Essential Software for your PC – Part 1 Security Software

You have just bought a new Personal Computer, but before you can get any use out of your computer, and be productive with it, you will need some software.  Your new computer may have come with some bundled ‘free’ software;  if it did, be careful, much of the software that you thought was free, is actually only a free trial, which may expire. In this series of articles, I will tell you how to set up a powerful, productive computer, for free!

Chained KeyboardIn this first article, I will discuss security software. The first thing you need to do, after getting a new computer, is to make sure it is secure.  To secure it, you will need, at a minimum, a good firewall, good anti-virus software and anti-malware software. A firewall is a software program that acts as a shield or wall around your computer, sort of like a castle wall.  With the firewall, you can control which programs on your computer are allowed to access the internet and can help block hackers on other computers from gaining access to your computer.  A good firewall provides a balance between giving good protection and bombarding you with too many prompts and warnings about potential problems. Your anti-virus software’s job is to find any viruses on your computer, warn you about them and then eradicate them.  Good anti-virus software should be able to run scans of your entire computer, scans of individual files and folders, allow on-access scans (scan files as you use them), and allow scanning of emails and attachments. Anti-malware software’s job is to find any malware or spyware programs that may be on your computer.  Malware programs are designed to find and track some of your personal information, and then send it back to its creator.  Malware also tends to slow your computer down and sometimes hijack your browser by adding unwanted toolbars.  Anti-malware software should be able to find and remove these types of programs. Hackers, viruses and malware programmers are continually changing their tactics, so it is very important that you keep your security software up to date.  Any security software you use should prompt you when updates are ready, and/or make it very easy to update. The following is a list of some of the more popular security software that is available.  Some of them come in suites (i.e. contain a combination of firewall, anti-virus and anti-malware).  They all have free versions available, and most have paid versions as well.

  1. Zone Alarm ( – Firewall
  2. AVG Free ( – Anti-Virus
  3. Avast! ( – Anti-Virus
  4. Comodo ( – Firewall
  5. MalwareBytes ( – Anti-Malware

I have used all of the above, at some time in the past, and I think they are all good.  Currently, on my Windows 7 computer, I use:

  • Firewall – Windows Firewall
  • Anti-Virus: Avast!
  • Anti-Malware: MalwareBytes

In my next article, I will discuss general productivity software.

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