Chapter VI.5. Fighting Viruses and Other Scum

In This Chapter

  • Understanding how antivirus products work with Windows

  • Downloading and installing AVG Free, a free-for-personal-use antivirus program

  • Using Windows Defender and other scumbusters

  • Considering Microsoft Security Essentials, the latest member of the antivirus/antispyware/antimalware genre

  • Reining in programs that start automatically whenever you start Windows 7

Every single Windows user should install, update, and religiously use an antivirus program — no exceptions, no excuses.

Note

One question I hear all the time is, "Which antivirus program is the best?" My answer: They all work great. Pick one of the major packages and just do it. While you're worrying about whether this package scans better or that package blocks better or that another package costs a few bucks more or less, your system is at risk. Flip a coin, if you have to. But get your computer protected.

The second question I hear, right after the first: "Don't I need one of those fancy antivirus-firewall-spyware-kitchen-sink scanner packages? It's hard to find a simple antivirus program any more." Yes, it's true. The companies that used to sell antivirus software now offer monstrous Swiss Army knife mega-protection software, and they charge two arms and three legs for it.

I say bah. Actually, I say something a little less printable.

Although it's true that you need a firewall, Windows 7 has a perfectly usable firewall. (Yes, it's only a one-way firewall; see Book VI,

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