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As so often happens in this age of the Internet, it is not a lack of information that is available to us, it is that there is an overwhelming amount. Enter "computer help" into a search engine and you will see 809 million results.

Fortunately there are many, many truly informative and helpful websites out there. Here are some resources I have found to be not only informative and helpful, but free from hacker's-code, adware and spyware.

If you are comfortable with downloading and installing software from the Internet, I have provided links to some great programs. To get to the application you want, click on its name. Unless otherwise noted all links are free for personal use. Look for the ***'s to see my enthusiasm level.

Let's start with security...          to skip to next page, click here.

Antivirus scans Author/Descrition
Housecall*** Housecall is a free service offered by Trend Micro--scan your machine and remove viruses your current AV may have missed.
BitDefender Online Scanner Another free scan similar to Housecall. You must browse to this site using Internet Explorer.
ActiveScan ** This online scanner from Panda looks for and removes some types of worms, trojans, and spyware as well as viruses. The available "Professional" version is quite reasonably priced, but unnecessary.
McAfee's Virusscan Online Another free scan, this one from an Industry leader.
Windows Live One Care ** Microsoft sells its One Care all-in-one program to compete with McAfee and Symantec, and frankly it isn't rated very well. On the plus side, it also offers this free scan which not only scans for malware, but if you chose the Full Scan, it will optimize your system Registry and clean out your temp files and clutter. You must browse to this site using Internet Explorer.
Online Safe Scan ***
A new online scanner from a malware removal leader.
If the subscription AV that came with your PC has "expired", or you do not have a anti-virus utility for any other reason, I cannot express strongly enough that you simply must have a current AV: one that can download new definitions daily. If you are using last year's definitions, you aren't really protected!

The good news is you DO NOT have to pay for a "subscription". There are several excellent products available for personal use. PLEASE NOTE: It is "very bad" for you to have more than one AV running on your machine. Make sure you uninstall any existing AV before installing a new one. I am available via the Web or phone if you would like me to install, or help install, these programs

Antivirus utilities  Author/Descrition
Security Essentials*** Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Avast!*** Detection and removal with all the necessary features. For home use only.
AVG*** Perhaps the most popular free AV. From Grisoft. Commercial editions available.
ClamWin Open Source code. Does not have real-time protection.
Comodo AV An excellent AV, but you must provide your email address, and some Comodo promotions for additional products pop up.
Avira PE Classic*** A fast and effective AV, but the free version does not scan e-mail
PC Tools A.V.*** Also works on Vista. (scroll to the bottom of page for free version.) Has Hueristics.
ThreatFire**** This is a supplement for AV and AS protection. It protects from "zero-day" attacks by heuristic analysis of your running processes. Use this in addition to your other protection programs.

Leave your machine unprotected and connect to the web, and your machine will pick up spyware in less than 12 8 minutes. Spyware is the Number 1 cause of tech support calls..

A WORD ABOUT A.S. UTILITIES: No anti-spyware utility yet created is 100% effective. Some are more efficient than others against some types of spyware, while others are better at fighting other types. Therefore, I strongly recommend running at least TWO anti-spyware utilities (so that one will catch what the other missed) and adding a zero-day app, like ThreatFire, as well.

Some spyware terminology and why it is so important to remove and prevent it:
Keylogger A program or device that records your keystrokes. Used to record card numbers and passwords, and every word you type on your keyboard.
Trojan Horse A program that carries a malicious program inside it.
Browser Hijacker A type of adware that changes your browsers settings to misdirect your searching to the badguy's web pages, or a pay-per-click search engine. Some change your homepage.
Zombie (bot) net A trojan horse can deliver a program that turns your PC into a "zombie" under the bad-guy's control and use it to send out spam, and copies of the trojan horse itself to infect more machines; thus creating a network of zombies (or "robots").
Rootkit A new type of malware that runs "below" the Operating System and therefore is undetectable by most anti-spyware scanning methods.
Cookie Cookies are small text programs (that are generally harmless) that some websites use to track visitors. This is how your yahoo homepage recognizes you, and how Amazon "remembers" your previous purchases.

Click Here To Continue To Next Page, and links to free anti-spyware scanners

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