Easy and Free Virus Scan and Removal Utilities – Keep Your Computer Clean
Free virus scan and removal is the third tier of your defense and only really comes into play if all other layers of security have failed and your computer has been infected with a virus or other threat. We also recommend some of the most powerful and best malware removal programs for threats that most conventional antivirus scanners overlook. The reason for emphasizing free here is because every program we recommend in the Netizen Guide in this category generously offers their full-featured scanning and removal process in the free versions. Therefore, you can be confident using free virus scan and removal utilities because some of the best are free. However, outside of this category, we highly recommend the paid versions because they provide more proactive defense that should prevent you from being infected in the first place.
A common misconception is that scanning (detection) and removal is the most important part of computer security. In fact, of the three steps we have covered so far, this is the least important. Finding and removing threats from your computer can be a messy process, even with the best malware removal programs, and in some cases the damage might be irreversible. Though there are many free virus scan and removal utilities and many of the best malware removal programs are also free, it is much more efficient to prevent those threats from ever gaining a foothold on your system in the first place. Fortunately if you have a strong array of security programs and passive adjustments, i.e. if you have followed the first two steps in this guide, it should be extremely rare, if ever, that your computer is compromised. That said, it is still quite important to have a reliable set of scanning services, even more so if you are not confident about your other security.
How often to scan your computer:
Even if you think your system is clean, it is important to regularly scan your computer just in case. Nearly every scanning program has both a quick scan (or ‘smart scan’) and a full scan (or 'complete scan'). The quick scan is much faster because it only scans the most critical and commonly infected areas of your computer and should be performed at least every few days and also whenever you notice anything that seems suspicious (when in doubt, do a quick scan!). The full scan (or ‘complete scan’) scans your entire system and should be done at least once every two weeks, preferably once a week. If you have a large number of scanning and removal programs it’s not as essential to scan as often with all of them though for computer and internet security, it never hurts to be paranoid. Again, as far as scanning goes, there is not big difference between paid or free virus scan and removal services. In fact, the best malware removal utility (malwarebytes) is free and the same can be said for spyware removal.
For free virus scan and removal the NetizenGuide recommends (choose only one):
Avast! Antivirus OR Comodo Internet Security Pro 2011
For the current best malware removal we recommend (all of the following):
SUPERAntiSpyware AND Malwarebytes Anti Malware AND Spybot – Search and Destory
Once you have set up your tier 3 defense, proceed to Step 4: Firewalls