or at the least slows your machine down), than the antivirus that’s free with Windows. 

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