10 Nifty Free Security Programs For Your PC

ZDNet has a list of 10 spiffy free security programs for your PC. We already use CCleaner, a program that removes cookies, URL history and unused files from your PC. Deleting cookies is very cathartic. Try it.

The article suggests 9 more, and none looks as wonderful as a certain program that uninstalls annoying bloatware from your new PC.

Triteon, who submitted this link, says, ” If I ever buy a Windows-based PC again I look forward to using the PC Decrapifier!”


Ten free security utilities you should already be using [ZDNet]


Edit Your Comment

  1. NTidd says:

    I stopped reading at “AOL

  2. revmatty says:

    It’s nice not having to deal with this crap. I stopped using Windows outside of work eight years ago and have not looked back once.

    Now my computer at work stays clean because it’s pretty well locked down and I don’t go to any websites of questionable ethics (present company excepted) and I don’t under any circumstances use Internet Explorer. We aren’t allowed to install any software on our computers, which prevents most of the spyware/adware problems.

  3. Cowboys_fan says:

    I have numerous problems with this. First, if you know how to use all these programs, you probably don’t need them. Secondly, if you have all 10 running, your computer will slooow down. You can remove bloatware on your own. Delete your own cookies, use anti-virus(CCleaner is okay, I use avg), spyware blockers(I use spybot search and destroy, tea timer disabled), and a firewall(I don’t even use). Turn off remote access. That is really enough to protect most people. Sensitive corporate-like data will need a whole lot more protection than offered here.

  4. clarient says:

    I agree with CCleaner, and GMER was a nice surprise that I’ll be trying out on some of the machines I’m working on right now.

    But everything else was kind of… eh. Where is AutoRuns? Or ProcessExplorer, or Unlocker, or ActivePorts?

    And I wouldn’t trust ANYTHING that came out of AOL. No dice.

  5. theblackdog says:

    I’d consider the first program, but the rest are crap to me. I think AOL must be sleeping with the head of ZDNet if their antivirus program makes this list. I use Avast! and every time I have installed it on someone’s computer, it will find stuff that Norton Antivirus missed.

  6. TPIRman says:


    Secondly, if you have all 10 running, your computer will slooow down.

    I don’t think the article is suggesting you run all 10 utilities at once. That would indeed muck up the works. Aside from a couple of low-impact browser plug-ins and virus tools, these are occasional maintenance apps.

    You can remove bloatware on your own. Delete your own cookies

    You can pick all the cracker crumbs out of the carpet on your own, too, but I prefer to use a vacuum. It’s easier, and the specialized tool is less likely to miss something. Same deal with these apps. They don’t make the impossible possible; they make the tedious simple.

    use anti-virus(CCleaner is okay, I use avg)

    CCleaner is not an AV app.

  7. suburbancowboy says:

    I am a big fan of Avast anti-virus.

  8. djanes1 says:

    An alternative to deleting cookies is to set your browser to prompt for cookies. Sites I buy stuff from or log into, like consumerist.com I set to always accept, sites with names like adclick.prosrv.net or whatever I set to always block. If you just delete them, won’t they just come back?

  9. The Bigger Unit says:

    Enh, the AOL Antivirus program is written by Kaspersky (and looks just like the regular retail version). I use Kaspersky, and I like it.

    AOL blows (granted), but I wouldn’t deadpan their antivirus program completely.

  10. Frank says:

    I liked and used CCleaner for many years before I changed the operating system from Windows XP to UBUNTU on all of my machines. Dump your Microsoft operating system and you won’t need to worry about using these utilities. I now use UBUNTU 7.04.

  11. Cowboys_fan says:

    No you wouldn’t run all 10 but 5 are meant to always run, add in 1 or 2 more on occassion, and depending on your cpu/ram, could slow down dramatically. CCleaner was my mistake, I have used it to help identify viruses, but is not anti-virus. Either way, most of this is pretty much junkware.

  12. Triteon says:

    @suburbancowboy: I agree, and I would add Spybot to that mix too.

  13. kingoman says:

    The NoScript plugin for Firefox should be #1 for Firefox users (and switching to Firefox should be #1 for IE users!).

  14. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I’m stuck on a company-owned laptop. I have an Ubuntu box but I never have the time to get my nose in my Ubuntu tutorial book and play creatively with the thing, though it looks like sweet chocolate to this DOS-old user… anyway, I installed and ran CCleaner, and got that feeling you normally only get from cleaning an Old Master with Q-tips. Whoa, it took a scandalous amount of garbage off my drive, and there’s a perceptible speed gain. Hooray.

  15. j3s says:

    While I am definitely no fan of AOL, I think those who are blindly comment-bashing them here could benefit by doing a bit of research. Sans a few features found in Kaspersky’s retail version, AOL Active Virus Shield is a rebadge of Kaspersky Anti-Virus, which is one of the best pieces of Anti-Virus software available today. Other than AOL’s name licensing, they pretty much have zero to do with the program. In fact, the full name, as AOL calls it, is actually “Active Virus Shield Powered By Kaspersky® Courtesy of AOL”. If you were going to run a free AV program, AVS would be a wise choice. Just make sure you elect *not* to install AOL’s toolbar along with it.

  16. ThyGuy says:

    I don’t use any virus protection and I’ve not got a virus in years. Don’t want a virus… USE COMMON SENSE!

  17. Schmee says:

    Using an AOL service? Give me a break, wonder how much AOL paid them.

    @Cowboys_fan: I agree, Anti-Vir (a free anti-virus program) and Spybot S&D have saved me quite a bit of money and headaches.

    Spybot’s “immunization” tool has made marked improvements on the computers of my family members and in advanced mode it has tools like a “secure shredder” and the ability to pre-block known phishing sites in IE, and Opera (I haven’t tested it with firefox but I’m sure if it works for Opera is also works for firefox).

  18. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @ThyGuy: Dude, you sound like a Baptist schoolteacher prissily telling a class of high schoolers that she never got the clap because she never had sex outside marriage.

    As everyone knows, it only takes one attack to become infected.

  19. leadhyena says:

    Seriously, this list is sad. I think that the 4 comments for spybot search and destroy should point out the most glaring omission(wasn’t even mentioned as a comparison note, like the program didn’t exist). What about ClamWin? What about HijackThis? AdAware??? Without giving good reason why older tools (although not as chic) are insufficient compared to a list of new spyware/antivirus programs, this list can’t be taken at face value.

    Oh, and any program calling itself anti-rootkit is falsely advertising itself. If you actually have a rootkit, you cannot remove it without reinstalling the operating system. Period.

  20. banksnld says:

    I second the suggestion for AutoRuns & Process Explorer, both of which can be found at [www.sysinternals.com.] (It redirects to a Microsoft website now, as MS bought them out.)

    There are many other useful tools there as well, all of which are freely available. You can also get them all at once by downloading Sysinternals Suite.

    Oh, and for the AOL bashers – simply being branded AOL does not a bad product make. Beyond the comment about the antivirus being a stripped down & re-branded version of Kaspersky, they also released a free web server years ago that was pretty impressive. I’m definitely NOT an AOL fanboy, but dismissing software without trying it simply because it says AOL strikes me as a bit silly.