The following sites and services are what we recommend, and use ourselves. Need help choosing and installing an application, or performing a virus cleanup? Feel free to contact us!
Microsoft Windows Defender
What do we recommend for antivirus software? Windows now comes with a free built-in antivirus since Windows 8. Prior to Windows 8 and 10, you could download Windows Defender‘s predecessor, Microsoft Security Essentials, for Windows Vista and 7. It is adequate for computer users who stay on mainstream validated websites.
What do you do when you do get a virus? If you are comfortable installing and running applications that scan and clean system files, these are the applications that we use to clean up a computer. Running these applications periodically can help maintain your computer at top shape.
If a computer is running particularly badly, and we are unable to even run any antivirus or malware scanner, we will start with rkill. This application looks at all of your running processes and automatically kills anything that may block us from cleaning up a virus.
RogueKiller is usually the first step, unless rkill is necessary. Like rkill, it scans a computer for some hidden applications that prevent antivirus software from running, and searches for trojan horse malware, rootkit viruses.
Use this application to clear temporary files, cache and other junk files. In the advanced tab of the cleaner, it can compress databases used by Firefox and Chrome browsers to make these applications run more smoothly.
In the Tools section, you can disable programs from loading when Windows boots, to speed up the amount of time it takes to get to your desktop. If you remove malware, you may also wish to use the Windows registry cleaner to remove any items orphaned by the removal of a malware application.
Run this before a virus scan to shorten the scan time, by having less files to scan. Also run this periodically to keep your system clean.
This application has been able to rescue some badly infected computers, where the antivirus subscription had expired, or the antivirus software was not trained to spot a specific virus. MalwareBytes searches for and removes most known malware and adware. The company also provides a pro version that includes live monitoring, but the free version is more than adequate.
Reverses some damage caused by certain trojan horse prgrams that represent themselves as antivirus programs, which simply hide files and makes some registry changes to make it appear that a user’s documents are missing. Often times, you can diagnose the issue by showing hidden files in Explorer or using WinDirStat, and then running this program to automatically unhide all of those files.
Undelete recently deleted files. Where sometimes volume shadow copy can be disabled by a virus, unflagging the overwrite tag on a file in the filesystem will recover it. This utility finds those files.
Use Combofix or ADWCleaner as a last ditch effort on a computer that the user does not want reimaged unless they absolutely have to. This is like hitting a nail with a sledge hammer, to make sure the nail is hit.
Undelete recently deleted files, which have been emptied from the Recycle Bin
A surgical command line tool to recover photos, documents and other important files from a disk, thumb drive or camera memory card. If the filesystem is corrupted on a drive, and it is not physically damaged, it’s quite likely that this application will find the file contents but not know what its original filename is. You’ll end up with your docs, but will have to open them to see what they are.
Office Productivity Suites
Microsoft’s hosted Office product comes in three flavors: A free web based application suite and storage for personal use, and then web based applications and an installable Office suite for home and Business uses. With the latter subscription, you always have the most up-to-date Microsoft Office suite, and can usually install it on more than one of your devices.
Google’s office suite is completely web based, and provides office applications and storage. The service is completely free for personal use, and they offer a managed business versions for a small price.
Still want an office suite installed on your computer, but can’t afford Microsoft Office or an Office365 subscription? LibreOffice is a free, open source application, which is mostly compatible with the Microsoft Office files. Occasionally, the formatting of an older Word document may be slightly off. It includes equivalents to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.
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