Paid or Unpaid? The Difference in Anti-Virus

For all you frugal frogs out there feeling jumpy about paying for that “extra protection” on your Anti-Virus program, here is some information that might help with that decision.

Personally I run two programs on my laptop, AVG and Avast, both on the free plan. That means on the “upgrade” screen that always keeps popping up to remind me to buy the “good” version, mine is the one with only one check next to it while the “good” version is the one with ALL the checks.

If you are unsure about whether to pay that $50 clams for the “good” version, there is a good reason to hesitate. AVG, or Anti Virus Guard, used to be free with all the protection available. Then it was bought out and was offered at a price, but what happened to the protection? You might have noticed the pop-up feature, and it pops up once per day for one month each year, all this is designed to make you buy the better version.

The free antivirus kit has less protection now, it has an outdated search tool for rootkits, which is malware that enables continuous access to a computer. Apparently the older free version 7.5 can search and root-out rootkits, but the newer version ?lacks any ability to do anything like protect your computer from such a threat, which is a dangerous one.

Are you thinking what I am thinking? If this trend of taking off protection on the free versions continues, then that so called anti-virus will no longer be free, it will cost you a crashed PC!

The recommended version of AVG includes online and identity protection, anti-spam, and enhanced firewall, along with the basic free version features of High Speed Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware with auto updates and LinkScanner for safe searching.

In a test run by PC World who were also concerned with this question, the results came in with AVG at number 3, Avast at number 2, and Avira AntiVir Personal came in at number 1 for detection, disinfection, and speed. The test was run through a program AV-Test based in Germany, and these three along with Microsoft Security Essentials, who came right behind AVG in the rankings, PC Tools, Comodo, Panda Cloud, and ClamWin.

That old adage comes back with “nothing is free”. If you want the best protection from those viruses, spam, and malicious software that is constantly attacking people’s computers, then you better whip out the dollars and pay up. It is unfortunate that there is no?altruistic?company out there offering it’s security for free, like Microsoft Security Essentials is boasting, but that is reality. I just checked my AVG’s status, and it told me LinkScanner and other “paid for” features are running smoothly. Interesting, very interesting how they offer this for a price yet it tells me I can use it for free.

The decision is yours, the information that Anti-Virus programs gives you is very confusing, so consulting with others is strongly recommended to get a good opinion on the right program.

How to Thoroughly Clean-Up Your PC

It is amazing how many files are being saved on the computer right now as this blog is being created. Hundreds of cookies, caches, and temporary internet files are stored in folders across the hard drive, taking up valuable space you need for important files.

A perfect tool that is free to download is called CCleaner 3.0 and it works like a miracle. I just downloaded it to test it out, it takes about two minutes total to get it up and running. It gives you a checklist of Windows applications on your computer, like Internet Explorer, Mozilla, and Google Chrome, that save tons of files every time you log on to the internet.

This tool is easy to use. It runs very fast searching through your hard drive, based on your selection of what you want deleted, and gets rid of all that crap you do not need. What is good about it is that when it is deleting all that crap, it knows what files to keep like email and other files that you use most frequently.In fact, that is what the name means: “Crap Cleaner 3.0”, just what we need!

What I love about using this tool for cleaning up my computer is that it really makes me feel that I have total control. Isn’t that what everyone wants for their PC? For me, having the ability to run a broom through my hard drive and clean up 118,096 MB of free space, is pretty freakin’ sweet!

Most of the programs used on the computer take “craps” on the hard drive, and after a while this can lead to a very slow PC. Another great feature of this program solves that riddle called DLL, that annoying error message that comes up when a file is missing. This program uses the registry cleaner, which searches the computer for those missing DLL files and solves the riddle.

What about those pesky start-up programs that clutter your computer as soon as you turn it on? No problem with the Crap Cleaner, it has a special tool to clear that crap out of there. By doing this your PC will be running like new again, simply because your PC will not be full of crap!

The new version has added new programs such as AVG Internet Security, Bittorrent, Audacity, and Windows Game Explorer. It gets better, after installing this program on your computer, all you have to do is sit back and let the cleaner do it’s job. The major problem people have with their computer is the speed it is running at. If it is not fast enough to their liking, then one of the first issues to look at is the crap that is covering the computer.

This is the way to thoroughly clean-up your PC. Yes, you can use the programs provided by Windows but this one is too easy. Keeping your PC clean should be easy, fast, and complete in doing the job. By giving you the control of what you want to be deleted, Crap Cleaner 3.0 is the ultimate cleaning tool.

This is for the writers amongst you..

Being a writer, distractions have always been problematic, their intrusion on the process of writing an annoyance that can often render a presumably easy writing task into one that occupies more time than you’d like.

CreaWriter is a very helpful tool that frees you of the many distractions that exist when using a word processor. Whether it?s that flashing icon in your task bar or the minimized Firefox tab that?s calling your attention, the modern experience of writing has become an endeavor hindered by our immediate access to other forms of information.

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This tool wipes away all of those distractions, leaving a clean slate (literally!) on which to ply your writing. ?As seen above, nothing else exists no your screen but the page to which you?re putting your words. You can further customize it, including the ability to add both background images and ambient sounds ? both of which can be disabled, if you prefer just a white space.

In the digital age, distractions are inevitable, no matter how determined we are to avoid them. However, programs such as CreaWriter mitigate the frustration that results from them, making it a little easier to finish what you?re trying to compose.

This is a free program that?s available for Windows only, and you can grab it here.

ZScreen captures images and uploads them for you

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In this era of social networking, where the internet has become our main channel of communication, sharing pictures has become a routine activity.

Finding hosts for those pictures is as easy as surfing to any number of free sites that offer storage and linking of as many pictures as you would like, where the simple generation of a fresh url allows you to link your image on whichever forum you?d like to broadcast the latest exploits you?ve captured.

Zscreen is an amazingly convenient tool that not only captures screens from your computer, but it also uploads those images to you the most popular image sharing services you on the net ? TinyPic, ImageShack, Flickr, TwitPic, and others.? Additionally, those urls can be minimized with url shortening services like TinyURL and bit.ly.

Supporting more than two dozen services, Zscreen captures content and shares it, sparing you the hassle of having to visit a website to upload those images. Once the image link has been generated, you can share it with as many people as you?d like.

This is an excellent tool for those of you with a penchant for sharing pictures. It?s free and easy to use, but available only for Windows users.

If you?d like to make use of Zscreen, you can get it here.

Advanced tools for the average user

Whether you?ve just encountered a catastrophic error that results in a system crash or find yourself upgrading to the latest operating system, reformatting your hard drive is an extreme measure that?s often unavoidable over the course of your computer?s life. ?When doing so, it?s of paramount concern that you?re able to retain the data stored on your computer.

While backing up certain data is as simple as transferring it to another form of storage, many of your applications will require re-installation, a process that can often be hindered by the sheer number of apps installed on your PC.

Mitigating this chore is a helpful website that keeps a tally of the applications installed on your computer, allowing you ? when ready ? to re-install those items with the click of your mouse.

The site is called AllMyApps.com

For now, the only issue I?ve found is that it limits applications to those which are free, excluding commercial software (Microsoft Office applications, i.e.). While understandable, given copyright concerns, this does leave you to install those programs individually. Still, despite that omission, this site logs every other free application that?s installed on your computer.

To the surprise of many, I?m sure, our computers are host to dozens of free applications that we?ve installed over time. Many of these facilitate what are now mundane activities, such as Adobe Flash or AIM. By using this site, after having reformatted your hard drive, you?re immediately returned to the previous composition of your computer ? excluding, of course, those commercial applications.

The unavailability of commercial software aside, this is a novel idea that is long overdue.

Should you have any other questions related to preservation of data on your computer, especially you think your hard drive needs to be reformatted, we?re here to aid you.

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