The three free tools I recommended using in
the story are
Spybot, Ad Aware and Winpatrol. Due to
agreements, I can not legally make these programs available to you right
here, but I can give you links to their websites for you to download...
Spybot Search and Destroy is free
software for spyware scanning and removal. Although it was featured on
the news, the program does not seem to be connecting properly to the update servers
More info - I'd recommend skipping that one today!
Ad Aware is another excellent free spyware
scanning and removal program, and they also have a paid option. Neither AdAware or Spybot alone will clean up 100%
of your problems, but usually, using the two one right after the other
will leave you near perfect again.
Some people don't like to trust anything
that's free, and often that's with good reason.
PC World Magazine has
awarded their June 2005 Best Buy award to
Sunbelt Software's Counterspy, rating it the best of all the
available Spyware products in the US. In August 2005, they ran another test, but did
not have the latest version of Counterspy to test. I highly recommend
Winpatrol is the Windows Watchdog program that will do a
great job of identifying, removing, and even preventing future unwanted
startup programs and spyware. Often, this program alone can clean up a systems
problems, (although there's no substitute for a full virus and spyware
In my opinion, Winpatrol, or another "monitoring program" just like it, the key to keeping your computer running
well. My kids know to say 'no' to the watchdog any time it barks, unless
they are 100% sure that WANT the described action to happen. A
monitoring program monitors your system for any changes, and Winpatrol
os one of the most "user friendly".
Winpatrol is free, they have a "Plus" version available too. I choose to
spend the one time $20 fee, because they are constantly improving, and I
support companies I believe in.
The latest version of
Winpatrol is available here, and I should mention that I learned
about Winpatrol from Steve Shank, another local consultant that owns
Oregon Computer Solutions. His website has a couple of tutorial
articles regarding Winpatrol, along with several dozen more articles and
To learn more about this subject, please
read this short
Spyware, where I explain more about what it is, what it does, where it comes from,
and how to get rid of it.
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