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Is it really necessary to buy software programs to clean and/or protect your Windows computer? And either way… Which ones should you use?
“Yesterday it worked, today it is not working, Windows is like that.”-Margaret Segall
Why take advice from me?
Though I do not speak of it often I am an Information Technology Manager (a.k.a. “computer guy”) by trade, and have been cleaning and maintaining desktop PCs, laptops, and servers for almost 10 years now. What have I learned? A ton…
But rather than bore you with a lot of useless information, today I will focus on one topic that you do care about: How to maintain the speed and cleanliness of your computer using nothing but free software.
As you may well know I carefully filter all of my spending decisions, so my preference for free software should come as no surprise. While there are certain programs that must be purchased, the ones needed to clean and maintain your computer do not have to fall into that category. In fact, I have found that free software is 100% effective when it comes to cleaning computers.
Today my goal is to give non-techies a quick, easy, and free way to clean and maintaing their own PCs. Who knows, this could even be the start of a new career for you!!!
All the cool kids use Firefox
I will start with a maintenance tip since prevention is always the best medicine — use Firefox as your Internet browser. This it is your single best defense against getting infected with viruses, spyware, malware, etc.
I recommend Firefox not only because the majority of spyware, malware, and viruses out there today are developed to exploit the security holes in Internet Explorer (IE), but also because it provides a superior browsing experience to that of IE.
If you are already infected to the point where you have time to go knit a sweater between mouse clicks, you can clean it yourself – for free – using the arsenal of geek love below.
Five free products you need
Here is a brief description of the products you will need as well as a link to each:
- Firefox – As noted above, this is a free Internet browser that has been taking market share from IE for years now. The majority of IT professionals use Firefox as their default browser, so be wise and use what the geeks-in-the-know use.
- MalwareBytes Anti-Malware – A free and extremely effective spyware/malware removal program that I install on every computer in my home and in my corporate network. Another free option (which I haven’t used, so I can’t vouch for it) is SuperAntiSpyware. Why not pay for one of the “professional” spyware removal programs? Because you don’t need to.
- Avast Antivirus – Hallelujah… A full featured antivirus software for free! The free edition is only intended for non-commercial and home use, so make sure you meet those requirements. Two other popular (and free) options are Grisoft AVG Free and Avira AntiVir.
- Ccleaner – This cool little freebie offers an easy way to clean unnecessary temp files and also provides a registry clean up tool. It does a lot of things that many PC technicians used to have to do manually, and has been an invaluable tool in my IT apps arsenal.
- Defraggler – Use this tool last… After you have already installed and employed all the previous programs. Made by the same company as Ccleaner, Defraggler will help speed up your PC by defragmenting the files on your hard drive. I use it because it is superior to the built-in Windows defrag utility. I suggest setting up a monthly automatic defrag (to run while you’re sleeping) for best results.
Don’t forget… Now that you’ve cleaned your PC, make sure you start using Firefox as your default browser!
Now don’t be selfish
If this post did help you clean up your PC, be kind and pass it along to friends, family, and coworkers, you computer technician, you. Heck, after awhile, you may even be able to start charging people to do this for them. Don’t say I never gave you any useful, income-generating ideas!