New software for a new computer?
February 23, 2008 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm setting up my spankin' new computer. So far I've downloaded AVG as my anti-virus solution, but I'm not sure which way to go for anti-spyware.

Is Ad-Aware still any good? Should I use ZoneAlarm (which doesn't play nice with Adaware), or is there something better? And does anyone have experience with AVG's anti-spyware setup? I realize that ZoneAlarm serves more of a "firewall" niche, so input / corrections are appreciated. Anyone have experience with AVG's anti-spyware solution?
posted by ®@ to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I only run AVG with a combination of Hosts file ( and Adblock for Firefox. I've been on this setup for a year now and I have not had a single spyware issue.
posted by cheero at 8:42 AM on February 23, 2008

If you do want anti-spyware, Microsoft's Windows Defender is perfectly cromulent.
posted by kindall at 8:45 AM on February 23, 2008

Besides Ad-Aware, Spybot S&D is the other free standard.
posted by box at 8:46 AM on February 23, 2008

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with your question, but when I bought this computer I found this list of clean free open source software... amazing. It has been my most favored list of all time. No, really.

Hopefully you'll find it as helpful as I did, if you didn't already know about it. Most meta-filter folks know as well as lifehackers. It's just a great list!
posted by magnoliasouth at 9:03 AM on February 23, 2008 [8 favorites]

I'm pleased with the combination of COMODO Firewall Pro (since Windows Firewall only protects against incoming attacks and not those that "phone home") and Comodo BOClean Anti-Malware, both free and highly-rated.
posted by davcoo at 9:14 AM on February 23, 2008

Spyware Blaster is good too. Unlike scanners (Ad-aware & Spybot) it helps immunize the computer so spyware is blocked from installing in the first place. Freeware.
posted by sharkfu at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2008

AVG Anti-Spyware, which used to be Ewido, is supposedly very good
posted by Sufi at 10:04 AM on February 23, 2008

I use a combo of Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D. They tend to complement each other's blind spots pretty well. ZoneAlarm for your firewall, AVG for your anti-virus. Oh, and CCleaner to periodically clean up your hard drive and registry.
posted by EarBucket at 10:08 AM on February 23, 2008

Response by poster: This is great! I should have mentioned, I'm on VISTA 64 bit. Any caveats for this?
posted by ®@ at 10:46 AM on February 23, 2008

I'm going to be a contrarian: nothing will kill your system's performance faster than Microsoft Defender. And virus software usually isn't much better.

I've been running without a resident spyware scanning software for years now. I'm considering disabling my virus scanning software. I have a hardware firewall, and I just avoid doing things that would get me a virus. How do most people get viruses/spyware these days, anyways? Maybe I'm forgetting something, but so far, things seem to be going swimmingly.

If this was a laptop that would be using public networks, where it would be exposed to more serious attacks without the benefit of my firewall, I would probably rethink my strategy.

Of course this advice is predicated on the idea that you will never, ever slip up. Download that kitty-cat screensaver and all bets are off.
posted by IvyMike at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2008

AVG for anti-virus, Comodo Pro for firewall. Run Ad-aware AND Spybot S&D on a regular basis, and throw in an online scan from Trend Micro every month or so. I haven't had any problems ever.

Running just a firewall and no anti virus, and only trusting to your own safe computing habits, only works if you are the only one using the computer in question, and you never have friends or family using it to look things up on occasion. If it's a family computer, like mine, it certainly is not advisable.
posted by gemmy at 11:10 AM on February 23, 2008

I used ZoneAlarm for years, but it seems to occasionally run away with my proccessor. I finally got sick of it randomly slowing the system down, and switched to COMODO a week ago. I haven't seen it take up more than a couple percent of my CPU since.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:28 PM on February 23, 2008

yet another vote for Ad-Aware, Spybot, and AVG Antivirus.

Those three will help if something gets on your system, but this is certainly a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; keep on top of your updates, be vigilant about downloads, redirects, and phishing attempts, and if you're at all unsure, scan it first or don't run it at all.

oh, and here's a related comic.
posted by heeeraldo at 1:48 PM on February 23, 2008

I use no script, takes getting use to but works great.
posted by hortense at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2008

I think Webroot Spysweeper is good. We did an extensive anti-spyware shootout at work, and it was the best.
posted by Argyle at 4:54 PM on February 23, 2008

I use
Spybot S&D as someone mentioned earlier
Spyware blaster (also mentioned earlier)
and Super Antispyware

also popup blockers like adblock plus

plus Hijack This and other tools that I rarely use anymore but are good to troubleshoot things.

be sure to update often. and scan periodically as works for your situation.
posted by clanger at 6:06 PM on February 23, 2008

I'm going to second IvyMike's contrarian advice. I don't use antispyware or antivirus software at all, and I don't have any problems. There are two things you have to do to make this work. First, don't do dumb things. Second, and much more important, don't run as an administrator. If you can't install any software at all, you can't install spyware/viruses/etc. If you do the second consistently, you can slip up on the first.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:06 PM on February 23, 2008

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