written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 8/31/2011
Are you a Windows 7 user looking for a security software program that can help you secure your PC from outside threats? If you are, the article will discuss some options for you that come at no cost. You are sure to find the application you need to protect your PC and data here.
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About Windows 7 and its Security
Like with any other Operating Systems (OSs), it is necessary for Windows users to install security software (and keep it updated) in order to help protect themselves and their computers from viruses, malware, spyware, and other security threats.
On the Web, there are many Windows 7 security freeware applications for downloading; but before proceeding, it is a good idea to first know if it comes from a reliable source or company.
Also, to ensure a product is compatible with Windows 7, check for the logo (as shown to the left), or check Microsoft's Windows Compatibility Center.
Windows 7 Security Features
Windows 7 already comes with its own computer security measures, as well as an improved backup solution and improved parental controls. It also features...
A built-in firewall (Hint: To check for the firewall status, see the Action Center in the Control Panel)
Windows Defender (spyware protection)
BitLocker (applying encryption to protect files)
Benefits: Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 7, has its advantages for PC users. For example, it has more features and is more secure when compared with Vista and XP. It has a lot of drivers available too, and will not use a lot of RAM or CPU memory to run.
Advise: For those who have yet to upgrade their PC operating system to Windows 7, you may just want to because "[b]efore the year is over, the current flavor of Windows is expected to show up on 42 percent of all PCs globally. Further, Gartner's latest research shows that 94 percent of all new computers shipped this year will come with Windows 7, leading to almost 635 million new Windows 7 PCs in 2011 alone."* Besides, more and more security freeware is and will be compatible with Windows 7. For those users in need of Microsoft’s latest OS, there is Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Home Premium available.
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Best Free Security Utilites for Windows 7 OS
Firewall Utilities for Windows 7
Comodo Firewall will monitor and defend the PC from Internet attacks.
PC Tools Firewall Plus Free Edition is able to protect the computer from intruders and malicious network traffic. With Firewall Plus, it can stop Trojans, backdoors, keyloggers, and malware.
Anti-spyware Utilities for Windows 7
Spyware Terminator will scan the computer to detect and remove all threats for free. It helps to ensure computer integrity.
Windows Defender will help protect the computer against spyware.
Spyware Doctor 2010 for Windows detects, removes and blocks all types of spyware.
Anti-malware Utilities for Windows 7
Norman Malware Cleaner will detect and remove specific malicious software (malware). It is intended to clean an infected system completely.
Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware can quickly detect, destroy, and prevent malware.
Top Anti-virus Utilities for Windows 7
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0 can provide PC users essential anti-virus protection.
Avira AntiVir Personal is a free antivirus that scans your computer for malicious programs such as viruses, Trojans, backdoor programs, hoaxes, worms, dialers etc.
Other free anti-virus applications for Windows 7 include: Avast! AntiVirus Home and Avira AntiVir Personal Edition
Security Freeware by Microsoft
Microsoft Security Essentials guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software. It is available from Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center.
Windows Live Safety Scanner is a free online service by Microsoft that PC users can use for on-demand scanning: to remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Other PC Security Freeware (compatible with Windows 7)
For firewall protection, there is ZoneAlarm Firewall Free 9.2. It will improve the default firewall in Windows 7 by providing better outbound protection.
For encryption, there is TrueCrypt. It is a free open-source disk encryption software. Otherwise, there is SafeHouse explorer, which works with windows 7, that keeps a user's confidential files inside a giant data vault (safe and secure).
For privacy, there is Online Armor Free. It safeguards a user's identity when sending their data over the internet. Another option is Tor, which prevents anyone from learning your location or browsing habits.
For another malware and spyware removal utility, there is the IObit Malware Fighter. It is a useful program for real-time protection and for prevention of zero-day security threats.
For improving system performance and memory optimization, there is Glary Utilities (found on CNET).