Whether you’ve gotten a tech support scam phone call or not, it can be helpful to know how to clean viruses off your computer for free. And yes, I do mean free.
A lot of people get ripped off due to virus scares and it makes me mad. I’m a computer security professional. I advise large companies on computer security for a living. Today I’ll take a few minutes to advise you.
When Microsoft Security Essentials first came out, it was an improvement in antivirus performance. Now, it’s middle of the pack, according to PC Magazine. That’s great. Vendors are finally taking performance seriously.
What that means is that by replacing MSE with F-Secure Anti-Virus 2013, Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2013), Sophos Anti-Virus 10.2, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6, Norton Antivirus (2013), Avast Free Antivirus 8, or Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013, you can speed up your computer. Considering Norton Antivirus was once bottom-of-the-barrel in the performance arena, I see this as a good thing.
Of the bunch, Avast is the only freebie. Though if your ISP offers one of the others as part of your subscription, or you don’t mind paying for antivirus, the others are an option. But maybe, just maybe, if I replace Microsoft Security Essentials with Avast, Peggy will quit calling me at dinnertime and telling me my computer is slow. But I doubt it. Read more
I mentioned Bitdefender 60-second virus scan the other day, but didn’t give it a proper review. It’s time I remedy that.
It’s a small 160K stub that downloads a few more megabytes worth of stuff after you run it. Unlike most other free antivirus apps, this one is intended to be secondary–a marketing tool to show you what your primary antivirus isn’t catching that Bitdefender would, I suppose. But I think it’s useful as a second line of defense, and recommend using it as such.
Ars Technica made a bit of a splash this week with this provocative headline. This is real.
The article gives the usual advice, like not opening e-mail from strangers, not clicking attachments from strangers, and not visiting dodgy websites. That’s all good advice, as is staying off torrent and other file sharing sites, but even all that is not enough.
PC Mag has some advice about ransomware. The most important bit of advice is to have a secondary machine that you can use to go get help.
I’ve written before about cleaning up Windows boxes using a Bitdefender Live CD, but the live CDs often don’t clean up all of the collateral damage that the malware does to try to keep you from uninstalling them.
That’s where Windows Medkit can come in.
Yesterday Lifehacker did a feature on laptop tweaks and upgrades, that basically came down to reinstalling the OS, adding memory, and upgrading to an SSD. All of those are good things to do of course, but there’s more you can do. I posted a response there; I’ll elaborate a bit here, where I have more room to do so.
There are tons of links here to previous content I’ve written; optimizing aging machines is a recurring theme for me. I’ve been writing on that topic for 11 years now.
What should you do when someone hands you a computer, tells you they think it has a virus, and asks you to clean it?
Proceed carefully, that’s what. You don’t want to infect your other computers with whatever it has.
To get it gone safely and effectively, you really need two things: an antivirus live CD, and a spare router.