Ad-aware finds and eliminates stuffs on your PC that might harm your privacy: scans your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known datamining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components. Ad-aware will provide the user with the confidence to surf the Internet knowing that their privacy will remain intact. It finds tracking cookies (cookie information that is used to track a user's navigation through a website), hidden ad software and much more.
The Avast antivirus software family has a free-for-personal-use Home edition - you only have to register yourself online, and you'll get the free license! The features of the free antivirus utility:
New version of avast! antivirus kernel features outstanding detection abilities, together with high performance. You can expect 100% detection of In-the-Wild viruses (the ones what are really spreading amongst people) and very good detection of Trojan horses, all that with only a minimum number of false alarms.
a powerful resident module that is able to detect the virus before it has any chance to infect your computer.
Simple User Interface is used to start on-demand scanning, work with the results, change various options etc. - it is the main application of avast! 4 Home Edition. You can start additional avast! modules from here, such as the Virus Chest, Updater or Log Viewer.
TSimple User Interface with skin support. The main package contains three skins, additional ones can be downloaded
resident protection of the computer file system and resident module for e-mails.
E-mail protection consists of a generic scanner working on the SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 protocol level and a special plugin for MS Outlook only; it is completely transparent, requiring no special settings. Also heuristic scanning for e-mails!
Both the virus database and the program itself can be updated automatically. The updates are incremental, i.e. only the new or missing data are downloaded, thus reducing the transfer heavily.
avast! antivirus features outstanding integration into your system. The scanning can be started directly from Windows Explorer, by clicking a folder or a file with your right mouse button and selecting the corresponding choice from the menu.
Another interesting feature is a special screen-saver that performs scanning for viruses during its run-time. avast! antivirus works together with your favorite screen-saver, so you don't have to change to anything you wouldn't like.
Another new option is the boot-time scan (Windows NT/2000/XP/.NET only). It is important in the case that a virus is suspected to be active on your computer. The boot-time scan is performed before the virus may get activated, so the virus cannot influence the scanning in any way.
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Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if your browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer, too :) Features:
Removal of adware and spyware, dialers, keyloggers, trojans and other baddies, usage tracks
Save removal of threats by shredding them, Backups of every removed problem
Exclude option to ignore specific problems
Permanent blocking of threatening ActiveX downloads and of known tracking cookies for IE
An easy-to-use firewall with a friendly user interface, I've been using it for years without any problems! If you are not sure what it's all about, you can even choose preconfiguration, which means that most of the programs you use will be already properly configured to access the internet, and you don't have to teach ZoneAlarm - however, it's not a big deal. If - like me - you love to know, what's happening behind, just turn off this switch when asked at first run!
ZoneAlarm's firewall protection guards your computer to keep you safe
Program control protects you from Trojan horses and other hacker malware by making sure only programs with your permission can access the Internet.
ZoneAlarm's alert and logging features keep you aware of what's happening on your computer without being overly intrusive.
ZoneAlarm's MailSafe feature protects you from new viruses, worms, and other malware distributed in e-mail attachments. It also protects you from any old, known threats (however, in the free version, it only catches VBS mail attachments)