We all want our computers to run as fast as they possibly can, but we also want them to be secure from viruses, hackers and spyware. The problem is that many computer security software packages really slow down the performance of your computer.
The best approach, as it is with most things, is to keep it simple. Many of the packages you see like Norton Internet Security and McAfee Internet Security do so much more than you need them to that they end up bogging your computer down. Boot ups with these packages take forever and they are not cheap either. Most of them have to be renewed annually. In addition, they often cause headaches when you try to share files or printers from one computer to another on your network.
Our recommendation is that you have your computer running behind a router, run the built-in Windows firewall, run a free antivirus program that simply protects you from viruses and a free antispyware program from Microsoft.
A router is a hardware device typically designed to facilitate sharing your single internet connection with multiple computers in your home. Without a router, computers on the internet can see your computer and you count on the firewall software on your computer to protect you from the outside world. One of a router's benefits is that it blinds the outside world to your computers. When your computer is behind a router no computers on the internet can see it. You can purchase a simple router for as little as $25, though wireless models are typically more. If running a wireless router, be sure that access to it is secured.
The Windows firewall has been included with Windows since Windows XP Service Pack 1. If your computer is behind a router, this just provides a second layer of defense and also protects you from malicious software that could be running on other computers in your home that share the router.
AVG Antivirus from grisoft.com and Avast antivirus from avast.com both offer a free version for home users that do a great job of virus scanning and real-time protection. They of course would like you to purchase their professional versions that have some added features, but you can hunt out the free versions on their web sites.
Microsoft offers a great antispyware program called Windows Defender. It is free and you can download it from Microsoft.com/defender. It offers real-time protection and daily scans to protect your computer from spyware, adware and malware.
These software packages run efficiently without slowing your computer down much and they are free. As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions.