A Squared is free, but MBAM is also free, and much better.
Avast 5 has a free version and it's one of the better antivirus programs available
AVG also has a free antivirus, as does Avira. Both are Windows 7 compatible.
CCleaner is a free utility for cleaning temp files; I don't recommend using the registry cleaning feature (or any registry cleaner).
MVPS HOSTS file is excellent, and it's free
Online Armor has a free version of their firewall
Jetico Personal Firewall is also free for personal use and is compatible with Windows 7 (32-bit)
If you have trouble with a particular antivirus, most have configuration options that can reduce problems (although at the risk of less protection) with options like an adjustable level of heuristic detection, the ability to detect (or not detect) potentially unwanted programs like FTP programs, instant message programs like MIRC, and joke programs. There is also often an option to not scan files over a certain size, such as large movie files, but as you have already seen, that could make you more vulnerable as media files can infect you as easily as any other type of file. Block scanning of large files, and that movie file can then infect your system.
The problem with most AV software is the always on protection. It's constatnly scanning all files on the drive and in memory. That uses a lot of processor power to the point where my mouse lags and my system hangs for long periods of time. I do have a quad core machine with 3 gigs of ram. I defragment my hard drive on a regular basis. The strange thing is I only experienced this with Windows 7. With windows xp pro I could use the always on protection and still have power to spare and I was running on a hyper threaded 3.2Ghz with 1 gig of ram. Far less than this system.
Your frustration at having to mess with this is something we are all familiar with... That is why we volunteer at this forum... We all hate the fact that the Internet, which is a great resource, is polluted with criminals who make it harder for everyone to use it safely... That is also why we want to see everyone use adequate protection... If all computers were armored up and people used safe surfing practices, there would be no criminal element because the money would dry up... Since millions do not maintain safe systems and their systems are infected to use against everyone else, the criminals make billions and keep growing in numbers and sophistication...
Yeah. It's getting to the point that I want to see them in jail for the rest of their natural lives as, in my opinion, that software is in violation of the first amendment of the constitution, a right to privacy. It's very simple. It monitors your browsing habits and sells them to the highest bidder. It's no diffrent than someone standing over your shoulder and watching everything you do, and reporting in on it. The only diffrence is that one is electronic, and if it were an actual person you could hit him with your car. Course I wouldn't recommend that as it would probably do more damage to your car than was worth it. I honestly belive people who engage in designing malware of ANY kind, spyware and viruses, are guilty of a felony. Adware is diffrent as it doesn't have to be malicious. Say I get a totally free programing that displays an ad in it's GUI that's chosen at random. The program doesn't monitor my browsing and for all intents, stays to itself. That I have NO problems with as I can ignore that. Course it's not as effective as people want. Those are the people that enough is never enough. I really wish the government would get involved, or at least a private agency would be created to not only combat this, but would see that those guilty of this crime were punished. Oh well, enough soap boxing. I'll try AVG and look around for a Windows 7 compatible firewall. That's the other thing I liked about XP, almost everything worked for it. I feel like this is Russian Roulette with computer security.
Update: 3/20/2010 at 12:59 pm|
I have installed Avast. I used the MVPS HOSTS file. So far Avast is the answer to my prayers. It has all the shields I want. All the protection I want. All the configurability I want. The best part is, it's quiet. I'm doing all my normal stuff and it's doing it's scanning in the background, completely unnoticed. This is fantastic. I think when I start working I'll invest in Avast Pro. I think it's worth the money. Now that I have that, all I need now is a firewall. As far as the HOSTS file goes. It's been so long since I had a computer issue I totally forgot it existed. Thank you for reminding me. I love how Avast has P2P protection and supports uTorrent. I go to OCRemix a lot. I download full albums from there, which is legal. It uses torrent files to do so. Just to give a brief explination, OC remix stands for OverClocked Remix. It's a site dedicated to video game music. You can download the original in game music, or download user created remixes or all around original sound tracks. I recommend Dark Side of Phobos to any Doom fan out there. So anyway. I'm glad with Avast I can have my cake and eat it too, so far. If I still have problems then bye bye uTorrent and P2P in general. I'm going to go searching for a firewall now and will update this post with the results.
Update 3/20/2010 at 1:59 pm|
Everything is running smoothly and the mysterious entry into my registry, the one that I discussed earlier, is totally gone. It seems everything is running as it should be. Thank you for all your help.
Final Note: Did my first scan with Malware and Avast. All clean. Seems that's all for now. With all the help you all have been I felt I owed it to you to show you how it ended. Everything is going smoothly. I haven't tried gaming yet, but it seems it won't be a problem. I may have to turn down a few graphics settings, but that's fine, I'll live.
Edited by Emus, 20 March 2010 - 12:40 PM.