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Earlier today, while I was grocery shopping, a friend called up and asked, “What’s your recommended antivirus software?” After I shared what my recommendation was, he asked, “What other software do you recommend?”

Since this subject never grows old, here are some of my recommendations:

“Please help…I have a computer that is infected. The browser (Internet Explorer) keeps going to as the home page,” wrote one desperate techonology user. “I’m sure there is a free spyware removal tool I can use, but after searching I found that some of the ones that come up are actually rogue spyware programs themselves – like Antispyware 2008.” Fortunately, the tools available for installation on personal netbooks have gotten better.

Here is a list of my favorite tools that I share at least once a month with colleagues wondering, “What is out there for free that I can share with students, parents, and staff to load on their personal computers?” 

If you want the software right away, jump to Step 2 and get AVG AntiVirus and MalwareBytes.


STEP 1 – Turn Off System Restore
First, right-click on your “MY COMPUTER” on your desktop (or look under START PROGRAMS).
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Navigate to this tab and make the change as shown below:
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Step 2 – Install AntiVirus and Anti-Malware Tools

Second, I would recommend you boot up off a CD-ROM or bootable Flash Drive, and, third, run these programs off your USB Flash Drive (check the section further below for screenshots of what that looks like).

  1. AntiSpyware Tools:
  2. AntiVirus Tools:While there are many antivirus tools, there is only one that is worth installing on thousands of computers.
    • AVG AntiVirus Free – This free version is for personal home use, but you can also install the free version for a 30-day trial. Get it online at
    • Avast AntiVirus – avast! antivirus Home Edition is available free of charge for non-commercial home use ONLY. Get it online at

The damage caused left by viruses and spyware to your Windows Registry can be catastrophic. To fix those problems, you need to take advantage of two tools that will help you 1) Uninstall undesirable programs completely and 2) Clean up your Windows registry.

  1. Revo Uninstaller – Some times, you need a program that will completely uninstall a program, including cleaning up your Windows registry. This program accomplishes that and ensures complete removal of a program. Get the portable version online at
  2. CCleaner – This invaluable tool actually cleans up your computer’s registry, and run periodically, keeps your computer running in tip-top shape. Get the portable version online at

And, since in the worst case scenario, it’s not a bad idea to make regular backups of your work. Before restoring your work to your freshly cleaned computer, make sure to clean it!

As a final preventative step, install these programs to prevent a “re-infestation:”

and, if you’re really worried about reinfestation, install this last one:

  • Hitman Pro – This tool combines Ad-Aware SE, SpyBot Search & Destroy, Spy Sweeper, Spyware Doctor, CWShredder, Spyware Blaster, NOD32, Sysclean package to get the job done. Most of the included programs are freeware. Get it online at

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure