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Windows Tips and Tricks by Cloudeight - Online Virus/Spyware Scanners

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Free Online Virus & Spyware Scanners
Windows XP and Windows Vista

For months and months and months now, we've featured Trend Micro's "Housecall" as our recommended online virus and spyware scanner. We've always encouraged you to run it once a week to double-check your installed anti-virus and anti-spyware programs to make sure they haven't missed anything. And, we still recommend Housecall as a free online scanner. But, we thought you ought to know that there are many other good ones on the Web you can use. Most of them require Internet Explorer 6 or higher to work. Almost all of you reading it should have no problem with that requirement.

Here is a short list of good, reputable, online virus and spyware scanners you can use to double-check your system once a week to make sure that your installed anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are doing their jobs. If they are, then the online scans will turn up nothing, if they aren't then you'll be glad you ran the online scanner, won't you?

One more thing, before we move on to the short list: Never install more than one anti-virus program on your computer. Online anti-virus scanners are different. Most use an Active-X or Java component that interfaces with the scanning application which runs from a Web server. You don't have to worry about the "no more than one anti-virus program installed" rule because you're really not installing another anti-virus program, even though you might have to download a small Java or Active-X component to run the online scanner.

Kaspersky Online Virus and Spyware Scanner
Kaspersky has always been one of the highest rated anti-virus programs. It's been around a long time. While it probably hasn't earn the name recognition that Norton and McAfee have, or the popularity that AVG and AVAST enjoy (because Kaspersky does not offer a free version of their anti-virus program), Kaspersky's anti-virus always performs well on independent anti-virus tests. In short, Kaspersky is a reputable and reliable anti-virus developer. You should get the same excellent anti-virus scanning from their online scanner as you would from their regular products. Try it, see if you like it.

F-Secure Online Virus Scanner
F-Secure is a lesser-known anti-virus developer. Their anti-virus products always seem to rate fairly well in independent anti-virus tests. They've been around for a long time and have a good reputation. F-Secure's online scanner is a virus scanner only, it does not scan for spyware.

ESET Online Virus and Spyware Scanner
ESET is the maker of  NOD32® Antivirus. NOD32 is consistently rated at the top of all anti-virus programs. While you may never have heard of ESET or NOD32, in independent tests, NOD32 almost always ranks at the top of all anti-virus software. If you want to double-check your current anti-virus program, this is the scanner many experts would recommend. NOD32 is an excellent, highly-awarded anti-virus program, and there's no reason to think that their online scanner isn't one of the best too. ESET Online Virus Scanner also includes a spyware scan. We highly recommend this one.

CA Online Virus Scanner
Before everything in the world became acronymized, CA was known as Computer Associates. They are one of the oldest security companies on the Web - but their products have fallen somewhat out of the mainstream. CA provides RoadRunner customers with a free security suite, but like all suites, it's lacking. CA makes, at best, a middle-of-the-road class of security programs. Their online scanner does include an anti-spyware and anti-virus scan, so it might be worth a look. You'll need to download an Active-X component as soon as you load their scanner page, if you want to perform the online scan of your computer, you'll have to download that small Active-X file. If you don't, just leave the site. Nothing will be downloaded without your permission. We're listing it here to provide you with another option.

Panda Online Virus and Malware Scan
We don't know what to say about Panda. They've been around for a long time but never seem to be able to crack into the "household name" category. Their products are decent, well-rated, and effective, but they never seem to get out of the niche group. Their Web site is attractive and well designed and their scanner is more than functional. Certainly worth a scan or two. Panda's online scanner can detect rootkits, viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malware. They claim to have a new technology that sees things other security software does not. I see things other people don't see and EB calls me crazy. So seeing things others don't see might be a good thing :)

Of course there are probably a dozen or so other online scanners out there - of varying efficacy, if you want to try them, you do so at your own risk.

And, this article would be remiss if we didn't point out that the ubiquitous Norton and McAfee have joined in the online scanning craze. While we would never use either, we can assume that during the scan you will be bombarded with messages urging you to buy Norton/McAfee or else your computer will melt and ruin your carpet and your shoes. Sorry Norton and McAfee, we just ain't buying your bloated, over-priced, under-performing, resource hogging, computer-clogging software. How's that for a rave review?

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