Do it all suite are the name of the security game these days, sure you can gather free programs that cover the bases much as a suite would, but who wants to bother with finding out which apps work together and which one might leave you pulling your hair out.
Your Anti Virus Base
For free collection with AVG free 8.0, it installs easily and it works under XP and vista, it ads for its paid version don’t get in the way, and since it ferrets out spyware and adware, you don’t need to install a separate antispyware program, also it generally does well in signature based detection test from organizations such as AV-Test.org (those test typical evaluate the paid product, but the free and paid version use the same signature base scanner.
AVG Free does have the same limitations, though the app will detect and block rootkits, stealth technology used to hide other malware, before they invade your PC, it won’t detect or remove a rootkit that has already successfully infiltrated your computer, furthermore, its ability to detect new threats that don’t yet have full signature generally isn’t that great.
When you install it, you’ll be prompted to install a browser toolbar, but you don’t need to do so to get AVG’s LinkScanner, which check for attack code on web search result and puts a safety indicator icon next to each one. If you use AVG, be aware of one potential gotcha, the free threatfire malware detection utility seems like a great fairing, since threatfire does job of detecting new malware without a signature and also detects and removes rootkits, but the current version, 3.5 conflicts with AVG and will cause system lockups, PC Tools, maker of threatfire says that it’s working on a fix, but for now you should avoid using the two together.
An out Bound Firewalll
After installing anti virus software, many people replace the windows firewall with a third party firewall to regulate outbound traffic, this strategy can stop malware that has already invaded your PC from sending stolen data to a crook, but even free ones comes at a price, you’ll almost always have to deal with some annoying pop-ups when new, unknown to the firewall program attempts to connect to the internet.
Still, if you’re willing to tolerate the pop-ups, outbound blocking can provide good protection, online Armor personal Firewall Free, though there aren’t any universally accepted firewall test, online Amor did well in the extensive firewall challenge by matousec.com, a security testing group, this program is also easier to use then many other free firewalls.
After going through the installation and safety check, the right click on the OA system tray icon and deselect program guard; the feature, when running will display pop-ups for every new program that you attempt to install or run, instead of just the apps that attempt to connect to the internet, the huge annoyance wasn’t worth it. Online Armor does not work with vista, but you can enable the vista firewall’s outbound blocking, it’s turned off by default with the free vista firewall control
Extra Web Search Safety
AVG’s LinkScanner component checks site in your search result for browser busting exploits, to add warning for dangerous download, user complaints and spam potential, bring SiteAdvisor into the mix, the free download for McAfee will add an icon the sits next to the one from AVG in your search result, along with a safety indicator for the currently viewed page.
The Cleanup Crew
Many all in one suites offer PC tune-up features that can clear out old junk in temp directories or eliminate windows registry clutter, to get same features in your free suite for windows xp or vista.
When you install the gunk-busting, keep an eye out for a check box along the way that will not so helpfully offer to install the yahoo toolbar, if you don’t want the toolbar, deselect the box.
And when you use the program remember that you might not want to jettison everything that CCleaner or any other gunk remover, suggests clearing, such as your firefox browsing history or the list of documents that you’ve recently opened in windows explorer, and whenever you use any registry cleaner or optimizer, be sure to back up the registry first in case something goes wrong, CCleaner offers to do it for you each time you use the registry tools.
The Free Security Bonus
With this last tool, you roll your own suite will go beyond what even the best paid suite can provide, the free virus total uploader gives you a right click option in explorer to upload any suspect file no larger than 10 MB to virus total.com, where a whopping 35 different anti virus engines will scan it, no single anti virus application can catch everything, and for this reason Virus Total provide a great and easy to use second line of defense.
If you get the go ahead from all of the engines, you’re almost certainly golden, if you see one or two generic sounding alert, the file is likely safe, as the warning are probably false alarms, but if you receive, say, seven or more different warnings, and some of them identify a specific threat, watch out.
If you don’t want to deal with multiple downloads and you would rather pay $50 to $80 for a set it and forget it approach to PC safety, in exchange for a little more effort, however this collections can keep your PC safe and sound for free.