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Sec=Security settings checker,
“+”= and more.
“*” means I use this software myself.
*(AV/Fire/Spy/+) Webroot SecureAnywhere Essentials
(AV/Fire/Spy/+) Norton Internet Security
(Back) Acronis True Image Home 2011
Baseline Security Analyzer from here:
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer REQUIRES Windows 2000 or XP or higher.
*(Sec) BeLarc Advisor which I like for the nice listing it produces of all the software installed on your PC. I bet you had no idea of all the software on your PC before you see this listing. Ignore the CIS Benchmark Score. My own PC’s rating is only 3.13 of 10. If you close up all the holes it suggests, most of the stuff on your PC won’t work anymore. It may then be very, very secure, but no fun at all. If it says your antivirus is out of date or not present, pay attention. Update your antivirus software. If it says your Microsoft Security Updates are “Status unknown”, then use Microsoft’s Baseline Security analyzer (mentioned above) or Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector (mentioned next) to check and fix the updates.
*(Sec) Personal Software Inspector from Secunia.com which checks ALL installed software on your PC and informs you of out-of-date software, missing updates, obsolete software and in most cases, provides direct links to the needed updates or remedies, as well as explanations of why the out of date software is risky.
*(Sec) Filehippo's “UpdateChecker” from http://www.filehippo.com/updatechecker/ - This is NOT a redundant update checking software, but rather compliments the Personal Software Inspector from Secunia. I have found that these two products both do a fine job of checking practically all your software, but OFTEN find programs and software products that the other product may not be looking for. By using both together and along with Windows Update, there will be few if any program updates that you might miss. About the ONLY software products whose updates seem to get skipped by both PSI and UpdateChecker, is multi-media editing tools from AVS4YOU, which, if you have it installed, has its own Update tool that specifically checks only the many products from AVS4YOU.com for newer versions. The AVS4YOU multi-media editing software tools are discussed on the Miscellaneous Links page elsewhere on this web site.
(Fire) Webroot Desktop Firewall is free. It can be downloaded and installed separately, but I strongly recommend buying one of the paid-for Webroot products for home users *(I use the Internet Security Plus product on my PC’s)
(Fire) ZoneAlarm firewall has both free and paid versions. If you have Windows 7, use the official ZoneLabs website here: http://www.zonealarm.com/. For older versions of Windows, check this site: Legacy OS support for a download.
(AV) Avast! http://www.avast.com. *(I only use this on an old Win98 PC I have nothing critical on, but it’s a nice free product.)
(AV) AVG Free Antivirus: http://free.avg.com/download-avg-anti-virus-free-edition
Problem installing AVG Free? Read this link: Before installing AVG Free
(Spy) Get the *REAL* “SpyBot Search and Destroy” from http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/ WARNING: DO NOT SIMPLY GOOGLE FOR SPYBOT and hope you’ve found a good download. Far too many malware programs have been created with “spybot” in the name because they ARE “spyware robots” software, that has been packaged to look like anti-spyware to trick you into installing it.
(*) Other advice: If you have Windows XP and have a floppy drive, create a password recovery disk. If you have Windows 95, 98, or ME, go into Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and click on the Start-up Disk tab and make yourself a start-up floppy. If you have recently bought a brand new PC or laptop. check the vendor supplied software on the hard drive to see if there is any way to burn “recovery DVD’s “ that can later be used to restore the PC or laptop to “fresh from the store” status in case of a major malfunction or hard drive replacement. Most often, at least in the case of laptops, there is a hidden partition on the drive with a compressed package of all the supplied software installed on the main drive, plus there’s usually a vendor “recovery utility” that will allow you to burn your own recovery DVD’s if your PC came with a DVD burner, which most seem to nowadays. If you bought a pre-configured PC, check all the papers and disks that came with it to make sure you have "recovery CD's". If you don't, check the documentation to see if it says how to create a set of recovery CD's. THIS RECOVERY FEATURE WILL NOT HELP YOU IF YOU WAIT UNTIL YOUR PC GETS INFECTED OR CRASHED BEFORE YOU DISCOVER THAT YOU *COULD* HAVE MADE THE RECOVERY DISKS BEFORE THE DAMAGE, IF ONLY YOU HAD READ THE FINE MANUALS. A friend of mine recently had a hard drive crash and found out that he COULD have made recovery disks to reinstall everything on a new replacement hard drive - if only he'd created them before the original drive crashed. Don't wait until you have a flat, before looking in the trunk to see if you even have a spare tire. My friend had to not only buy a new hard drive, but also had to pay about $200 for a retail copy of "XP Home Edition FULL with SP2 for PCs without Windows" so he could reinstall the operating system on a new blank hard drive. Then we also had to go searching for all the hardware drivers for his LAN, video, and sound cards. What a nightmare. (No, his PC was no longer under warranty.)
DISCLAIMER: The above recommendations are based solely on my own experiences and opinions. I have no affiliation with any of the above companies. Other people may have had other experiences and choose other options. You will need to make your own decisions as to what you wish to install on your computer. I take no responsibility for what happens to your PC.
Please help me keep this page up to date. If any of the links become dead or do not work, or you have additional products and links to suggest, please click here to email me. Page last updated February 24, 2013