My dad called yesterday complaining about numerous problems, all stemming from the same problem:

  1. Slow boot up times into Windows
  2. Random popups and error messages
  3. Slow connection speed and surfing on internet
  4. Increased spam in inbox

All of these problems can be caused, and are caused, by spyware, or malware (malicious ware). I was able to solve all his problems with two programs that I consider highly invaluable on my own computer. They are both free donationware (means you donate money if you feel the program is worth your donation), and easy to use.

Not sure what Spyware is, also known as adware or malware? Read this page to be informed.

The first program is Spybot – Search & Destroy. If you don’t have this on your computer, whether it’s at work, home, or in a laboratory, then you are setting yourself up for all those problems listed above, and then some. If you are on the internet, you’ll get spyware, whether by installing legitimate programs, or surfing sites on how to name babies. You never know you got it until problems come up and harass you. Run Spybot once a week, at the least, and update it before you use it everytime with the latest definitions.

The other program is SpywareBlaster. SpywareBlaster keeps the spyware from getting on your system in the first place. Run Spybot first, clean your system, then run SpywareBlaster, update it to the latest updates, then Select All and choose Protect Against Checked Items. Run this every 2-4 weeks. That’s the equilavent to vaccinating your system from the known spywares that SpywareBlaster prevents from installing on your system. In combination, both Spybot and SpywareBlaster will essentially make your life on the computer, and the internet, a lot better.

If you need a free antivirus program, check out AVG and if you don’t mind paying for a better one, get F-Prot.

Hopefully this will help others out there before they harrass a geek like me on a problem so simple to solve. ;)