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Spyware and anti virus

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fishbait | 18:37 Tue 24th Jan 2006 | Technology
7 Answers
Hi i am looking for help with something i do not fully understand! My Norton anti-virus has just expired. I was about to purchase a new one and " a bloke down the pub " !!!!!! ( I know its dangerous speaking to people in the pub) said that my My microsoft antispyware beta 1 is also an anti virus. I dont believe them, if it is also an antivirus then why is it not called a spyware antivirus?? Please can anyone confirm what the antispyware does and if i need to install an antivirus to be fully protected. I f i do then do you have any links to the best free downloads. Many thanks.


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Haven't heard about the Microsoft a/v you mention, but you could use AVG, which is very highly recommended every time you look in a computer mag (I used it for years and it was fine for me too). You can get it from here

Anti-spyware detects and deletes (or quarantines) object that have been installed on your system without your knowledge, and with the intention of gathering information about you (e.g. shopping habits, sited visited, etc). Unless you specifically wanted these things on your sytem, you should get rid: they can be a nuisance and an intrusion, at best, and can sometimes cause problems. Get AdAware SE from here or Spybot Search & Destroy, from here (The download link is on the left)

Microsoft AntiSpyware is NOT an anti virus tool.

You can download MS AntiSpyware for free from the MS web site.

Free tools that I use (and all three below ARE free if you download the right version) are:

AVG Anti-Virus

ZoneAlarm Firewall

Adaware (for spyware)

Those three should give you good protection.

Virus's & spyware are two different things - virus's are malicious programs that plant itself on your system via various ways, normally through rogue e-mails & can cause havoc, such as deleting all your files or causing unusual anomalies, for example. You need Anti-virus software installed to routinely check your system to counter act this. To keep up-to-date with all the latest anti-virus software, you need to buy the softare"normally", register it online & receive all the software required. This will continue untill the software expires, usually a year & then you have to purchase it again. Remember - there are new viruses appearing every day..!!
On the other hand, spyware is annoying code which "spy's" on you when you surf the internet & then reports its findings back to a database. The companies then target you with adverts & pop-ups. This is normally installed when you dowload & install a free program, for instance & you get more than you bargained for. You also need anti-spyware software to routinely check your system & weed this out.
Question Author
cheers guys i thought the muppets in the pub didn't know wot the hell. just installed avg cheers. gonna put my spyware back thanks for the help.

The guy in the pub isn't completely mad, there is a Microsoft product in beta that will do antivirus and antispyware as well as other stuff. Have a look here for Windows One Care Live which I think is free for the beta version, but will be a paid subscription affair when it is properly released.

There is also free antivirus software available from

I honestly don't know why people pay for Norton, but so many do....

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