Keeping Your System Protected
We will refer to the line-up of software as packages, usually consisting of different programs such as :
- Malware/Spyware Scanner
Most of AV programs work in a similar fashion. What separates one from another is how good the definitions are and how frequently they get updated. Because of the nature of an AV program and how it operates, for maximum system stability is is highly recommended to have only 1 AV program installed. For example, if you have AV by Norton, then you should not have any other AV program such as Eset, McAfee, etc. Conflics of these different AV engines can cause system problems.
If you've already purchased an AV program, you're welcome to use it. In terms of recommendations, we have found that the Microsoft Security Essentials AV is a very good program and is very Windows-friendly. While most other AV systems can cause crashes and instability, MSE has proved that it works very well in Windows environment. It is frequently updated, and best of all you can get it for free from Microsoft if you have a valid version of Windows OS.
You can find MSE at the following link:
Windows OS comes with a pre-installed Firewall that seems to work just fine for most people. If you want advanced control, reporting and extra features that don't exist in the included Firewall, then you can purchase or download something else, but make sure that you disable Windows Firewall to prevent conflict. If you've already made a switch to MSE, best thing to do is keep Windows Firewall and configure it to your needs if necessary.
Keep in mind that a lot of AV packages out there also include Firewall. Generally during installation they tend to disable integrated firewall, but its recommended to check just to make sure.
Windows Defender is a anti-spyware tool that can help fight spyware collected from web-browsing. It's also a very Windows-friendly tool and it works as advertised. On top of this program, another good recommendation is Malwarebytes. This program is able to scan deep into your system and find common spyware that plagues many websites nowadays.
Unlike AV programs, malware scanners do not interfere with each other, so you're welcome to try different ones such as Spybot Search&Destroy, Hijackthis etc.
Although most infections nowadays are caused by spyware, it is still highly recommended to have an entire package of software keeping your system safe. Without the whole package you're leaving exposed areas of your system that can become infected.
Also keep in mind that if you didn't have any kind of protection on your system and then it became infected, AV Packages may not be able to clean it. Even the best and most expensive software suite out there may not be able to remove something that has existed before the AV was installed. The reason for installing AV packages early on is so they can learn the system and learn your usage behavior as the time goes by. Creating false and true alarms, marking files and creating safe zones, something that takes time and effort. Once the AV has learned enough about your system and you, it has the ability to better recognize the infections and get rid of them.