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Software reVisions

In pursuit of reliable, fault-tolerant, fail-safe software and systems

The Humane Society of the United States

Clean and Disinfect Your Computer

Always on the lookout for better products to keep the pests at bay, I keep coming back to the reliable combo of CCleaner, AVG AntiVirus, and SysInternals RootKitRevealer.

If you're "not a computer person", make friends with (or hire!) someone who is and point them to this program. (They probably already use it.)
CCleaner is a freeware Microsoft Windows (98/NT4/ME/XP/Vista) registry and files cleaner. It's not automatic like AVG because, like another fine freeware product - HijackThis, not all of the suspicious registry entries and files it finds are necessarily superfluous or malicious. That said, I've found that by unchecking certain of its many categories, I can routinely let it delete everything it finds without corrupting the system and still getting rid of most of the bad stuff.
AVG AntiVirus (Free)
AVG AntiVirus is the core of my disinfecting suite.
AVG AntiVirus 8.0 is one of the many commercial products that began life free and still distributes a fully free version, albeit missing some functionality from its commercial brethren. Once setup through the very nice user interface, AVG automatically keeps itself updated and watches for malicious files coming down the pipe. This product pretty much "just works". They've done a better job than most at making it easy to use yet robust. A "poor stepchild" (version 7.5), though quite functional, Linux version is also available.

The commercial product adds anti-rootkit, website-screening and support for $34.99 with the full Internet Security product adding anti-spam and a firewall to that for $54.99. Not a bad deal. See the feature comparison for details. See Wikipedia article, AVG Technologies, for info on the company which was formerly known as Grisoft and AVG (software) for more about the products.
SysInternals RootKitRevealer
Like having a good set of mechanical tools, the SysInternals utilities have never let me down.
I picked up the TBSS rootkit a while back on a machine running just AVG Free (no anti-rootkit) so I got to scan the field of (free) rootkit detectors and found this one to be reliable and robust with excellent rootkit detection and a simple, solid user interface. Microsoft now owns the rather extensive array of free SysInternals utilities which can be downloaded individually or all together in the entire SysInternals Suite. Highly recommended.

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