If you have a Windows operating system you need to be concerned about viruses, spyware, and adware. More now than in the past, other operating systems (Mac and Linux) are being focused on a little more, but none even close to Windows. Why? Because it’s the most popular and will have the biggest impact. There are MANY antivirus, anti-spyware, and ad-ware removal tools/programs. The most important thing is HAVE them.
The main antivirus companies include McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky, Windows Security Essentials, etc. I personally have used all of these in the past. My favorite was Kaspersky, but the price of all are pretty high compared to Windows Security Essentials…free. Windows Security Essentials can be downloaded for free from Microsoft up until Windows 8. For Windows 8, Windows Defender includes the antivirus that it didn’t not include in Windows 7 and before. I don’t think there is one that is better than another, they each have their good parts and bad. One key thing about antivirus is you should only have ONE installed at a time. Having more than once could actually cause issues.
Spyware and Adware/Malware
Windows Defender is a free option from Microsoft. Others that I have used include Malwarebytes, Spybot Search and Destroy, and HitMan Pro. A difference here is that you can install more than one of these programs at the same time. When I am asked to remove spyware/adware/malware for someone I typically use both Malwarebytes and Spybot. HitMan Pro, for me is a really difficult issue tool. A rootkit, takes over before Windows even starts and requires something like HitMan that can be booted from a flash drive before Windows to remove.
Most of these programs can be downloaded and used to scan your systems rather easily. Read the check boxes and option during install carefully and in general the default options are fine. If you don’t feel comfortable or just don’t want to deal with it, you could contact me 🙂