Secure your PC and your data with these 15 free downloads and services.

When it comes to locking down your PC and ensuring both the machine and your data on it are secure, you may think that its going to be a costly exerice, one which your wallet won't forget in a hurry.

However, you can do it all for free with the help of these 15 downloads and services.

Lock down your PC

Passwords play a prominent role not just in computing but also in everyday life. Download KeePass to organise and protect all manner of important data, from you credit card PIN to web passwords.

You need remember only a single password - this download remembers the rest.

OpenDNS promises to protect your kids from online violence, pornography, phishing and more. Guess what? It works.

Even better, there's nothing to install. Simply sign up and point your PCs or router to the OpenDNS servers, and presto: bulletproof protection.

Its name is a bit over the top, but SuperAntiSpyware is a robust, legitimate malware fighter. This download runs in the background and staves off and removes even the nastiest attacks.

Clicking any link that you find on the web - even one at the top of a Google search page - can lead to a spyware infestation.

The free browser plug-in Web of Trust vets the links you click. Green means good, red means bad. Simple.

PC Advisor tested: free antivirus programs

We've also rounded up four of the best free security suites, which were tested by ourselves too.

Alwil Avast Home Edition

  • Pro: Capable malware detection
  • Con: Confusing interface
  • Bottom line: Solid antimalware protection.

AVG Free Edition 8.5

  • Pro: Good PC disinfection
  • Con: Slow on-demand scans
  • Bottom line: Useful blocking of web-based attacks.

Avira AntiVir Personal

  • Pro: Excellent detection, disinfection process
  • Con: Interface not novice-friendly
  • Bottom line: Thorough protection and top-notch scan speed.

Microsoft Security Essentials

  • Pro: Nearly perfect in disabling infections
  • Con: Somewhat slow
  • Bottom line: An effective utility.

NEXT PAGE: Workhorse programs to keep your data safe

  1. Protect your PC and back-up your files
  2. Workhorse programs to keep your data safe