Is there a great, free alternative to Ad Aware?
October 30, 2013 2:56 AM   Subscribe

Is there a great, free alternative to Ad Aware?

I installed Ad Aware a few months ago and have been really unhappy with how intrusive it seems (constant pop-ups prompting you to register, alerts every day, etc). Has anyone found this to be true, and if so, is there a better alternative?

I don't need anything fancy and I'd prefer something free if possible. I just want to make sure my computer keeps on keepin' on in the same virusless way.

posted by amicamentis to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
windows defender.
posted by empath at 2:58 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Microsoft Security Essentials works very well, is very fast, and is completely unobtrusive.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:12 AM on October 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

I still use Avast!--has it fallen out of favor?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:33 AM on October 30, 2013

Avast has fallen back into favour.

Nevertheless: deezil.
posted by converge at 3:48 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use AdBlock Plus.

You don't specify the OS you're using. Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender are both good, but obviously Windows-only.
posted by dfriedman at 5:20 AM on October 30, 2013

Ad-aware is an anti malware program for windows, not an ad blocker.
posted by empath at 5:32 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I dislike Avast because it makes you do a pointless little re-registration dance every two years, and it slows Winboxen down more than my continuing favourite, Panda Cloud Antivirus Free.

If you must use Windows, I recommend having Panda Cloud Antivirus installed and running in the background, having the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware available for cleaning up after getting gulled by once-were-respectable download sites, and browsing with Adblock Plus for Firefox or for Chrome subscribed to EasyList, EasyPrivacy and Fanboy's Annoyances (advertising servers get hacked and infected more often than most).

The Panda Cloud Antivirus installer gives you checkable options for letting it change your home page, letting it change your default search engine and letting it install the Panda Security Toolbar. I recommend looking carefully for those options and turning them all off.

The current version also includes something called Data Shield, turned on by default. This is independent of its main anti-malware engine and lets you whitelist selected application programs, selected filetypes and selected folders, so that only those applications have permission to make changes to files of those types in those folders. It does a reasonable job of figuring out what's already on your box at installation time, and if you're prepared to put up with responding Allow to warning popups until you've taught it what else you use, this should mean that even a zero-day exploit can't damage files you care about.

The free version of Cloud Antivirus does try to upsell you to the Pro version, but is not in-your-face about it. Personally I have always found the free version quite satisfactory.

Adblock Plus gives you the option to "allow some non-intrusive advertising". Personally I turn this off. You can leave it on if you suffer spurious sympathy for advertisers and/or believe that what people do with their ad blockers is of any consequence whatsoever.

The Chrome version of Adblock Plus needs you to check a box if you want it to affect Incognito windows as well. Since porn sites are the kind most frequently afflicted with infected or otherwise just plain annoying advertising, it's a good idea to turn that on (check the Chrome settings menu under Extensions).
posted by flabdablet at 5:52 AM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

/Ad-aware is an anti malware program for windows, not an ad blocker.

This. Also it's not a virus checker.

If you really want a malware scanner then "Spybot Search & Destroy" is a good free alternative.

If you really just want a virus checker, then Microsoft Security Essentials works for me.
posted by mr_silver at 7:37 AM on October 30, 2013

Comodo :)
posted by krisb1701d at 9:06 AM on October 30, 2013

I like Malware Bytes.
posted by getawaysticks at 9:57 AM on October 30, 2013

I got a lot of slowdown with Avast!, but Microsoft Security Essentials has worked like a dream.
posted by Drexen at 12:12 PM on October 30, 2013

Used to use Microsoft Security essentials but recently they have declining results in the independently verified AV-Tests. I have been using Avira (Free and requires registration but no popups) for viruses along with malware bytes for malware/adware/trojans to keep it smooth.
posted by radsqd at 12:17 PM on October 30, 2013

I use Malwarebytes + CCleaner and this seems to keep everything under control. I used Spywarebot for a couple critical incidents, and it's excellent, as is their online support forum.
posted by Miko at 8:31 PM on October 30, 2013

Malware Bytes. I use the paid version.
posted by Dansaman at 10:17 PM on October 30, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks to all for these great answers! I'll definitely be checking out all of them. Much appreciated.
posted by amicamentis at 7:25 AM on October 31, 2013

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