Install Free Anti-Virus

If you ask ten technicians what antivirus they would recommend for Windows, you will most likely get ten different answers. Opinions vary widely. One thing is for certain, there is no right answer to the question. It is an opinion, just like any other. If you are a home user or have less than 10 employees there are some free choices out there you may be interested in. Watch out for the word free–often they mean a trial. (I will not include trials here.)

There are several people that will tell you that the free antivirus programs are not as good as the paid versions. That is just another opinion and it is up to you to decide the answer to that question.

The best protection again viruses is education, know what to look for. Educate your employees on how to prevent infections from fakes, don’t download unknown software. If in doubt–ask. If you don’t have an education program in place, contact me.

One of the most popular free antivirus for Windows right now is Microsoft Security Essentials which you can get at www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. It is good (and free) for home users or small business clients up to 10 users. If you have more than 10 users, Microsoft wants you to look into their paid Frontline Endpoint Protection. But as far as free, Security Essentials is about as good as you can get for Windows. Their only requirement is your Windows must pass Validation.

Another free antivirus is ClamWin. ClamWin is open source software. Unlike most antivirus software, ClamWin does not have an Active Real-Time scanning engine. You must run it manually. I would not normally recommend this for your average, every day user. I would however recommend it for more advanced users or as a manual scan option. Combining Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and ClamWin can add to your protection. MSE has the active engine running. ClamWin can manually be ran on a time schedule.

AVG Free version is a fairly well known free version software. It is a scaled down version of their full product. The definitions are limited in the free version as are the features. It is meant to be a very basic antivirus with limited protection. If you plan to use AVG Free, I would recommend a second malware application as well to cover the limitations. You could use the free on-access scanning for AVG and a manual ClamWin scan on a schedule to better protect yourself.

My last suggestion would be Comodo Antivirus. I do not know much about Comodo other than they have a free version of their software available. It appears to be, in much that same what as AVG, a scaled-down version of their original. As with AVG I would suggest a secondary protection software as well.

Again, there are hundreds of antivirus products on the market promising to keep your computer safe. If you are going to use these products and spend sometimes hundreds of dollars to protect your computers, do your research. There may be free options out there that are just as useful. Often the investment in money that you save requires an investment in time. Since Time Is Money, you may want to weigh your options.

How to Install Microsoft Security Essentials

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If you are a home user or a small business with up to 10 users, you may want to look at using the free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus found at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. It is free. You must be running genuine Microsoft products. You probably want to take a look at the user agreement here also. It basically says the same as all others. You agree to the terms, not to misuse or make money off their free product. If your business has more than 10 users, you will have to look for a paid product.

Before we get started, remember you should always backup prior to any changes to your system. This is in additional to the normal everyday backups that you do. Make a backup now, before you start doing anything else. If you want to know more about backups read more at How Important Is Your Data.

If you are looking for a quick way to backup your data before you continue, visit Idrive and sign up free for online backups.

Now that you have a good feeling about your backup situation, you will need to download Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) from the Microsoft site at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. Save it to your desktop so it will be easy to find later.

Perhaps before your are completely finished with the MSE download you could start making a list of the programs that you will need to uninstalling before you can finish installing MSE. First you will want to uninstall any antivirus that may already be installed. Having two antivirus running real time scans together can cause a real mess and slow your system to a crawl. Second you will want to uninstall any firewall or malware product that is installed. Basically anything that it appears MSE will replace needs to be uninstalled before you install MSE.

Now you can start uninstalling your antivirus and malware software. If you get to the point that you must restart your computer, make sure that the download for MSE has completed and you know where to find it. Then restart your computer and finish any needed uninstall instructions. For more information on uninstalling your unneeded antivirus software see Uninstall Unwanted Antivirus.

After all your previous antivirus and malware software has been removed, you are ready to install MSE. The install is fairly straight forward.

1. Run the setup that you downloaded and saved on your desktop earlier
2. Click Next at the Welcome Screen
3. Read the License Agreement, Check the Agree Box, and Click Validate
4. Click Install
5. Click Finish (let it scan the first time)

Uninstall Unwanted Antivirus

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There are so many antivirus and other malware software applications out there it is near to impossible to keep up with them all. Many if not all have removal tools to use in case their normal uninstall process fails.

Here are a couple of links with some instructions to get started on uninstalling your antivirus.

Comprehensive List of Uninstallers or Removal Tools for Antivirus Software

and


http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/protect_start/list-of-anti-malware-program-cleanupuninstall

both links are getting a little aged, so take a look. If you have trouble getting specific uninstalls to function, let me know and I will try to do a write up specifically for it.