Recommended Applications For a Fully Optimized & Secure Computing Environment

If you will become proficient in the use of the applications listed here, you can minimize the risk of cyber-attacks on your computer, safely surf the Internet, and conduct business online with confidence knowing that your sensitive data and identity are protected, while significantly reducing the amount of money you spend on computer repairs.

I currently use, or have used, every one of these applications on my Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers, and have complete confidence in their compatibility with Windows PC operating systems as well as their ability to both protect and maintain your computer in “like-new” condition.

In addition to forming safe habits while navigating the Web, updating your installed applications and anti-virus software on a regular schedule is the most important factor in maintaining the highest level of online security. If your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Iron Browser, Opera, and Safari, etc.), or plug-ins and add-ons such as Adobe Flash Player, Java Runtime Environment, etc., contain vulnerabilities, you risk significant exposure to security threats every time you visit a website.

If you will implement the steps below, you can have confidence that your computer will be protected against attacks from “drive-by” installation of Trojans, adware, rootkits, malware, bots and other types of malware or viruses through your browser.

  1. Make sure that all of your software is up-to-date by using either Secunia Personal Software Inspector or Filepuma Update Detector. (See Recommended Applications below.)
  2. Make sure that all programs and plug-ins integrated with your browser are up-to-date with the latest security patches.
  3. Never click on links in unsolicited e-mails, especially if they appear to be from your financial institution. If you need to make changes to your online accounts, call the institution and be sure to check your address bar to be certain that you are on the correct website.
  4. Do not accept any offers through your browser, i.e. NEVER click “Yes”, “Run”, “Install” or “Accept” without verifying the sender’s legitimacy and reputation. If something looks interesting to you, use Google search to find out more about the vender.
  5. When downloading any of the recommended applications below, or updating any of your current software applications, do not accept any offers bundled with the program you are updating, especially toolbars, as these are particularly prone to attacks by hackers, keyloggers and spyware.
  6. When downloading attachments such as documents, images or software applications, even from trusted sources, scan the download with your anti-virus program and with Malwarebytes Anti-Virus.
  7. If you suspect that your computer may be infected, immediately unplug your network cable from your PC and contact to assist you.

Recommended Applications

Advanced Uninstaller Pro
Advanced Uninstaller Pro is a comprehensive software removal program that monitors the installation of all applications to ensure that the program can be completely removed later on without leaving behind any fragments. In addition, Advanced Uninstaller Pro also offers several specialized cleaning utilities designed to clean up the Windows Start menu, the registry, and much more.

Auslogics DiskDefrag
Novice as well as experienced system administrators will appreciate Auslogics easy to use disk defrag program. Simply select a hard drive from the pull-down menu and Auslogics sector map instantly displays how much of the drive is fragmented, allocated, or free. A summary report is prepared after each defrag session displaying the total files and folders defragged.

AVG Anti-Virus Free
As hackers develop new techniques, AVG’s research labs continuously process web data to provide new defenses that keep you automatically protected from the latest threats. AVG Anti-Virus 2012 checks all files before you download them, and also protects you when exchanging files through popular instant messaging programs.

BleachBit Cleaner
BleachBit is a free and open source utility which will help you get rid of those files which clutter up your hard drive and threaten your privacy. It also includes advanced features to shred files and clean disk space to prevent file recovery.

CCleaner by Periform
CCleaner is a free tool that protects your online privacy, optimizes and cleans unnecessary files from your system thus allowing Windows to run faster. It also deletes traces of online activity such as your Internet history, and includes a fully featured Windows Registry cleaner that allows you to remove unused and old entries, including File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, Fonts, Help Files, Application Paths, Icons, Invalid Shortcuts, Temp files and MRSs, and much more.

Filepuma Update Detector
Filepuma Update Detector (for Windows 7/8/8.1, Vista and XP), ensures that all of your software is up-to-date with the latest security patches. Upon installation, Filepuma will scan your installed software, check the current versions, and send the information to to see if there are any new security patches available. Filepuma monitors your applications in real time and displays the latest updates in your browser for immediate download directly from the author’s website.

Glary Undelete
Glary Undelete is a powerful and effective free tool that can help you recover accidentally deleted files and photos. With a clean, logical interface offering simple “Folders” and “File Type” views, Glary Undelete supports all Windows FAT12/16/32, NTFS, and NTFS+EFS file systems for hard and floppy drives, flash drives as well as removable devices such as CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia, Secure Digital Cards and MemoryStick, etc. Glary Undelete will even recover compressed, fragmented and encrypted files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses.

Glary Utilities
Glary Utilities is a powerful “1-Click” that cleans, optimizes and maintains your Windows PC operating system in ‘like new’ condition. Glary Utilities provides an automated “all-in-one” utility loaded with useful features including a Disk Analysis and Cleanup tool, a Registry Cleaner and Defrag, File Encryption and Recovery/Undelete, Shortcut Fixer, Uninstall Manager, Startup Manager, Memory Optimizer, Tracks Eraser and File Shredder, Duplicate and Empty Files Finder, a Process Manager and System Information viewer as well as an Internet Explorer Assistant.

HDD Health by Pantera
Using the Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART) built into all new hard disks, HDD Health is a full-featured monitoring agent that can predict impending failures of your hard drives. It also includes a host of alerting features for email, local pop-up messages, net messages, and event logging while using no system resources.

Index.dat Analyzer
Index.dat Analyzer is a free tool to view and delete the content of index.dat files that contain references to cookies, browser history and cached pages. Index.dat files are hidden files on your computer that contain all tracks of your online activity, where have you been on Internet, what sites you visited, list of URLs, files and documents you recently accessed. Index.dat files stored on your computer are obviously a potential privacy threat as they can be found and viewed without your knowledge. The entries are normally not removed by simply clearing the cache in your browser. Index.dat Analyzer enables you to review those entries, and optionally delete them, or extract files to a different folder.

Revo Uninstaller
Revo Uninstaller displays a list of all installed applications on your Windows PC. Far from being Revo’s only useful function, its ‘Tools’ section provides access to many commonly used Windows operating system tools, such as the Registry Editor, Group Policy Editor, and the System Properties Sheet. Even better, Revo Uninstaller offers an option for deleting junk files, including temporary files that are created when opening Microsoft Office documents but were never removed. The software also features a feature called ‘Hunter Mode’ which allows you to drag a bull’s-eye icon over a file or program icon and click the mouse to remove the item..

LastPass Password Manager
LastPass Password Manager is a time-saving program that helps you keep all of your login information securely encrypted without having to memorize all of it. You can use LastPass to automatically login to any site once you’ve entered the information so you will never have to worry about remembering your usernames and passwords again. (See Strategies for Creating Secure Passwords.)

Microsoft Online Safety Scanner
The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with your existing antivirus software. The Microsoft Safety Scanner is not a replacement for using an antivirus software program that provides ongoing protection. Note: The Microsoft Safety Scanner expires 10 days after being downloaded. To rerun a scan with the latest anti-malware definitions, download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner again.

Rainlender Lite Calendar and Appointment Reminder
Rainlendar is a free customizable calendar application that keeps all your important events and tasks always visible on your desktop in separate lists.

Registry Recycler
Registry Recycler is a free registry cleaner and defragmenter that scans the entire Windows registry searching for invalid, corrupted, and empty entries, and then prompts you to fix them. Scanning is very fast and once completed you will experience a noticeable increase in your computer’s speed and overall performance of your Windows PC.

Privacy Mantra
Privacy Mantra keeps your computer clean from online and offline tracks. Most people are unaware that every web site they have visited remains in the undeletable index.dat file, even after the Internet history and cache has been removed. Your system also keeps information of executables you run, movies you watch, and documents you open. Some of these prints cannot be deleted manually as they are locked by the system. Privacy Mantra will erase most privacy threats in your machine including Internet history, cache, cookies, index.dat files, auto-complete forms, the search assistant, recent documents, open and save dialogs, run files, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

Secunia Personal Software Inspector
Secunia PSI is a free application designed to detect and monitor applications installed on your PC, and alerts you if any of them are missing critical security patches. Patching insecure programs is critical when it comes to safeguarding your personal data against cybercriminals. Patches are offered by most software vendors however finding all of these patches is tedious and time-consuming. Secunia PSI automates the update process making it much easier to maintain a secure PC. Secunia PSI does not do away with the need to run a good anti-virus program and firewall on your PC but does provide a solid layer of protection that no PC should be without.

SpyShelter Personal
SpyShelter Personal monitors vulnerable areas in your system to ensure that even the most advanced key loggers are shut down before they can launch dangerous attacks that could seize control of your PC. SpyShelter protects your system files from KeyLoggers, Screen Loggers, Clipboard Loggers, GetText Loggers, Anti-Kernel Mode Loggers, Webcam Loggers*, Sound Record Loggers*, NetWork Spy Loggers* and Advanced Kernel Mode KeyLoggers. Note: Spyshelter Personal is compatible only with Windows 32-Bit (x86) operating systems. *Available only with Premium paid version.

Trend Micro Online Virus Scan
Trend Micro HouseCall is an on-demand anti-virus software scanner for identifying and removing viruses, trojans, worms, unwanted browser plug-ins, and other malware software. It features an intuitive interface and the ability to perform fast scans that target critical system areas and active malware to help ensure that scans catch the latest threats.

VirusTotal is a free service that analyzes suspicious files and URLs and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware.

Windows Defender 32-Bit or Windows Defender 64-Bit
Windows Defender is a free program that runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Defender runs quietly in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. You can use Defender anytime to scan for malware if your computer isn’t working properly or if you have clicked on a suspicious link online or in an email message. Note: In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials.

Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program that helps defend computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Security Essentials is simple to install, is easy to use, runs quietly in the background and automatically installs updates for you. Note: In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials.

WinPatrol monitors your critical system resources in real time, and warns you of any changes to your computer that could otherwise occur without your knowledge. WinPatrol alerts you any time a program, spyware, malware, keyloggers, or other forms of malicious software attempt to access your computer without your permission.

ZoneAlarm Free Anti-Virus + Firewall
ZoneAlarm Free Anti-Virus + Firewall is one of the most secure brands in consumer Internet security available in today’s market place. ZoneAlarm provides industry leading computer and Internet security including Anti-Virus protection, Internet Firewall, Internet Browser Security, ID Theft Prevention and E-Mail Virus Scan.