No matter how careful you are with your web surfing, you are bound to sometimes get unwanted spyware or adware loaded into your PC. It is best to get into the habbit of running spyware/adware deletion/cleanup programs on a regular basis. Good housekeeping habits with your computer will prevent you a ton of trouble down the road. Here are a few suggestions of products to use: Spybot Search and Destroy – it’s free, it removes spyware and adware, and has three functions that are helpful: (1) The Immunize function prevents e.g. Tracking Cookies from entering your system. Immunize works with Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera, allowing you to adjust specific settings of the browser to block known spyware installers, (and similar baddies) already included in Spybot-S&D’s database. You start the Immunize function by clicking on Spybot-S&D → Immunize on the left navigation bar. (2) Resident SDHelper is a second layer of protection for IE. Immunize function blocks installers by their ActiveX ID, while SDHelper blocks badware that tries to enter using a different method. Thus Internet Explorer cannot download bad files. You start SDHelper by clicking on Tools → Resident on the left navigation bar (therefore Spybot-S&D has to run in Advanced Mode). There you can tick the checkboxes next to Resident “SDHelper” (Internet Explorer bad download blocker) active in order to activate SDHelper. (3) Resident TeaTimer prevents unwanted files from being installed – no matter how – on your system. It monitors the processes called/initiated perpetually. If known malicious processes want to start, TeaTimer immediately terminates them, giving you three options how to deal with this process in the future: (a) be informed when the process tries to start again, (b) automatically kill the process, (c) generally allow the process to run. AdAware – Lavasoft has been the benchmark spyware-defense tool for years. Their Ad-Aware product has won the trust of millions of users. Ad-Aware does perform realtime protection, and it auto updates its definition lists to remain current. And. . . .it’s free. Microsoft Windows Defender – Somewhat more thorough than Spybot, this free offering from Microsoft is worth trying. Included in Windows Vista or downloadable from Microsoft, Microsoft Defender will work well as part of a combination defense, perhaps with Spybot. Macafee Virus Scan and Anti Spyware – for those of you willing to pay for your spyware/adware removal, consider Macafee Virus Scan and Anti Spyware – In recent About.com tests, Macafee managed to detect 100% of all spyware infection, and it also shut down nearly 99% of spyware processes running in memory. While you cannot purchase Macafee anti-spyware without also purchasing their antivirus, the bundle is absolutely worth it at $39.99. If you are willing to spend money on your spyware and virus defense, then Macafee is an excellent choice. If you are looking to save yourself a few dollars, then Lavasoft/Defender/Spybot can make for a good no-cost combination defense.
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