Users should take note, however, that while Microsoft Defender is turned on by default, it has been found to be turned off on some computers, perhaps due to automatic changes resulting from software or accidental tweaks manually made by users. It can be toggled on or off in the Control Panel, so it pays to occasionally check if the program is actively running and keeping you safe.
Spybot’s key features shine in its SDHelper and TeaTimer components, which actively prevent spyware which may inadvertently leak into your system from installing itself onto your computer. It has a simple and uncluttered interface to facilitate the user experience, and works on all systems up to Windows 7.
Ad-Aware comes fully packed with protection against obscure but significant terms such as rootkits, trojans and malware, and their support team updates frequently to provide effective protection against potential new threats. In fact, if you want the best of both worlds, it’s recommendable to install both Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D and run both programs at regular intervals.
4. ThreatFireThreatFire is another fantastic example of how good things can come in free packages. The award winning software has garnered positive reviews from reputable sources such as PCWorld, and has an Apple-like personality in that it is designed with the average user in mind. In addition to providing the standard protection functionalities, it also has some nifty tricks such as a real-time display of software threat detection around the world.
Thanks to its nature as a spyware removal program, ThreatFire can work together with regular antivirus software such as AVG or Avast without putting an extra burden on your PC’s resources. Since these types of programs are generally never turned off, this can translate into faster speeds on your PC, especially if you’re running an older model.
Taking a page from the cloud, Comodo’s scanning methods are somewhat different from the other more established companies; most antivirus download the latest updates periodically to stay recent, whereas Comodo actually scans your system against their servers in real-time. This gives you the peace of mind that your system is protected against the same level of threat as their company servers are, as recently as they are made aware of them.