Last week I had this problem with spyware on my laptop. Even with my excessively cautious internet surfing habits I still get infected. Thankfully, there's free, legit stuff you can find on net that will make being online a lot safer.
My PC at home has no such problems with spyware and that is because I have an excellent free spyware scanning utility at home.
I use the excellent PC Tools Spyware Doctor, courtesy of GooglePack. It's legit and totally free if you get it from Google. Unlike some other anti spyware tools, this one includes the all important real time protection that will intercept known malware as it tries to attack your PC. I installed it on the laptop and now the spyware infection is gone.
So do yourself a favour and download GooglePack today. Not only does GooglePack allow you to have a good, free antispyware suite, it also provides other cool stuff such as StarOffice, Skype and Picasa. Always free and always legit. Get it now!
Another bit of free software related good news concerns AVG. AVG8.0 Free is now available. It's been updated from version 7.5 (which I use and highly recommend) and now includes antispyware and linkscanner components. I'm testing it now on the laptop and it looks ok. I'm not sure how good the antispyware part of it is though and I must say that I prefer the interface from 7.5. But that's probably because I'm not used to the new look yet.
Having an antivirus is absolutely required these days and you won't go wrong with AVG Free. Again, it's free and legit and gets updated everyday.
For those people who want other alternatives for their PC protection needs, I know of some other free stuff as well.
For antispyware, there is Spyblaster. It's free and it works quite well, according to what I've read. For antivirus software, Avast! is also quite good. I have that one installed in my dad's PC. Also free and legit and also has antispyware and antirootkit built in.
While I'm at it I might as well plug other freeware that I use.
Like Irfanview. It's an image viewer and has some simple but highly useful editing functions. Very small download and very light on resources. Highly recommended.
For video/audio playback, make sure you get yourself the KLite Codec pack. Having this installed in your PC will ensure that you will be able to watch and listen to almost every video and sound file. Also comes with Media Player Classic.
And finally Flashget. The best download manager I've ever used. Very, very good. And free. Perfect for the serial downloader. Works with Rapidshare and Megaupload premium accounts.
In other news, my 250Gb Maxtor hard disk is definitely getting full. I suppose I could just housekeep my PC and burn stuff on DVDs. Unfortunately, even after that there won't be much free space still due to all the games and apps I like to keep installed.
I'm waiting for some money available (which is soon actually) so that I can get me a 320Gb or 500Gb hard disk. We'll see how that works out.
I'm also still deciding whether to clone my old hard disk over or do a fresh Windows XP installation.
I'm off tomorrow and looking forward to watching Ironman over the weekend.