In our last article we, Computer Repair Vancouver, took a look at what malware is. In summary, malware is any malicious code which manipulates your computer in some way without your consent. Now, under the category of malware lie a number of types of malicious code: viruses, adware, spyware, Trojans, worms, and Root Kits. If you need a quick refresher on any of these sub categories then we would advise you to read our previous post regarding types of malware.

With that brief summary out of the way, it is time to look to today’s discussion. Let’s say your computer has become infected and is acting either slowly or erratically. What should you do? Well the first thing the members of Computer Repair Vancouver would do would be to update and scan our system using whatever antivirus software we happen to have on our machines. If you don’t have any antivirus software then we would advise you to check out our discussion on the best free antivirus software. After performing an antivirus check, we would want to check for the other forms of malware (as briefly touched on above). But, wouldn’t the antivirus program do this, you may be asking. Well, yes and no! The problem is that there are so many variants of malware that most programs tend to focus on a certain subset of them. Therefore, while antivirus software generally does a good job finding viruses, it may not do a good job finding adware or spyware. So, what next?

At this point we would want to install, update, and run a few additional pieces of software designed specifically for exterminating alternative forms of malware. The problem, like usual, is this: which free alternative, out of the hundreds that exist, should I choose?

In order to determine the best free anti-malware programs out there we decided to head online and peruse a number of technical forums. From this activity, we wished to get a relatively unbiased view as to each programs advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we could summarize this data and determine the best free programs out there. So, what were our findings?

Having spent a considerable amount of time researching this topic, we came to the conclusion that there is no “best” software application. It appears that while one program will not catch problem A, another program will not catch problem B. The more we read, the more we discovered that most people use several different anti-malware programs. The theory behind this method is as follows. The first program used, as long as it is relatively effective, should remove a bulk of the troublemakers on your PC. Unfortunately, some will remain. Therefore, a second program, which has a different specialty than the first program, should be able to finish the job off completely.

Before we begin our discussion of the actual programs, it is worthwhile to mention that we here at Computer Repair Vancouver are not computer security experts. We are oblivious as to the internal workings of these software packages. As a result, we have had to rely upon user experience to determine the best of the best. As a result, you may wish to take our recommendations with a grain of salt. Anyways, with that forewarning out of the way, we believe that malware removal should begin with: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Computer Repair Vancouver’s 1st step in malware removal: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes (which is available for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7) has been praised by large technology websites (such as CNET) as well many of its users. It is a program which is easy to set up and straightforward to use. One of its major benefits is that it does not hog resources, allowing you to perform reasonably quick scans in the background as you use your system for other tasks. Additionally, Malwarebytes is updated on a daily basis; which means that, in theory, it should be able to respond to the newest threats.

The disadvantages of Malwarebytes are as follows. As noted above, it will not find everything (this is why you will likely need a second helper program). Additionally, the free version lacks a few features such as the ability to protect your PC in real time, perform scheduled scans, and automatically update itself However, it should be noted that the full version only costs about $25 (for normal personal use), which is rather reasonable.

Computer Repair Vancouver’s 2nd step in malware removal: SUPERAntiSpyware

Once you are done running Malwarebytes we recommend that you proceed to the second step of our malware removal procedure: using SUPERAntiSpyware. We know, this software sounds like a joke; however, it is not. It is easy to use and, according to user reviews, does a good job of getting rid of hard to remove malware (the reason why we use it as our secondary defense).

Just like Malwarebytes, SUPERAntiSpyware does have a few weaknesses. Like any malware removal program, it will not find everything (which is why we use it in conjunction with the above mentioned program). Additionally, the free version of the software does not have a few bells and whistles. You can not perform real-time scanning, scheduled scans, or automatic updates. As a side note, the professional version costs about $30.

There you have it, our recommended one-two punch for malware removal is, first, Malwarebytes and then, second, SUPERAntiSpyware. We admit that this may not work every single time; however, it in most situations it should be sufficient to repair your computer. Hopefully you have found this article useful. Come on back to Computer Repair Vancouver soon as we will be concluding our discussion on malware, and then moving onto another, yet unknown, topic.