How do I protect my computer?!

  Escape86 15:18 17 Mar 2013

Hi, I'm new to this service and I have come here to find answers to the confusing issue that is computer security! I have a basic understanding of computers but answers in layman's terms would be appreciated.

I have a few questions, but the basic gist is this - What combination of (free) software do I need in order to keep my computer protected against everything bad (malware, viruses, annoying toolbars etc.), and also to keep it running at its best?

I have a Windows 7 laptop and currently use the following software: Windows Essentials Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free Windows Registry Repair CCleaner (just downloaded) Revo Uninstaller

I recently encountered an annoying toolbar search thing called "claro search" or something and had great difficulty removing it from my computer. Is this classed as "malware"?

Do I need anti-malware AND anti-virus (WSE) software, in fact, what is the difference? My computer started to behave strangely and running slugishly after my encounter with this claro thing and I found that Malwarebytes seemed to do a better job of getting rid of it than WSE.

I also have this annoying thing called "EasyLife" which, for the most part, I seem to have removed it but on Firefox the little search bar in the top right corner still says EasyLife and I can't seem to get rid of it! I use Chrome so it doesn't bother me too much but I'm concerned that it is still on my computer somewhere.

I usually run registry repair every once in a while or after something dodgy has happened even though I don't exactly know what it does! However I have noticed that if I run it a second time, it will come up with almost the same amount of errors as it did the first time! What's that about?

This is why, after looking at reviews on the net, I decided to download CCleaner which seems to be more efficient and also does loads of other stuff! Should I keep this one and uninstall Windows Registry Repair?

I also use Revo Uninstaller to uninstall crap that I don't need as it claims to deep clean and get rid of any traces still left on my computer. Does that mean that if I uninstall stuff the regular way there will still be traces of it left on my computer?? If so, would these traces be removed by running a registry repair?

I also occasionally run the regular Windows disk clean up and de-frag.

Sorry if these questions are a bit all over the place! I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to this so I'm really sure how to word everything properly! Basically though, I just want to know how best to keep my computer running smoothly and protected (for free)!

Thanks a lot

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:47 17 Mar 2013

With Windows 7

Antivirus - MSE or Avast (make sure the other is uninstalled properly as only one antivirus should be used

Antimalware - Malwarebytes free - (scan weekly)

You can also use SpywareBlaster as a blocker

Be careful of registry cleaners as they can often cause more problems than they will solve the only one I would recommend is built into CCleaner which is very good for clearing out rubbish and deleting internet history.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:49 17 Mar 2013

Here is a quick explanation of CCleaner's features.


Using the Cleaner window (the default window when you launch CCleaner), you'll notice several checked boxes that indicate which areas of your computer will be cleaned. Most of the boxes are checked by default, so pay close attention if you only want to scrub certain areas. Tabs at the top offer the ability to clean Windows areas and other applications. Switching between the two tabs allows you to make your choices for a customized cleaning.

When you're done with your settings, click the Analyze button on the lower left to see which items will be cleaned. You'll see every file CCleaner will delete and also exactly how much memory will be returned to your system after the cleaning.

Note: It pays to peruse this list before hitting the Run Cleaner button to make sure you're not deleting something important. When you're ready, hit Run Cleaner and watch CCleaner go to work.


Click the Registry button on the left side of the interface to bring up another set of checked boxes. This set of tasks does everything from eliminating unused file extensions to trashing obsolete software. Uncheck the boxes you don't want to scan and click the Scan for Issues button. At the end of the scan you'll be given the option to click the Fix Selected Issues button. Recommend tick all except Run at start up.

Note: It is highly recommend you save your current Registry configuration at the prompt in case of a malfunction later. An additional window will ask if you wish to fix specific items. If you know of a specific item in the list that is not a problem, simply tell CCleaner not to fix it by unticking the box. Remember, if you save your configuration beforehand a mistake here is easily reversible.


Uninstall - Windows comes with its own Add or Remove Programs utility, but it's often slow to load and not the easiest Control Panel item to configure. CCleaner quickly lists all of your active programs, and lets you highlight and uninstall software you no longer want. This part of the program utilizes tools already included in Windows, but the convenience and speed for quick uninstallations is tough to beat.

Startup manager - To manage your start-up programs, click the Startup button under the Uninstall button in the upper left of the interface. You'll see a list of active start-up items that launch when you boot up your system. Be very careful here: some items are not immediately identifiable and you wouldn't want to shut down your firewall, antivirus program, or any other important program.

System Restore - This will show you all the restore points on your machine (they can take up a lot of space), the latest one is greyed out so you cannot remove it . To remove any or all of the others just highlight the restore point listed and click on the Remove button.

Drive Wiper - Here you have the option to "erase" an entire drive or just the freespace on a drive. What happens is CCleaner overwrites the drive / space with zeros making the data unrecoverable. In the security box you have the option to select how many time CCleaner will write over the space / drive, 1 is sufficient for normal use, 3 will stop data recovery programs from finding anything, 7 is secure from anyone expect CSI and 35 is just paranoid.

Note the bigger the drive / larger number of passes the longer it will take.


Settings - Allows you to set language and other options. Run at startup will wipe your temp files and user history eveytime you log on.

Cookies - Lists cookies to be deleted if you want to keep certain cookies because they hold log in details for your favourte sites then just highlight the cookie and click the right arrow key to move into the right hand column.

Include - Allows you to add folders, that are not in CCleaners default list, that you need deleteing everytime CCleaner runs.

Exclude - Allows you to add folders that may be in the default list that you do not want CCleaner to remove.

Advanced - Lets you select / deselect options advanced users may decide to untick things like warning messages and backup prompts.

Once you've run through the entire cleaning process, don't be surprised if your computer runs a bit faster.

Depending on the capacity of your hard drive, you'll also free up a shocking amount of space if you haven't run a program like CCleaner recently.

  john bunyan 15:59 17 Mar 2013

Basically decide if you want a (paid for ) suite of security or are happy (as many including me are here) to use free software.

You need one , and only one Anti virus. If you have Microsoft Security Essentials (not Windows Essentials) many find it fine as an anti virus and it updates along with MS updates. I personally use Avira, and many use Avast.

A good malware blocker is Spywareblaster see Spywareblaster

In case malware gets through, I use both Superantispyware see Superantispyware and Malawarebytes, which you already have. I find SAS finds things a bit quicker.

I would only use CCleaner as a registry cleaner, and also in its standard use, and most agree that other registry cleaners can cause problems - I would get rid if "Free Windows Registry Repair".

I usually use the normal Windows - (via control Panel)to remove programmes although I have used Revo. I also use the windows firewall. Easylife is, I think, a gadget seller? Others may suggest ways of removing it.

  john bunyan 16:03 17 Mar 2013

I posted while Fruit bat was sending, and I agree with him basically. I prefer Auslogic's defragmenter - quicker than MS one see Auslogic defrag

  Escape86 20:11 17 Mar 2013

Thanks a lot for your suggestions people. Some useful advice here!

So it would seem that most of you would agree that some of the software I have already is of a good standard, namely: Malwarebytes, MSE and CCleaner. I will get rid of Windows Reg. Repair.

If I'm careful, I can probably live without an actual Malware blocker but please correct me if I'm wrong!

The question remains as to whether or not to get rid of Revo uninstaller? Will CCleaner or even the Windows regular "uninstall a program" function do the job equally well? The thing I find satisfying about Revo is the way it picks up any left over traces which may otherwise remain on the system, or would they?

With regards to CCleaner's other functions, I don't feel confident enough to know which boxes to to check or not when running the registry cleaner and I get the impression that this function can in fact be useless and even damaging to my system. Any tips?

Thanks Fruitbat for your breakdown of its different features. I noticed that I can change the programs that run at start up. It seems the list is really long and under 6 different tabs! For example, under the first tab entitled "Windows", this is a list of what appears:

Yes HKCU:Run Browser Infrastructure Helper Smartbar C:\Users\Rob\AppData\Local\Smartbar\Application\QuickShare.exe startup Yes HKCU:Run Facebook Update Facebook Inc. "C:\Users\Rob\AppData\Local\Facebook\Update\FacebookUpdate.exe" /c /nocrashserver Yes HKCU:Run Mobile Partner C:\Program Files (x86)\WEB Partner\WEB Partner No HKCU:Run msnmsgr "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Messenger\msnmsgr.exe" /background Yes HKCU:Run MyWebSearch Email Plugin C:\PROGRA~2\MYWEBS~1\bar\1.bin\mwsoemon.exe Yes HKCU:Run SearchProtect Conduit C:\Users\Rob\AppData\Roaming\SearchProtect\bin\cltmng.exe Yes HKCU:Run Spotify Web Helper Spotify Ltd "C:\Users\Rob\AppData\Roaming\Spotify\Data\SpotifyWebHelper.exe" Yes HKLM:Run Acer ePower Management Acer Incorporated C:\Program Files\Acer\Acer PowerSmart Manager\ePowerTrayLauncher.exe Yes HKLM:Run Adobe ARM Adobe Systems Incorporated "C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\1.0\AdobeARM.exe" Yes HKLM:Run Anti-phishing Domain Advisor Visicom Media Inc. (Powered by Panda Security) "C:\ProgramData\Anti-phishing Domain Advisor\visicom_antiphishing.exe" Yes HKLM:Run APSDaemon Apple Inc. "C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple\Apple Application Support\APSDaemon.exe" Yes HKLM:Run BackupManagerTray NewTech Infosystems, Inc. "C:\Program Files (x86)\NewTech Infosystems\Acer Backup Manager\BackupManagerTray.exe" -h -k Yes HKLM:Run EgisTecLiveUpdate Egis Technology Inc. "C:\Program Files (x86)\EgisTec Egis Software Update\EgisUpdate.exe" Yes HKLM:Run EvtMgr6 Logitech, Inc. C:\Program Files\Logitech\SetPointP\SetPoint.exe /launchGaming Yes HKLM:Run HotKeysCmds Intel Corporation C:\Windows\system32\hkcmd.exe Yes HKLM:Run HP Software Update Hewlett-Packard C:\Program Files (x86)\Hp\HP Software Update\HPWuSchd2.exe Yes HKLM:Run HTC Sync Loader "C:\Program Files (x86)\HTC\HTC Sync 3.0\htcUPCTLoader.exe" -startup Yes HKLM:Run IAAnotif Intel Corporation C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Intel Matrix Storage Manager\iaanotif.exe Yes HKLM:Run IgfxTray Intel Corporation C:\Windows\system32\igfxtray.exe Yes HKLM:Run iTunesHelper Apple Inc. "C:\Program Files (x86)\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe" Yes HKLM:Run LManager Dritek System Inc. C:\Program Files (x86)\Launch Manager\LManager.exe Yes HKLM:Run MSC Microsoft Corporation "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\msseces.exe" -hide -runkey Yes HKLM:Run mwlDaemon Egis Technology Inc. C:\Program Files (x86)\EgisTec\MyWinLocker 3\x86\mwlDaemon.exe Yes HKLM:Run My Web Search Bar Search Scope Monitor "C:\PROGRA~2\MYWEBS~1\bar\1.bin\m3SrchMn.exe" /m=2 /w /h Yes HKLM:Run MyWebSearch Email Plugin C:\PROGRA~2\MYWEBS~1\bar\1.bin\mwsoemon.exe Yes HKLM:Run ODDPwr Acer Incorporated "C:\Program Files\Acer\Optical Drive Power Management\ODDPwr.exe" Yes HKLM:Run Persistence Intel Corporation C:\Windows\system32\igfxpers.exe Yes HKLM:Run PLFSetI C:\Windows\PLFSetI.exe No HKLM:Run PWRISOVM.EXE PowerISO Computing, Inc. C:\Program Files (x86)\PowerISO\PWRISOVM.EXE Yes HKLM:Run QuickTime Task Apple Inc. "C:\Program Files

This is foreign to me and I wouldn't have a clue which ones would be safe to disable but supposing I did, would my start up run faster?

  john bunyan 20:48 17 Mar 2013

I agree with your first paragraph. It would do no harm to install spywareblaster, but I do not think it is essential. I would leave the Revo as a potential, but use the normal Control panel uninstall as a routine. With CCleaner just use its default settings and you will be fine. I have a personal preference for Superantispwareover Malawarebytes, but use both in turn.I will leave others to suggest cuts in your start up programmes!

  john bunyan 20:53 17 Mar 2013

PS running CCleaner gets rid of cookies and history and may well speed up your PC unless you delete them via Internet Explorer regularly. It also finds all kinds of other rubbish in browsing history.

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