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So one day I am watching a commercial on my television, and I come across one of the many anti-virus software advertisements. This commercial claims that problems with a buggy operating system, crashes, etc... are caused uniquely by viruses, obviously used as a buzz word, in this case.
When you dive deeper into this application's web-site, you see that its supposed to remove viruses and spyware. Get rid of infected e-mails, pop-ups, spam, etc.. And it claims to stop annoying freezing and crashing of your computer, notably by cleaning your registry.
There are several issues you must understand first, before I give an opinion on this product.
Let's start with the least understood problem, viruses and spyware. Though, it was true before that anti-virus software was able to remove original viruses, newer viruses use exploits to attach themselves to system files that cannot be removed without terminating the ability of the operating system to run. Today's spyware is becoming a lot more like viruses, in fact, I still find it hard to understand why we treat them differently, but noting that some applications like Spybot Search and Destroy know that you need to scan preemptively the user session, shows just how good they are at locking down their positions. Spyware and viruses can also attach themselves to all external devices containing memory, making it almost impossible to keep your Windows computer clean if you keep plugging in an infected drive.
Getting rid of virus infected e-mails, let's just point something out, you can use a router to do this. And, virtually all anti-virus software already does this. For it to be effective you do need to keep your current anti-virus solution up to date. As usual, do not open attachments, and as a special rule, do not open the properties of the file to avoid accidental file launch of any kind.
Pop-ups on your screen may be caused by one of two issues, one is whenever you visit a web-site that uses this kind of scripting, and it usually depends on what they are trying to do to make it launch, that ultimately decides whether it is bad or good. We, at Zed Axis Productions, deploy pop-up video players that are user deployed, and not automatically launched. There is also the option in all browsers to prevent pop-ups all together. The other kind of pop-up is almost dead, since most anti-virus software solution terminates the offending virus sessions that would normally launch these. To find the culprits, I suggest you use HijackThis to find the offending session. Though, for personal experience, it is easier to format the drive, than trying to fix an infected one.
Then, there is the thought of cleaning and defragmenting the registry. Let's just get one point across. If you use your computer, you will defragment the hard drive. Registries are fragmented only by installation, and uninstallations of applications, system processes, etc... Actually, the fragmentation of a registry is so little, that even if you successfully did a defragmentation, it would not reliably increase performance. This is also true of so-called registry errors, which so people may say, are not as bad as most people are willing to admit. Microsoft, has for years, had a registry in Windows. I believe that if they do not see a reason for a internal registry fix, it probably has more to do with external programs causing the errors. Bad coding is usually the cause of computer crashes, not the registry.
Then, let's look at an important issue always being forgotten. Computer's age, and with use, and exposure to elements, including background radiation from the sun, occasionally get bits flipped. This happens to all computers. So, isn't it possible, that the easiest way to get your computer running like new, is to format and rebuild your computer every 6 months to a year. Just formatting and starting new will get rid of all viruses, spyware, malware, registry errors, etc... And, if you keep backups of your files, you won't be losing anything in the process.
There is this one specific comment made by the commercial that I would like you to understand, as being false. Spyware, viruses, malware, etc... do not cause a danger to the functioning or operation of your computer. Motherboard, and other computer hardware manufacturers, have implemented safeguards that prevent damage to your computer, by simply turning it off. Therefore, you cannot use it as a sales claim, if it can't happen.
It is my belief, with years of experience, in this domain, that the claims on this company, and others, are not valid. The company I speak of is, My Clean PC. You may visit their web-site, read the small print, etc...
Truth be told, all anti-virus and anti-spyware companies latch on to your fears by giving you solutions that don't solve anything. If your computer is infected, format and start new. If you want true performance boost, add ram to your computer, and turn off several applications loading at Windows startup.
Written by Steve Smith