Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/172860/keep-it-simple-here-are-the-only-4-system-and-security-tools-you-need-on-windows/
Windows is complicated and needs many different system utilities and security tools to run well — or does it? We recently covered the many types of system tools you don’t need. Here are the few utilities you actually do need.
if i kept it that slimmed down i'd throw in spywareblaster also
I use only the "Antivirus" thing and Dropbox for backup/restore.
Different strokes for different folks, Chris - but to those seeking a really lightweight (50kB, installation not required) and reliable temp-file cleaner, I'd recommend ATF-cleaner....
I am huge fan of ATF Cleaner.
Run CCleaner, and after it has removed many megabytes of junk from your system, then run ATF immediately following and you will be amazed to see another 12-15 megs removed which CCleaner always seems to leave behind.
That's my normal junk cleaning routine.
AFAIK - It works on all versions of Windows up through Windows 7. I have not tried it on Windows 8.
Trying on Windows 8.... the UI is horrible, let's see how the app is.
Okay, emptied ~140 MB on a system 6 months old with no cleaner app ever run. How's that?
I'm amazed that anyone still recommends MSE. Mr. Hoffman even admits that MSE hasn't been getting the best ratings in comparative AV tests, which is a mild way of putting it considering MSE is pretty much always near the bottom of the test result lists, yet still recommends it, then says, "If you’re worried about that, you should try the highly-recommended avast! free antivirus instead." If? People cotton pickin' well should be worried about it. I do concur with the recommendation for Avast (the one I use) although there a few other good freebies.
No matter how good an AV may be, it can never be depended on to catch everything. There are other anti-malware programs that will help reduce the chances of something getting past the AV. MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) has an excellent freebie that will play well with AVs. Even better is the paid version. Normally around $50 per license, it's often on sale for as little as $25 per license. The paid version provides automatic updating and full time protection. Normally I don't push paid software but MBAM's paid version has a lifetime license, making it a bargain in the long run.
SuperAntiSpyware (SAS) looks for adware, tracking cookies, etc. that normally doesn't get caught by AVs or MBAM. There is a paid version but it's for only a year at a time.
I also like to use Spybot Search and Destroy. It's free and has full time protection. Spybot got a bad rap several years ago because there were clones of it showing up that were actually malware but that isn't much of an issue now, if at all. The current version can be a bit overprotective but any annoying features can be turned off.
I agree backups are vital. However, windows 7 backup software has been problematic for many people. Macrium Reflect has an excellent freebie that is far more reliable and flexible for imaging. Reflect also has a provision for cloning
Crashplan is popular because it is cheap but it has had a poor track record for reliability in the past. I prefer Carbonite even though it costs more because it has a solid history for reliability. One free feature Crashplan has that is popular is the ability to encrypt and send backups via the internet to a friend's computer and vice versa.
I already discussed why I disagree with third party updaters not being needed after the first article in this series. Same for outbound firewalls and third party disk defraggers.
Well very interesting. When you call or deal with even MS SUPPORT they make you go through the routine of MBAM Malware removal, Kaspersky Root Killer and Hit Man Pro. I guess even some MS people would not share this leaned down assessment. Software removal tool are a good example, why does MS leave behind trash folders and all kinds of keys in the registry? Shouldn't they be Smart enough to do something like WISE UNINSTALLER or REVO? Unless I can read of a good reason "not to remove" these leftovers I prefer to clean up my table very well every time I eat, I apply the same strategy to my PC. Better get that garbage out then to keep it in. As for JAVA, I understand the security risk and I sure don't like it. But up to now I am always afraid that some banking applications or some other applications that use normally JAVA will cease to work. Before I take out JAVA I need to read, or hear, something more than "it's a security disaster". Some more meat on your comments would be welcome.
Yeah, I used free anti-virus when I first got a laptop--five years ago, and I won't go into the details of the various and sundry disasters. The few dollars a year for a paid for anti-virus subscription is worth every penny. With the amount of work the computer is expected to perform, with the amount of personal info on the computer, with the commercial connections of the computer--not having a paid for anti-virus program is supreme folly. The few dollars a year for a paid for anti-virus subscription is worth every penny.
I have to totally disagree with you on the Windows firewall. You're saying this as a user of a wireless router which has a built in firewall that does all the heavy lifting, letting Windows firewall do the light work. Problem is I have a lot of older customers who just have one machine for the husband/wife and they email, Facebook, and Google. The have no need for a router and so their Windows firewall would be attacked and crushed within minutes. If you take a Windows machine and put it on my local Comcast cable internet with just the Windows firewall that machine will be infected so bad within 5-15 minutes you'll hardly be able to even use it. I don't think your "one size fits all" idea is smart to preach. There is different situations than yours and you should admit this in your articles so people know to do a little more research than just to read one mans opinion of his own situation.
If your bank uses Java for online banking, you need to get a new bank!
I hate to be the one to tell you, but Java recently went through some serious problems from security breaches due to lack of updates, exploits, Etc., Etc.. I don't know how you could have missed it since I even saw on TV (don't remember what it was, memory isn't what it used to be) that someone (everyone) was recommending uninstalling Java. Supposedly they've corrected, and will stay on top of it, but, most people (myself included) are taking a wait and see position, to see if anything else happens and Java is going to have to earn our Trust Back.
Back on Topic:
I have to say, in essence I can agree with the Author, for the user that has enough knowledge to stay on top of their system and has a modem to act as the "heavy lifter", But like the Lady said:
So my first recommendation would be the Free Avast that I've been using for years with no problems. Then back that up with
Which I also use because as she said
Which I also agree with because even if you stay on top of it (and I try) an Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure.
@LadyFitzgerald I never paid for the license as I thought it was a yearly renewal, but if it's lifetime I'm going to go ahead and buy! That would be well worth it!
I've used SAS in the past, don't really see the need for it now unless something pops up the others don't catch.
I've also used Spybot, thought it was ok at the time then found MBAM and after a while decided SAS was kind of clunky and MBAM served the same purpose, haven't used it in a long time.
I agree with Macrium, it's my baby, I use the free version (don't need the features the paid gives, at least not right now).
See here for a good price.
MuchO ThanksO! (my poor Spanish Manglishment and the need to fill space)
Don't you just hate that minimum word count requirement?
There is some reason for it but have forgot what it is ?
Supposedly, to encourage actual discussion and encourage people to use the "like" button instead of increasing thread length by just saying simple things like, "I agree." How many characters does it take to answer a question that only requires a simple "yes" or "no"? Someone asks if you use a certain product, say IE10. Answer with, "I use the product called IE10."? This is English we are using, not Irish Gaelic (which has no words for yes or no). Or someone asks how old someone is? Answer with something like 10+10+10+10+10+10+4? I personally feel it's micromanagement.
Yes, on the "Old HTG Forum" the length of posting was no issue, I think on the new HTG Forum, the length of posting problem is artificially created.
What might be interesting is to use voice software to generate your postings.
You can axe CCleaner too.
Microsoft already has always had a tool for this:
As far as backups go, I don't like MS solutions because they us imaging. I prefer a simple command line tool like:
Mirror backups up files as files. If you encounter corruption or loss, you can just grab the backup files and you're up and running, with out having to run MS backup to restore the files.
Please do a article about Portable programs. Effect on your system.
For past 3-4 years I used windows 7 with all portable programs. Only two programs were installed all the time 1. Antivirus 2. Winrar.
My whole system stayed same, no increase in boot time or no slowness.
Using portable programs allowed me to try as many programs available.
And yes I used many high end programs including CAD s/w, Office tools, Photoshop etc.
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