10 Best, Free Programs to keep Windows Protected

Windows isn’t secure as you might have known. You’ve probably faced threats and trojans on your computer. There are loads of programs that are targeted at keeping your Windows computer safe from intrusions, here’s a pick of the best of them.

If you’re asking ‘Why list tens of software that does pretty much the same job?’ – well, each one is a bit different and comes with unique and better features than the other one. I’m not advising you to install everything listed here, just browse around and find the best that suit your needs.

So go ahead, take your picks from the list below:

ANTI VIRUS SOFTWARE

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Avast! Free Home Edition – The best free antivirus software available in the market IMHO. The detection engine is very good, and there’s on access protection and real time scanning of Web Traffic – so you’re very safe when browsing.

AVG Free – The second best, neat interface. Lightweight. Just go for it if you’re running Windows on older hardware. You won’t regret your choice.

ClamAV – Open Source, the perfect antivirus tool to carry around in your portable USB disks. Command Line Scanner included.

ANTI SPYWARE SOFTWARE

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Spybot Search And Destroy – The best in this arena. Frequent updates to keep you protected.

Ad Aware Free Edition – Worth keeping along with Spybot. I’ve found Ad Aware catching a lot of stuff that Spybot sometimes misses.

Spyware Terminator – Equally good, slick interface and works like a firewall as well – you can disable unauthorized processes.

FIREWALL TOOLS

Comodo Pro Firewall – The best free Firewall program out there. Fantastic interface and really a wonderful tool that protects your computer.

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall – Quite Popular and widely used.

CLEANERS

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CCleaner – Awesome tool that you MUST have installed on your Windows computer. It’s a junk remover + registry cleaner + uninstaller.

nCleaner – Quite like CCleaner, but targeted at advanced users. File Shredder included. Other similar tools include Advance Windows Care and XP Safeguard

HijackThis – Lists all kinds of threats, but targeted at Geeks. It’s possible to remove a spyware easily with this tool – if you know what you’re doing. Else, you’ll be in trouble.

WinPatrol – There’s a free version available, and this is one great program that monitors activity (startup program changes, cookies, hidden files, services) on your computer sitting on the tray. Keylogger Detector included.

Voice your opinions in the comments section below


19 Responses to “10 Best, Free Programs to keep Windows Protected”

  1. Daniel on February 22nd, 2008 10:06 am

    Either use them or switch to Linux :) .

  2. Bret on February 22nd, 2008 2:23 pm

    I’ve seen nearly all of those anti-spyware tools before, but the free cleaner tools are entirely new to me. Glad your list includes those apps. I plan to pass those around to friends and family.

  3. Shankar Ganesh on February 22nd, 2008 2:25 pm

    @Daniel: Haha yes, Linux is great without those pesky viruses ;-)
    @Bret: Thanks, glad you found the tools useful.

  4. mrogi on February 22nd, 2008 5:49 pm

    I would add Process Explorer to that short list of free programs. Download from http://www.sysinternals.com

  5. Tara Kelly (PassPack) on February 22nd, 2008 6:25 pm

    Password manager anyone? :-) They now come in two flavors – classic, and online.

    Online vs. Offline Password Managers

    Cheers – Tara

  6. Sumesh on February 23rd, 2008 9:43 am

    Avast, Spybot SD and Zone Alarm rocks. I’ve used them for 2 years now. No headaches whatsoever.

  7. Sumesh on February 23rd, 2008 9:44 am

    Avast, Spybot SD and Zone Alarm rocks. I’ve used them for 2 years now. No headaches whatsoever.

    As for Ubuntu sans viruses, note that Shankar is a part-time Ubuntu user himself. Now you have company, Daniel :D

  8. Hanne Sena on February 23rd, 2008 12:17 pm

    i should switch to ubuntu….ermm

  9. Marc on February 23rd, 2008 11:35 pm

    The thing about Linux is that it’s a headache trying to get a multifunction printer/scanner to work!

    I haven’t returned to using Window$ anyhow

  10. john on February 24th, 2008 9:42 am

    Please try to remember that there are many other distributions of Linux other than Ubuntu.

    Just check out distrowatch.com.

    I’m a personal fan of sabayonLinux myself.

  11. Noirelion on February 28th, 2008 9:03 pm

    Linux is great if you have no peripherals.
    I use high end video cards and sound cards and haven’t found any drivers etc… and learning to use new operating system after almost 20 years of using Windows isn’t gonna happen to people running business and families. You kids have time for all that- I’m too busy trying to earn a living.
    Zone Alarm and Avast good combo- -spyware terminator -didn’t care for it- and Comodo- never seemed like it did a darned thing.

  12. Victor on March 22nd, 2008 7:39 pm

    I like all the software on this list but there are others:

    - Avira antivir: a think this is the best free antivirus. The heuristic detection really works and in real time. It’s really light weight for background protection
    - Glary utilities: this is the best system cleaner and optimizer that I ever tried.
    - AVG antispyware
    - Spywaredoctor starter edition
    - a-squared free
    - Hijack free
    - ThreatFire
    - PcTools antivirus
    - jetico firewall v1
    - arovax shield

  13. Gimp Brushes on February 18th, 2011 10:34 pm

    Spybot is my favourite program of these programs!

  14. Fisher Paul on August 15th, 2011 7:20 am

    Avast anti-virus free home edition is  a great software for protecting personal computer. It is one of my favorite programs i have ever used. convert to mp4

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