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)
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
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.
As you may have seen several times many antivirus packages out there love to install, but hate to uninstall themselves. There are some very big ones other there that almost always fail to uninstall completely. Many of them have created their own little uninstall utility program to finish the job. But you have to wonder, if their software uninstall option did not work, how can I trust their uninstall utility to succeed?
Here is the solution. One app to kill them all. AppRemover by OPSWAT is an utility that will remove all of your most common (and some not so command) antivirus, antispyware, and several other security packages. Download it at AppRemover, it is free for personal and non-commercial use.
AppRemover is a well formed utility. It does not require an installer (which is great). Running the remover simply asks if you want to uninstall a security package or clean up a failed uninstall. You select what you would like to do and let it scan. After it finishes the scan, click next and select what you would like to remove.
At well over 100+ applications that it can removed, I will not attempt to list them all. But here are a few that I have seen that could be very useful: Avast, AVG, Avira, CA, Eset, F-Secure, GData, Kaspersky, Lavasoft, McAfee, MSE, Norton, Panda, PC Tools, Trend Micro, and 100+ more.
Recently I had a conversation that started something like this, “Good Morning.”
“Ever get that feeling of impending doom?”, the caller said immediately.
“Not usually the first thing your IT person wants to hear before morning coffee, but okay, I will bite”, as we started in to address the issue at hand.
It turned out there was no real technical problem involved other than the absolute fact that the customer did not feel her data was safe on her computer. No reason other than a feeling she had when she got up that morning. Is her important data safe?
Obviously the feeling had escalated to the point she was to near panic when she called me. She was sure something terrible was going to happen that would cause all her data to disappear into oblivion, never to be seen again.
Luckily she was using one of the on-line backup services that I recommend from Idrive. I eased her fears fairly quickly by setting Idrive to send her an email each time her backup completed. I am sure similar services such as Mozy or Carbonite have similar features as well. I am just not familiar with those setups. Fortunately she had no high magnitude disaster or fatal meltdown. Her important data was safe and sound. If you start to get that feeling of disaster (if you are using Idrive) following these steps:
Click on Schedule Backup (at the bottom)
On Scheduler, Email notification is in the lower right corner. Click Notify Always
Enter your email address where is says Mail To:
Press the Plus sign to the right to add it to the list.
Select the check box to Send log extract if you want it all
You will get an email each time there is a scheduled backup. With the ”Send log extract” selected you will get the full log in your Inbox. If your Inbox is already overflowing, you may want to select the option to ”Notify on failure.” This will skip the emails when everything is working fine and email you when there is a problem.
Now go have your coffee and read a book.