Here is a collection of free software utilities you can use to keep your Windows PC running in peak performance.
I compiled this list after doing a lot of research testing among various applications and computers. In my opinion, the ‘biggies’ such as Norton and McAfee are bloated resource hogs that don’t perform as well as they should. You can expect to fork over at least $30 a year for them, as they force you to renew your subscription after 12 months.
Why use these tools when there are free alternatives that run faster, do a better job, and take up fewer resources?
I recommend the free version of AVG Antivirus, which is fast, thorough, and free. I liked it so much I paid for a copy of the enhanced version for my main PC just to support the company. That doesn’t mean the free version lacks anything important, because it is indeed full-featured.
The old faithful, Spybot Search and Destroy does an excellent job of finding spyware, and keeping spyware from finding you. It is important to run the updater weekly to make sure you are protected from all the latest threats.
To replace the tools that Norton System Works offers, I suggest you download and install Easy Cleaner, which does everything Nortons does but without the resource hogging. From cleaning up your registry to clearing out old temporary files, Easy Cleaner is fast, small, and powerful.
Only recently did I learn about Kerio Personal Firewall, but since I have installed it on three machines and used it for a couple of weeks, I have been thoroughly impressed. One suggestion: when installing it, choose the ‘basic’ interface and not ‘advanced’. That is, unless you are a savvy computer geek.
Other System Protection
Another cool tool to keep things from getting broken in Windows is WinPatrol. This tool puts a little black dog named Scotty in your system tray. Scotty will bark at you when something weird is going on, such as an application trying to change your hosts file. Scotty monitors your system files and protects them from spyware, trojans, and the like.