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View Full Version : Free Spyware Programs



Richard C
01-06-2007, 09:58 AM
Does anyone have any good, reliable Spyware programmes they recommend? I currently have ZoneAlarm Security Suite for a firewall (I bought the 2005 version - the later ones seem to have problems with it) and for adware/spyware I use Spybot -Search & Destroy, Ad-Ware SE Personal and the free edition of SuperAntiSpyware plus Windows Defender..... Now with all that in place I'm sure I'm pretty much covered but lately my start-up as been slower and at times it takes a little while for the Net to load. It maybe that my machine is getting slow in its old age (I've had it a couple of years now) and I have ditched some of the programmes that load up automatically during start-up but I just want to be 100% sure.

Eric A
01-06-2007, 11:01 AM
You should be pretty covered with those, but there are a few others you might want to get. In addition to those I use:

HiJack This - great program that will allow you to remove startup file entries and other sorts of things that can cause problems. The downside is that it just shows you a list of potential threats and leaves it up to you to decide what to remove. There is a VERY general description of each entry but it's really not much help. The best thing to do is run it, then copy the list of entries it gives you and post them on a forum and ask for suggestions as to what to remove/keep. Then again, if you know computers pretty well, you'll probably be able to do it yourself.

LSPFix - fixes tcp/ip stacks that have been corrupted by spyware/adware/malware. This one is kind of like HiJack This too in that it works really well, but it relies on the user making the decision on what to get rid of. I rarely ever have to use this but it has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. I've had to use it more at work on other people's PC's that downloaded really bad spyware.

edit: Also, try deleting everything if your "prefetch" directory. It is located under your windows directory, C:\windows or C:\winnt depending on how you set up your PC. The prefetch directory holds copies of startup programs which Windows commonly uses when it starts. It is supposed to make startup faster and generally does, but it can get cluttered and actually cause slowdown. I clear mine out every week or so.

Richard C
01-06-2007, 12:37 PM
HiJack This - great program that will allow you to remove startup file entries and other sorts of things that can cause problems. The downside is that it just shows you a list of potential threats and leaves it up to you to decide what to remove. There is a VERY general description of each entry but it's really not much help. The best thing to do is run it, then copy the list of entries it gives you and post them on a forum and ask for suggestions as to what to remove/keep. Then again, if you know computers pretty well, you'll probably be able to do it yourself.
I've got this already loaded up - any suggestions for reliable PC forum sites?

Thanks for all the other suggestions Eric.

Andy Copp
01-06-2007, 01:24 PM
I would also suggest using FIrefox as your browser and not Explorer. When I switched I cut my spyware problems down to almost nothing...

Fred Adelman
01-06-2007, 02:33 PM
Most Spyware comes from attachments in emails and pop-ups while on the Internet.

Here's the three rules of thumb that I follow. I have never gotten spyware or viruses on my computer:

1) Have reliable anti-virus software (Norton, McAfee) and spyware (the ones mentioned above are fine) and make sure that you update the definitions at least once a week. Most anti-virus programs do it automatically. If yours doesn't, go into Options and turn it on.

2) Never open up an attachment in an email unless you are expecting it. The email may be from someone you know, but their identity may have been hijacked by a virus or piece of spyware that kidnaps their address book. Make sure your anti-virus program is enabled to scan your emails.

3) This one is the most important: If you are surfing on the Internet and a pop-up window comes on, do NOT click on the buttons to close it. ALWAYS click on the X on the top right of the window. Unscrupulous programmers rig both buttons (usually named YES or NO) to do the same function. That's to install their spyware program onto your computer.

Follow these three rules and you should be safe to surf the internet. By the way, I always have exclusively used Internet Explorer without incident. I have not installed IE 7.0 yet as it is always good practice to wait until Microsoft releases the first Service Pack until it is installed. This way, most of the bugs are fixed.

Richard C
01-07-2007, 09:40 AM
I'm pretty sure I'm "disease" free but my computer is slowing up these days - maybe it's just natural aging....

Eric A
01-07-2007, 11:44 AM
I've got this already loaded up - any suggestions for reliable PC forum sites?

To be honest, I usually just take a "guess" when I use the program and so far I've been lucky that I haven't deleted anything important. If I see a startup entry for a program that I know I did not use, I will remove it. Another strategy is to google the entries that your unsure about. Typically, you can find out whether or not you should keep something that way.

Also, if your machine is running slow, a defrag might help it. I try to run it on my home PC every couple of months to keep things running smoothly. Sometimes it helps to run it in safe mode when the least amount of programs are running.

Fred Adelman
01-07-2007, 01:58 PM
I'm pretty sure I'm "disease" free but my computer is slowing up these days - maybe it's just natural aging....

Invest in a copy of Diskkeeper. It's worth the money as it will defrag your hard drive, virtual memory and file tables, which all become fragmented after continuous use. After the first defragmentation (which can take an hour or more), it only takes a minute or two to run the next ones. I defragment my hard drives once a week and it takes me about 5 minutes to defrag 4 hard drives. My computer has been running great for the past two years.

Richard C
01-08-2007, 12:16 PM
Invest in a copy of Diskkeeper. It's worth the money as it will defrag your hard drive, virtual memory and file tables, which all become fragmented after continuous use. After the first defragmentation (which can take an hour or more), it only takes a minute or two to run the next ones. I defragment my hard drives once a week and it takes me about 5 minutes to defrag 4 hard drives. My computer has been running great for the past two years.
I do defrag my machine using whatever programme it is that came with my computer. I'm also finding that my computer is taking longing to switch off. I did recently have 2 power cuts whilst I was on the computer so that probably didn't do it much good. I think I need to sit down one Saturday afternoon and clear out stuff that I don't want (I have a number of films stored which I haven't burnt to disc yet).

Thanks for all the info guys.

Fred Adelman
01-08-2007, 12:38 PM
I do defrag my machine using whatever programme it is that came with my computer. I'm also finding that my computer is taking longing to switch off. I did recently have 2 power cuts whilst I was on the computer so that probably didn't do it much good. I think I need to sit down one Saturday afternoon and clear out stuff that I don't want (I have a number of films stored which I haven't burnt to disc yet).

Thanks for all the info guys.

The defrag utility that came with your operating system doesn't do poo. It just does basic defragging and doesn't do stuff like defrag master file tables (which get fragmented after power failures, causing you computer to slow down and take forever to shut off) and virtual memory (which will also cause slowdowns).

Also: Have you ever deleted your temporary internet files and cookies? If you surf the internet a lot, you may want to delete those as they become large in size after a couple of months, causing internet slowdowns.

If I had your PC in front of me, I'd have it running like new in about 2 hours. :D

Richard C
01-09-2007, 08:16 AM
The defrag utility that came with your operating system doesn't do poo. It just does basic defragging and doesn't do stuff like defrag master file tables (which get fragmented after power failures, causing you computer to slow down and take forever to shut off) and virtual memory (which will also cause slowdowns).

Also: Have you ever deleted your temporary internet files and cookies? If you surf the internet a lot, you may want to delete those as they become large in size after a couple of months, causing internet slowdowns.

If I had your PC in front of me, I'd have it running like new in about 2 hours. :D
How much would it cost to ship it to the US? :D I didn't realise that the defrag was crap. I downloaded a free registry programme which searched for problems and it came up with 300 odd..... You need to buy the software for it to solve the problems but it looks like there's a lot of shit on there that needs to be cleaned up. Thanks for the advice Fred.